May 24th, 2006

(click on a picture to start slide show)

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by Ted

Last weekend we went to the Minnesota Zoo with the other Devils Lake babies. Mel (formerly Chandler) Laangback and her husband Kevin brought their daughter Adyson and their son Chandler. Kirsten (formerly Johnson) brought her son Sam. Kelly (formely Garske) and her husband Eric brought their daughter Marion. Marion was born on the same day as Anders so we always enjoy the opportunity to see how they are developing in parallel.

On to a different topic: after the last entry was posted, I felt should I expound on the job situation a bit more. I interviewed at three different schools: The University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas; Michigan Technical University in Houghton, Michigan; and of course Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. All three of the schools offered me a tenure-track position.

This is in itself a bit of an honor and a vote of confidence. The academic positions are very competitive. The openings don't come along very often and there can be more than a 100 people applying for a single position. Of the many applicants, typically three are chosen for an interview. These three are flown in at the school's expense and usually spend 3 or 4 days interviewing and checking out the town. Each interview represents quite a lot of work both in preparation and during the interview itself. Typically the interviews are two days. Most of that time is made up of a relentless march of 30 minute interviews with individual faculty members (or in small groups). The main event, so to speak, is a seminar given by the interviewee. This is typically a 50 minute presentation on a significant technical achievement, and also some background information and ideas you have for teaching and research. For new hires out of grad school, the technical achievement presented is almost always the Ph.D. thesis, as it was in my case. A lot of work goes in to the seminar as the parts of it about teaching and research must be custom fit to the needs and interests of that school.

In addition to all of this, NTNU in Trondheim, Norway, the same school I was at last year, also offered me a two year visiting faculty position. Choosing among these four options was extremely difficult, as each one had a unique set of pros and cons. There were no outright losers, as each option was very strong in isolation. In the end we decided Oregon was the best intersection of opportunity for myself and for Christy. It breaks our hearts a bit to turn down Norway, but nothing is forever and we will endeavor to find avenues back there.

However, for the present we are looking toward Oregon. Our timeline now is to head out there again sometime in June or July for a house hunting trip. If we find a place, we would like to move as soon as possible, likely in July. Then in August we will head to Norway for a few weeks to visit our dear friends Trond and Annie, who should be having a baby of their own any day now (literally). Then I will start in full time in late August or early September.

In the next entry I will talk a bit more about what I will be working on at OSU.

Here is a video clip of Anders feeding the goats.

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