Job opportunity!

Look, everyone! The Lehigh University biology department is hiring! I wonder if they’re searching for a “design theorist” to complement their eminent Professor Behe…


Evolutionary Biology

The Department of Biological Sciences seeks candidates with outstanding research that employs modern analytical methods in the study of fundamental aspects of the evolutionary process. Areas of specialization may include field and/or laboratory studies on molecular aspects of population genetics, molecular mechanisms of phenotypic expression, cell division, asexual or sexual development, neural/endocrine processes, genome conservation, or phylogeny. The successful candidate for this TENURE-TRACK position will have the potential or demonstrated ability to generate extramural funding and have a commitment to instructional excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching, and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community. Applications should be directed to: Professor M. Itzkowitz, Chair, Evolutionary Biology Search Committee. E-mail: Send curriculum vitae, representative publications, description of research and teaching interests, and four letters of reference to the Search Committee Chair electronically or to: Department of Biological Sciences, 111 Research Drive, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015 Deadline for submission is December 1, 2006.

Lehigh University is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer and is committed to recruiting and retaining women and minorities.

…Nope, guess not. They’re a sensible university, not insane. It is a rather wide-open call for applicants, though—it’s like they’re saying all they want is someone with solid standing in almost any aspect of evolutionary biology.


  1. flame821 says

    Well, the general neighbourhood of the Lehigh Valley has gone downhill considerably in the last 5 years. Most of the colleges have acquired ‘new’ campuses on the outskirts of the valley. I think Lehigh and Muhlenberg are the only two that have held onto their old dorms and classrooms. Muhlenberg is still quite nice and due to high taxes and some rather ..uhm… inventive neighbours will stay that way for a little while yet.

    Unfortunatley Lehigh is boxed in on all sides. The immediate 2-3 blocks surrounding the area is nice but outside of that safey zone… YIKES

  2. frank schmidt says

    The Biology faculty at Lehigh have thoroughly dissociated themselves from “Intelligent Design” while respecting Behe’s right to express his views.

    Several of the faculty have individual statements on their web pages expressing their disavowal of ID. Evolutionary biologists will have plenty of company.

  3. rrt says

    This comment: “The successful candidate for this TENURE-TRACK position will have the potential or demonstrated ability to generate extramural funding” is rather depressing. I gather that emphasis on being able to bring in some dough is pretty widespread these days.

  4. Molly, NYC says

    rrt–Someone has to replace the funding (along with the departmental reputation) that Behe chased away.

  5. Steve LaBonne says

    rrt- that’s how the game is played. Things can be quite stressful for junior faculty at small teaching-oriented schools like Lehigh whose ambitions may be a little out of proportion to the reality of the environment they present for doing competitive research (not to mention the perception of that environment by grant reviewers) in this era of very stringent funding. It’s made worse by the easily perceived unfairness that sometimes occurs at such institutions, of holding new hires to standards that a significant proportion of the senior faculty could never have met. Personally I’m very glad that I long ago left the academic rat race behind.

  6. Jud says

    flame821: “Well, the general neighbourhood of the Lehigh Valley has gone downhill considerably in the last 5 years. Most of the colleges have acquired ‘new’ campuses on the outskirts of the valley.”

    I was born (in 1954) and grew up in Bethlehem a few miles from Lehigh, and currently live less than 25 miles from campus. Which colleges were you referring to that have acquired new campuses?

    Lehigh has been “boxed in on all sides” for decades. Bethlehem Steel’s 5-mile-long home plant has been a couple of blocks from campus since the Civil War era when both were founded. (The plant has been closed and vacant for years.) Mill workers, their families, and the businesses that catered to them were historically considered “lower class.” Nothing is really new except the origins of the people now living on Bethlehem’s South Side, ironically (small pun) considered lower class by many of those former Bethlehem Steel mill workers and their children.

    But wasn’t this supposed to be about Lehigh’s biology department (which I assume has its share of very capable people, PZ’s rather uncharitable post – whose tone I see other commenters have taken as license – notwithstanding)? Thanks to Frank Schmidt for pointing out the Department’s unenviable attempt to navigate between a rock (probable lawsuit, no doubt with plenty of pro-ID funding if it ever came to that, if they tried to get rid of Behe) and a hard place (ridicule – see PZ’s post and comments above – putting a crimp in reputation and fund-raising as long as Behe’s there).

  7. says

    Jud, please re-read PZ’s post, it has only five lines of his own, and nowhere has he tried to ridicule Lehigh as such. Don’t you think that the jab about ‘design theorist’ is inevitable, given Behe’s reputation and his association with Lehigh? It is because of the same reason that Lehigh had to issue a statement dissociating itself from Behe’s viewpoints!

    My wife recently met one faculty member of the Lehigh’s Biology department in course of a meeting. Rest assured that PZ’s viewpoints regarding Mike Behe and the IDiots find wide consonance in the majority of Lehigh’s people.

  8. says

    I think Lehigh is a fine university — I know people who graduated from it. As I said above, they’re doing the sensible thing and searching for a good academic with skills in evolutionary biology. Behe has clearly had no influence on the biology department.

  9. Jud says

    suirauga and PZ, not to worry – my remark about an “uncharitable” post was meant as a deadpan-but-good-humored response to the obviously tongue-in-cheek “I wonder if they’re searching for a ‘design theorist’ to compliment their eminent Professor Behe….”

    I agree, suirauga, that such “jabs” are inevitable, but feel like commiserating a bit, rueful grin at the ready, with the bio faculty, for whom I would guess the joke is growing more familiar than they’d strictly druther.

  10. Jud says

    On a less tongue-in-cheek note:

    Because of its relationship with Bethlehem Steel, Lehigh’s engineering school had a national reputation for excellence, particularly (of course) in disciplines related to steelmaking. As Beth Steel inelegantly cratered (leaving such a hole that all retirees were left without pensions or health coverage – the federal government gave partial compensation for the former, state governments the latter), Lehigh’s ranking and reputation among engineering schools also began to suffer. The most recent hope for economic development to try to replace some of the higher paying jobs that were lost is high tech, particularly biotech. See . I wouldn’t wonder at all if Lehigh is seeking to become an academic hub of the nascent local biotech industry and the new faculty position is part of that effort.

  11. bernarda says

    This isn’t directly connected to the topic, but what is going on at the Center for Disease Control. Some top scientists are leaving and there are complaints that the director is downgrading the science.

    “Dr. Harold Margolis, one of several high-profile scientists who has left CDC since 2004, cited the all-consuming reorganization and a shift away from letting science drive programs as some of the reasons for his departure.

    CDC’s historic success, he said, has been driven by good science. “It was generated from a lot of smart people working together from the bottom. The point was it was not dictated from the top,” said Margolis, who was chief of CDC’s viral hepatitis division for 17 years.

    Dr. Stephen Cochi, a senior adviser in CDC’s Global Immunization Division, said the agency’s staff is proud of its history of successfully tackling public health problems.

    “The capacity of CDC to do that has been seriously eroded in a very short period of time,” Cochi said. “The American people need to be concerned.””

    “The lack of trust in CDC’s top leadership is publicly reflected in dozens of postings on an independent CDC employee blog that began publishing on the Internet in January, as well as in a governmentwide poll of federal employees. Between 2002 and 2004, CDC employees who said the agency’s leaders maintained high standards of honesty and integrity dropped from 51 percent to 45 percent.

    “There is a disconnect between what is said is happening and what we see or feel is happening,” said Bob Keegan, creator of the blog, which he said gets about 30,000 hits a day. Keegan, deputy director of the CDC’s Global Immunization Division, is a recipient of the agency’s Watson Medal of Excellence, a top employee award.

    Carlos Alonso, a health communication specialist in CDC’s National Center for Health Marketing, is a reader of the blog, which he said “furnishes a sobering and welcome counterweight” to official CDC information.

    “Suffice it to say that when respected employees of any organization decide to take to the streets, or design external blogs to voice frustrations and outrage, the commonly accepted avenues of internal communication have either lost their credibility, or broken down completely,” said Alonso, a 23-year CDC employee.”