Saturday, February 14, 2015

From the Annals of "Really? You needed a study to figure that out?"

Happy Valentine's Day you miserable bastards.

This seemed like a good Valentine's Day post in honor of all the morons I've ever heard use dating metaphors to describe the academic job market. This study seems to have been secretly co-authored by the noted sociologist Captain Obvious. I mean what was their fucking Null Hypothesis? That institutional prestige has no bearing on how people see you? That higher teaching loads have no discernible effect on research output? Because that makes sense.

That said, I do think it's worth a glance. I suppose if it gets some of the bigger morons in the profession thinking about the structural inequalities in academic hiring, it might end up being worthwhile.

12 comments:

  1. Swoon, it's Archie! I have the version of "Cry Me a River" you and Compound Cal (swoon as well) put online on my phone and listen to it every now and again. Funny stuff, expertly imagined.

    And for me to swoon about two "boys," well it means you're very special...

    Happy VDay to everyone. I am temporarily without someone, but am having a big Galentine thing with my friends tonight...

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  2. I too am having a galentines day, with couples and singles alike. We're taking over a bar for a "makeout party" (no real makeouts) and good music, lots of booze. To me, a big party is better than dinner and awkward sex anyway.

    But for those who are celebrating, don't forget: fuck first.

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    1. Today, I'm having awkward music, a big dinner, and makeout booze. I get fucked enough at work.

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    2. Imreplaced the AC filters around the house. No, that's not some kind of new sexual inuendo. I just replaced the AC filters.

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  3. Hey, Archie, good to see you!

    I'm not going to argue with the study's results. I concur that Captain Obvious was probably involved; also, I think there may be some self-fulfilling prophecies and/or circular reasoning embedded in the implicit or explicit definitions of terms like "prestige," "better faculty placement," "influential position," etc. (not to mention the surveys that produce the numbers used to support them). Even shorter abstract/executive summary: the R1 hiring market is one big circle-jerk.

    However, warning for anyone considering grad school, especially if you find yourself holding an acceptance letter or two from a "prestigious" school/department a month or two from now: even the most "prestigious" departments produce plenty of "waste product" (i.e. Ph.D.s who don't make it onto the tenure track) on the way to compiling those enviable (at least by current standards) placement records. If you're smart enough to get into one of those programs, you'll probably eventually land on your feet (inside or outside the academy), but do consider the opportunity cost of spending years getting a degree that is really only a necessary qualification for a single kind of very-scarce job, and, for Yaro's sake, don't accept any offer that will require you to go in debt to get that degree.

    This has been a PSA from the holder of a Ph.D. from a "prestigious" department who is not entirely unhappy with her job, but would definitely prefer, for multiple reasons, to be tenured by now (and is pretty sure that, for a variety of reasons, she is not represented in her department's placement statistics).

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    1. Oh -- and I spent V-day attending a funeral (not someone tremendously close -- longtime member of my church who had lived a very long and good life, so not entirely an unhappy gathering) and working on class materials. Not a bad day, overall, actually.

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  4. I had to google "Galentines" … god I feel like that old crank who won't watch network teepee. Oh wait, I am that old crank who doesn't watch network teepee. FML

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    1. Turns out I'm also the old crank who lets spellcheck best him every time...

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    2. Welcome back, Archie! I've always been somewhat jealous that your avatar looks slightly like Kurt Vonnegut...

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