Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Disturbing Links from My Beloved Profession

with 5 comments

* Aaron Bady: Talking in terms of “access” (instead of access to what?) allows people like Shirky to overlook the elephant in the room, which is the way this country used to provide inexpensive and high-quality education to all sorts of people who couldn’t afford to go to Yale — people like me and my parents. While state after state is defunding its public colleges and universities (and so tuition is rising while quality is declining), the vast majority of American college students are still educated in public colleges and universities, institutions that have traditionally provided very high-quality mass higher education, and which did it nearly for free barely a generation ago.

* Apocalypse now: Five years ago 33 percent of graduates in the humanities had no employment or postdoctoral commitments upon completion; that number rose to 43 percent in 2011. That’s not TT; that’s any employment. Jesus. More here.

Work-life conflicts have caused roughly three out of every four assistant professors to think about leaving their institution, according to the results of a new survey.

The disconnect with family that Ms. Boone experiences is not uncommon among graduate students home for the holidays or any other occasion, especially when they are first-generation graduate students or from a working-class background.

The University of Phoenix’s lobbying effort against community colleges appears to conflict with the public image it promotes: a partner to community colleges and an advocate for working adult students.

And while Stanford imagines that there might be other things to do with a Ph.D. than teach at — say, Yale, or Swarthmore — it isn’t clear that they know what kind of training a Lit Ph.D. might need to do what. Presumably faculty who have devoted their careers to the university are supposed to figure this problem out their own selves.

* And some potentially job market advice delivered in the least helpful possible tone: Advice to new PhDs: how to avoid those unwanted interviews.

5 Responses

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  1. After four months applying for almost any and every job position I found on the internet, my first job after my MA–which I’ll note was a CW gig and I never had any delusions about academic work and this degree–the only interview I got was for a buss boy at the restaurant 1/2 mile from my house. I had that job for 2 years before I made it into adjunct work. I taught 13 classes in 2012, and I think I made more money and worked fewer hours bussing tables. I also read more books while working at the restaurant.


    December 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  2. I read the first three paragraphs of that job market advice and now want to murder the person. Any good advice in there is pretty much drowned out by the sense of entitlement (if 95% of applicants don’t meet your high standards for a cover letter, maybe you’re being a complete fucking asshole about something that doesn’t matter?) and the lack of sympathy with people on the job market (pretty hard to lovingly hand-craft a letter when you’re applying to everything that moves!).

    Adam Kotsko

    December 7, 2012 at 6:32 am

    • Right. I can’t imagine a worse tone for what the person nominally wants to accomplish. I guess it’s tough love designed to scare us straight?


      December 7, 2012 at 7:05 am

    • Of course what they should have done is craft a specific piece of advice tailored for every person they were trying to reach…


      December 7, 2012 at 7:06 am

  3. […] to yesterday’s disturbing links from my beloved profession from MLA president Michael Bérubé. Another report of his […]

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