Today's Faculty: Stressed and Focused on Teaching - Faculty - The Chronicle of Higher Education

As I read this, I considered my own situation.

Today's Faculty: Stressed and Focused on Teaching - Faculty - The Chronicle of Higher Education

This article was the first thing I noticed when I went to the CHE website to once again survey job openings. I read it, while telling myself that my degree, from a well-known program, was special and that I was also special. Maybe I am, but there are many of us "special people" out there on the job market.

While I'm employed full-time in a technically tenure-track post, many of the people on the job market have been working part-time for many years.
Graduate programs continue accepting more graduate students than can possibly land jobs in academe, leading to a glut in the job market, she said. Cultural and psychological attitudes also come into play, she added, as tenure-stream faculty hold a mistaken stereotype that adjuncts don't have what it takes to make it to higher education's promised land.
Some long-term, part-time faculty members have noted that their employment status taints their job prospects; many keep working despite their dislike for their working conditions because they become attached to teaching or devoted to their discipline.
"People still don't recognize how much the labor market has shifted," Ms. Kezar said. "All of these factors add up to a stark and bizarre trend."
The optimism that many part-timers seem to feel about their prospects, even in the face of stark odds, suggests that the academic job market has similar characteristics to the one facing entrepreneurs and aspiring restaurateurs, said Don A. Moore, an associate professor of management of organizations at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. People entering those fields may recognize that the odds are long in general, he said, but many still believe they alone have a good shot.
Doctoral programs are partly to blame for accepting students even when the programs have poor records of placing their graduates in jobs. But students will keep coming, overestimating their chances, he said. "The results are tragic."
I'm not sure what is ahead for me, or the thousands of other aspiring academics. I'd like to land in a great post, at a great university, but maybe the reality will be part-time employment while pursuing other interests. You have to be an idealistic optimist to pursue a career in higher education.


  1. What inspires your students to keep trying, to work harder, to raise their sights. Isn't exactly this -- your idealism and optimism? What wonderful gifts you give, even if only part-time. And from one who has been there, the lure of "great job in great university" is sometimes highly over-rated.


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