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January 31, 2006



I've watched hiring on the "more level" playing field for twenty years and the grass isn't all that much greener, in my experience. True, we do not ask people to come for a semester of "look see." But the interview dinner can constitute the same kind of club-ability assessment that you describe. We just do it with much less information.

And back channel communications are more than alive and well; they are absolutely routine. I can't think of a case where phone calls were not placed at strategic points in the "fair and open" process.

And while we have seemingly strict Affirmative Action rules, we also have a loophole that, at my institution, carries that almost Orwellian name "pre-select." While we never "pre-select" at the junior level, truly open searches above the junior ranks are less and less common.

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