Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Dr Mavros is coming

Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

As soon as I arrived in the cafeteria for coffee this morning I realised that I had made a serious mistake in posting yesterday's blog. Richard and Jack were there, and Dimitris and Petros. And they all rose from the table to greet me saying "Here he is", and "How did it go last night?" and "Did you and Jenny have a good time?". "Please" I begged "Not so public!"

I told them that it had been a very nice evening, that we had both enjoyed the film (it was a good choice I told Jack) and that I would be seeing Jenny again. But that was all I was going to say. From now on I would be more discreet about what I wrote on my blog. I needed to remember that a blog is on the public record and not a private diary.What if Jenny herself should read it?

"So what else is news?" I asked.

"Dr. Mavros is coming" said Richard. "He accepted the offer straight away after last week's interview and will be joining us in September."

"Actually" added Jack "the concerns that we all had about him at the shortlisting stage seem to have been unfounded. He gave a pretty good mini-lecture in the morning and apparently captivated old Paige Turner in the afternoon interview." Paige Turner is the Dean. She is from the United States and is notoriously hard to impress. "Yes - it wasn't just the fact that he has great publications and the promise of an EU grant that he can bring with him - he is quite a character". Jack said that he had turned up for the interview in a black t-shirt rather than in a suit.

When Paige Turner had commented on this he had responded by asking whether she wanted to hire him to do research or just to look good. Turner was quite disarmed and was almost flirting with him. The other candidates didn't stand a chance.

I asked what was his area of expertise, having not seen his CV. Richard said that most of his work was on discrimination of various types, involving race, gender, age, even sexual orientation - in both labour and housing markets. In fact he had a paper on the topic in the latest Quarterly Journal of Economics. "You might be able to work with him Kostas, as that is something you have worked on too isn't it?"

Richard said that Mike Rowe, our Head of Department, was really excited about Mavros joining the department. And he might even arrive before September. His current post is in Cyprus and he is keen to get out of there as soon as he can. I could understand that in some ways but I think if it was me I would have wanted to spend at least the first part of the summer in Cyprus before coming to England.

Richard said that he had heard Mike talking to Gus about whether Mavros might be the man to take over as Head of Department when Mike's current term was up. "But what about Gus himself, or Tony Steel?" I asked. "Oh no" said Richard. "Gus definitely doesn't want the job. He has been happy in his role as Deputy but he enjoys the teaching and he would have to give up most of that so that he could get to all the meetings if he became Head." "And Tony has his eyes set on a bigger prize. He wants to be Dean" said Jack. Richard said he might be deluding himself if that was his plan. He thought that Paige Turner would want another term of office in that role before she moved on.

Well, at least all this talk of faculty politics had got people away from the subject of my personal life. What a relief!

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