Thursday, October 27, 2011

When It's Time To Change

Yes, I am probably the only academic that would use a clip of the Brady Bunch as an intro to a blog post about a new position.  But I am pretty giddy, as Carleton University's Normal Paterson School of International Affairs [NPSIA] has given me an offer I cannot refuse: the Paterson Chair in International Affairs!  Consequently, my family and I will be moving to Ottawa next summer!

I will miss the students at McGill, who have always been phenomenal.  The future of the political science department at McGill is mighty bright as the department has been hiring great people since the year they hired me (not that I include myself in the category of great people).*  The place will be amazing once these folks take over.
* The run of great hires begins with Stuart and Dietlind ....
The position at Carleton is attractive for many reasons, including the chance to work more on policy issues, to teach students who will move onto government positions,** to work with really sharp folks who are studying some of the issues that really interest me, and to be in closer proximity to decision-makers.  Plus the endowed chair.
** McGill students do that, too, but our classes are not designed to help them so much as they are more focused on producing more professors.
While I will miss Montreal's ultimate community, proximity to skiing and the comedy festival, we look forward to Ottawa's vibrant ultimate community (it is huge), lower taxes, more functional government (I don't know much about it, but it is not Quebec), the ability to send our daughter to public schools in English, better infrastructure, and living closer to campus (everything is closer in Ottawa with much less traffic).

It is hard to believe that we will have lived in Montreal for ten years, longer than any other place I have lived (I spent summers from 3rd-12th grade away from home, so the tiebreaker goes Mtl).  We made a lot of great friends, had much fun, and really learned a lot about many things, including poutine, comedy, skiing, ultimate, food, language politics, separatism, federalism, and much more.  We outlasted two elderly dogs, two office computers (stolen), two cars (stolen, bus crashed), but not the provincial liberals (thankfully, despite how lame they are).

I want to thank all the folks who supported us through the years here, whether it was neighbors looking after our place while we sojourned south, or ultimate players tolerating my bad defense and  catching my hucks, or associate professors who had my back, or various party throwers over the years.  I found Montreal incredibly welcoming, and I will not be as gleeful to have it in my rearview mirror as I was when Lubbock was in our rearview mirror.

The nice thing about the 21st century is that leaving town means less than it used to do so as we are connected via blogs, twitter, and facebook.  And I will only be a couple of hours down the road if anyone needs a handler who plays lousy D; a random lecture to 600 students; or help in testing various beers.


Anonymous said...

i thought you were up for the Barton chair?

Steve Saideman said...

Anonymous, you are not wrong. I applied for one job and got another. Stranger things have happened in academic hiring processes, I suppose, but I cannot complain.

Anonymous said...

Don't leave us!!!

Anonymous said...

Took Poli 244, made me switch my major to political science. Thank you.

Steve Saideman said...

Dear Anonymous #2,
If you are a student, you will be leaving me anyway. ;)

Dear Anonymous #3,
Thank you for the kind words. Of course, your parents may be upset at me.

As I said, I will miss the McGill students big-time.

Anonymous said...

POLI 244 got me excited about IR, and now four years later in POLI 442 i still love it. Thank you

Anonymous said...


Steve Greene said...

You are not the only academic who would use, much less the only Political science professor. Damn did I love the Brady Bunch (and this episode) back in the day.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck Prof. Saideman! Our loss is Carleton's gain.

Megan said...

Congrats! Indeed, you will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your new post--a well-deserved recognition of your teaching and research.
We have learned a lot from you at McGill, both academically and even extra-curricular-wise, helping us appreciate you not only as an excellent teacher but also as funny, warm and caring human being. Thank you, and good luck.

Steve Saideman said...

Thanks. I am very touched. I always use the same word to describe McGill students: phenomenal. Hardest part of leaving McGill.

Rich Gregory said...

Professor Saideman,

I'm stoked to hear you're moving to O-town! The ultimate scene here is desperately lacking in handlers who play poachy D. I know you poach like the best of them!

Jo and I have been here for 4 years now. I'm sure you have contacts here already but if you need the lay of the land, want to grab a pint or throw some plastic, let me know.

You can find me on OCUA or facebook.

Aurian de La Noue said...

Hello professor Saideman,
First of all congratulations on your new position, and thank you for the classes I took at McGill that you taught, (Poli 244, 442), as well as the reference letter you wrote me.
One random question: what are the advantages/disadvantages of being a chair, other than financial? I can't seem to understand their existence.
Thank you

Steve Saideman said...

Chairs vary. Traditionally, as far as I can tell, the idea of a Chair is to (a) get money from a donor--chairs are usually named after the donor or someone the donor wants to honor; (b) fund the position so that the university does not have to--interest from the endowment would pay for the salary, research funds and whatever else; (c) attract or keep someone the university ones to attract or keep.

There are cultural differences where as far as I can tell in Quebec in most places, a Chair really is an institute or institution. In my case, the Paterson Chair will fund my salary and provide a fund for research that I will be able to use to travel, hire students, buy computer widgets and software, buy out a class to reduce my teaching load, etc.

The Chair carries not only $$ but prestige. I get to be or hold the Paterson Chair in International Affairs. Which sounds better than Associate Professor or Professor.

There are no disadvantages as far as I can tell to being a chair. Except addiction. Being a Canada Research Chair meant having my salary and research funds come from Canada, not Quebec like the rest of McGill's non-CRC faculty. But it was temporary--a five year deal renewable once for five years. My CRC was going to go away in September, whether I stayed or not. I got used to the research funds that came with the CRC position, so moving was a way to continue (and improve) to feed my addiction. I have used much of my CRC money to fund graduate students, undergrads and to travel for research and conferences. I plan to do the same in Ottawa.

Aurian de La Noue said...

Thank you for your answer.
Have a great last semester at McGill! I find it much nicer than the LSE...

Anonymous said...

Prof. Saideman,

I've had the privilege to take 3 of your courses during my tenure at McGill, and I must say you'll be dearly missed by many in the McGill community.

McGill's loss is certainly Carleton's gain.

I wish you and your family well, and may the force be with you!