What's in a Name???

Dr. David A Starrett dstarret at BIOLOGY.SEMO.EDU
Tue Dec 15 10:22:27 EST 1998

At 06:18 AM 12/15/1998 -0800, you wrote:
>Greetings to all,
>Our department (Biological Sciences) was informed 8 days ago that we
>could initiate a faculty search for a plant systematist who employs
>molecular techniques/tools in her/his research. I'd like to title the
>position description "Plant Molecular Systematist" in order to attract
>appropriate candidates (based on my understanding of what we want and
>However, several of my non-plant oriented colleagues feel that the word
>"molecular" should be left out completely, whilst another thinks it
>should be titled "Molecular Plant Systematist".
>I guess what I am looking for is some feedback concerning our/my choice
>of wording for the job ad and if it really makes any difference at all.
>I am curious to hear from others who have initiated similar searches
>this fall semester. If you have any ideas and/or input please respond -
>I'd really like to hear your opinion.

I will give you a different perspective.  I am an assistant professor who
is looking to move on to another insitution (no, no systemtaics
background).  I am, by your description, a Plant Molecular Physiologist.
When I cruise the job ads, I look for plant phys positions and then look in
description to see what molecular background is looked for/expected.  I
don't pass any ads by that don't say molecular.  On the other hand, plant
molecular biology does catch my eye as I know it is a wide-encompassing
descriptor.  I have been on a couple of search committees.  We usually have
a list of expected forte's for candidates.  This is where we list
toxicology, molecular, etc.  Thus, a Plant Systematist trained in molecualr
biology or a Plant Molecular Biologist trained in systematics would both
work for me (catch my eye).

I haven't seen many molecular systematics positions.  In fact systematic
positions in general are few and far between.  Those in the field (tree?)
will likely check out any position that says systematist, with or w/out the
word molecular.  

My view, it won't make any difference.  If you do put it in, Molecular
Plant Systematist seems the better descriptor.

Dave "Plant Physiologist" Starrett

*                                                           *
*  Dr. David Starrett                                       *
*  Biology Department, MS 6200                              *
*  Southeast Missouri State University                      *
*  Cape Girardeau, MO 63701                                 *
*  Ph: (573) 651-2382                                       *
*  Fax: (573) 986-6433                                      *
*  email: dstarret at biology.semo.edu                         *
*  WWW: http://biology.semo.edu/web/starrett/starrhpg.html  *
*                                                           *

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