Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Reference Anecdote

Mel in Jimbo's discussion on tenure files has commented that at some places you are not allowed to know your referees at the time of a tenure/promotion. I thought I might add a short anecdote.

About 10 years ago there was this phone call

Me. "Hello ?"
Voice "Professor X, my name is Professor Y from Prestigious University and I am calling for a reference in regard to Professor Z."
Me. "Who ?"
Voice "You mean that you are not immediately familiar with the works of Professor Z."
Me." No I am not, but I would be glad to review a representative sample of them if you would like to mail them."
Voice. "Thank you but no, you have already supplied us with sufficient information."
Me "You're welcome, goodbye."

I, perhaps obviously, immediately went to my reference files and checked up on Professor Z and his work was in a very narrow area of the field, and I can no longer remember why I hadn't heard of him. Oh, and I sort of knew Prof Y but not well. And the conversation has been reduced in length a bit.

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