Too much work on my plate has meant that I’ve not had much time to finish any of the postings that I’ve partially written. Oh well ce la vie.
Anyhow I don’t know whether anyone has seen the article entitled “Push for Full Disclosure” published in today’s issue of “Inside Higher Ed”. I’ve been thinking all day about what was said in the first two paragraphs…..I’ll quote them so that you can where I’m going,
“A new policy statement by the American Historical Association suggests that history departments should publish records of where their graduate students end up working. And this means not just a few success stories, but details going back at least 10 years, while keeping current information on former students who move on to other jobs.
The statement, many say, is a reflection of ongoing debates among historians on the state of the academic job market and the concerns of many graduate students and professors that those considering doctoral education may not be getting the full picture of their prospects for future employment. ”
This suggestion by the AHA strikes me as a good idea. I was thinking that if all of the academic professional organizations and the respective university departments took the advice of the AHA that many of them would discover what does happen to those of us who drop off the radar of our respective departments. I know that my department doesn’t keep in touch with me since the only time that I ever hear from my university is when its alumni organization sends me requests for cash. [Fat chance they’re getting anything.] Maybe our ex-departments don’t really want to know what really happens to their PhD students once they have graduated. I wonder whether it is thought that knowledge of what does happen to their ex-students with PhDs would do more damage than anything else to their department’s reputation. I am curious nevertheless just how many people with PhDs don’t have tenure track jobs in each discipline and are instead unemployed, underemployed, doing adjunct work, or have changed direction entirely and are doing something else.
I wonder just how many departments don’t really want to know about those of us with PhDs who didn’t get tenure track jobs at stellar institutions. I wonder whether they’d rather only consider the profiles of those people with PhDs who have jobs at stellar institutions rather than the rest of us who aren’t as ‘impressive’ or whatever adjective they’d care to use. Do the professional organizations and the university departments really want to know what happens to the people who left with PhDs or dropped out with an ABD status? Would they prefer to remain in the dark as to the reality of the situation that there are large numbers of people with PhDs who aren’t on the tenure track? Maybe the reality is that they don’t want to know what is happening and they would rather remain ignorant. Perhaps the fear exists that this body of information really isn’t useful to them since it would deter potential PhD students from applying to their programmes.
Mmmm I wonder.