They're Mad as Hell: Grad Students Face Job Market

Jonathan Bean

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Brian Taylor for the Chronicle"][/caption] As the academic job market worsens (was it ever good?), graduate students are angry, according to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Don't expect a protest march in the streets burning Ph.D. gowns, but the blinkered view of some tenured faculty about the job market must drive a grad student nuts. I had a mentor who let me know I would have to walk on water, or at least not sink too much, to be considered for jobs. That was 1994 and half my applications (75 out of 150) were for community colleges. At the time, I considered that market second-class until I arrived at Southern Illinois University and found we had a Community College Teaching certificate. Together with a M.A. (or Ph.D.) many of our grads have gone on to satisfying careers as full-time community college instructors. Did they have to pay their dues (a year or two of adjuncting), yes, but so what? This is a growth sector of the job market and I encourage grad students in all fields to consider it. It's not just for Gen Ed instructors -- one of my former grad students is teaching history and construction courses! It's tempting to curse the darkness but this is just one candle to light. If others have ideas for grad students in job-short fields, send them here. For links on job advice for graduate students (with emphasis on history), see this post at my eHistory blog. For the association representing schools with community college prep degrees in administration and teaching, click here.

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