Push It Past the City Limit
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For over 10 years, the topic of requiring tenure track faculty to live in Emporia has been discussed off and on.
As it is, no decision regarding making this a requirement has yet been made. Were it to ever be made into a requirement, more harm would be done to the university than good.
Looking at it in a broad sense, the notion itself would drive away potential faculty. Not all faculty members live alone. Most of my professors live out of the city, and their spouses work other jobs out of the city. Requiring faculty to live in Emporia would mean requiring their spouses, children and anyone else living with them to also live in Emporia. One of the best professors I’ve had lives about an hour away with their spouse. If it had been required for them to move to the city, they might not have taken the job at all.
When it comes to faculty, the most important thing is not their location, but their qualifications. It’s what a professor knows and their teaching skill that matters most in regards to their job, not their address. Neighboring universities, such as Wichita State University, Baker University and the University of Kansas, do not mention anything in their application requirements regarding where their faculty lives. Their list of requirements accounts for the education and the professionalism of those interested in joining their staff. Universities out of state say the same thing. A decision of this nature would set us apart in a negative way.
Whether or not a staff member lives in the city should be each employee’s decision, not a matter of university policy. Numerous towns, small and large, border Emporia within a drivable distance. This is one of the benefits of being both student and staff at Emporia State. Trips between home and campus can be easily made.
True, there are numerous professors who live in Emporia, but why limit the opportunities both for the university and for the potential professors by giving them ultimatums in regards to where they can live? By keeping the options for professors open, ESU keeps its faculty diverse.