Re: Tenure at Minnesota (fwd)

Steve Krause (krause@MIND.NET)
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 08:27:59 -0700

VV wrote:
>Eric, right on! dis-purse the uni-versity, diaspora, ... Let's not get
>mad, just nomad our way down the road. Remember the Sophists. And also
>remember to charge more than enough! And then some more.

With all do respect Victor, this "nomadic" lifestyle already exists: it's
called teaching part-time. I knew many people in Bowling Green, OH who
spent half of their day on I-75, going between classes at BGSU, Toledo,
Findlay, and other little towns in NW Ohio. Some of these people worked
out of their trunk. None of these people were happy campers. So, before
we chase the romance of the ancients, perhaps we ought to recognize that
like it or not, the nomadic teaching life is already thriving too much.

One other thing: I wonder a great deal about the viability of the PhD in
the world outside of academia. I worked for a while between my masters and
PhD, and I think it's fair to say that my master's degree was seen as "too
much damn education" by a lot of coworkers. It certainly wasn't an
advantage in my job application process.

Besides, PhD programs in English train students to do one and only one
thing: be college English teachers. There are obviously a lot of other
benefits to the degree, but I think many folks learn to be good writers,
thinkers, and teachers _despite_ the training as opposed to because of it.
In any event, it seems to me that humanities PhD degrees are largely not
understood by people outside of academia, and that includes potential

BTW, there was an interesting essay in the _NYT Sunday Magazine_ this past
weekend about reforming the PhD so it is more like a law degree: 3 years
after the undergraduate degree, no dissertation. The arguement was if the
degree was more like this, then people who earned PhDs could perhaps do
things that were different than teach college, and the world outside of
academia might better understand the degree and be willing to employ these
doctors. I'm not sure I agree with this, but it was interesting.

Steve Krause * Department of English * Southern Oregon State College
1250 Siskiyou Blvd. * Ashland, OR 97520 * Office Phone: 541-552-6630
School e-mail: * Personal e-mail: