As an amateur, I am not really eligible for this, but in speaking to some friends of mine going through the process, I must say that I find the BYU Religion hiring process to be really weird, and a bit insulting. Perhaps some of you who are going through it/have gone through it can illuminate me on the ins and outs. What is mostly disturbing about the hiring process is that it seems incredibly ad hoc and much more demanding on grad students time and resources than any other job application.
The way that a normal job at an academic institution is offered is that an ad is placed in the industry newsletter or website. Applicants send their packets to the institution and if the institution is interested, they ask for a short interview at the national conference, usually for about 20-40 minutes. After that, if they are still interested, they fly you out for an on-campus interview that consists of (usually) a scholarly lecture, a teaching exercise, and a series of interviews with more faculty and administration. After that, you either get the job or you don’t. This process has the advantage of following a calendar schedule and being pretty straight-forward. The applicant’s time is respected and they are asked to do immediately relevant tasks in order to evaluate their teaching, research, and interpersonal skills.
In contrast, from what I understand, BYU religion asks graduate students to come and teach during the summer sessions, preferably a number of times. They are not formally being considered for a job by teaching, but they are being evaluated. If the graduate student who is interested in a job at BYU cannot come and teach in the department for an entire term, they are requested to teach an entire institute class voluntarily. A member of the BYU religion faculty will try to fly out to observe one session of the institute class. There are no job postings, there is no formal application, there is no schedule. Prospective employees are asked to teach an entire course, and one class of that course will be evaluated. They are not flown out to visit the campus or interview with a number of faculty. They are not asked to present their research.
Is such a process useful, or should BYU Religion adopt the industry standard for job applications? Of course, there are some distinctive qualities that BYU Religion is looking for, but these are not unique. Conservative seminaries posts jobs at the SBL/AAR, interview, and hire just like everyone else. Perhaps the number of LDS graduate students had been small enough that they could all be accounted for. Is this still the case? For those of you who have gone through this process, does it seem fair? Is too much asked of the applicants?