Do PhDs really want tenure-track jobs?

Well, the seemingly obvious answer is, “Yes!” but dig a bit deeper and it’s not so clear cut. In my newest post for University Affairs I go beyond survey data to show that it’s not good enough to only support students who dream of tenure. An excerpt:

It’s a fair assumption that most, and perhaps the vast majority of PhD students intend to pursue a tenure-track professorial job once they are done. We have stats that show this – this study, for example, found that 86 percent of humanities doctoral graduates planned to work as professors (p. 20). But we also know that doing a doctoral degree socializes students into academia. As Kelly J. Baker recently pointed out, academia is a “total institution.” It’s part of the logic of the system that graduate students want to secure research positions at universities after they graduate. That intention is baked into their experience. Alternative possibilities fade away or never emerge at all as students immerse themselves in the academic world.

To read the full post, head over to University Affairs.

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