My Wish was Granted

Highway arrow reading 'TRUTH'

Alpha Stock Images – Usd under a Creative Commons license.

Remember my kvetching that we needed to hear something about the adjunctivization crisis from those conveniently silent PhD supervisors?

Well, here’s one speaking up. I thought Michael Johnson Jr. had just written another of those pieces on how we all-powerful teaching faculty should force our institutions into concessions, but what did I find in it? Some straight talk for the PhD producers.

First, we need to be brutally honest with our doctoral students. We must carefully assess if the numbers of graduates we’re producing are equal to the market demand. In fields where there’s an overabundance, we need to reduce admissions of Ph.D. students to, at minimum, single digits…

we also need to extricate ourselves from this prestige economy whereby the number of doctoral students becomes a de facto metric of departmental success. Our participation in this system can create a perverse incentive for some departments to actually increase their enrollment of doctoral students — even going so far as to offer them no funding at all — just to appear “productive” as a unit. That not only perpetuates pernicious overabundance in some disciplines but is also grossly unethical…

Finally, we must stop lying to ourselves and to the graduate students to whom we have a professional obligation to tell the truth.

Sure, there are things we should try to get our institutions to do for adjuncts. But none of us have much power when there is a constant flood of potential adjuncts desperate enough to accept any contract. That flood has to stop at the source, and I am so grateful to see one person at the headwaters who realizes this.

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