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(Slate)   English major accepts reality, inquires if thou dost desire a portion of a potato-based comestible of substantial magnitude with thine meal   (slate.com) divider line 124
    More: Obvious, Ph.D., Ron Rosenbaum, English, literature, Kafka, meals  
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8074 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Apr 2013 at 3:55 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-05 07:56:54 PM  

Contents Under Pressure: They'd lecture, shuffle off

. . . I have a relative who teaches at Strayer.

After reading your comment, I looked at Strayer's website, which says "You shuffle work, family and responsibilities."

For a second I wondered why there's so much shuffling going on in these schools.
 
2013-04-05 08:05:37 PM  

FunkOut: Not sure which is worse, people who go "lol studyin books is dum n stuff stoopid art shiat yall got burger jobs" or people who think spending 15 years exploring deconstructionist literary criticism of one Poe short story is useful.


Would it make you happy to know that the dude spending 15 years exploring deconstructionist literary criticism of one Poe short story is viewed as a weirdo by other Lit-majors? I worked a year as a study consultant (I think that's the right translation, studiekonsulent for those who understand norwegish) for the language department, and the students were as hard working there as anywhere, and did actually try to learn useful skills. It's not like they're sitting around smoking pot and discussing how awsome poems that are 300+ years old are and how much Stephenie Meyer sucks.
 
2013-04-05 08:15:01 PM  

OgreMagi: The_Original_Roxtar: don't you dare disagree with a tenured professor's opinion.

I almost flunked PoliSci because I had not learned that simple wisdom.

Teacher said, "there are four ways to change the Constitution".  WTF!?  I knew there were two ways.  He went on:

1. Constitutional Amendment.  Correct.
2. Constitutional Convention.  Correct.
3. Supreme Court decision.  Not correct.  The Supreme Court ENFORCES the Constitution.  They don't change it (well, they aren't supposed to).  They change lesser laws (usually by throwing them out) that conflict with the Constitution. But this is a common mistake, so I was willing to let him slide.
4. Congress passes a law.  WTF!  No.  Not only was he wrong, I knew the exact Supreme Court citation that proved he was wrong.  So how do you piss off a college professor?  By citing the Supreme Court in a way that proves he is wrong in front of the entire class.

No, I don't remember the citation.  That happened over 25 years ago.


No, the Supreme Court INTERPRETS the constitution, as well as U.S. law.  Law enforcement, ahem, enforces laws.  A different interpretation of the constitution would effectively "change" the document by changing its meaning, but in a strict sense, this wouldn't change it like an amendment would.
 
2013-04-05 08:28:18 PM  

Blame Hofmann: No, the Supreme Court INTERPRETS the constitution, as well as U.S. law. Law enforcement, ahem, enforces laws. A different interpretation of the constitution would effectively "change" the document by changing its meaning, but in a strict sense, this wouldn't change it like an amendment would.


No, the SCOTUS decides how the Constitution applies to a law.  The term "interprets" has been mangled into a different meaning suggesting they have the power to change it, which they don't.  They have the power to decide HOW the Constitution applies.

The executive branch enforces the LAW.  The laws are created under the rules of the Constitution.

However, we seem to be mostly in agreement.

FYI, the citation I used basically said, "any law repugant to the Constitution is null and void".
 
2013-04-05 09:19:46 PM  
My dad's favorite joke was always "You know you're Asian when you majored in something practical like business, engineering or science".

That joke became infinitely funnier when I started my undergrad.

/science major
//doing a fast-track upgrade in water treatment/protection
///sweet summer job lined up
 
2013-04-05 09:31:46 PM  
As someone with a BA in English I'm getting a kick out of some of these replies.

/working on a MS in software engineering if that tells you anything
 
2013-04-05 10:34:15 PM  
i considered going to grad school for philosophy.  my professor sat me down and said, "you are a great student and you enjoy this subject, but for the love of god, do not go to grad school.  you will never find a job as a professor.  don't spend all that money and waste all that time, just to wind up getting a job as a taxi driver who can discuss plato."
 
2013-04-06 02:35:06 AM  

hitlersbrain: What a sad waste of time... like so much of college. We really need to concentrate on phasing it out in favor of on-the-job training and working your way up based on competence rather than... whatever the hell we use now... cronyism? Plain old bribery?

You would have the added benefit of knowing you will actually be trained for an actual job.


My PhD took seven years to complete. But only because I combined it with botanical consulting work. Started as a junior and switched to independant contracting under my own name. When I finished the PhD I had enough experience in the industry to step into a Senior Botanist position. Worked out for me. Though a science PhD probably a hell of a lot more useful for employment.
 
2013-04-06 04:14:17 AM  

Jubeebee: There's a big difference between an English major (BA) and a PhD in Literature. As long as software companies continue to hire H1-Bs, people with English degrees and a bit of technical knowledge can find decent jobs. A PhD in literature is what happens when you are terrified of graduating and are willing to shell out six figures to stay in school.


What's the difference between a PhD in Literature and a medium pizza?

The pizza can feed a family of four.
 
2013-04-06 04:50:26 AM  

OgreMagi: wickedragon: to awsome stuff where we were required to read "do androids dream of electric sheep"

I call bullshiat.  That book was in no way awesome.  That they got the outstanding movie "Bladerunner" out of that shatty pulp is a farking miracle.


Having read several of Dick's works, I think his stuff is more like a Roarchach test. You can look into his rantings and see genius, or just a word salad. Plot lines? Um, he's either working in a geometry where lines are circular, or just plain out of his mind.

I can't tell. Nobody can tell. But that's the charm.
 
2013-04-06 12:18:23 PM  

Tommy Moo: Not if you offer a higher salary for the top talent. Then it becomes self-screening. The lazy schemers who are plotting to spend 40 years jerking off as soon as they trick some department into granting them tenure will go where there is tenure, and the people who plan to work hard for their entire careers will go where they are offered the highest salaries, because they know that they won't need tenure to keep their jobs


I only know one tenured academic, and he's the hardest working man I have ever met.

On the other hand, promotion to a Senior Lectureship in the UK (which is done by sucking up to the right people) is often referred to as "retirement in post".
 
2013-04-06 12:32:38 PM  

LiberalConservative: hitlersbrain: What a sad waste of time... like so much of college. We really need to concentrate on phasing it out in favor of on-the-job training and working your way up based on competence rather than... whatever the hell we use now... cronyism? Plain old bribery?

You would have the added benefit of knowing you will actually be trained for an actual job.

My PhD took seven years to complete. But only because I combined it with botanical consulting work. Started as a junior and switched to independant contracting under my own name. When I finished the PhD I had enough experience in the industry to step into a Senior Botanist position. Worked out for me. Though a science PhD probably a hell of a lot more useful for employment.


Odd question, but how is the agricultural PhD field looking at the moment? Say for....an applied plant breeder in Barley? I've heard terror tales of over-qualified Phds and wonder if I should stop at the MS.
 
2013-04-06 12:47:24 PM  

Mr_Fabulous: [The] English major accepts reality, inquires if thou dost desire a portion of a potato-based comestible of substantial magnitude with thine meal

...and then single-handedly slays the Music tab with his unrelenting douchebaggery.


You beat me to this. I was banned for pointing it out last time.
 
2013-04-06 02:38:19 PM  

TheSopwithTurtle: FrancoFile: Let's do some math.

With a few exceptions, the point of a humanities PhD is to teach that subject at a university.

Assuming a constant population and a constant proportion that attends college, then every humanities PhD needs to train one (1) replacement, over the course of his or her entire career.

Even if we assume population growth, a steady increase in college attendance, and 'exporting' our professors to other countries, at best each PhD needs to train three (3) replacements over the course of his or her entire career.

An English department of 8 professors and 14 PhD candidates is running a Ponzi scheme.

Plenty of Humanities departments are at colleges and universities that do not produce Humanities PhDs. I know at least 8, and I'm not even in the field.

Perhaps you should give up math. Have you considered the humanities?


??  This does nothing to invalidate my point.  Those are the universities that pull the average down, but there are lots of universities that push it up.  My hypothetical example was an 'average' university.

Let P = total number of current university positions for English literature.
Let n = total career length of those positions, in years.
Let C = total number of PhD candidates at any given point in time.
Let tc = the time it takes to get a PhD, in years.

The turnover in positions is therefore P/n, and the number of new graduates is C/tc.

The ratio between those is the annual growth factor, g = Cn/Ptc

If g~1, then we have steady state.  If 1<g<3 then we have sustainable growth.  If g>3 we have a crash.

Since n averages 30, and tc averages 6, then an average Literature prof shouldn't have a PhD candidate any more often than half of his/her tenure, even with my optimistic g=3 growth rate.

Even if only 25% of Literature profs work at PhD-granting universities (which is a conservative estimate of your assertion), then each of those prof should have no more than 2 candidates under instruction at any given time.

/did you follow the math?
 
2013-04-06 02:56:19 PM  

wickedragon: FunkOut: Not sure which is worse, people who go "lol studyin books is dum n stuff stoopid art shiat yall got burger jobs" or people who think spending 15 years exploring deconstructionist literary criticism of one Poe short story is useful.

Would it make you happy to know that the dude spending 15 years exploring deconstructionist literary criticism of one Poe short story is viewed as a weirdo by other Lit-majors? I worked a year as a study consultant (I think that's the right translation, studiekonsulent for those who understand norwegish) for the language department, and the students were as hard working there as anywhere, and did actually try to learn useful skills. It's not like they're sitting around smoking pot and discussing how awsome poems that are 300+ years old are and how much Stephenie Meyer sucks.


I did half a BA in Eng Lit and was heading into the third year when I quit due to some literary criticism courses run by deconstructionists. I would have gladly beaten Derrida with a sack of oranges even thought he was an old man at the time.
 
2013-04-06 03:48:41 PM  

FunkOut: wickedragon: FunkOut: Not sure which is worse, people who go "lol studyin books is dum n stuff stoopid art shiat yall got burger jobs" or people who think spending 15 years exploring deconstructionist literary criticism of one Poe short story is useful.

Would it make you happy to know that the dude spending 15 years exploring deconstructionist literary criticism of one Poe short story is viewed as a weirdo by other Lit-majors? I worked a year as a study consultant (I think that's the right translation, studiekonsulent for those who understand norwegish) for the language department, and the students were as hard working there as anywhere, and did actually try to learn useful skills. It's not like they're sitting around smoking pot and discussing how awsome poems that are 300+ years old are and how much Stephenie Meyer sucks.

I did half a BA in Eng Lit and was heading into the third year when I quit due to some literary criticism courses run by deconstructionists. I would have gladly beaten Derrida with a sack of oranges even thought he was an old man at the time.



I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light 
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Billy Collins
 
2013-04-06 04:42:48 PM  

The_Original_Roxtar: Copper Spork: The_Original_Roxtar: don't you dare disagree with a tenured professor's opinion.

If you're doing a subject where it comes down to opinions, you're doing the wrong subject.

those of us who actually obtained degrees know that there are these things called "general education" requirements. Just because you major in computer science doesn't mean you take nothing but programming and math classes.


Should've taken your degree in a country where "general education" is covered in secondary school. Then you'd be able to do maths and two sciences in first year, followed by two years of your main subject. But hey, I'm sure those classes in "eco-feminism" and "African American studies" contributed greatly to your education.
 
2013-04-06 10:06:50 PM  

Kinek: LiberalConservative: hitlersbrain: What a sad waste of time... like so much of college. We really need to concentrate on phasing it out in favor of on-the-job training and working your way up based on competence rather than... whatever the hell we use now... cronyism? Plain old bribery?

You would have the added benefit of knowing you will actually be trained for an actual job.

My PhD took seven years to complete. But only because I combined it with botanical consulting work. Started as a junior and switched to independant contracting under my own name. When I finished the PhD I had enough experience in the industry to step into a Senior Botanist position. Worked out for me. Though a science PhD probably a hell of a lot more useful for employment.

Odd question, but how is the agricultural PhD field looking at the moment? Say for....an applied plant breeder in Barley? I've heard terror tales of over-qualified Phds and wonder if I should stop at the MS.


Odd my response post not appearint... try again.
In Australia there is a current shortage of agricultural/crop scientists for academic, government, and private positions. But I do not know the situation outside Australia. From what I have seen employers value the PhD about the same as the equivalent number of years of employment experience. However, I see the PhD having the benefit of the Dr title; gives the opportunity to attain part-time employment as an adjunct lecturer/prof later in my career as I approach retirement.
 
2013-04-06 10:13:02 PM  

FrancoFile: Even if only 25% of Literature profs work at PhD-granting universities (which is a conservative estimate of your assertion), then each of those prof should have no more than 2 candidates under instruction at any given time.

/did you follow the math?


Factor in that not all PhD graduates must stay within academia? Not all of them want to either. I'm in the private sector as a consultant and very happy. I know someone with a Botany PhD who works as upper management in the insurance sector. Employers do value the skills attained in postgrad studies even in unrelated fields.
 
2013-04-07 09:54:45 AM  

LiberalConservative: Kinek: LiberalConservative: hitlersbrain: What a sad waste of time... like so much of college. We really need to concentrate on phasing it out in favor of on-the-job training and working your way up based on competence rather than... whatever the hell we use now... cronyism? Plain old bribery?

You would have the added benefit of knowing you will actually be trained for an actual job.

My PhD took seven years to complete. But only because I combined it with botanical consulting work. Started as a junior and switched to independant contracting under my own name. When I finished the PhD I had enough experience in the industry to step into a Senior Botanist position. Worked out for me. Though a science PhD probably a hell of a lot more useful for employment.

Odd question, but how is the agricultural PhD field looking at the moment? Say for....an applied plant breeder in Barley? I've heard terror tales of over-qualified Phds and wonder if I should stop at the MS.

Odd my response post not appearint... try again.
In Australia there is a current shortage of agricultural/crop scientists for academic, government, and private positions. But I do not know the situation outside Australia. From what I have seen employers value the PhD about the same as the equivalent number of years of employment experience. However, I see the PhD having the benefit of the Dr title; gives the opportunity to attain part-time employment as an adjunct lecturer/prof later in my career as I approach retirement.


If that's true for Australia, it's probably true elsewhere. And the doctorate, I've been getting the feeling, is necessary to get some of the senior positions later down the line. Thanks for the heads up though! Just been keeping my eye on the job market and sweating the entire time.
 
2013-04-08 09:20:55 AM  

LiberalConservative: FrancoFile: Even if only 25% of Literature profs work at PhD-granting universities (which is a conservative estimate of your assertion), then each of those prof should have no more than 2 candidates under instruction at any given time.

/did you follow the math?

Factor in that not all PhD graduates must stay within academia? Not all of them want to either. I'm in the private sector as a consultant and very happy. I know someone with a Botany PhD who works as upper management in the insurance sector. Employers do value the skills attained in postgrad studies even in unrelated fields.


Botany != humanities.  You've conveniently straw-man jiu-jitsued your way around the argument of TFA.
 
2013-04-08 10:17:52 AM  

FrancoFile: LiberalConservative: FrancoFile: Even if only 25% of Literature profs work at PhD-granting universities (which is a conservative estimate of your assertion), then each of those prof should have no more than 2 candidates under instruction at any given time.

/did you follow the math?

Factor in that not all PhD graduates must stay within academia? Not all of them want to either. I'm in the private sector as a consultant and very happy. I know someone with a Botany PhD who works as upper management in the insurance sector. Employers do value the skills attained in postgrad studies even in unrelated fields.

Botany != humanities.  You've conveniently straw-man jiu-jitsued your way around the argument of TFA.


Derp. Yeah, because in the real world every single humanities doctorate student wants and expects to become a professor. Was simply an example.
Some kind of reverse-double-straw-man-jui-jitsue-troll post?
Was sincerly curious to see if you would adjust your math formula, though. Would change the outcome I think.
 
2013-04-08 10:47:59 AM  

LiberalConservative: FrancoFile: LiberalConservative: FrancoFile: Even if only 25% of Literature profs work at PhD-granting universities (which is a conservative estimate of your assertion), then each of those prof should have no more than 2 candidates under instruction at any given time.

/did you follow the math?

Factor in that not all PhD graduates must stay within academia? Not all of them want to either. I'm in the private sector as a consultant and very happy. I know someone with a Botany PhD who works as upper management in the insurance sector. Employers do value the skills attained in postgrad studies even in unrelated fields.

Botany != humanities.  You've conveniently straw-man jiu-jitsued your way around the argument of TFA.

Derp. Yeah, because in the real world every single humanities doctorate student wants and expects to become a professor. Was simply an example.
Some kind of reverse-double-straw-man-jui-jitsue-troll post?
Was sincerly curious to see if you would adjust your math formula, though. Would change the outcome I think.


Go grab the data from the US Census, Dept of Labor, the MLA, and the various regional accreditation boards, and I'll be happy to do that for you.
 
2013-04-08 10:59:16 AM  
Cool. Will let you know when I have that ready.
 
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