Author Topic: The Ivied Halls of Academe  (Read 9246 times)

CU Tiger

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The Ivied Halls of Academe
« on: September 29, 2017, 09:05:13 PM »
I read this tonight, and have mixed feelings.

https://jezebel.com/adjunct-professors-are-struggling-to-make-ends-meet-and-1819010168

I grew up in a university town, with a PhD dad. My folks were not wealthy, but we never lacked the basics of life, and Dad was in a mixed teaching/research job, so his funding was always there. But this was waaay back at the end of the Golden Era, where a PhD set you up for life. Even by the 80s, when I left home, the younger professors found it more difficult to support a family on a single income as an associate or assistant professor. I was never tempted to pursue a graduate degree.

Then I read this article and think that these people are nuttier than a bunch of fruit cakes for not leaving adjunct jobs to get a career. They should read this, it would be saner than sex work or living in a car.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/

Are there any folks here trying to make it in a university setting without a tenured job? How is it going?


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2017, 04:16:33 AM »
This is one of the fucked-up consequences of tying health insurance to a job - giving more people part-time jobs that fall just under the limit.

briesas

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2017, 08:40:12 AM »
I work at a big ten university campus. In the past few years I've employed one person with a fullbright, who has a PhD in 19th century central eastern visual material culture (aka representations of people in the -stans in photography) filing paperwork for $9 an hour. Another person had a PhD-emphasis on representation of musical theater in Hollywood films. These folks, and many others I've met, are told and believe that they will get teaching jobs at a college. I don't understand why or how these people get through 5 years of post grad study in a place where you trip over underemployed PhDs and still believe it. Or why their advisors get away with continually telling them they will get a job. And while they are filing my paperwork, they tell me things like "if people appreciated historical photography more, I'd have a job." And they'll tell me"money isn't important to me" while they rack up debt for consumerist crap.

ETA: I'm a librarian, at an administrative level. And I teach as an adjunct in the library school every two years. It's great fun and I get about 5 grand for the semester. Good thing I'm not living on that! But every year, the library school administrators tell me I should quit my day job and come do my PHD "for free". And every year I say no, because it won't increase my earning potential or marketability in my specialized niche of the library world, and I'd be giving up a very good job in the field. Their motivation for offering is pretty much about meeting a quota...
« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 08:48:07 AM by briesas »

Morning Glory

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2017, 09:01:43 AM »
I do adjunct clinical teaching as a side hustle one day per week during the school year. I get $5500 for the fall semester and $8100 for the spring (spring clinical is longer).  It adds up to ~$50/hr (time spent actually teaching +grading papers + required meetings) plus a 6.5% match on 403b. The hourly is 20% more than my job at the hospital, but I think it would be impossible to scale up the adjunct work to actually make a living wage. I think the original intention of having adjuncts was that the students could be taught by people who are still working in the field and keeping up with changes.

 If I were to teach full time at the university I would only make about $60k/ year, for fewer hours of actual teaching but a lot more administrative/committee time. I would not be eligible for tenure since I don't have a PhD.

CU Tiger

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2017, 04:56:52 PM »
I think some people get sucked into doing a PhD because they love studying, learning, and being in the academic environment. I get it, in a lot of ways, college rules. But there are only so many teaching positions...and most other jobs do not require that degree.

Staying in an adjunct job (as your only source of income) and complaining about being poor is whiny and sad. Also, studying something as esoteric as the ones Briesas mentioned, or getting advanced degrees in art history or philosophy or underwater basket weaving...people are their own worst enemies.

If you love something like that, you better figure out how to make money doing something else, because how many jobs are open that require deep knowledge of how musical theater is represented in Hollywood films. *facepalm*

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2017, 05:13:08 PM »
PhD = permanent head damage

But seriously, being an academic is rather like being a priest. You don't do it for the money. You could probably add cops and teachers in there as well. For many people it's a calling, and money is the least of their concerns. I do think there are many people who have bought into the hype as well, who don't realise that further study is not a solution to the job difficulties that they had as an undergrad. I was like that. I'm over qualified for any job I'm likely to get.

MayDay

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2017, 07:29:59 PM »
I started a doctorate program with an NSF fellowship and quit after a year.

Beat decision I ever made.

And that was in engineering!

My grandpa is 83. He was a philosophy professor in the golden age. None of his children or grandchildren pursued phds, although two of us married them. Both those were engineering phds, and both regretted not just going into industry.

Tass

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2017, 09:16:30 PM »
I think some people get sucked into doing a PhD because they love studying, learning, and being in the academic environment.

*gulps*

My PhD is in STEM, so fingers crossed? You can't do biomedical research without one. But a minority of my classmates will end up doing research...

MgoSam

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2017, 09:56:20 PM »

Travis

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2017, 10:56:15 PM »
Also, studying something as esoteric as the ones Briesas mentioned, or getting advanced degrees in art history or philosophy or underwater basket weaving...people are their own worst enemies.


Those were curiously specific PhDs. Is that normal, getting a doctorate in something with so many descriptors on a subject they may be the only one in the world to care that much?

YoungInvestor

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2017, 12:40:03 AM »
Also, studying something as esoteric as the ones Briesas mentioned, or getting advanced degrees in art history or philosophy or underwater basket weaving...people are their own worst enemies.


Those were curiously specific PhDs. Is that normal, getting a doctorate in something with so many descriptors on a subject they may be the only one in the world to care that much?

Pretty much any PhD is going to be about something that seems incredibly/absurdly specific to outside observers. In the humanities, this yields some rather funny cases.

LiveLean

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2017, 11:18:54 AM »
Credential inflation is a serious problem.

I'm a journalist with only a BA and I used to adjunct every few years for the modest $2,000-$3,000 semester stipend. Always enjoyed it and the kids liked that I had real-world experience working in the media. They could watch me on TV, call up my magazine articles online and look at my books. Most of their professors had ZERO work experience in the media, but by golly they had master's degrees and PhDs.

It's been a while since I adjuncted and recently I expressed interest only to be told that adjuncts now need a master's degree. Yep, to make a princely $3,000 a semester now requires a master's. I have a journalist friend with a master's, teaching experience and a freakin' PULITZER PRIZE who cannot get a university teaching job because she does not have a PhD. But someone with a PhD and ZERO media experience can get a university teaching job.

Or at least an adjunct gig.

MgoSam

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2017, 11:25:34 AM »
Yeah, I don't really get it. When I was taking accounting classes I enjoyed that most of the professors had worked (or still worked) as an accountant/auditor. Sure they had masters in accounting or tax accounting, but it was something that their firms paid for or that they got anyways to further their professional, and not academic, career.

threefive

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2017, 12:41:17 PM »
I'm a PhDed academic that supports a family of four as a sole provider. However, I'm tenured in an endowed chair position that pays six figures. I obviously didn't start out there, but I had little trouble getting a job on the tenure track. First, I'm in STEM. Second, I never limited myself to only jobs at major research universities. There are a lot of PhD candidates out there that consider it beneath them to teach at South Regional State University, and will adjunct at Big Recognizable University for years while complaining about the plight of the adjunct, when their local community college is begging for good teachers and offering full-time positions.

I've worked (and currently work) at comprehensive universities that value teaching above research, which is reflected in the higher teaching loads. I was significantly helped in my job placement by my actual background in teaching, having taught at the secondary level before getting a PhD, and now specializing in discipline-specific education research. 99% of PhDs have exactly ZERO training in classroom teaching and have never even so much as read a book on research-based best practices for teaching in their field.

There really just isn't a high demand for significant amounts of research in, say, English literature, for which the PhD prepares you. However, there is a high demand for high-level English education, as just one example. But, PhD programs don't actually prepare people for that job. They prepare people for the other job that doesn't really exist anymore. But, we require someone to have the PhD to do the job that the PhD doesn't prepare them to do. Silly, but it is what it is. Those that don't know this going in have to be blind, because EVERYONE in academia knows that certain PhDs will give them almost zero chance at the tenure-track.

Goldielocks

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2017, 07:04:06 PM »
I am a part time adjunct at a local college (degree granting, but not one of the research universities).  Many of us are retired and do this for additional cash and to give back to our industry.  We certainly don't do it for a "career".

Facts:   I teach project management to engineers and small business owners.  I have an engineering degree and a Masters, 20+ years of experience prior to teaching.

This college has 18k full time students and 29k part time students.
Has 600+ part time (adjunct) faculty, teaching between 1 and 6 classes a semester
Has 876 full time faculty

I make about $3k per course, per semester.  That is the top rate possible.   (The college brings in gross about $16k per course)

Adjuncts:
Pay union dues
Receive medical / dental benefits when in the prior year have taught 7 classes or more.   
Do not receive office space (There are 6 shared cubicles provide across 3 campus locations M-Fr only for all 600 of us)
Do not receive parking benefits (rules changed, the parking benefit actually costs more in taxes than the cost of paying for parking in cash if you work only part time evenings)
Provide their own laptops, software, cell phones.. and need to update their own software / windows version as the school does.
Do not receive a faculty email address (only the student email system), so can't get the instructors deals on software.
Can not print handouts directly from a laptop to a photocopier... must wait to share the one after hours computer that can do so.
Do not receive price reduced classes for personal enrichment at the college (I had really hoped this could be a benefit).
Pays for own training, except mandatory instructor skills training is provided free but you are not paid for your time to take it. (Hint, if it is mandatory, should the employee not be paid?)
Meet with students in coffee shop or hallways if there is not a "free" room available nearby the lecture room before or after class.
Do not receive marking assistance.  (To be fair, I only have 30 students per class now, max).
Need to complete administrative work to prep for classes.   Student correspondence is a large portion of the time spent outside of class hours.
I only have met my boss once (the hiring interview), and get about 3 emails a term from him.   I have to handle every problem directly with the college for student setup to asking for help setting up a textbook at the bookstore.
Only find out if you get a contract on a per course basis about 3 months before, that could be cancelled 1 week before class is due to start due to low enrollment.
Would make approx $45-$50k if taking a full time load (three semesters per year, from Sept - end of June), teaching 5 classes a term.  Yep, that would be for teaching 5-5-5 load, which would take about 45-50 hours per week, assuming you were efficient by repeating a lot of courses term to term (e.g., stats 101), and only tweaking updates as you go.
Prepare your own lecture materials without guidance (I get an additional $1000 every third or fourth class to update materials)
Still have to receive the bloody student evaluations after the class is over and students can be opinionated brutalists if you give them power and a bit of voice.
Get EI hours credited at about 1/3 the hours actually worked.  (because marking and admin time is not considered hours).
Pension vests only after having taught about 20 classes.  (a lot more than the full time staff, who vest in 2 years or 14 classes).

The largest peeve is that I am restricted to being an employee, even though pretty much EVERYTHING I do qualifies me as a contractor.  --YET.. I can not claim any of the tax deductions for working from home or the expenses of supplies and equipment I provide.

When I found out the history of our employment contract, I realized that the Adjuncts were originally  newly retired college instructors on full pension and benefits, or current Full time instructors picking up extra cash, and were provided most of the basic benefits (computer, space to work, benefits) from their full time work, and therefore the adjunct contract was originally treated more like an overtime contract.   Then, the pickup of these contracts by newly minted master and phD students with no pushback to revise the conditions, has kept too many of the adjunct terms low and the profits high for the university.

All that said, I have a terrific program head that is supportive.  Any issue I think he would back me, first.   I enjoy the extra cash and the students, but would never do this close to full time, the pay is just not worth it. 

Carless

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2017, 07:14:30 PM »
Goldielocks that sounds like a horrible deal.  My experience teaching at a community college for one course was similar, and I wouldn't have done it if not for the experience.

Ihamo, my advice to people is to only do a PhD if your future plans absolutely require it.  If you want to work at one of the govt research labs or become a prof, go for it.  Otherwise it's not worth it.

My original plan was to become a prof.  I researched this by talking to a number of active profs about their current position (time requirements, what they liked/disliked etc)  I realised that the only way it would work would be by being super flexible about my first position geographically (even in my STEM field).  At the time I was willing to move to almost any country to follow this dream.  Now I'm almost through the degree, and my plans have changed (in large part due to MMM).  I'm still happy about the decisions I made and the work I produced, but it looks like none of it's going to be useful for my future career.

Ah well, the best laid plans and all of that.  I'm content with my current life and it's nice knowing I've contributed (even in a very tiny way) to the sum total of human knowledge.

Chesleygirl

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2017, 07:21:07 PM »
I suppose if they're happy in that career, more power to them. Lots of jobs out there don't pay well anymore, that used to be so called "prestigious" careers.

clarkfan1979

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2017, 09:45:47 PM »
When I was in grad school, I taught 2 classes/semester at the local community college. I would only teach 2 classes, if they were back to back. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I taught from 3:00-4:15 and 4:30-5:45. I would have office hours from 2:00-3:00, but I would rarely get students. I would do about 15 minutes of prep for the class and then work on stuff for my Ph.D. program. 

This was 3 hours of work, twice a week for a 15 week semester, which totals 90 hours for the semester. Let's count another 10 hours for grading. I would do 4 scan-tron tests for each class. This totals $4000/semester for 100 hours, which if my math is correct, is $40/hr.

Instead of trying to live on the $13,500 teaching stipend, I could definitely get by with an extra $8000/year. It was a very nice side-hustle while in grad school.

I had to beg my advisor to let me do it because if I was teaching at the community college, I wasn't working on her research projects. Even though it was only 7 hours/week, including the commute, she would still give me a hard time, especially if I asked for an extra day to finish something.

I didn't read the article, but I have read many similar articles in the past. Why someone would insist on trying to do a part-time job as a full-time job is beyond my comprehension. Part-time work is for people who only wish to work part-time or also have a full-time gig.

 

OurTown

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2017, 12:38:21 PM »
I, too, have a Ph.D.  From Duke, no less!  It was too late to trade it in, so I followed it up with a J.D.

StarBright

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2017, 01:24:00 PM »
My DH has a PhD and is teaching in a full time but non-tenure track position in the liberal arts.

He adjuncted one year before he ended up in this position.

Adjuncting was the worst! He made between $1200 and $6000 per class depending on where he was teaching. And he taught across 4 campuses and was usually in the car about 5 hours a day on days when he had classes at each campus.

He made about 18k for the whole year (he only got to teach the 6k class at an R1 once). Adding insult to injury was the fact that he had to pay for parking at the campuses where he only made 1200 per class.

He is a person for whom teaching is a passion job. He actually left a full time business development job to get his PhD. Even so , if he hadn't found a full time position after two years, the plan was for him to give up the dream and go back into business.

We're still hopeful that he'll end up on the tenure track as he has name recognition in his field and has published quite a bit but academia is ugly right now. He could support our family of 4 with a tenure track job at second tier state U but it would be very tight (mainly due to insurance and required retirement contributions).

mm1970

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2017, 05:59:06 PM »
I am a part time adjunct at a local college (degree granting, but not one of the research universities).  Many of us are retired and do this for additional cash and to give back to our industry.  We certainly don't do it for a "career".

Facts:   I teach project management to engineers and small business owners.  I have an engineering degree and a Masters, 20+ years of experience prior to teaching.

This college has 18k full time students and 29k part time students.
Has 600+ part time (adjunct) faculty, teaching between 1 and 6 classes a semester
Has 876 full time faculty

I make about $3k per course, per semester.  That is the top rate possible.   (The college brings in gross about $16k per course)

Adjuncts:
Pay union dues
Receive medical / dental benefits when in the prior year have taught 7 classes or more.   
Do not receive office space (There are 6 shared cubicles provide across 3 campus locations M-Fr only for all 600 of us)
Do not receive parking benefits (rules changed, the parking benefit actually costs more in taxes than the cost of paying for parking in cash if you work only part time evenings)
Provide their own laptops, software, cell phones.. and need to update their own software / windows version as the school does.
Do not receive a faculty email address (only the student email system), so can't get the instructors deals on software.
Can not print handouts directly from a laptop to a photocopier... must wait to share the one after hours computer that can do so.
Do not receive price reduced classes for personal enrichment at the college (I had really hoped this could be a benefit).
Pays for own training, except mandatory instructor skills training is provided free but you are not paid for your time to take it. (Hint, if it is mandatory, should the employee not be paid?)
Meet with students in coffee shop or hallways if there is not a "free" room available nearby the lecture room before or after class.
Do not receive marking assistance.  (To be fair, I only have 30 students per class now, max).
Need to complete administrative work to prep for classes.   Student correspondence is a large portion of the time spent outside of class hours.
I only have met my boss once (the hiring interview), and get about 3 emails a term from him.   I have to handle every problem directly with the college for student setup to asking for help setting up a textbook at the bookstore.
Only find out if you get a contract on a per course basis about 3 months before, that could be cancelled 1 week before class is due to start due to low enrollment.
Would make approx $45-$50k if taking a full time load (three semesters per year, from Sept - end of June), teaching 5 classes a term.  Yep, that would be for teaching 5-5-5 load, which would take about 45-50 hours per week, assuming you were efficient by repeating a lot of courses term to term (e.g., stats 101), and only tweaking updates as you go.
Prepare your own lecture materials without guidance (I get an additional $1000 every third or fourth class to update materials)
Still have to receive the bloody student evaluations after the class is over and students can be opinionated brutalists if you give them power and a bit of voice.
Get EI hours credited at about 1/3 the hours actually worked.  (because marking and admin time is not considered hours).
Pension vests only after having taught about 20 classes.  (a lot more than the full time staff, who vest in 2 years or 14 classes).

The largest peeve is that I am restricted to being an employee, even though pretty much EVERYTHING I do qualifies me as a contractor.  --YET.. I can not claim any of the tax deductions for working from home or the expenses of supplies and equipment I provide.

When I found out the history of our employment contract, I realized that the Adjuncts were originally  newly retired college instructors on full pension and benefits, or current Full time instructors picking up extra cash, and were provided most of the basic benefits (computer, space to work, benefits) from their full time work, and therefore the adjunct contract was originally treated more like an overtime contract.   Then, the pickup of these contracts by newly minted master and phD students with no pushback to revise the conditions, has kept too many of the adjunct terms low and the profits high for the university.

All that said, I have a terrific program head that is supportive.  Any issue I think he would back me, first.   I enjoy the extra cash and the students, but would never do this close to full time, the pay is just not worth it.
This was interesting and sounds familiar.  I know a few adjuncts at our local schools.  It's a side job for all of them, and several of them were happy to have it.  This way, they have regular income "I finally have a real paycheck!" as opposed to getting grants for their research.  At both the community college and the university, a PhD is not required.  Most people I know have a master's.

We have a local woman running for city council who is a teacher at the community college, and someone was busting on her for not being a "real" teacher because she only made $12k last year.  I'm not sure how many classes that is, but I'm guessing 1 or 2.  (My friend made $36k or so last year by teaching a class and a lab for both semesters).  I consider that a real teacher.

We are living in a gig economy.

My husband jokes sometimes that he feels like he's not a "real PhD" because he doesn't teach and he doesn't publish.  He's an engineer.  My company is FULL of PhD EE's who don't publish or teach.

Goldielocks

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2017, 06:52:50 PM »
$12k here represents 4 classes, 12 weeks x 3 hr/week each. 

Rural

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2017, 07:04:16 PM »
$12k here represents 4 classes, 12 weeks x 3 hr/week each.


4 classes won't get you $12K here, and they run 16 weeks. It's also three hours a week only if you never grade anything or talk to a student outside of class. Or plan anything.


I'm now full time and tenured, but I ran a contracting business loosely related to my field for years after getting the PhD and I taught the occassional class as an adjunct during that time just to keep my hand in. I was very lucky, first that I was able to pick up a lot more adjunct classes as the 2008 crash more or less tanked that business and then that I landed a tenure-track job within driving distance of home about a year and a half later.


One thing I like about my place: at least 90% or our courses are taught by full-time faculty, almost all of them tenured or on the tenure track. Most of the adjuncts we do have are things like lawyers teaching in the business school, PhD's retired from industry, and a few high school teachers with the credentials teaching at night for a side gig. Some of the adjuncts have only a masters; they make less per course than the PhDs (who don't make much).

« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 07:08:34 PM by Rural »

CU Tiger

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2017, 08:15:19 PM »
Quote
We have a local woman running for city council who is a teacher at the community college, and someone was busting on her for not being a "real" teacher because she only made $12k last year.  I'm not sure how many classes that is, but I'm guessing 1 or 2.  (My friend made $36k or so last year by teaching a class and a lab for both semesters).  I consider that a real teacher.

We are living in a gig economy.

My husband jokes sometimes that he feels like he's not a "real PhD" because he doesn't teach and he doesn't publish.  He's an engineer.  My company is FULL of PhD EE's who don't publish or teach.

My husband also has a PhD that he has never really used. It was a STEM degree, and he had stipends the whole time...except they ran out when he was ABD. So he went out and got a job as a SysAdmin supporting a group doing his science specialty, and they paid him while he finished the dissertation. He defended, we celebrated, and he went back to work with a bump in pay for being a Doctor.

Here is the thing, the best of the best in my husband's field will do 2-3 years of post docs and then, if they are lucky, a permanent job. The next best may do years of post doctoral work, move around the world to whatever institute will have them, and start looking for their next job as soon as they settle into their current gig. A lot of people will never get an academic job at all, there are limited opportunities, and you have to be willing to move, often, to where the jobs are. We knew married couples who had never lived in the same country, much less the same state. Some of the dual PhD couples sent their children home to be raised by their parents, so each Dr Science could follow their dreams. Lots of divorces from too much separation and too little money and stability.

After 10 years as a SysAdmin at a large facility, he was a Manager. After 20 years, he was the CIO of his company, managing all the data/computer systems on government contracts. He is working tangentially in the field his PhD was in, but he's never regretted leaving pure science/-academia.

Goldielocks

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2017, 08:26:30 PM »
$12k here represents 4 classes, 12 weeks x 3 hr/week each.


4 classes won't get you $12K here, and they run 16 weeks. It's also three hours a week only if you never grade anything or talk to a student outside of class. Or plan anything.


I'm now full time and tenured, but I ran a contracting business loosely related to my field for years after getting the PhD and I taught the occassional class as an adjunct during that time just to keep my hand in. I was very lucky, first that I was able to pick up a lot more adjunct classes as the 2008 crash more or less tanked that business and then that I landed a tenure-track job within driving distance of home about a year and a half later.


One thing I like about my place: at least 90% or our courses are taught by full-time faculty, almost all of them tenured or on the tenure track. Most of the adjuncts we do have are things like lawyers teaching in the business school, PhD's retired from industry, and a few high school teachers with the credentials teaching at night for a side gig. Some of the adjuncts have only a masters; they make less per course than the PhDs (who don't make much).

You are right, that is 3 hours of class time, I need to multiply that by about 2.5x to get actual time, so about 100 hours for every $3k.  And $3k is top payscale for someone with over 10 years of experience.   Only full time faculty (or retired adjuncts) have the phDs.. but I am from science, business and operations management side of things, not humanities, so Phd's other than economics are pretty rare  in our industry  region.

mm1970

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2017, 09:37:48 AM »
Quote
We have a local woman running for city council who is a teacher at the community college, and someone was busting on her for not being a "real" teacher because she only made $12k last year.  I'm not sure how many classes that is, but I'm guessing 1 or 2.  (My friend made $36k or so last year by teaching a class and a lab for both semesters).  I consider that a real teacher.

We are living in a gig economy.

My husband jokes sometimes that he feels like he's not a "real PhD" because he doesn't teach and he doesn't publish.  He's an engineer.  My company is FULL of PhD EE's who don't publish or teach.

My husband also has a PhD that he has never really used. It was a STEM degree, and he had stipends the whole time...except they ran out when he was ABD. So he went out and got a job as a SysAdmin supporting a group doing his science specialty, and they paid him while he finished the dissertation. He defended, we celebrated, and he went back to work with a bump in pay for being a Doctor.

Here is the thing, the best of the best in my husband's field will do 2-3 years of post docs and then, if they are lucky, a permanent job. The next best may do years of post doctoral work, move around the world to whatever institute will have them, and start looking for their next job as soon as they settle into their current gig. A lot of people will never get an academic job at all, there are limited opportunities, and you have to be willing to move, often, to where the jobs are. We knew married couples who had never lived in the same country, much less the same state. Some of the dual PhD couples sent their children home to be raised by their parents, so each Dr Science could follow their dreams. Lots of divorces from too much separation and too little money and stability.

After 10 years as a SysAdmin at a large facility, he was a Manager. After 20 years, he was the CIO of his company, managing all the data/computer systems on government contracts. He is working tangentially in the field his PhD was in, but he's never regretted leaving pure science/-academia.
Sounds familiar.  I know quite a few dual PhD couples who spent years following each other.  I know two who are both in academia.

One couple basically chose which university to go to/ get into tenure track by which one would give them BOTH jobs.  One was being heavily recruited.  That was part of the deal. (Both are fantastic.)

Same with the other couple, actually.  They both got jobs in the midwest at a major university.  In this case, it was tougher because they were from the same research group, but slightly different areas.  When an Ivy recruited the husband, they basically waited them out until they had a position for the wife.  Again, both candidates are top notch.

Interesting that in both cases, the husband was being recruited, but as an engineer, this surprises me not at all.

On the flip side, a third couple has moved around as the wife got recruited from one university to another.  The PhD husband was working in industry, so it was not a big deal for him to move.  Although I think they are doing a lot of commuting.

CU Tiger

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2017, 03:34:07 PM »
The next best may do years of post doctoral work, move around the world to whatever institute will have them, and start looking for their next job as soon as they settle into their current gig. A lot of people will never get an academic job at all, there are limited opportunities, and you have to be willing to move, often, to where the jobs are.
For some people this is an advantage, not a disadvantage.

The wages are not great, you live in low rent apartments with the bare minimum of furniture...if you are going to be there 6-8 months you do not want to invest in anything you can't leave.

That would have worked for me when I was in my twenties, but not as a forever way of life. We are both homebodies, who appreciate having a home and a circle of friends who we've known for years.

For other people it might be ideal though!

Chesleygirl

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2017, 04:26:04 PM »
My nephew wants to go to law school, although it sounds like a great career, there is lot of unemployment in the field and it gets worse every year as more law grads are pumped out of schools. Salaries aren't what they used to be. He'll owe some money when he gets out. He was advised to steer in a different direction but won't do it. I just hope he gets some kind of job that is not one of those unpaid internships, that involves working for free.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2017, 06:49:00 PM »
Back in the good old days, Americans valued the arts and literature and philosophy and all other kinds of thinking. Then, times changed and we decided that all that stuff is completely meaningless, which is why we now live is a virtual police state run by massive corporations like Google and Facebook, while the techheads are working really hard on developing AI so it can become self-aware and murder us all. Oh, well. I guess emojis are pretty fun.

talltexan

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2017, 12:57:06 PM »
Careful there, one of those faceless corporations has given me $1,300 in investment gains over the last year.

MgoSam

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2017, 01:01:18 PM »
My nephew wants to go to law school, although it sounds like a great career, there is lot of unemployment in the field and it gets worse every year as more law grads are pumped out of schools. Salaries aren't what they used to be. He'll owe some money when he gets out. He was advised to steer in a different direction but won't do it. I just hope he gets some kind of job that is not one of those unpaid internships, that involves working for free.

How good are his LSAT scores and undergrad GPA? If he can get high enough scores he may be able to get a scholarship to a law school and it may be worth taking that even if it is a lower tier law school.

BlueMR2

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2017, 05:12:25 PM »
My Mom did the adjunct thing for a few years as a hobby.  It was closer to volunteer work really.  At the end of it all she calculates she made roughly 25% of minimum wage after all the hours were added up...

I always wanted to do my phd for bragging rights, but making money won out.  Phd *can* pay a lot, but it's a high risk gamble.  The odds are not in your favor.

MrsPete

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #32 on: October 17, 2017, 11:58:47 AM »
You realize high school teachers (who, in my state, only need a bachelor's degree) earn more than this?  AND have a pension. 

Of course, high school comes with more paperwork and administrative whoo-ha.  And more behavior problems.

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2017, 12:24:42 PM »
You realize high school teachers (who, in my state, only need a bachelor's degree) earn more than this?  AND have a pension. 

Of course, high school comes with more paperwork and administrative whoo-ha.  And more behavior problems.

Yes.  High school teachers earn double what adjuncts make, here.  They have a better union, frankly.   

I would not say that they have more administrative work as a % of time spent, but they do have behaviour problems to deal with, and parents, and fellow colleagues, and whoo-ha.

MrsPete

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2017, 07:15:36 PM »
Yes.  High school teachers earn double what adjuncts make, here.  They have a better union, frankly.   

I would not say that they have more administrative work as a % of time spent, but they do have behaviour problems to deal with, and parents, and fellow colleagues, and whoo-ha.
Most teachers are not union members.  Teacher unions are really strong only in the Northeast, which -- not so ironically -- is also the area with the highest teacher pay and the most competition for teacher jobs. 

The paperwork involved in teaching increases every year.  It seems data is more important than children these days.

Rural

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2017, 03:29:46 AM »
You realize high school teachers (who, in my state, only need a bachelor's degree) earn more than this?  AND have a pension. 

Of course, high school comes with more paperwork and administrative whoo-ha.  And more behavior problems.

Yes.  High school teachers earn double what adjuncts make, here.  They have a better union, frankly.   

I would not say that they have more administrative work as a % of time spent, but they do have behaviour problems to deal with, and parents, and fellow colleagues, and whoo-ha.


High school teachers make more than I do as a tenured professor, but having done both, I wouldn't go back if it doubled my salary.

iris lily

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2017, 09:12:54 AM »
Also, studying something as esoteric as the ones Briesas mentioned, or getting advanced degrees in art history or philosophy or underwater basket weaving...people are their own worst enemies.


Those were curiously specific PhDs. Is that normal, getting a doctorate in something with so many descriptors on a subject they may be the only one in the world to care that much?

Pretty much any PhD is going to be about something that seems incredibly/absurdly specific to outside observers. In the humanities, this yields some rather funny cases.

I joke that DH has an advanced degree in tomatoes with minor in Poinsettias. Those were his study crops in his horticulture program. But I suppose tomatoes as a subject is more relatable than the Eastern European visual gig mentioned above.

LiveLean

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #37 on: October 18, 2017, 11:16:08 AM »
Back in the good old days, Americans valued the arts and literature and philosophy and all other kinds of thinking. Then, times changed and we decided that all that stuff is completely meaningless, which is why we now live is a virtual police state run by massive corporations like Google and Facebook, while the techheads are working really hard on developing AI so it can become self-aware and murder us all. Oh, well. I guess emojis are pretty fun.

+1 -- Let's hope John and Sarah Conner are able to come back and save us.

briesas

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #38 on: October 18, 2017, 11:30:00 AM »
Also, studying something as esoteric as the ones Briesas mentioned, or getting advanced degrees in art history or philosophy or underwater basket weaving...people are their own worst enemies.


Those were curiously specific PhDs. Is that normal, getting a doctorate in something with so many descriptors on a subject they may be the only one in the world to care that much?

Pretty much any PhD is going to be about something that seems incredibly/absurdly specific to outside observers. In the humanities, this yields some rather funny cases.

I joke that DH has an advanced degree in tomatoes with minor in Poinsettias. Those were his study crops in his horticulture program. But I suppose tomatoes as a subject is more relatable than the Eastern European visual gig mentioned above.

Yes, I think the official document would read something like "Eastern European Studies," but the visual material thing was the specific research / study focus.

maizefolk

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2017, 11:30:25 AM »
Sounds familiar.  I know quite a few dual PhD couples who spent years following each other.  I know two who are both in academia.

One couple basically chose which university to go to/ get into tenure track by which one would give them BOTH jobs.  One was being heavily recruited.  That was part of the deal. (Both are fantastic.)

Same with the other couple, actually.  They both got jobs in the midwest at a major university.  In this case, it was tougher because they were from the same research group, but slightly different areas.  When an Ivy recruited the husband, they basically waited them out until they had a position for the wife.  Again, both candidates are top notch.

Interesting that in both cases, the husband was being recruited, but as an engineer, this surprises me not at all.

On the flip side, a third couple has moved around as the wife got recruited from one university to another.  The PhD husband was working in industry, so it was not a big deal for him to move.  Although I think they are doing a lot of commuting.

Willingness to do spousal hires is one of the major ways that some of the big state schools set themselves apart from some higher tier/higher prestige private schools when it comes to recruiting.

There are other motives as well. I remember when I finally got my job offer for my current position the university was so excited about being able to offer my wife a spousal hire position, particularly if she worked in a STEM field so the hire could help them address gender balance in these departments killing two birds with one stone. ... unfortunately I didn't have a wife, let alone one with a STEM PhD. I think I had to explain that three different times when contacted by three different groups (chair of the search committee, HR, and a special NSF program set up to address gender equity in the sciences at the university). Stung a little honestly.

The other interesting thing I've heard is that if you come back 20 years later and look at the career trajectories of regular and spousal hires within the same department, there is essentially no detectable difference between the two. This suggests either A) we're not great at picking the best candidates in faculty searchers or B) assortative mating means that people who are good fits for tenure track positions tend to marry other people who are also good fits for tenure track positions. Both explanations seem plausible.

talltexan

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #40 on: October 25, 2017, 12:18:41 PM »
Maizeman, the way your post is written indicates someone with substantial training in thinking about science or social science. Does this describe you? (Ph.D. in economics asking)

maizefolk

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Re: The Ivied Halls of Academe
« Reply #41 on: October 25, 2017, 01:25:19 PM »
PMed.