Just a reminder that Grigory Yaroslavtsev has taken over the Theory Jobs Spreadsheet. Check out who is moving where and let everyone know where you will continue your research career.
Recently I served on a review committee for a computer science department in a rural college town. You couldn't help but notice the great collegiality among the faculty. Someone told me their theory that you generally get more faculty collegiality in rural versus urban locations. Why?
In urban locations faculty tend to live further from campus, to get bigger homes and better schools, and face more traffic. They are likely to have more connections with people unconnected with the university. There are more consulting opportunities in large cities, a larger variety of coffee houses to hang out in and better connected airports make leaving town easier. Particularly in computer science, where you can do most of your research remotely, faculty will find themselves less likely to come in every day and you lose those constant informal connections with the rest of the faculty.
This is a recent phenomenon, even going back to when I was a young faculty you needed to come to the office for access to research papers, better computers to write papers, good printers. Interactions with students and colleagues is always better in person but in the past the methods of electronic communication proved more limiting.
The University of Chicago helped create and promote its own neighborhood and ran a very strong private school with reduced tuition for faculty children. Maybe my life would have been different had I immersed myself in that lifestyle.
Or maybe we should go the other extreme. If we can find great ways to do on-line meetings and teaching, why do we need the physical university at all?