Post Academic

On Making Humanities Like the Sciences: Start Using Numbers

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionArnold addressed the considerable issues involving the attempt of the “UC Commission on the Future” to align Humanities achievements with those in the sciences. That’s a tall order, especially when academics are already reluctant to give hard numbers related to who is getting jobs. Frank Donoghue, director of English grad admissions at Ohio State, isn’t fond of the question, “What’s your department’s placement rate?”

Here’s what Donoghue has to say about a “typical year”:

In that recent year, we graduated 11 Ph.D.’s; four did nationwide job searches, and two of them got tenure-track jobs. The third of those four Ph.D.’s got a two-year appointment as a visiting assistant professor that may possibly be converted to a tenure-track job, and the fourth got a one-year postdoctoral fellowship. Of the seven other Ph.D.’s, five did limited searches for personal reasons, and none got job offers. They will try again next year and in the meantime will work as adjuncts. One received a tenure-track offer but turned it down so that he could accompany his partner, who has a tenure-track job at a better institution. The one remaining Ph.D. did not go on the job market at all, but instead accepted a position as an English teacher at a private high school, which from early on in his graduate career had been his professional ambition. Now, what was our placement rate? Any answer to that question can’t be quantified.

Sure it can be quantified. Here’s Post Academic’s attempt to suss out Donoghue’s meaning:

Out of 11 PhDs:
2 tenure track jobs
1 visiting prof job
1 post-doc
5 adjuncts
1 faculty spouse
1 English teacher at a private high school

More after the jump! Image of numbers in action from public domain, Wikimedia Commons.