Are You Tired of the Academic Run-Around —– an Advisor Who’s Never In, a Grad Program That Doesn’t Care, Funding That’s Never Enough, a Job Market That’s in The Tank, and a Tenure System That’s a Total Mystery —– And No One to Give You an Honest Answer?
The Professor is In! Dr. Karen has a handy dandy website to help you with your academic, alt-academic, or even post-academic job hunt as well as those of you who are just figuring out graduate school. If you are in academia, especially in the humanities, you should be aware of the buzz for the last few years about contingent/adjunct faculty and loss of tenure-track positions and the grim prospects that meet you as you look for employment. If you haven’t heard, then it’s a good thing you ended up on this blog.
You should be thinking about your options right now and what you need to do to get there. Dr. Karen’s website may be the one and only resource for you to consult, but it can get you started and continue to be a useful resource as you put together necessary job documents and prepare for interviews. Here are just a few examples of what kinds of advice are provided in the blog:
- How To Do Conferences
- How to Get Grants and Fellowships
- How to Interview
- How To Write Academic Job Cover Letters
- How To Write CVs
- Landing Your Tenure Track Job
- Publishing Issues
- Quitting–An Excellent Option
Dr. Karen’s blog is not only about tips for improving your job documents. She also provides insight into the state of the academic job market with her normal blunt and honest approach. What I appreciate about this site is the ability to be blunt without being unnecessarily bleak or apocalyptic, yet she is not sugar coating the reality or trying to make you feel safe. There is practical advise mixed with news updates about the field; that is all you get, and that is all you need.
One of my recent favorites from her blog is a post about the broken faculty life cycle. In a recent talk, Dr. Karen explained some problems in the academic life and proposed solutions which I agree with completely. She writes:
I spoke of a pervasive “loss of faith” in the ideals of the university, specifically:
- The university is fundamentally good and worthy
- The university is a realm devoted to something other than money and profit
- An academic career is possible
- An academic career is morally defensible
- The Ph.D. was a financially responsible choice
- My sense of self (as a scholar/academic) is secure
Then I proposed four interventions:
1) Stop growing the traumatized population—cut Ph.D. programs
2) Institute mandatory career training in all Ph.D. programs
3) Stop hiring adjuncts and improve conditions for the ones hired
4) Mentor new tenure track hires in new ways
What I enjoyed most about this post was the positive response that she got from the many provosts who were listening. The academic administrators are aware of these problems and the solutions and are starting to begin the necessary discussions for change. Though that change will take place at a much later date, it must start somewhere. To improve “faith” in the university and the quality of teachers and research, the 4 interventions that this post proposes must be implemented. Other people are talking about this and I hope the conversation continues.
So if you are in academia right now, you should check out the advise that Dr. Karen has collected here. Whether you are absolutely sure that you are shooting for a tenured position, you are not exactly sure where you want to be or should be, or if you know you want to get out of academia, being prepared with practical and accurate knowledge is necessary for creating and obtaining your career goals.
The Professor is In is just one resource among many. Talk to your academic adviser, your career center, and do more research and soul searching before you make drastic decisions. You may as well check the blog out right now to begin you search, at least while the professor is in.