Setting up a meeting with the provost for a visiting candidate and remembered my own interview with the provost when I interviewed at Stevens. And a funny bit from it.

The meeting was planned kinda last second at the end of a day filled with interviews and presentation. /1
Back then, the provost interview used to be a separate stage at Stevens (now we do it with the campus visit). But apparently the dean & search committee liked me enough to rustle up a last second meeting. Cos I had 2 other offers and they wanted to move fast.
So suddenly, after about 10 straight hours of talking and talking and talking, as I was looking forward to relax a bit before more talking at dinner, I was told, hey, come, let's have you meet the provost. I'm happy cos it's a positive sign. But also a bit thrown off. Just a bit.
Cos I was very methodical about my campus visits (as almost everyone is) and had looked up the profiles and research and backgrounds of everyone on my agenda. So everyone else as Stevens, I had done "homework" on. But not the provost. I wasn't even sure what a provost is. 🙈🙈
So I'm shown into this majestic historic office with nice smell of old wood all the time. And introduced to this tall imposing guy, Dr. George Korfiatis. He was the provost then. Now George isn't exactly an effusive expressive guy like many university top folks tend to be.
The interview still goes well. He talks to me about how Stevens is an old and respected engineering university with a research focus and although we are just building the business school up, it'll still be mostly research etc. You know. Provost talk. Very reassuring.
At the end, he says the usual thing - Do you have any questions for me?

Ugh! I'm a dude just out of a PhD program hoping to get a junior faculty level job. What question am I supposed to ask a provost? What even is a provost? Is it like in Ankh-Morpork?

I know now, didn't then.
His eyes gazed straight into mine from across the table, like he was really expecting a question. He later told me he was hoping I'd say "no, thank you, goodbye" and he could go home, lol. But in that moment, I felt obligated to ask a question. Any question.
Earlier we had chatted about how there were a lot of Greeks in the university leadership and he himself was Greek etc. So at the end of that long day, I went with

"What's the Greek version of 'It's Greek to Me'?"

It was a random question that had been at the back of my mind.
George raised his eyebrows, "what do you mean?"

"You know how in English, people say, it's greek to me, for something they don't understand. What language do Greeks use."

While getting up from his chair with half a smile, he said


That was my last ever job interview
@beatnikprof @PreppyProf @DCInbox @gratefulprof this George Korfiatis story for your kind perusal. 😌
Heh, the last ever interaction of my last ever job interview (cos I gotz tenure now 😎) was something that could be a Jeopardy question. Best end to an exhausting ritual of life.
Random aside. I love this "call me by my first name" culture in US academia. Takes a while to get used to not calling your superiors "Sir/Ma'am" or "Professor" or "Dr" if you come from India, China, Iran etc.

Here when I meet my university President, I'm like, Hi Nariman!

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More from @gauravsabnis

19 Nov
In case you're a non-Indian (or even an Indian) confused about what #Farmlawsrepealed exactly means and why everyone from Rihanna to Martina to Mia Khalifa were tweeting about it, here's a very simple thread laying out the simple facts.

60% Indians make a living through farming.
The modern Indian state plays a big role in agriculture, as a result. It tries to be the guarantor for all produce, set minimum support prices, provide a basic safety net. It's a progressive system put in place by INC people mostly. It has several problems too.
There are sectors of agriculture where government involvement causes more harm than good. And there are sectors of agriculture where government involvement causes more good than harm.

It's a complex world, right?

So anyway, Modi is always looking for some big "WIN".
Read 25 tweets
19 Nov
BTW brace for a lot of Dhume crowd to thinkpieces about how they are also not modi fans and they support protests and Brutus is an honorable man but those farm bills were actually a lovely libertarian thing that has sadly fallen victim to Greta and Rihanna's wokeness.
That public talks about farming policy with such inexplicable confidence as if they have a phawda on one shoulder and a yoked bull in the other hand as they head to the farm. Bro, you're like some random techie or MBA. Sit down. Let the adults talk.
This was one of those low points of @WSJ's editorial standards. Dhume churned out a column monetizing involuntary mansplaining. All Rihanna asked was why aren't we talking about internet shutdowns during farmers protests. But the compulsive corporatist went all Ayn Rand on her 😂 Image
Read 9 tweets
19 Nov
Bhakt meltdowns galore 🤣🤣🤣
Best is all the "hmpf, so all you need to do to repeal laws you don't like is go out on the streets and protest non-violently" as if it's a bad thing. When it's democracy 101. But sanghis don't understand democracy or the idea of a republic where protests are a fundamental right.
"maybe we should also go protest on the streets for repealing laws we don't like" said another butthurt sanghi.

Umm, y'all have like a two thirds majority in the Parliament. And y'all are in the streets everyday already. You use violence. #FarmersProtest didn't.
Read 19 tweets
18 Nov
In which our favorite Doctor demonstrates how you can call out #factcheckbait without contributing to engagement numbers.

The person posting knew it was a factually wrong post and was counting on QTs to build their engagement numbers.

Juney doesn't help the obvious troll.
Most sanghi Twitter influencers have built their following by posting something that is
1. Hateful about some minority
2. Has some obvious factual error (like posting a pic of Indira eating corn but calling it seafood)

Even QTs correcting their error make them money.
Even when you're QTing someone to call them out as wrong or bigoted, you're still giving them a wider audience. In that, they reach more people on the sidelines whom they can try to convince.

Really, please, stop QTing fascists. Screenshot them if you must call them out.
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
Oh this guy! Saying this! A supreme court lawyer BTW. This guy thinks he needs to offer a rebuttal to what I said. And we wonder why India's institutions unraveled so quickly. Because of "lawyers" like him.

Nikhil Mehra is a sanghi who is too craven to admit he's a sanghi.
I've had the misfortune of knowing Nikhil Mehra through online connections for over a decade. He does tend to side with the stupidest and angriest sides and seems allergic to empathy or humanity.

The complete surrender if the Indian judiciary to sanghis makes so much sense.
It's so cute though that he put out a whole podcast or YouTube or whatever to rebut my thread. 😂😂😂
Read 6 tweets
18 Nov
The problem with CBag is really simple. He's not grown out of his middle school high school IIT IIM glory days. That's when his emotional and intellectual growth peaked. So he says "make the naughtiest person the class monitor" and if I were 12 years old, I'd be like, YES!!!
The thing about life is, it is way more complex and way worse consequences than the way a 12 year old views school dynamics. So making the naughtiest boy class monitor is nothing like making an avowed bigot with a criminal record the CM of India's most populous state.
Similarly, "I have probs with mom but won't diss her to the neighbors" is a nice sentiment. But has absolutely no logical rational grown up connection to making the leap that you shouldn't criticize your country on an international stage.

It is such a stupid idea!
Read 5 tweets

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