Friday, November 23, 2007

History and destiny

By way of The Chronicle of Higher Education's "On Hiring" blog, I've encountered this fascinating study of career outcomes in history:

Ph.D. in History reads the tea leavesHistory department outcomesWould you like to know where you will end up in the history profession? I have discovered a formula that can tell you your fortune. All you need in order to figure out how far you will go in this profession is two pieces of information: the number of years that elapsed between your bachelors and doctoral degree and the age at which you earned your PhD. Once you have these numbers ready, [examine the adjacent chart, which was] prepared using data from the 2003 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty. . . .

Did you notice that tenured faculty at doctoral institutions appeared at the top of this list and that faculty at two-year schools appeared at the bottom? This is the hierarchy in our profession. The people who go the highest in this profession start their doctoral programs sooner and finish them faster than the rest of us. So it looks as if the die is cast by the time we graduate from graduate school. . . .

Dancing babiesAnd when you're done pondering this analysis, check out this bonus post on the "hidden costs of tenure." Wherever she is these days, Ally McBeal would certainly appreciate the point.


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