Thursday, May 04, 2006


Okay, I haven't posted in a long time. I was very busy with travel (conferences and job interviews) and finishing up my dissertation. So, first things first: I had my successful defense on Tuesday, May 2nd. I turned in my paperwork later the same day, so I'm done. I have a Ph.D. in economics!

Now, the other news: I had to decide between three job offers, two in academics and one at a think tank or whatever AIER is. So one was the American Institute for Economic Research in Great Barrington, MA, i.e. the Berkshires. The first of the two academic offers (they both came on the same day, last Friday) was from Hillsdale College, a small liberal arts college in rural Michigan. The other was from Western Carolina University, which is in Cullowhee, NC, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. Near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Deal's Gap (The Dragon), for you motorcycle types.

There were probably two things working in WCU's favor, being location and more emphasis on research. It's a more standard university, whereas at Hillsdale the emphasis is all on teaching. Teaching is great, but I'm pursuing an active research program and my understanding is that Hillsdale would require up to five preps a year (classes to prepare lectures for) versus two a year at WCU. Also, there just isn't much emphasis on research at Hillsdale. I'm not saying WCU is extremely research-focused, but I think the emphasis there strikes a balance between teaching, research, and service that is right for me. There was also the question of where I could see myself living, etc. I could see myself in the Berkshires at AIER, but I finally decided that I went to grad school in the first place to get an academic job, and that I should give that career track a real shot first.

So I'm getting psyched about the move, it's one of the most beautiful parts of the country, yet the cost of living is fairly low. And though we're moving away from Baltimore and Beth's family, we'll be much closer to my family in Nashville. To be honest, I don't like living in a large East Coast city so much. Or maybe I do like it allright, but at this point I'm just so sick of traffic I'm ready for a break. I guess I'm most excited about starting my career as an economics professor.