Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Comics

Untitled. By Soon-to-be-Jaded Dissertator.
(Click to make it big.)


Anonymous said...

So sad!
I'm crying into my coffee.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Sooo . . . STBJD is now actually jaded and has quit? Or just his cartoon avatar? Or am I reading this all wrong?

Sisyphus said...

Oohh! If that isn't the saddest comic ever!

When I first clicked on it I thought he had hung himself.

Way to make me feel like working on my dissertation (not)!

Anonymous said...

I have a question. Why is Soon-to-be-Jaded Dissertator named as he is? He does not seem to be soon-to-be-jaded. He seems quite jaded already. So, why isn't he just "Jaded Dissertator"?

also, I wanted to point out this post at TAR, about how to raise your profile in philosophy. TAR blogger Carrie Jenkins is commenting on a powerpoint presentation by Vincent Hendricks on the same topic. Seems to me to be useful advice for up-and-comers like us.

Anonymous said...

Is that a coat rack?

Anonymous said...

The "Loser Slouch" is remarkably well-rendered, especially so as it is a robot doing the sloucing.

Such a depressing comic. Best of luck on the Spring Market!!!

Anonymous said...

Here's an Associated Press article about how universities are overproducing PhDs:;_ylt=ArnItOxKLihE4PEin7bYgZ6s0NUE

Hopeful Philosopher said...

Before tossing that PHD in the bin, it may be time to invoke the martini method to getting work done:

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing about the Spring market. "There's always the Spring market" etc. But I looked at the Feb. JFP for last year and it was pathetic (there were only about 60 jobs in it if I remember correctly). I guess I just don't see what's so great about the Spring market.

Anonymous said...

You have to look at the web ads. There are more web ads for that season than in the Spring JFP itself.

Taken together, there will be about 100-150 jobs for the Spring, though mostly one-year gigs.

Anonymous said...

The spring market lacks those who manage to get jobs out of the winter market, making the competition much weaker. What's more, those greedy tt-asstprofs out there with their damned lateral moves won't be gobbling up all the good campus visits, either.

Besides, most schools listing in the Feb JFP are expecting to hire someone without much of a CV yet -- they know that's what they get when looking so late.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of job market angst, can someone update me on the status of the St. Cloud State job? The waiting is seriously killing me!

Also, regarding the above comment, the Spring JFP are overrated in certain sense. However, hope springs eternal and there is a combination of some really exciting jobs (many which are visiting) with there being way less competition for them. I have a feeling that this year there will be a record amount of them, however. Mark my words.

Anonymous said...

he's hanging up his philosophy hat...

that is a depressing cartoon.

and to now be completely off-topic: some commenters were asking about empirical evidence regarding women and minorities in academia. there is a new compilation of a great deal of empirical data at . worth a look.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Annoyingly, as ya'll can see in a few places in this thread, blogger chops off the ends of long urls.

Do people want to try to re-posting those urls, either as hotlinked text (which you can do, since blogger will let you put some html tags in the comments), or with hard returns to break up the urls into a couple of pieces small enough not to get eaten.

Sorry about this.

Anonymous said...

Actually, PGS, it is easier than that. Just select and copy the text of the post containing the url. Paste it to Notepad, and the entire url will magically appear.

Then just cut and paste the url from Notepad into your browser.

Anonymous said...

Those who can't be bothered to learn HTML to link properly could at least use so the URL will fit.

Anonymous said...

For the link Female Grad lists, this ought to work:
Women, Work, and the Academy

Hopeful Philosopher said...

Martini Method aka reward yourself with alcohol

Anonymous said...

Attempting to repost a previous URL.

I like the part that says "It's well known that jobs in, say, philosophy, are rare. Even at the very top doctoral programs, only one in 10 who start will end up teaching at an elite research university, according to Brian Leiter, whose blog "Philosophical Gourmet" tracks the field."

Analysis: Universities overproduce Ph.Ds

Anonymous said...

Um, 1 in 10 philosophers find teaching jobs at elite universities? Feels more like 1 in 100, wouldn't you say?

How many new PhDs enter the market each year--does anyone know? If we guesstimate that there are 100 PhD-granting universities in philosophy in just the US, and an average of 5 PhDs matriculate a year, that's 500 new candidates (never mind lateral moves, ABDs, etc.).

And assuming there are 50 "elite" schools in the US (which don't necessarily correspond with Leiter's top 50, since many elite schools don't have PhD programs), and each have an average of 1 position open per year, that's 50 elite jobs up for grabs by 500 candidates.

Which is 1 in 10. Ok, so maybe that number is accurate...

Anonymous said...

Does it sound criminal that universities are overproducing Ph.D.'s while knowing that there is a lack of jobs? Can someone make a legal argument that it's fradulent? If graduate students can fight back and hit 'em where it hurts--in the pockebook via legal action--then maybe we can really do something about this desperate situation.

Is anyone game? Or is it still a good life to be an underpaid, overworked phil Ph.D. student with low job prospects?

Anonymous said...

I think I remember reading on the PGR somewhere that there are like 160 institutions that grant the Ph.D. in philosophy. So, at first blush, the situation is worse than anon. 8:45 speculates.

But I don't buy any of this "1-in-10" shit, especially at the very best programs. If you're realistic, you know you're know going to work at an elite research university. I'd guess that the probability that new Ph.D.s from NYU and Rutgers will find TT jobs is much closer to 100%. Obviously the odds drop with the rankings, but if you're in a ranked department with a good placement record, I think your odds are much higher than 10%. So much depends on the Leiter rankings that your odds are probably equivalent to the percentage of people from your department who successfully find jobs.

And woefully talking about the long odds of working in an "elite research university" in philosophy is sort of like sadly reporting that very few newly-minted MBAs will go on to become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

I'm also very skeptical of the prospects of a successful lawsuit. The law of caveat emptor clearly applies--there's no legal entitlement to a job just because you finished your Ph.D. If someone promised you that you'd have a job, maybe you'd have a case. But only if you have a copy of the contract. Otherwise, you're on your own. It's up to you to investigate your program's placement record before you enroll.

Anonymous said...

Q: Does it sound criminal?

A: No.

Anonymous said...

In everyone's analysis of anon 8.00am's comment we are failing to notice an important clause... 'Only 1 in 10 WHO START'. These stats are from those who enter a Ph.D. program, not those who finish. So, we need to factor in the 'dropout' rate for those who never finish their Ph.D. program, which I suspect is rather high. I would not be suprised if it were 33% of students who start a Ph.D. program.

So, for the 66% of the students who actually get the Ph.D., the odds of getting a 'good research job' would be higher (more like 1 in 6.6 than 1 in 10). Still not as good as we'd like, but not horrific either.

Anonymous said...

I think there are 110 Ph.D.-granting institutions in the U.S. But this is counting some of those really weird ones, like Dallas and SUNY-Albany.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:33 writes,

"So, for the 66% of the students who actually get the Ph.D., the odds of getting a 'good research job' would be higher (more like 1 in 6.6 than 1 in 10). Still not as good as we'd like, but not horrific either."

What's your definition of "a good research job"?

Anon at 8:00 a.m. reports Leiter's contention that "only one in 10 who start will end up teaching at an elite research university."

IMHO, 'good research job' =/ 'teaching at an elite research university.'

If I had to guess, I'd say that the chance of landing a spot at an 'elite research university' for your average phil Ph.D. is less than 1 in 10, whereas the chance of getting a 'good research job' is much better than 1 in 6.6.

Anonymous said...

To 9:48's comment that there's no legal entitlement, that may be true, but is there still another legal or moral claim to be made?

Look at the home foreclosure disaster going on now: Yes, on one hand, the mortgage buyer should have known what s/he was getting into; but the entire mortgage industry did little more than utter the usual disclaimer that "rates could rise" while promoting the crap out of ARMs. And the gov't regulators did nothing but watch.

Also look at the dot-com bust around 2000: Stock brokers were stumping these high-risk stocks like there was no tomorrow, even if they did issue the usual risk disclaimer. Again, gov't regulators--people whose job is to protect consumers and investors--sat idly by.

A similar situation seems to be the case in academia. Apart from the few blogs such as these, even the propsective grad student who does her/his due diligence will be hard pressed to find the statistics needed that show how dismal job prospects are. Someone pointed out in another thread that philosophy department sites do not do a good job at disclosing their placement rates.

So while there's not an entitlement to jobs, there's still seems to be something very fishy going on here, possibly fraudulent or misleading at best. Perhaps it's a conflict of interest somehow. Anyway, I wouldn't be too quick to discount a legal claim against academia or its governance.

Anonymous said...

For all of you legal eagles out there, I suggest that you first hire a P.I. to find the moustachioed rogue who told each of you that a PhD in philosophy would be your ticket to the good life. Perhaps you could pool your resources with Jack and his magic beans, or click your heels together three times, or just believe. Yes, that's it, everybody, shut your eyes tight, and say it with me, "I Believe!" "I Believe!" "I Believe!"

Anonymous said...

Can anyone elaborate on why SUNY Albany is odd? I ask because a friend of mine may have a job talk there.

Anonymous said...

I'm micro-analyzing my on-campus visit. The goal is to figure out how much hope I should have, if any at all. It's very much like trying to learn something about whether some girl likes you based on how she blinked when you saw her at the coffee house last week. As it is during every stage of this process, it is excruciating to wait. My question: is it normal for people to say good-bye by saying "I really hope to see you again"? That sounds to me like a hint, but I could be reading something into it.

Anonymous said...

In defense of the leiter 1/10 claim, you might want to look at Michigan's recent placement (2000-2005).

They were a leiter top 5 departmetn for all of that period, and their placement in "Elite Research Universities" seemed to be less than 1/10.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:18,

I'm sure that you're oncampus went well and that you'll get the job. However, I don't think that this comment indicates that you're in. I think that the comment meant, 'Good luck; may the best person win.' It sounds like they haven't made a decision yet. Yet, I don't think that they'd say that if they hated you.

Anonymous said...

Odd only in the sense that it's more narrow in its areas of emphasis than most Ph.D. programs in philosophy. That doesn't necessarily mean it's not any good in those areas though.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:18,

Seriously you're not doing yourself any good by obsessing. If I were you I'd go over to the nearest video store, rent like 15 super-entertaining, light movies, get a bunch of snacks and some beer or soda or whatever, and DON'T THINK ABOUT THE JOB MARKET FOR LIKE A WEEK. I know it's hard to relax when something so important is going on, but this is good advice.

Anonymous said...

I still say this "1-in-10" stuff is bullshit. It's not a realistic standard for comparison. If you enrolled in your Ph.D. program thinking you had a good chance of being a full professor at NYU one day, you need to have your head examined. Especially if you didn't get in to Princeton or Rutgers.

On the other hand, if someone promised that you'd be full professor at NYU, maybe you've got a legitimate case. Unfortunately, no one made any such promise.

Anonymous said...

I hear it's about a 1 in 2 chance of getting a job at Fort Lewis College.

Just kidding, Durango rules. If you're like many candidates who are destined to teach at an unranked school like me, this is not a bad place to be. There's actually new freedom in not being qualified for "elite" jobs: you can pick your job by location, unlike those forced to live in, say, New Haven or Philadelphia (or a lot worse) to work at an Ivy League.

Anonymous said...

Do ANY philosophers get to choose their job by location?? I'd like to get a job where I live right now and I'm basically willing to settle for any full-time philosophy job (aside from a CC-- at this point at least). Does that mean any school in a 60 mile radius will be looking for a philosopher with any of my AOS/AOCs? It hasn't happened in the last three years that I've been looking.

It is true though that philosophers can eliminate job prospects according to location (by simply not applying). I've certainly used this strategy.

Anonymous said...

"Do ANY philosophers get to choose their job by location??"

I guess the answer is yes, if you're very well-known and senior. (Although the just might not *be* jobs in some areas you'd likle to live in, even then.)

I was lucky, in that I (eventually) got a job in one of the three locations I wanted. (Major East Coast Metro. Area 1, MECMA 2, Decent Area of UK) This was after I did two job searchs targeted at the first two areas while I had my job at Pure Hell R1.
(The next year I would have applied everywhere just to escape.)

So, it is possible to get a job in the location you want... but it's rare.

(Incidentally, you're not one of those people, lambasted by a tenured person in an earlier thread, who "fetishizes" location are you? Just checking!)

Anonymous said...

If you're open to working at a CC--and what's the big difference between that and some no-name college?--then, yes, you can choose exactly where you want to live.

I know there's a persistent bias against CC, but we philosophers need to get over it in a hurry, especially if you want to actually make a living.

Anonymous said...

"If you're open to working at a CC--and what's the big difference between that and some no-name college?--then, yes, you can choose exactly where you want to live."

I'm not sure that this is true--I'm not saying it isn't, I'm just not convinced that the job market in philosophy at CCs is this good.

I think that the point about CCs and very small college being different in name only (at least for faculty) is a good one, though.

Anonymous said...

Dear juniorperson,

7:27 here. No, I definitely don't fetishize location at all. I don't even like where I live that much! I just want to live with my philosopher husband all year 'round.

I know that I should be happy that we're both employed and all that (esp. since I haven't defended yet), but being part of a dual-philosopher relationship is a major pain in the ass. Not to mention that it's a situation that anyone outside of academia just does not understand (not that we married one another... but the fact that we've been working in two different-- though neighboring!-- states for the last three years.)

As for CCs-- I've still been lead to believe that teaching at a no-name college is better than being at a community college. A few reasons: the slightly higher prestige, better course load, better students, less administrative work...

Anonymous said...

Anon. 7.27:

Those are all good points about CCs vs. small colleges--I admit I haven't thought much about this.

Sorry I wasn't clear in my comment abouit fetisizing location--I was atualy jabbing at the senior person who was ranting a couple of months ago against people who wanted to move from their current jobs to place they'd prefer to live. He held that this was somehow "fetishizing" location, and that anyone who did this was deeply immoral. I find this view laughable (it seems perfectly reasonable to me to want to live in certain places rather than others) and so I sometimes mock it here, for my own amusement!

I can sympathise with the two-body problem; my wife and I were facing this at one point, and we were really lucky to escape this fate. I *really* hope that you get to solve it permanently!

Anonymous said...

The most prominent problem with teaching at CCs seems to me to the the fact that every single one of your courses is going to be at the introductory level for the rest of your life. You're not going to teach any UD classes there, and because of the prejudice, once you've been TT at a CC, your chances of moving up are slim.

So that's an advantage of taking a Fort Lewis-type job over a CC. At least you'll have an opportunity to teach UD classes to genuinely interested students once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Higher prestige? Better students? Less administrative work??!

This elitism is exactly why so many philosophers are frustrated in their job search. There's an artificial premium put on "prestige". I submit to you that if prestige is high on your priority list, then you're not a real philosopher or academic.

And can you think of more deserving students, i.e., students in need, than those at a community college (who include working professionals, etc.)? They need our help the most.

As for admin work, that's the reality of academia. Sure, it would be a cushy job if you could do only what you wanted to (e.g., teaching or research). But then who runs the department? Would you prefer non-philosophers do that work, i.e., people who aren't as close to or vested in philosophy?

But I do see the general point that working conditions at a CC may be less favorable than at a "real" college. But in my experience (I've taught at both), the faculty at a CC is much easier to work with. There's less of a cutthroat publish-or-perish mentality, and it's a much more democratic environment on all accounts.

Anonymous said...

"And can you think of more deserving students, i.e., students in need, than those at a community college (who include working professionals, etc.)? They need our help the most."

If we were all motivated to help the most deserving people, we probably wouldn't be in philosophy... and, even if we were, we'd probably seek out an inner city high school or a non-profit job-- not a professorship.

Is it elitist to want students who are prepped for college-level work?

Anonymous said...

Another point about CCs. You might think that this is the job you can get if all else fails. This is simply not true. CCs are also interested in finding professors who really want to teach at a CC.

One way of proving this is spending time in CC adjunct hell. If you have some connection to the CC culture this helps as well, e.g., attended a CC, have family members who attended, etc.

So don't think that you can just apply to a CC and get the job. In fact, it might in some ways be harder to land one, than, say, landing a job at a 4 year state or slac.

Anonymous said...

"Is it elitist to want students who are prepped for college-level work?"

Probably not. But it becomes a problem when more philosophers want that then there are job openings at the "better" colleges. And judging from this blog and other sources, I take it that this problem exists.

Let me ask you: Why is it such a benefit to work with students who are prepped for college-level work? Does it really challenge you to teach at, say, the Ivy League undergrad level? Yes, there may be interesting in-class discussions and better papers, but any philosophy PhD *should* be able to teach these students anyway. (Teaching at the graduate level is a different story, of course.)

I'm sure you can come up with some vague benefit, but I suspect that it's mostly rationalization or code for wanting the prestige that comes with teaching at such institutions. If you ask most teachers, the satisfaction of teaching comes from seeing the student "get it" and improve as a student and person. And this can be achieved at any school.

If teaching doesn't float your boat in the first place, then wanting advanced students is a red herring of a reason.

Teaching is teaching is teaching. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anonymous said...

But if teaching is teaching is teaching, then why waste your time getting a PhD? After all, there are no shortage of jobs teaching elementary, middle, or high school students.

Of course, I at least think that there is a heck of a lot of difference between teaching high school students and college students. And if this is the case, then there is a difference between teaching college students without a good high school background and those who do have such a background.

In real life, much of the difference is in whether you want to teach philosophy to students or teach them how to read an write. Just because you want do to the former does not mean that you find the latter enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

But 6:22, you're talking about tactical differences between teaching college students vs. high school kids. But the broader goals and satisfaction are the same, aren't they? Sure, some teaching experiences are more rewarding than others, e.g., if you have a student passionate about the subject who looks up to you; but indulging students and winning their admiration don't seem to be worthy goals of teaching or philosophy.

Also, let me clarify: I meant teaching philosophy is teaching philosophy is teaching philosophy. And as far as I can tell, there's no philosophy going on at US high schools, except maybe at Catholic schools and only with a focus on philosophy of religion. And even if there were, there surely isn't any at elementary or middle school level, since kids aren't developed enough to grasp many of those concepts. So generally, a PhD is needed to teach philosophy at the tenure-track level; but yeah, don't waste your time getting a PhD if that's not where you want to teach.

Anyway, it's not shameful (ok, maybe it is a little) to admit that many (most?) philosophers don't *like* to teach but do it because it's part of their job. My only point is that there might not be that much of a qualitative difference ultimately between teaching Ivy Leaguers and community college kids; and if you think there is, then maybe you're fooling yourself and are one of those who really don't enjoy teaching.

By the way, I had been a tutor in a previous life, and it was much more rewarding to teach a little kid, maybe in elementary school, so that he can catch up with his class (and have a chance to be somebody!) than to have some wonderful discussion about philosophy with college students, (unless it's over drinks, of course). You're not likely to have that kind of impact at the college level. So your post revealed the kind of bias I was talking about among college educators that only college teaching is respectable and worthy, which is a short hop to only Leiter-ranked philosophy programs are worth associating with.

And this was also my original point about elitism in the profession. You can't deny there is elitism in philosophy, right? I think that many of those people are what's continuing this attitude that community colleges are "not as good" as four-year colleges. And this feeds job seekers' anxiety and skews their perspective on what the good life is (not to be Plato here) or what's important about their job as a philosopher.

On the other hand...I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

"In real life, much of the difference is in whether you want to teach philosophy to students or teach them how to read an (sic; how ironik) write."

You're not digging deep enough here. Ask *why* do you want to teach philosophy to students, in the first place? To show how smart you are? Or to actually help them somehow? (Plato: craftsmen are directed at the object of their craft, e.g., doctors to patients.)

I take it that the correct answer is closer to the latter. If that's the case, if the goal is to help your students, then teaching X (where X is some subject matter such as philosophy) is teaching X is teaching X. You might not even need the qualifier X, if the ultimate satisfaction from teaching is to help others. In that case, if one were a true teacher or one who really likes to teach for the right reasons, then there shouldn't be a difference between teaching philosophy to students and teaching them how to read an (sorry, couldn't resist; cheap shot, I know) write.

Anonymous said...

"there's no philosophy going on at US high schools, except maybe at Catholic schools and only with a focus on philosophy of religion. And even if there were, there surely isn't any at elementary or middle school level, since kids aren't developed enough to grasp many of those concepts."

Just for the record... there ARE many philosophers working with children at the elementary level. (Hawaii and NJ have major centers for Philosophy for Children.) And, yes, doing philosophy with kids (focused on philosophical dialogue with one another) is hugely rewarding (probably because they DO generate ideas to rival most freshmen). The problem here is that there are NO JOBS for philosophers who would prefer to do this kind of work. It mostly happens at the volunteer/TA level.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to teach at a CC, and I agree that there is elitism. But I disagree that the fact that I am uninterested in teaching at a CC means that I am somehow only interested in teaching as a medium to show how smart I am.

There are lots of classes you'll never be able to teach at CCs--including essentially anything in the upper-division. CC classes are, by and large, intro level classes. CC classes tend to be full of students whose high school experience did not prepare them for college-level work. And while there is something very satisfying about causing an interest in philosophy to bloom in a student as a result of your intro class, or about helping an unprepared student gain the skills necessary to be successful in college, that's not all there is to teaching, and it's not wrong to want other things.

There's also something very satisfying about teaching a group of students with a prior interest in the subject matter, who have been around the block a couple of times, who know how to make a sentence, who aren't likely to object to therapeutic cloning because it is "too futuristic," etc. And there's nothing wrong with wanting some of that out of your teaching career. And wanting it does not mean you're not a real teacher.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:20. It's good that you find teaching little kids rewarding. Not all people do, however. And that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be philosophy teachers or that they can't find teaching engaged and prepared college students fulfilling They are just completely different tasks and there is no reason to think that someone needs to find both fulfilling. The same can be said about the difference between teaching unprepared college students who can barely read and write as opposed to those who do have these skills. You can teach a philosophy class to both groups, but there is no reason to think that people will find each group equally fulfilling. Some would rather teach the former group, some the latter. What you teach and how the students will react is certainly different, and if that's the case then it does not make sense to say teaching (philosophy) is teaching (philosophy) is teaching (philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Gotcha Anon. 10:57. I was just correcting an earlier post that claimed that no philosophy is done at the primary level. I totally agree that teaching philosophy at these different levels is quite different and not everyone is inclined toward all. (In fact, I'm the same one who was arguing against the CC-route for myself-- in face of the elitism critique.) Come to think of it, I wouldn't want my (future) children around most philosophers...

Anonymous said...

I want to challenge the assumption here that CC students can't read or write.

I was a CC student, I could both read and, believe it or not, write! Most of the students in my classes could do that too!

In a CC what you commonly get are students who didn't plan for college as high school students (and just because the didn't plan doesn't mean that they can't do college level work), don't have the money to go to any other school, are coming back to college in order to switch careers, are the first in their family to go to college.

As I said, I was one of these students. I eventually transferred to a very well respected state R1, graduated magna cum laude, got some other awards for my undergrad work, and eventually was accepted into a top 20 program.

I've also been a CC adjunct and I've never met a student who couldn't do philosophy.

The cavalier claims made about CC students do sound elitist.

Anonymous said...

Word up, wikimonger.

Another point: let's compare philosophy professors with medical doctors. There are many specializations in medicine so, on the face of it, you might say that being a brain surgeon versus pediatrician are qualitiatively different. But ultimately they are in the business of helping patients, and this doesn't change across specializations.

Similarly, philosophy professors are in the education business, whether teaching or publishing. But no matter what specialization here is yours, the teaching experience is the same.

In fact, the act of teaching, like the act of practicing medicine, seems to be independent of the specific object of the craft, i.e., student or patient. If so, then it really doesn't matter whether you're teaching a CC student (who all in theory should be able to read and write, since they're in COLLEGE) or a high school student or a Harvard student.