Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: "Roulette, that's the game now..."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Roulette, that's the game now..."

Hello Graduate students!
    Congratulations to those who graduated this past weekend at Fordham GSAS! You should be so proud of your accomplishments! As parents and grand-parents across the land have said a-many times, "No one can ever take that degree away from you." Even though it is cliche to say so, that is pretty much a true statement, right? I can't think of any theoretical apparatus or perspective that would enable someone to argue with that. In the future, your dignity, pride, self-esteem, and internal moral compass may be destroyed or trampled upon, but you will still have your degree! So go celebrate that thing you earned that cannot be taken away!
    With graduation vibes in the air, perhaps, for graduating and non-graduating graduate students alike, your thoughts have now turned to what happens after graduation. Whether you are just finishing your first academic year at the GSAS, or only have a little more graduate life to go, you should always be thinking about the next step; your time spent thinking about the practical applications of graduate school in the real world can be just as valuable as all of the time spent doing academic and scholarly work.  
     So, with this in mind, I wasn't surprised to see on Monday a feature article in the latest issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education discussing what it is like to be out on the job market looking for a tenure track position. Entitled "The Long Odds of the Faculty Job Search," the title does not sound too promising, and the graphic that accompanies the article features a photo of a job candidate, dressed in an immaculate suit yet looking vulnerable in the shadowy light, standing on roulette wheel. Yikes! Very dark.
     The article uses applicant material from two recent candidate searches conducted by universities in order to explore real-life examples of what the competition is like inside a department's search for an assistant professor. One was from the University of Ohio's English department, and one was from the University of Florida's linguistic department. The Ohio opening, which was specifically for a fiction writing teacher, drew 117 applicants, and the Florida opening drew 71 applicants. The article details the stats of the applicants, and interviews some of the search committee members as well as applicants. Check out the article here!
     Honestly, I am not sure if I am just subconsciously trying not to focus on the negatives, but didn't anyone notice the very positive and uplifting fact that creative writing positions have increased by 46% in 6 years? That is great news! It means that humanities jobs -- or at least in some areas -- are not dying out completely. But again, perhaps I am just choosing to see the glass half full these days.
    Anyway, what was your take-away from the article? Let me know your thoughts, dreams, hopes and desires. Share here, or on the blog's FB book page!  
     Hope you are enjoying your weeks between the Spring semester and summer session!! :) :) -- Liza


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