Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Graduate education in the humanities is a sort of pyramid scheme"

Dean Dad of Confessions of a Community College Dean has an interesting view on supply and demand, teaching positions, labor, and grad school humanities programs.
I'll just put this out there and endure the inevitable flaming: English graduate programs should take fewer graduate students. The production of excess labor is what makes exploitative adjunct hiring possible in the first place. As long as the supply of English Ph.D.'s far exceeds the demand, which looks to be the case for the foreseeable future, it's irresponsible not to reduce graduate programs. I can understand English departments not wanting to hear that, but it's true. Right now, graduate education in the humanities is a sort of pyramid scheme, in which the folks at the top of the pyramid (the tenured faculty at R1's) are sustained by the exploitation of those lower in the ranks (graduate students, adjuncts, etc.) If we can't break up the pyramid altogether, we can at least do damage control by shrinking it.

I'm not sure how much I agree with Dean Dad on this, but I do have to wonder how much this could apply to foreign language programs like mine...