The Horrifying Reality of the Academic Job Market

Hamilton Nolan:

I got my PhD in Classics, which maintains a bit of an old school appeal to pedigree (and white males). Our PhDs are being churned out at an alarming rate (not as bad as English, though), and there are few tenure track jobs. If you look at the Classics wiki, which goes back to 2010, the jobs go to ivy PhDs 90% of time. I may be a touch bitter about it, but objectively I think it is bad for the discipline because we have the same ideologies from the same institutions being placed all over the country. I also think that it is incredibly irresponsible for tenured faculty to encourage undergraduates to go to graduate school when the adjunctification of the university has been bad for a really long time (as I am sure you know, it is only recently that the issue has exploded all over the internet). I’ve been telling students for years not to do it while my colleagues pushed others through, because schools rank better if they produce PhD graduates.

Pre-defense I was in visiting instructor line at school in Florida that was supposed to last 3 years. Due to budget cuts from president’s office, and despite the pleas to the chair and dean from my many students, I was cut after a year. My graduate institution, U of SC, offered to pay me a higher adjunct rate with a full schedule, so I moved back from Florida to take the position. This extra rate was still only 4k a class, for 32k a year. I taught upper level classes, one with over 300 students, and a bunch of language classes. It was grueling work, with 4 different preps each semester. I wasn’t allowed to go to any department meetings and, while my colleagues were generally nice and appreciative of me doing the bulk of teaching for the department, we were definitely not on equal terms.