Drosophila faculty

William J. Etges wetges at COMP.UARK.EDU
Fri Jun 16 14:45:43 EST 1995

At 12:07 PM 16/6/95 -0700, Alan C. Christensen, Ph.D. wrote:
>In discussions of faculty hiring priorities, no doubt many of you have
>heard comments such as "We already have enough Drosophila labs here".
>Naturally, we all realize that Drosophila is not a field but an organism,
>and that Drosophilists come in an impressive array of fields, but our less
>enlightened colleagues don't often realize that (for example) a person
>working on transcription factors in Drosophila and a person doing
>population genetics with Drosophila are not actually working on the same
>thing, and that a developmental geneticist working on Drosophila would
>actually broaden and strengthen a Department rather than being redundant.
>So my question is simple:  What arguments have been successfully used to
>persuade a diverse group of biologists (including ecologists,
>parasitologists, plant biochemists, etc.etc.) that another Drosophila
>faculty hire is actually a good idea?
>I would also like to collect information on various Departments around the
>U.S. and list how many of the faculty work on Drosophila, in order to
>demonstrate that a group of 3 or more P.I.s is actually healthy.
>Please e-mail responses to me.  If anyone is also interested in knowing
>what the responses are I can share them or post a compilation.

                Perhaps I can help by describing what its like to be the
ONLY Drosophila person on a faculty. Imagine running your lab without a
core of students and faculty working on flies: I must find the manpower and
resources to wash glassware, make food, change stocks etc. This means if I
can find a good work-study student, the department will pay for him/her,
and things are OK. Otherwise, my graduate and undergraduate students must
pitch in. So far, the department has not allocated the funds to pay for a
part-time lab tech just for me.  It is mysterious to me how anyone could
argue for or against someone based on the organism they work on - surely
the decision must be made on the person's qualifications, the department's
perceived teaching needs, etc.  Seems to me that there is certainly a large
advantage in having a group of people working on flies in the same
department, even if they are asking different questions.

                By the way, I work primarily on ecological genetics and
evolution of cactophilic Drosophila, primarily D. mojavensis.


William J. Etges
Department of Biological Sciences
SCEN 629
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701  USA
wetges at comp.uark.edu
voice: (501) 575-6358
FAX   (501) 575-4010

 I changed her oil, she changed my life.
................title of a country and western song.


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