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English department looking for new hire

In the last couple years, two professors have retired from the English Department. On Feb. 3 the department held a Faculty Candidate Presentation to help decide on a new instructor or lecturer to hire.  

Associate professor and director of writing for the English department Paul Formisano said the department offers a professional writing specialization and they would like the new hire to help build that specialization and offer courses related to professional writing.  

“We’re hiring for an instructor or lecturer position and it’s essentially a teaching position. We’re looking for somebody who’s going to be teaching a lot of our basic writing courses that meet our general education requirements for the program and for the university,” Formisano said. 

As part of the hiring process, the candidates were invited to campus to teach a class demonstration and give a public presentation about what they do, professionally or in the classroom, to the public. The department chair Darlene Farabee said they are most interested in how students respond to the candidates. Farabee said they are also interested in if the person can put together a challenging, but acceptable lesson for the demonstration.  

“You can sort of imagine the kinds of things that you would want a professor to be able to do in the classroom, kind of out of the blue almost. And those are the kinds of things that we’re most interested in seeing is getting a chance to really see them interact with USD students,” Farabee said. 

Farabee said the department wants to make an informed decision and they want candidates to make an informed decision because this is a big life change. For this position, Farabee said they asked candidates to give a presentation to show how they could support or help develop the professional writing program.  

“The responses to that kind of prompt, again as you might imagine, are highly individualized based on those different individual candidates. We were very pleased to see that each of them really did a nice job of highlighting strengths and also showing ways that they would be able to connect with our department and our programs and our students,” Farabee said. 

With two people gone from their team, Formisano said adding a new person will help with the workload and build the professional writing specialization because it’s relatively new. 

“We have a number of faculty already teaching courses in that and we’re looking to really expand that and make that something that more students will be interested in and they can better align some of the skills that they’re developing with an English degree to the professional course,” Formisano said.  

After there has been time for faculty feedback, the nomination will be sent to the English department chair and then to the dean’s office for review. Formisano said they are hopeful the candidate will be chosen by the end of the week.