|So glad to be able to bring|
out this old blurry graphic,
one of my favorites, and made,
of course, by the egomaniac Cal.
It's a small sample, of course, and the analysis features Schuman's signature hyperbole (which I enjoy). Even taking the hyperbole into account, I continue to think she overestimates the advantages of an Ivy-League Ph.D. (or maybe underestimates the amount of "waste product" some Ivy programs produce -- though hey, some of us are doing useful stuff, even if it's a long way from what our professors/mentors/foundation funders imagined. Also, Schuman does admit that those of us who fall in the "non-suckup-super-eminence's-pet" category -- which might well be the majority of Ivy-League Ph.D.s -- might have more trouble.
Personally, I think a top-ranked-in-your-field public Ivy/flagship state u is the best place to go for maximum versatility on the job market, but (a) I, perhaps in company with Schuman, might well be doing the grass-is-greener thing, and (b) I really, really don't recommend getting a Ph.D. from any program, at least not with the intention of becoming a tenure-track college professor, right now. It's just not a reasonable gamble, at least not unless you're independently wealthy and would be genuinely happy to end up as some combination of adjunct and/or independent scholar, depending on whether it's the teaching, the research, or both that most floats your boat. I don't know what that non-recommendation means for the future of the profession, but planning for the future of the profession falls outside the assigned duties of a full-time non-TT professor -- even one whose title acknowledges that she is not just visiting her institution -- so I'm calling it like I see it, even though I do worry about the future).
In any case, there's some good stuff in Schuman's post. The Albion and Williams listings seem especially relevant to the current discussion, and her analysis of those strikes me as spot-on (and in keeping with some of the observations in Alice's post and the comment thread that followed -- especially Cal's observation of trends even at decently-funded, teaching-oriented schools). Schuman's advice not to move for the Albion job sounds absolutely right to me. Even moving for one-year jobs strikes me as something to do only if you've got a clear sense of what you'll do next if by the time that job ends you don't have another one lined up (because that's a very likely scenario).