It's been a while since I last wrote one of these, but never fear---I've been productive! Since I last checked in I have passed my comprehensive exams, defended my dissertation prospectus, gotten married, and landed a pretty sweet job. Fate would have it that I would email one of my old undergrad mentors to check in and let him know I was going on the job market. He let me know that his department had applied for a grant to start a research center and would be needing visiting professors soon. After catching up, we arranged for me to visit my old campus and talk to some of their current students about opportunities in graduate school for political science students---especially underrepresented ones. I also was blunt with the students about the job market woes that are currently plaguing academia. After chatting with about 4-5 classes of students I was able to catch up with some of the faculty. It was nice to see that no matter how much had changed in my life, the department was almost the same (save a couple wonderful new faculty members and a fabulous new department manager).
After saying my hello's and catching up it was time to get down to business. I had a wonderful discussion with my old mentor (do mentors really ever become "old"?), who is now the Chair, and we agreed to a one-year adjunct professorship teaching two classes in fall 2017 and three classes in spring 2018. After figuring out the offer for next year we started discussing my future career plans. After a couple re-tellings of some current job market horror stories my old mentor, or should I say, new boss, dropped a bomb on me and offered me a 2-3 year visiting professorship teaching five classes a semester. Make no mistake about it---this is a full-time adjunct job with 2+ years of job security. I will not be able to partake in any activities that tenure-track faculty get to do besides teach, but I am extremely happy nonetheless (did I mention I get benefits). This 2-3 year window allows me to build up my research portfolio while getting the teaching experience that will make me a successful candidate on the job market when I am ready to move on. My wife and I will also be close to our families for a couple years before jetting off again---we're happy about that.
While the move back to the Central Valley from Southern California will be a rough one, I am excited to start the next chapter in my life (the part where I get to make more than 25k a year) and hopefully add a member or two to our family during our time back in the Valley. Now you're all caught up on my academic life since I last checked in. I'll check in soon, well sooner than the last time.
One Love, Dirk