Caveat emptor

Edward Jahn ejahn3141 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 17 14:31:19 UTC 2013

This is a problem not only for PhD's. Job losses and falling income affect
everybody who has to work for a living. It started with the financial
crisis, and is being made worse by austerity policies. It will keep on
getting worse until those policies are changed.

On Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM, Everett, Daniel <DEVERETT at>wrote:

>  Folks,
>  I am posting this because linguistics is one of the disciplines I think
> needs to consider this seriously. There are too many academics in the
> liberal arts with no chance of full-time, secure employment in the area in
> which they have done their PhD.
>  I am not knocking the discipline. I just see too many folks in the areas
> where I have lived looking for part-time employment because they cannot get
> full-time work.
>  Dan
>  A lot of what drives prestige attribution in academics are rejection
> rates. Publishing in a journal with a 95% rejection rate is usually more
> prestigious than publishing in a journal with a 50% rejection rate. Getting
> into a college or program with a high rejection rate is usually more
> prestigious than getting into one with a lower rejection rate.
> So it is only natural that academics, enculturated into this system, might
> believe that their department is better the more applicants it gets for a
> position. Up to a point perhaps. But if you are, as we had at places I have
> been in English departments, Linguistics Departments, Philosophy
> Departments and so on getting, say, hundreds of applications per position,
> it isn't prestige that is involved. It is an ailing discipline that needs
> to declare a moratorium on PhDs. Remember, potential graduate students
>  trust us. They will enter our programs if they seem interesting, even if
> there is about zero chance for them to get a good job. They do this because
> they believe that you wouldn't have accepted them knowing they had little
> chance of employment.
>  We need to think about this and talk about it more as a discipline.  One
> might make the case that PhD students should not be admitted to programs
> who have less than 95% employment rate in the subject of the PhD. Perhaps a
> few points lower. At least perhaps we could consider a moratorium on PhD
> admissions for lower-placement departments.
>       *************************
> Daniel L. Everett
>    Dean of Arts and Sciences
>       Bentley University – Morison 308****
>  175 Forest Street****
>  Waltham, MA 02452****
>  T: 781.891.2188****
>  F: 781.819.2125
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