Over the last few days, I’ve learned a number of things. First, campus interviews are exhausting. Between the meetings, lectures, lunches, dinners, tours, and formal interviews, one after another after another, there is little time even to notice the fact that your body clock is still adjusted to 8 hours ahead. I woke up Wednesday morning feeling rested and ready to perform, only to be taken to the airport to return home. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, however, were spent in a cloud.
From this campus interview, I learned that the school is everything I had hoped it would be. It offers diversity amidst Christian commitment and freedom of inquiry amidst orthodoxy. The students whom I met are all enthusiastic about the school, the community, the faculty, and are grateful to study there. The administration is supportive of the faculty and are strong visionaries for the school. And the faculty, particularly the theology faculty, seems to be a body of believers dedicated to collegiality, mentorship, scholasticism, and their role as theological educators. They are all brilliant professionals (cue ‘imposter syndrome’), and yet seem as gracious and kind as one can get. I would be honoured to serve the school and the department with them if they offered.
I learned that the location of the school is in a region which fits me and would be a place that I could put down roots—literally and metaphorically.
There were also confirmatory lessons. My love for undergrads, the liberal arts, teaching, and mentoring were confirmed. After both lectures, one on the missionary journeys of Paul, designed for undergrads, and one on my research, designed for a broader audience, both students and faculty commented positively on both the content and my style and ease of delivery. The experience confirmed for me that I do, in fact, belong on a college campus such as this.
I’ve also learned that campus interviews can be too enjoyable. By this I mean that an interview can go so well that the candidate can easily be too confident. My three days of all-day interviews went very, very well; so well that I need to remind myself that another candidate is still to interview and the job is not yet mine. No matter how good the interview went, I cannot get attached, either to the school, the people, or the place. I need to keep the school and the possibility of serving there at an arms length. In this case, this will be difficult to do.
And now I wait. The final candidate does his/her thing early next week, after which the search committee will make their decision which they will pass on to the administration to make official. I’m told that I should know before Christmas, assuming that the administration doesn’t do what administrations are known to do: drag their feet.
Thank you all for your prayers. They were heard and felt. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday each had God’s blessings written all over it, and, in part, that’s thanks to you. I will pass on any news when I receive it. Until then, there’s a PhD to finish!