July 28, 2013

THINKING OF A TENURE-TRACK JOB as a 7-year postdoc. “Tenure-track? what’s that? Hey, I’m signing up for a 7-year postdoc to hang out with some of the smartest, coolest folks on the planet! Its going to be a blast. And which other company gives you 7 year job security? This is the awesomest job ever!”

Probably a good way of looking at things in terms of one’s own sanity. But only at top private and flagship state schools can a person who is denied tenure expect to get another good job in academia — or in fields like computer science, where there’s lots of opportunity in industry. And as the higher education bubble deflates, that will become even more true.

And note this critique in the comments. “What about the students paying rapidly-rising tuition to ‘learn?’ Note how little the author talked about teaching, and isn’t that what school is supposed to be all about? But in most major universities, undergraduate teaching has largely been relegated to TAs, GAs, new professors, adjuncts, visitors, and other sorts of surrogates for ‘full professors.’ . . . Institutionalized big academia has become all about adding prestige and endowment back to the university instead of value to the real customer: students.”

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