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Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education | The Nation

Email Address: 
karen@leick.com

Sauve qui peut

I’ve thought for some time about the reason that tenured professors don’t seem to be as bothered by the fate of graduates students as they should be (the professors I had at Northwestern when I got my PhD in English, for example). I think they unconsciously believe that the reason they got their jobs is that they worked very hard doing brilliant work; furthermore, they think the “best” students who are as brilliant as they are will also succeed in finding tenure track jobs at research institutions in desirable locations. They still seems to believe that the people who get the great jobs "deserve” them, and that everyone else must have made mistakes or missed opportunities along the way.

I did get a t-t job, but it was at a regional campus of a state school (in the middle of nowhere) and, unable to find a job in a major city, I finally just quit (before I was up for tenure) and moved back to Chicago. The decision clearly shocked and disappointed at least one of my former professors, but every single person outside of academia thought that my choice was obvious. What am I doing now? Adjuncting, of course.