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[personal profile] holyschist posting in [community profile] academia
[personal profile] ithiliana posted a link to an interesting blog post at Tenured Radical, which had a link to another post that generated some pretty heated discussion. I thought both of them raised some very interesting points (understand, I'm pretty unhappy with my grad school experience and wish I'd received more honesty and less spin at certain points).

Anyway, I thought these provide some interesting fodder for discussion. What do you all think? Do you agree with any of this? Do you think it applies to fields other than the humanities and how?

Playing The Blame Game: Or; How Should Graduate Schools Respond To The Bad Job Market?

In fact, I don't know a single form of professional education that guarantees its graduates a job, whether the market is good or bad, and why Ph.D. granting programs have a special moral responsibility to do this is unclear. But on the job wikis and the blogs there is an emerging consensus that the jobless should have received a waiver of liability with the letter of admission (which Brown University actually used to send its graduate students in English back in the sad old 1980s, and most of us who knew someone who received one were horrified by the practice.) Resentful job seekers , in other words, speak in the language of fraud rather than regret. This I find astonishing, given that an hour of research prior to applying, or accepting an offer of admission, could tell any prospective graduate student what their academic job prospects might look like six to seven years hence.

The only thing that makes this phenomenon less astonishing is that today's prospective graduate students were yesterday's undergraduates, and undergraduate education has been trending towards nanny-ism and false guarantees for several decades. But what is it that graduate programs and professional associations could do to intervene in this situation? I have three suggestions.

  • Ph.D. programs should not allow graduate students to matriculate within three years of having attained the bachelor's degree.

  • Ph.D. programs should not allow graduate students to matriculate within three years of having attained the bachelor's degree.

  • Professional associations, particularly in history and literary studies, need to think about accreditation of graduate programs.


Like Sands Through The Hourglass, So Are The Days Of Our Lives: Having The Courage Not To Go To Graduate School

However: the idea that life will pass you by if you actually take time to live it (as opposed to studying it, or acquire more education to enter life at a higher level than ordinary folk) is worrisome to some of us who watch talented people graduate from our universities only to return a year later to say that they want back in. I worry that it is a symptom of being part of a generation of over-scheduled overachievers raised to believe that the sands of time run quicker if you aren't writing a memoir about your alcoholic mother, starting your own film production company or scoring big time with your new band in those crucial twelve months after graduation. The concern seems to be that living life is an uncertain proposition at best, a huge waste of time at worst. Those of us who advise contemplation and acquiring experience outside the classroom are perceived by Generation Adderall as hopelessly out of touch.


There is much more in the posts, including explanations of each of the ideas I quoted. I'm really curious what other people think.

P.S. [personal profile] ajnabieh, would you be comfortable with community members being able to add tags? Right now it's set so we can't.
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