Monday, May 07, 2007

Sum search!

Say you're assembling a search committee and you need to make sure the committee has the right balance of innocence and experience, knowledge and power, gravitas and charm--not to mention the whole gender balance issue and the need to avoid stocking the committee entirely with cranks and bores. Wouldn't it make your life easier if each faculty member were assigned certain numbers expressing those nameless qualities so important to the makeup of a search committee?

Schmoozability, for instance. You need a certain schmooze factor on a search committee, but there's a fine line between just enough schmoozing and too much. Suppose we assign each faculty member a Schmoozability Quotient, or SQ, and anyone whose SQ fell outside a certain range would be banned from search committees.

Then of course you'd want to quantify other characteristics as well: the Charm Factor (CF) might be helpful, as well as the ratio of Expertise to Experience (E:E). It would be necessary to know each faculty member's TAEQMOS score (Tendency to Ask Embarrassing Questions or Make Offensive Statements) as well as the strength of his or her Ability to Suffer Fools Silently (ASFS).

There must be more, but for the sake of illustration, let's stop here. Now suppose I have all these numbers at my disposal and I want to know which faculty member is the perfect pick to fill that last spot on the search committee; the sum might look something like this:

E:E + ((SQ + CF) - (TAEQMOS + ASFS))

There now. Doesn't that simplify the whole process?

4 comments:

kermitthefrog said...

Nicely compiled! I think you want to take off the parentheses around (TAEQMOS + ASFS), though, since right now you end up subtracting ASFS from the total, when it seems like you'd want to add it.

Joy said...

This really MUST be "Math for Poets!"

Bev said...

Darn, Kermit's right! And I thought I was being so clever. How about adding everything together and then dividing the total by the TAEQMOS?

kermitthefrog said...

brilliant! Can't we turn it into an equation somehow? Preferably with a multiplicative constant? ooh, I'm getting too excited.