Have you published 25 books? You might be qualified to teach at Santa Clara U.

Santa Clara University (Wikimedia Commons)
Santa Clara University (Wikimedia Commons)

Like nearly all job postings, the ad seeking applicants for a quarterly adjunct lecturer position at Santa Clara University's English Department lists some desired skills and requirements.

But forget about "must have basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel" or "excellent interpersonal skills are key" — the qualifications sought for this posting were as specific as they were over-the-top.

According to the posting, the successful applicant should have published “at least 25 books on topics ranging from the history of Silicon Valley to the biography of microprocessing to interviews with entrepreneurs." Hmm, OK. What else? "E-books on topics such as home life in the US, home life in the UK, and water conservation.” 

And the list goes on: The successful applicant should have a history of being "an editor of Forbes ASAP or a weekly columnist for ABC.com." Oh, and one last thing: He or she also needs to have experience hosting "television and radio productions for PBS, cable television, and ABC."

So, to summarize: 25 books minimum. Prior employment as a TV host. Extensive knowledge of microprocessing and water conservation. No word on whether the applicant must also be "Oprah Winfrey," have invented the iPhone, and can provide his or her own laptop.

So, what's the deal? It turns out Santa Clara University already employs a person with those exact qualifications, Inside Higher Ed reported. The blog spoke to Mike Malone, the "internal candidate Santa Clara had already planned to rehire."

From Inside Higher Ed:

Mike Malone — a self-described “Silicon Valley guy” who holds two degrees from Santa Clara — had been teaching writing at the Jesuit university for the past three years. He really has written 25 books, he said.

“I had no idea what the standard operating procedure was on this,” Malone said. “They wanted me to teach the class because I created the class. Then they threw my short bio into the application.”

Malone said he was a “little surprised” when Santa Clara officials told him they were posting a job listing. The university did not publish a job listing for his position last year, he said.

Indeed, Malone has many of the same qualifications sought for the job posting, according to his official bio at Santa Clara.

He was editor at-large for Forbes ASAP, the world’s largest circulation business/tech magazine, and currently writes the weekly “Silicon Insider” column for ABCNews.com. Malone has hosted three public television series and was co-producer of the Emmy-nominated “The New Heroes,” a PBS miniseries about social entrepreneurship. He is also a Distinguished Friend and Honorary Fellow of Oxford University.

What. A. Coincidence.

The posting, which has since been removed from Santa Clara's job site, inspired much mockery on Twitter.


Santa Clara explained how the job was posted in an email to Inside Higher Ed. The email read, in part: “SCU is an equal opportunity employer and every application is reviewed. The goal of this particular ad was to make it as clear as possible to all applicants that the bar for this particular position is very high. We apologize if this attempt at clarity caused anguish for any of our applicants or potential applicants.”

Anguish? Hopefully not. Confusion, dismay, and a sudden desire to self-publish books about water conservation? Maybe.

A phone call to Santa Clara University's English Department was not immediately returned.

Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).

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