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Search Committees' Secrets

Over at The Chronicle of Higher Education's On Hiring blog, Rob Jenkins shares — "at the risk of drawing back the curtain and revealing the great and powerful wizard," he jokes — tips as to the answers search committee members are looking for in response to some of the standard questions they ask candidates. When asked about use of technology in teaching, Jenkins says candidates ought to indicate "a willingness to try new things in order to meet the needs of the department." The search committee is less interested in hearing about the beta-release software package they found "last year … at DragonCon." When a search committee member asks candidates where they see themselves in 10 years, what they'd really like to know is whether the prospective assistant professors plan to stay with the institution, if hired. "What we really want to know" Jenkins says, is "are we going to have to do another stinkin' search next year?" To that, candidates should demonstrate an interest in growing their professional skills at the institution, he says, though suggesting that "I'll be running the place by then" is probably not a good idea, he adds. For the sake of subtlety, Renkins suggests that candidates respond along the lines of: "At some point, I might be interested in getting into administration, perhaps as a department chair, if there's a need, but I haven't really thought much about that yet."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.