Its unofficially official: I have accepted a position with the University of South Florida. The job focuses on teaching the history of rhetoric at the graduate level and will also involve undergraduate courses on contemporary rhetorical theory, visual rhetoric, professional writing, advanced composition, and (eventually) new media. Initially, I'm slated to teach the History of Rhetoric every year- but I'll be looking to create a Contemporary Rhetorical Theory course at the Ph.D level and offer them in alternating years. Sweet.
I was fortunate enough to have two tempting offers- my other offer focused on teaching new media at the undergraduate level. In the end, South Florida presented an intriguing opportunity to contribute to the development of both a graduate program in rhetoric and an undergraduate program in professional writing (which is currently under revision and is beginning very much to reflect what I've contributed to at Purdue). Also, South Florida reunites me with my original tech-mentor, Meredith: not only won't I be the sole Boiler, but also I won't be the only tech person.
After doing so many campus visits, I have only general thing to say: many English departments are going to wake up one day and realize its the 21st century. Our students, our citizens, are communicating in very different ways than they did even 25 years ago. If English instruction is to remain vibrant and meaningful, then it had better start adapting to the ways that citizens communicate everyday. The essay is "dead"- but many of its values appear in blogs. The research paper is dead, too- but wikis present a new way of thinking about and purposing knowledge. Let me say it this way: the research paper is dead, but the act of researching (the process) has never been more popular. While a number of schools I visited understood this, a number didn't. Go ask philosophy (or, before that, rhetoric) how a discipline fairs once it stops being meaningful to the general public. And the public's importance will increase even more in a digital age.
Enough ranting, perhaps I'll write about the job search a bit more in a few weeks, when I've been able to digest it a bit more. Thanks to everyone who helped and supported me through this grueling process. Now its time to go by some sun block (not for me, for Meg- have you ever seen an Irish person in the sun?)