Visiting position possibility:

Cameron Laird (claird@STARBASE.NEOSOFT.COM)
Wed, 15 Mar 1995 10:48:51 -0600

I did not write what is below. William Sjostrom did. I judge, however,
that his announcement might be of interest to ANTHRO-L readers, so I am
passing it along.

Cameron Laird +1 713 267 7966 +1 713 996 8546
My department (University College Cork, one of the four colleges of the
National University of Ireland) has a senior position that is currently
unfilled, and for the next 2-3 years we are looking for visitors to fill
the position. If you know anyone looking for a year in Europe in 95/6 or
96/7, please pass this message on. There are no requirements for fields.
The only requirement is that one must be at least an associate professor
and have published a few things. Our current visitor is from St. John's
University in New York City, essentially an undergraduate liberal arts
The teaching load is not demanding. The Irish system does not use
semesters, although that will change in about three years. There is only
one term per year, starting in the beginning of October and running through
mid-May, with a month break for Easter. That means about 24 weeks of
classes. A class meets two hours per week, so a one year course here is
roughly equivalent to a three hour semester course. The visitor would
probably get two courses to teach, but might be asked to teach a night
course for extra money (about 1800 pounds).
I'm not sure how much money is involved, probably between 35,000 and
40,000 pounds. A pound currently exchanges for about $1.60, but that is
misleading. The cost of living is high, so a pound here buys about what a
dollar would in the States. On the other hand, a peculiar twist of the
U.S.-Ireland tax treaty exempts academics visiting for no more that two
years from income tax (although you would have to pay the roughly 7% social
security tax). Moreover, so long as you are outside of the U.S. for at
least 330 days in a 365 day period, the income is also exempt from U.S.
taxes. Since it is for an academic year, it should also reduce taxes on
the visitor's U.S. income during the two U.S. tax years he is in Ireland.
The tax exemption also applies to extra money for night teaching.
Fairly nice, furnished three bedroom houses can be had for 400-450
pounds per month, depending on how close to campus you want to be. One and
two bedroom apartments can be had for 300-400 pounds per month. We have a
visitor who leases a car while he is here for 400 pounds per month (manual
transmission; automatics are uncommon and expensive here).
The department is very young and trying to encourage publishing. Over
half the department has published nothing at all, since they are still
working on Ph.D.'s. The department tends to be macro-oriented, as is Irish
economics generally. There are effectively 15 permanent staff, plus a few
visitors and part time people. Only three Ph.D.s in the bunch, the rest
have M.A.s. The department is housed in an old convent. We are in both
the arts and the commerce faculties, plus we have a one year M.A. program
with about 20-25 students. The Catholic tradition in Ireland has always
pushed the humanities at the expense of math and science, and so the
students tend to be mathematically weak. On the other hand, students are
overall pretty good here, decidedly better than the ones I had at my last
job, at Northern Illinois University.
The university is accustomed to American visitors. There are typically
10-20 American visitors each year, although I am the only American on
permanent staff here. The library isn't especially good, although
interlibrary loan is adequate. The department is in the process of fixing
up the journal collection. There is a good European government documents
section. For those interested in historical research, the Cork Archives
Institute (not part of the university) has piles of records on old firms
and a lot of other stuff, although it doesn't have the funds to be very
well organized. The director is energetic and helpful, though, and is very
interested in academics using its resources. The university has a
mainframe VAX, although computer support is lousy and most people end up
using a PC, which the department is pretty well equipped with. A visitor
would probably have a 486 IBM clone. The mainframe gets used in my
department mostly for access to the university network, which allows you
access to the library computer and to Internet. The department has three
secretaries, including one who is half time, plus a technical assistant,
who takes care of computer problems.
Dublin is about a four hour train trip from Cork, and London is about a
one hour flight, which runs about 70 pounds if you book ahead. There is
also direct service to Paris for about 130 pounds. The Ring of Kerry and
the Dingle Peninsula are about a 2-3 hour drive.
American visitors are generally well treated in Ireland, since most
Irish have more relatives in the U.S. than in Ireland (remember that
Ireland has about 3 million people, whereas there are something like 30-40
million Americans of Irish descent). The schools are pretty good, and
students don't have to take Irish if they aren't Irish. Our current
visitor seems to happy here, and his three kids seem to like it, or at
least I haven't heard any loud complaints.
Cork has about 130,000 people, maybe twice that when you include the
suburbs. The suburbs include Blarney, home of the castle and stone. Cork
is an old industrial town, located in the valley of the River Lee. Most
houses use coal heat, although gas and electric heat are becoming more
common, especially in the newer places. All the coal heat, combined with
being in a valley, used to mean a lot of haze in winter, but things are
much better since the old dirty coal has been banned. Yes, it rains a lot
in winter, although I have yet to see snow in Cork in three years here.
The temperature doesn't vary much, rarely below freezing in winter, and
rarely above 65 in summer. Bus service leaves a lot to be desired. The
drivers are lazy and unionized. A year in Ireland will offer the most
liberal a new perspective on trade unions. Since I arrived in 1992, there
have been three postal strikes, three or four bus strikes, and one train
strike, all for the silliest reasons. Then again, Ireland isn't, say,
France. The strikes are short and everyone seems very amiable about it
all. The strikers don't riot or anything, they just put up a few pickets
while the rest of the strikers go off for tea. Crime is tolerable, not
surprisingly confined pretty much to the rough parts of town, although
rough parts of town does not mean what it does in, say, Chicago or
Philadelphia or New York. Shopping is acceptable, although rice and noodles
are still in the specialty section of the stores. Calvin Trillin said that
English food is so bad because it is cooked by the English; Ireland is
pretty similar, but things are improving. Eating out can be expensive,
although McDonald's and Burger King have moved into town. I prefer the
little tea shops where you can get a pot of tea and scone and sit there all
afternoon if you want. The pace of life in Ireland is not fast. A good
place to get rid of an ulcer.
Speaking of ulcers, medical care is reasonably good. Government run
for the poor and private for the rest of us. Irish medicine is decidedly
lower tech than U.S. medicine. If you develop a brain tumor while you are
here, you want to go back to the U.S. for treatment. On the other hand,
doctors here will actually take the time to talk to you. It is also easy
to get an appointment with a general practitioner, and they make house
A year here could be an enjoyable break and suitable for someone at,
for example, one of the Cal State schools, with ordinarily a heavy teaching
schedule, or someone looking for a year to recover from heavy
administrative duties or a heavy bout of publishing. I would appreciate it
if anyone reading this would pass it on to anyone you think might would be

Anyone interested should send a CV to
Prof. Connell Fanning
Department of Economics
University College Cork

353-21-273920 (fax; 353 is the country code for Ireland)

The cover letter should NOT say anything about having heard of an
available position. Whoever applies should only say that he is interested
in spending a year in Ireland (any good reasons why can be added) and would
very much like to be considered if any visiting positions become available.
The department is in the awkward position of being able to consider
unsolicited letters of interest, but cannot officially advertise. The
department head has to take letters of interest to the dean and to the
finance officer, and both will throw fits if the cover letter suggests the
position was advertised.
Although fields are decidedly open, anyone who has taught econometrics
or finance at any level should make a point of mentioning that in the cover
letter. The head would like someone with such experience, although he has
no particular hopes of finding such a visitor.
Anyone interested is also welcome to contact me at the above address
or fax number, at my email address (W.SJOSTROM@UCC.IE),
at 353-21-902998 (at work), or 353-21-344994 (at home). I would also be
happy to put anyone interested in touch with previous visitors here.
Most of what I know is limited to the experiences of American
visitors here, so my comments are directed to them, but nothing precludes
interested visitors from other places. I can't say anything about taxes
with regard to non-Americans, because I don't know anything about them.
Anyway, thanks for your time, and I would appreciate it if you would
give a copy of this note to anyone you know who would be interested.

William Sjostrom
Senior Lecturer
Department of Economics
University College Cork