Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two depressing notes on academe

If you're not a member of the AAUP, you probably haven't yet seen the full annual report on the "economic status of the profession", this year appropriately called "On the brink". If so, it's worth a look and available here. The good news, I suppose, is that it sees us as on the brink and not a step beyond it. If the policies and stimulus money from Washington start us on the path to overcoming the miseries of recent years, this report will mark the nadir. Let's hope so.

Depressing for a whole different reason is this Wall Street Journal piece, "So you wan to be a professor?". Let me just know one absurdity in the piece: There's an apparent assumption in the piece that grad enrollments should be dropping because PhDs in areas like English can't expect tenure-track jobs. Certainly tenure-track positions are tough to come by. But when are people going to stop thinking that the only value of getting a PhD, even in English literature, is to become a professor?


Image from here.


John Cowan said...

It's not.

The only value in getting a Ph.D. in English is working for below minimum wage for the best years of your life, only to be turned out to starve thereafter.

Anonymous said...

I've actually directed a couple of dissertations in languages and linguistics where the person knew pretty early that they didn't want to be a professor. Those folks have gone on to interesting, engaging careers, where I think the skills they gained as doctoral students very clearly helped them along.