If you haven’t been scared away from getting that PhD by the thousands of grads competing for scarce tenure-track positions or the looming specter of grad school debt, you should take a look at this New York Times profile of a newly minted scholar looking to make it as a professor in New York. Like many of his peers, James Hoff has spent the past year and a half since getting his doctorate piecing together adjunct lecturer gigs at various schools while applying for highly competitive full-time jobs. These gigs are unstable, low-paying, and offer no benefits:
Nearly 18 months after being awarded a Ph.D. in English, Mr. Hoff has yet to find a full-time job. He cobbles together a living, struggling to line up courses to teach at different colleges around the city. If he is lucky, he lands four classes a semester, a full-time workload that pays about $24,000 a year.
This semester, only three classes came through.
“Scared,” Mr. Hoff said, describing his emotions when he learned he would have a $3,000 hole in his budget. He is 42 years old, with a wife, a toddler and mounting credit card debt.
Sadly, this situation is increasingly becoming the norm. The NYT notes that 70 percent of college faculty members lack tenure, and many of them are adjuncts who haven’t been able to land a tenure-track position. These programs will have to make dramatic curriculum changes, or else they will have to shrink. Probably they will have to do both.Read the whole thing.