Thursday, August 13, 2015

Many types of universities, many types of careers

When we are finishing our doctoral degrees, most of us are counseled by our mentors to find jobs at "the best" universities. The best nearly always, in such conversations (monologues, really), means top ranking research universities. But the "best" universities are frequently not the best universities for some students, right? For instance, some thrive at smaller liberal arts schools or teaching oriented state universities. I would dare say the same is true for us.

Many go into the academe due to a love for their subject, a desire to teach and a passion for change.

A passion for teaching. Think about it. Yet, most are advised that teaching universities are beneath them, that they really need to go to a top university in order to have a real career.

Such academic arrogance is part of why people often feel compelled to look for jobs outside the academe.  It stops them from applying for positions at one of the many thousands of non-research universities or community colleges in the United States. Yes, community colleges. I taught there for two years as a full time lecturer at Community College of Philadelphia while I was a doctoral student, and I just loved my time there.

It is important to really think of the kind of career that YOU want to have. Your dissertation chair and mentors will be retiring soon. It is your career. It is your life. Live it how and where you choose. Do not be limited by the internalized voices of others. There is honor in being a teacher. There is honor in loving the classroom, and loving it more than writing. If this is coming from a guy who privileges writing about just about anything (with the notable exception of dogs!), well.....

No comments:

Post a Comment