Friday, July 1, 2011

Structural Problems in Higher Ed? What Problems??? Welcome to Grad School!

Just got an email from my department chair at Grad U, announcing that they have officially admitted a full cohort of students to the program again next year. This, during a time of budget cuts, shrinking class schedules, and shrinking stipends and assistantship opportunities for students ... as well as an era boasting a job market with few offerings and a system of higher education where more than half of all college-level courses are now taught by adjuncts.

But they admit a full 16-student cohort again, with an excited email talking about "how much important work these new scholars will be doing for us!"

I think the "for us" is the key here. When they say "for us," they mean that they will contribute to the community of scholars we have at Grad U. However, what I see in that statement is happiness that they still have their low-wage research help and poorly paid teachers ... and if those students don't wind up with great academic jobs in the end? Well, clearly they couldn't cut it. Good luck in your unfulfilling office job!

The inability of university faculty and administration to read the tea leaves and see what is happening to the structure of higher education ... and to keep admitting huge cohorts of students and to push them solely toward academic jobs ... is just astounding.


I'm fully back in town now, so I'll put up a few more posts in the next couple of days. I apologize for being somewhat MIA recently!


To the person who googled "I hate doing research, should i go to grad school?" to find this blog? The answer is probably no, if you're going for a Ph.D. Even if you think you want to be a teacher first and foremost, you cannot get through grad school without focusing heavily on research. If you know you hate it now, I'd advise strongly against pursuing a Ph.D. You may survive, but there are probably a lot of other jobs you could do that would be fulfilling for you that would not require you to do research.


Happy 4th of July, and Happy Canada Day!

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