Interview in Durango

Besides getting to visit briefly with dear friends in Denver, our break from bicycling allowed me to go on an interview for a teaching job at Fort Lewis College in Durango. The Biology department at Fort Lewis is hiring a new faculty member and they are looking for a ‘molecular microbiologist’. If there is anything that does describe my professional qualifications, then ‘molecular microbiologist’ describes me to a tee (as a scientist, at least) and I was eager to apply for this job back in September. After leaving my position at CU, I realized a more teaching-intensive job, where I didn’t have to hustle for research money might be a better use of my talents. After a phone interview, the search committee at Fort Lewis invited me to come to Durango for a few days to meet all the faculty, give a research seminar and give a lecture in the advanced microbiology class.

It was a very full two days.

On Sunday, Alan and I visited our storage unit, where I found some interview clothes. I couldn’t locate the proper shoes, so I ended up picking up a new pair at DSW. If you’ve seen me in the pictures as the summer progressed, you might have noticed that my hair has gotten quite long. So one order of business in Denver was to get my hair trimmed. My regular stylist wasn’t available, but she recommended another stylist at the salon, so I visited Desiree first thing Monday morning before I took off for Durango. I’ll admit, I kind of like it longer, so she didn’t cut much off, but she cleaned it up and and I look presentable. Over the last few weeks I’ve been preparing my talks, so I was finally all ready to go on my interview.

I used the rental car to get myself to the airport and returned it to the rental office. My flight left a few minutes late, but I wasn’t too far behind when I arrived in Durango and was met by the chair of the search committee. After he dropped me off at the hotel, I treated myself to dinner at Chemayo and then reviewed my research seminar one more time. Tuesday and Wednesday were two very full days, starting with breakfast with someone on the search committee and ending with dinner with faculty members. The job is very teaching intensive, and each semester I would teach 12 credits, the equivalent of four classes. But research with undergraduates counts as part of that credit load, so once I started mentoring senior research projects, the lecture/lab load would effectively be reduced. At least that’s the way I see it. Having the ability to do research, even with undergrads, is essentially a perk, to my mind.

Overall, I think the interview went well. My research seminar was well-received and my teaching demonstration went well enough, especially thanks to some coaching from my sister Amy and my friend and colleague Lynn. Thursday morning, I enjoyed breakfast solo at the hotel, before a faculty member took me to the La Plata County Airport and I flew back to Denver.

I’m the last candidate interviewed, so they will make a decision on Friday and then let me know some time next week, hopefully. I think I would really like working here. The salary isn’t great, but that would be tempered by the perks of living in a mountain town in Colorado. Oh well, I’ll just have to sit tight and wait to see if they even make me an offer, and then we’ll worry about the future.

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