An announcement

I have accepted a position at Shimer College, a small Great Books school in Chicago. The position is tenure-track equivalent, and I will be teaching broadly in the humanities and social science areas of their core curriculum. I am very excited to be joining Shimer’s unique program, which I feel will be a good fit for my interdisciplinary approach and my pedagogical focus on primary texts — and I am of course relieved to have found a permanent position at all in such a terrible job market. The fact that it’s located where I actually want to live feels near-miraculous.

That I even applied was a stroke of luck — I had not seen the job listing until it was e-mailed to me by Noah Kippley-Ogman, a Shimer alum and a long-time lurker. My position at Kalamazoo came up under similarly serendipitous circumstances, as did its extension from one to two years, and so in many respects I consider myself one of the most fortunate young academics around, particularly in light of the fact that my first round of applications went out literally just as a world-historical financial crisis was getting underway.

While the process was difficult and exhausting and while this year in particular included a number of heart-breaking near-misses, I have come out better than most: I’ve never taught on an adjunct basis, I’ve always had a reasonable teaching load and will continue to, and I’ve been continually employed full-time with benefits basically since graduating (except for the present gap between my contracts at Kalamazoo and Shimer). I still believe that there’s no reason that my path has to represent such a fortunate exception, but the fact remains that it has been — and I’m grateful for that.

51 Responses to “An announcement”

  1. Hill Says:


  2. Chris Brooke Says:

    Congratulations, Adam, and the very best of luck.

  3. Hill Says:

    Looks like a really unique (and excellent) teaching environment.

  4. Noah Says:

    Congratulations, Adam!

    Our introduction is owed entirely to Will Robinson, a much-longer-term lurker and fellow Shimer alumnus.

  5. Utisz Says:

    Well done! We expect no let-up in the blogging, though.

  6. Jared Says:


  7. Jeremy Says:

    Congrats, Adam. That’s great news.

  8. BB Says:

    Congratulations- you really do deserve this.

  9. Gabe Says:

    Great news, and of course richly deserved.

  10. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, all, and for the mean words, Brad.

  11. Rhys Tranter Says:

    Congratulations! That’s wonderful news.

  12. bob mcmanus Says:


  13. Eric meyer Says:

    Congratulations, Adam! To the degree that anybody deserves to win the lottery, you certainly did. I’m really glad for you.

  14. Guido Nius Says:

    Well done. I’m sure luck is only part of it.

  15. Brandy Daniels Says:

    Congratulations! Such great news! Undoubtedly well deserved!

  16. Mark William Westmoreland Says:

    I’m really happy for you, Adam. Congrats!

  17. Jason Goroncy Says:

    Congratulations Adam.

  18. jms Says:

    Hey, that’s really wonderful! Congratulations on all your accomplishments — I’m very, very happy for you.

  19. Михаил Емельянов Says:

    Congratulations, it looks like a great job! And not having to move for it seems like an additional perk!

  20. david cl driedger Says:

    It’s an Easter miracle!

  21. Robert Saler Says:

    Congratulations, Adam!

  22. Aaron Rathbun Says:

    Congratulations! Your road has been very instructive, glad to hear it.

  23. Clayton Crockett Says:

    Congratulations Adam, that’s great to hear.

  24. Tom Elrod Says:

    Congratulations, Adam. You deserve it.

  25. Chris Tilling Says:

    You don’t know me – I just read your books and lurk on this blog. But many congratulations!

  26. Christopher Rodkey Says:

    Great news! I served as an external reader for a thesis/senior paper at Shimer a while ago, a thesis on Bataille, and had a good experience with the student; Shimer is a really cool place.

  27. ben Says:

    Kongrats, Kotsko.

  28. Kiwi-Mark Says:

    I lurk like mad here and I am so happy for you, Adam. Just so pleased!!

  29. marcegoodman Says:

    I confess (a little early) that I am a lot smiling and a little weepy as I write this: Congratulations!

  30. scott prather Says:

    Terrific news! Congrats Adam.

  31. Steven Shakespeare Says:

    Congratulations, now you really can worry about your retirement fund!

  32. Steve Caruso Says:

    Good job and congrats!


  33. Ben B Says:

    Congrats Adam, they are lucky to be getting a true public theologian and philosopher.

  34. burritoboy Says:

    Echoing the other people here, congratulations!

    My girlfriend (soon to be my fiancee, I hope) is very involved in the Great Books community. She graduated from Thomas Aquinas College, which is a Great Books school approaching the Great Books from a Roman Catholic perspective (4 years of studying Thomas Aquinas, required courses in medieval Latin, etc). Here in San Francisco, there is a quite active reading club which graduates of several different Great Books colleges / universities participate in (St. John’s, Thomas Aquinas and others).

  35. Thomas Says:

    Congratulations. It is especially nice to see someone who works so hard appreciate that they are also quite lucky. Sounds like a really interesting school too.

  36. Brad E. Says:

    Another set of congrats — what wonderful news!

  37. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Thomas, Yes, I promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those assholes who gets a job and suddenly decides that the system is a rigorous meritocracy.

  38. Craig Says:

    Congratulations, Adam.

  39. Michael Says:

    Congratulations! Sounds like a school well-suited for such an interdisciplinary public thinker as yourself!

  40. Derek Says:

    Congrats Adam!

  41. Thomas J Bridges Says:

    That’s so great that you get to stay in Chicago! Congrats for sure.

  42. Kara Says:

    Congratulations. As a St. John’s alum (Annapolis) and a long time lurker, it is my earnest belief that you have a lot to offer Shimer and that the environment there has a lot to give back.

  43. RobDP Says:

    Great news, Adam, congratulations!

  44. JDRT Says:

    I’m a 2011 Shimer alumnus who is also lurking on your blog as a result of your hiring. To Adam’s credit (and in order of congratulations), I would like to point out to the congratulators that Shimer’s hiring process is unique and thorough. You don’t just get interviewed by the Dean and faculty, but by the entire, closely knit and idiosynchratic Shimer community in a meeting with the Shimer community and a candidate-led sample class that students volunteer to attend. The students who have met and/or taken the class with the candidate then fill out evaluation forms on the candidate. Then, finally, all of the typical qualifications, along with all of the feedback given, are considered by a democratically elected committee made up of equal parts students, faculty, and staff. So indeed, if you’ve been hired at Shimer, you’re likely the right person for the job and have earned it. Enjoy.

  45. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Thank you for your confidence. The interview process was certainly exhaustive — and exhausting! I don’t think I’ve ever been as tired as I was on the night after my first full day of interviewing.

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