Interviewing at a Religious College

If you are (or expect to be) searching for an academic job, here is useful advice on interviewing at a religiously-affiliated college. My one experience at this, nearly 20 years ago, would have been enhanced had I given it more thought beforehand. It was at a Catholic college, and the interview seemed to be going well until I was asked to respond to the following situation. Suppose, the interviewer asked, that an unmarried student of mine found herself pregnant, and wanted my advice on what to do. I replied that she should talk to her priest for advice. Follow-up questions came, probing further into what my own personal feelings were on this hot-button issue. I replied that it was between the individual, and God. He apparently wanted me to say that I was personally opposed to abortion. I failed the college's litmus test, and ended up teaching at another college. The ironic thing is that three years earlier my wife and I were faced with the choice of whether to continue a pregnancy with complications, or not, and our choice would have made the interviewer proud. But I objected to his probing on a personal issue, and decided it was none of his business. I have no regrets now, but job-hunting is stressful and I was probably not as prepared as I might have been for such questions.

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