The Unexpected Twist
I have applied for a dozen 2011-12 university appointments already, not yet a week into September. After last year's job hunt, I decided to narrow my search by location and specialty. When creating a "job search criteria" I omitted autism and focused on literacy and new media opportunities.
This weekend, a job opening appeared that caused me to reconsider a judgment I had expressed several times over the last year. I had stated, emphatically, I would avoid seeking autism-related research posts. Autism research is often the target of vitriolic rhetoric, even threats against researchers. Seeking other posts seemed wise, considering the heated debates around autism.
A major research university has a tenure-track opening that is associated with a leading autism research institute. The post reflects the topics I explored as a graduate student -- the text of the announcement could be used to introduce parts of my dissertation.
I decided to apply for the post, knowing that if I were to earn the position it would cause some consternation among a select group of activists. However, it is also the right thing to do. It is a post from which I could do a lot of good for students with autism. The right thing to do is to apply and see if the university agrees with me that I would bring a unique and valuable perspective to the research.
Plus, it is in a great location.