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Bumblebea

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Bumblebea last won the day on December 14 2016

Bumblebea had the most liked content!

About Bumblebea

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  1. I could be wrong, but when you're just leading weekly discussion sections (granted these discussion sections are all tied to the same lecture class), it doesn't really count as separate classes. So you wouldn't refer to that as 3/3--that implies three different classes that you design and teach entirely by yourself. That sounds like the life.
  2. I taught at both programs, one course per semester and each and every summer. Most of these classes were classes I taught completely on my own. When I taught composition, I had 25 students per class. When I started teaching literature surveys, I had 50 students per class. I never did the "TA a big lecture class" experience. My first "fellowship" year came when I was working on my dissertation and won a national fellowship. It's definitely doable, but you really have to compartmentalize, and that's hard to do at first because it can take some time to get used to teaching. The most important thing is to keep your eye on the prize and constantly remind yourself that you're there to get a degree, not to bond with undergrads or change undergrad lives. Prioritizing your own work is necessary for survival in a high teaching load program.
  3. OP: Forgive me if this question is out of bounds, but why is your girlfriend so dead set against making it work with you if you go to Purdue and she goes to UA? I mean, I understand that long-distance relationships are never ideal, but certainly you both must have known that this would be a possibility at the end of admissions season. Academics often have to make LDRs work because they often can't end up at the same schools for jobs or fellowships. And not to be a Debbie Downer, but what are you going to do if you're in the same position two years from now? What if your partner wants to stay in Alabama and you get a PhD spot at NYU or something? Two years flies much faster than you might think. And then there's the job market ... I guess I'm trying to say that going to Alabama might be delaying the inevitable in that you are going to have to come to Jesus at some point in the near future. Having said that, this is an instance where the stakes are very low. If you choose to go to Alabama for your MA, you aren't throwing your future away or anything like that. But yes, being at an MA program where you feel supported to do your best work may put you in a better position for getting into a good PhD program. But it's a pretty big may, as there are no guarantees as far as PhD admissions go. You could go to Purdue and strike out for a PhD. You could go to Alabama and strike out for a PhD. Or you could get into Penn from either program, who knows. It really always comes down to a weird combination of luck and hard work and other circumstances completely outside your control. Additionally, I'm not sure it's absolutely essential to attend a program that has *exactly* what you want to do, especially at the master's level. I went into my MA program a devoted postcolonialist and came out an 18th centuryist. I know a person who, during his MA program, discovered a passion for graphic narrative and, because no one at his MA institution did graphic narratives, he got his PhD at a different program. My point is that he was still able to get into that other program, even though no one at his MA institution was there to really guide him. As far as the MA goes, you usually spend those two years filling distribution requirements and passing an exam--not writing a dissertation. So having the exact advisers in place is really not necessary. And moreover--the mentor you want to work with at either program will probably have more of their eggs in their PhD advisees' baskets because those are the people who are going to carry their name into the job market and beyond. They typically don't invest as much in their MA students' success because they don't have that kind of unlimited time and energy. That's not to say you won't benefit from their tutelage, but you're not going to be there long enough to create the kind of relationships that will translate into tangible gains.
  4. OP: Having looked at your list again, I might be more inclined to tell you to go to Alabama. The fact that they're not making you teach your first year but just work as a tutor instead is actually quite nice. It can be very hard to be thrown into being the sole instructor of a class in your first week of graduate school. Plus, Purdue is making you take two classes on teaching comp. Most programs require only one "teaching college English" intro class--not two. Since you're a literature person, that's one less you'll be able to take related to your interests. Since this is the one time when you can pick a program and NOT obsess about its rank, I would urge you to go to the program that you think will make you happy.
  5. I think their girlfriend is named Summer, though I could be wrong ... Even though Alabama seems like a good place, I would urge the OP to at least go to Purdue with an open mind. OP, since you're a 19th-century Americanist, have you checked out the work of Chris Lukasik? Anyway, I don't think you should let being waitlisted at Purdue influence your decision too heavily. I have a few friends who turned down a better-ranked program for lesser ones because they felt "shafted" by the better program. Some later regretted letting emotions cloud their judgment. Not that rank here matters (as others have said)--but you don't want to take getting waitlisted too personally. In any case, both seem like good options.
  6. As someone not only on the other side of the process but also on the other side of a degree, I want to say that grad school was absolutely the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life. I loved getting my PhD. And the farther along I got in my degree, the more I actually enjoyed grad school. (Most people who gripe talk about really enjoying coursework and hating their dissertation--I was the exact opposite.) Grad school is definitely not for everyone, but I also got annoyed by people who were constant Debbie Downers about the entire thing. For me it was really worth it, no regrets. Even though I haven't gotten a TT job yet, I still don't regret it. Seriously just ignore those people.
  7. I agree with this. The rankings are, in part, a reflection of a hierarchical system that already exists. I don't think anyone on a hiring committee actually consults them before making decisions. I don't think any professional in the field worth his or her salt really gives them much thought or takes them seriously. However, the rankings are also a self-perpetuating truism and they become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Berkeley remains the best because everyone assumes that Berkeley is the best. Is it really "the best"? In some things, probably. In other things, absolutely not. My bigger problem with the rankings, though, is the fact that they continue to be published year after year, and they rely on extremely sloppy methodology. They come from a survey distributed to DGSs and department chairs, and only 14% of those surveyed actually respond. I'm guessing that few of us would pick a hospital to have an experimental lifesaving treatment on the basis of rankings where only 14% of those surveyed responded. No--we'd go ask other professionals and seek out additional information. For English grad school, the stakes obviously aren't as high ... but IMO, it's absolutely irresponsible and maybe unethical that USNWR continues to recycle this lousy survey year after year after year and pretend that it represents anything other than a small number of people bothering to respond. And the rankings do matter, to some extent. Even though most professors and academics probably don't take them seriously, they're still out there. They determine which programs people apply to in greater numbers, and larger applicant pools translate into more competitive cohorts. Today's grad students are tomorrow's professors. I was a grad hopeful almost 10 years ago, and many of the people with whom I went through the process are now professors in a position to admit grad students or participate in a hiring process. Many of these people ten years ago believed that one's professional life would be forever determined by where one got into grad school. The process often "worked" for them, so they were eager to internalize those successes and attribute them to hard work and ability. I'm guessing--well, actually I know--that many of them still hold fast to the belief that programs are self-sorting and that certain jobs are appropriate only for people who went to certain schools. These beliefs don't go away simply because you become more educated. They tend to solidify and manifest in things like confirmation bias. So, I disagree that the rankings are democratizing. I think they're a natural thing--we all want to know where we fall in the hierarchy. But I also think that designing a much more comprehensive ranking system wouldn't be that difficult. Would it still suffer from problems of confirmation bias and perceived prestige? Of course. But it also might get at the nitty-gritty differences between programs in a way that would be more material than speculative. And the fact that no one has pursued this kind of survey is interesting indeed (to me, at least). I believe that there are a lot of people out there who still benefit from the status quo and don't really want a more democratic leveling of graduate programs.
  8. Not very. They're seven years old (I can't emphasize how much has changed on the job market since 2010) and the data were compiled even earlier than 2010, so they're probably more like 10 or 12 years old. And I can't really remember this very well, but I believe that when they came out there were a lot of questions surrounding their methodology. Like, it's not clear how job placements were even factored into their ranking system.
  9. That's not what anyone said, though. But it's always good advice to be respectful and polite in these situations, especially if you're dealing with administrative assistants and people who have many other things to do on any given day besides answer emails.
  10. You can definitely email them to ask when you will know. I wouldn't recommend emailing them to know "the answer." They probably aren't equipped to give you the answer right now, and asking them straight out for the answer might come across as pushy or demanding. I will say that MA acceptances tend to be later than PhD acceptances, so it's not necessarily weird to have heard nothing by mid-March. In an email, you might want to just say that you're currently weighing offers to other programs (I personally wouldn't mention where) and would like to know an approximate date when you can expect to get an answer from their program. Just short and polite like that.
  11. I wouldn't put too much stock in it, for all the reasons we've just enumerated. And Claremont's program is inexplicably ranked in the top 50. What the hell.
  12. I don't know if I would be as cynical as this faculty member ... I have seen people produce many high-quality articles in well-regarded journals. But I do think that people like this are rare. And I also think that it's not the best move professionally because the monograph is the ultimate way to get ahead. Publishing eight journal articles is not going to get you as far ahead as publishing two articles and generating interest in your book project. And I don't mean to imply anything about the professor who said that, but I've often seen the "it's probably not quality scholarship" dig made out of envy. In my experience, the accusation is leveled by people at higher-ranked programs against people from lower-ranked programs. People from less elite programs are many times in a bind--they have to publish more just to get their name on the map, but then they're accused of publishing *too much* or giving the milk away for free or something. It exemplifies a lot about what's wrong with academia--you're told to work really hard but not look like you're working *too hard* or something. It really does. I had a really high teaching load during grad school and was finally able to write and submit an article between year four and five--when I got the summer off from teaching.
  13. I would urge you to look at the total picture regarding the graduate students. See if you can info about how many are publishing peer reviewed articles on the whole. I tell you this because every program has That Person. That Person exists in every department from Texas Tech to UC-Riverside to Buffalo to Yale to Stanford, and they're rarely representative of grad students in general. There is also good reason for "holding back" on publication, and this is something that many dissertation chairs and advisors advocate. You don't want to publish too much out of your dissertation because doing so could hurt its chances of getting published as a book. I was also told as a grad student not to publish too much before getting a TT job because everything I published before getting a job would not work toward my tenure case. Now, that advice might be out of date because there are so few TT jobs out there anyway, but that belief system is still in circulation at a lot of programs that have success placing their students. So you just want to keep that in mind. The reason the students at Top Program aren't flush with journal articles might have more to do with playing a long game than just coasting on their laurels.
  14. I'm not sure if such a thing could ever be accounted for, or if it should matter at all. Most people don't do "truly national" job searches in that most people have places where they absolutely will not live or jobs that they just won't take. And I think that most programs, regardless of ranking, have people who decide on an alternative career, or are confined to a specific location because of their family. I know people who went to the very best programs and made these decisions based on family or other interests. So I guess I feel like this would just balance out. Re: ways to assess programs: I would personally want to know how many grad students manage to have an article accepted to a peer-reviewed journal before they earn their degree. I think this is a good indicator of program quality for a few different reasons. First, it tells you something about program priorities. If grad students manage to publish, it is because they are being advised and guided well. Second, it tells you something about the time students have to pursue their research. Programs that demand more teaching oftentimes provide less time for grad students to undertake the onerous process of publishing an article. Third, it tells you that the grad students are doing research that is being recognized nationally. It's cutting edge enough, it's innovative, etc.
  15. It's really difficult to say because different institutions have different hiring criteria. It's also difficult to say because no one really KNOWS why they did or didn't get hired at a particular institution. But the general rule of thumb is that small elite LACs (or schools trying to be small elite LACs) fall harder for name recognition. They want as much Ivy on the faculty as they can possibly get because it looks good to the parents shelling out $70k a year. The professors at those institutions are also going to be less familiar with professionalization as it works in your field. In other words, you might be the sole Americanist they'll have on their faculty. And they--a collection of people representing fields as diverse as medieval or world lit--are not necessarily going to know if your dissertation is groundbreaking or your publications are innovative. They also aren't going to care if you've held X fellowship from Y library. They are going to care much more about the name at the top of your CV. Major R1 departments are going to be more discerning. That's where you'll often see someone from a lesser-known program get interviewed. HOWEVER, in this day and age, R1s are almost exclusively hiring people who already have TT jobs and books in the pipeline. This is because R1 schools want to hire someone they know they can tenure. Recently, administrations at R1 schools have taken away the tenure line entirely if the department hires someone and doesn't tenure them. So ... all things being equal, I would probably recommend going to the school with more prestige going for it. NGL, it's brutal out there and if you come from a program that's not at the top of that list, you pretty much need to kill yourself professionalizing. And regarding your particular situation: I wouldn't make decisions purely on the basis of faculty and where they are in their careers. I know too many people who go somewhere to work with a professor, only to see that professor leave for another program. Seven years is a long time. Faculty are the most unpredictable thing in this whole game. Reputation is much slower to change.