Monday, February 1, 2010

Admissions is and always has been my business

I've spent nearly all of my adult life (which is now most of my entire life) working in admissions. You know deciding or helping to decide who gets in to some academic program. This is exactly what I'm doing here in Azerbaijan. The leaders of my institution aspired and continue to have aspirations of bringing the western style of education and student life to AZ. I admire their ambition and I guess that's why I signed on board to help. Yet, I knew when I visited even before I accepted the position..that it would be complicated and complex to achieve their goal. This observation hasn't left me.

If compared to any system of admissions in the US..we're basically using a comprehensive review of the candidates (at least reviewing what criteria we have access to---which by my standards and norms is very limited)...thus, interviewing is probably the most important tool in our arsenal. This is also unusual since most nearly every Azeri has never interviewed for anything...they just don't.

All this to say...I'm stunned but remain silent on the type of questions that are put to our applicants. In the US, these questions would be not only consider inappropiate but I just cringe. This is different place and I acknowledge and respect that.

1 comment:

  1. I have found that one of the hardest things to do well is cultural transposition. But it is also the most liberating exercise I know. Understanding what a society privileges, and the way in which that valuing is expressed is exposed only in the harsh light of spaces where something else is valued more. Sometimes it helps expose the foibles of one's own cultural base. Sometimes it helps deepen a sense of what is truly valuable. It is always useful to hear about these cultural explorations--but I am also interested in the ways in which these explorations have changed you or your views. Enjoy your winter!