Letters to the Editor

On “Charm School, from Application to Interview to Campus Visit”

Ty Geltmaker, January 2016

To the editor:

AHA president Vicki Ruiz’s well-intentioned “Charm School, from Application to Interview to Campus Visit” (October 2015) serves to further infantilize the graduate school and job search experience. Do adults of this age (some of whom arrive in grad school after earlier careers in journalism, the law, secondary- school teaching, and otherwise— see, for example, Ian J. Drake, “Second- Career History PhDs: Don’t Abandon Your Past” in the same issue) really need to be told to “remove all inappropriate social media posts, including cat videos”? If so, how did they get into grad school to begin with? Further advice on interview attire and cautions about food stains on clothing seem appropriate for first-day kindergarten admission, not as advice for serious adults entering the academy who are already grown-ups. Finally, “remember that you are on stage” is bad advice. You are a human being dedicated to humanistic inquiry and conversation with future colleagues and students dedicated to seeking imperfect truth. And if such honest behavior does not get you the job, so be it. We are not “on stage.” We are on earth.

Ty Geltmaker
Los Angeles

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