ERIC Number: EJ1001921
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr-15
Reference Count: 0
Why Not a 2-Tier System?
Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr 2013
In recent years, some very smart people--like Michael Berube, Marc Bousquet, Anthony Grafton, and William Pannapacker, to name a few--have offered on these pages their thoughts about how to fix graduate education and, by extension, the academic labor market, which, everyone seems to agree, has "unraveled". The author approaches this issue from a different perspective: as someone who does not work at a prestigious research university but rather at a two-year teaching college; as someone with several decades of experience on faculty search committees; and as someone who does not hold a Ph.D. but instead something much closer to what Berube describes as "a rigorous four-year M.A." Reading a passage from Berube's "Chronicle" essay in February left the author wondering: Why not a two-tier system? Why shouldn't educators at least consider it, given that nothing else seems to be working? The author believes that such a system might well offer solutions to the two main problems with the academic labor market: namely, the glut of Ph.D.'s and the resulting "underclass" of highly qualified people who might never find secure, permanent employment in their fields. The author proposes that graduate schools should create a degree that specifically qualifies recipients to teach in college but not necessarily to be researchers. This new hybrid degree would bring a lower salary than a doctorate, but would take far less time and money to earn than a doctorate. A college-teaching degree would carry more weight and respect than a master's, which, as many critics have noted, has become somewhat watered-down in recent years. The author understands that many readers will think this is a harebrained notion, and maybe it is. Others may conclude that the idea is simply impractical. But what is being done now isn't working and hasn't worked for some time. He believes that it's time to blow up the system and put something else in its place--something that takes into account current realities and offers more hope for people entering the profession.
Descriptors: Graduate Study, College Faculty, Faculty Workload, Career Development, Research, Research Universities, Specialization, Instruction, Relationship, Doctoral Programs, Labor Market
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A