Response to Rosemary Feal (MLA & Alternate Academics)

Because 140 characters is not enough, I wanted to put up a quick post in reply to Rosemary Feal’s tweet that she did address alternate academic careers with the Inside Higher Education reporter:

Agreed- am sad IHE article didn't inc my comments on topic!! RT@nowviskie @brendabethman Hope imp't pts in yr post get att #mla11 #alt-ac
Rosemary Feal

First, I want to say that I’m also sorry that conversation wasn’t included in the piece I referred to in a previous post, and I’m very glad to hear that Feal and the MLA are indeed thinking beyond the “faculty jobs (be those TT, NTT, or adjunct) vs. leaving the academy” dichotomy that so often permeates the discussion around humanities graduate education. That said, I think we still have a long way to go before that conversation is as robust as I believe it needs to be, particularly when it comes to how to restructure graduate education so that students are potentially employable in something other than a faculty job at the end of their studies — I don’t think the solution should be to say “well, just don’t get a Ph.D. in the humanities unless you want to be faculty or just for the love of it” (and I don’t intend to imply that Feal is saying that, but some people do) — rather I’d like to see the available assistantships expended to include some administrative training so that people might perhaps have more options at the end of a program. While I appreciate that people are starting to talk more about “alternate academic” careers, I don’t feel that the training aspect has yet been sufficiently addressed and I would love to see that conversation grow.

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