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Ph.D transfer, anyone done this sort of thing and succeeded?

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Hi, linguists.

I am considering transferring to a better phd program, and wonder whether anyone has done this sort of thing before and succeeded. 

I want to do this because the advising available in our department is quite awful. Though I am doing probably the best among the phd cohort(winning university-wide award, best gpa possible, very good reports from instructors, etc), I am pretty much learning everything my own, and advising is  like a 9minutes conversation per semester. Emails rarely got responded, or got responded after two weeks (which is useless after all). Then, for external fellowship and grant application, folks who barely spent time with students told me that they did not know well about my research and cannot write LORs that focus on research(of course they did not know because they did not bother to spend time in knowing mine or those of other students well after all). What has happned is that this department has not had anyone getting external funding for many years in a row. Surely a bleak future!

what’s worse is the situation that it has so few profs that it is literally impossible to have a dissertation committee. Current 4th year or 5th students get bare minimal advising from the one or two folks in the diss committee, and sending emails back and forth with the external members who are the majority of the committee and the couple email communication is what it means to be advising. This is not anything new, I guess. Then, what ended up for MANY recent phds who completes their diss here is 

1. Cannot find a decent job anywhere else and be an adjunct in this department for more than 4 years in a row, teaching 3-5courses per semester 

2.cannot find an adjunct prof job even here, and stay here for another couple years as a TA

3. Ended up working in some wage-based job that has nothing to do with the phd whatsoever, and pay does not match the expected pay of the degree at all

Finance and job matters aside, how about research? The output of the research is far below standard as well! Rarely, if ever, a phd dissertation completed here is of publishable quality. Not a single dissertation (correct me if I am wrong) completed here makes it to be published as a LI monograph. Citation of each of them barely gets more than 2 digits over many years(which is in a sad contrast with good departments such as umass where many outstanding diss. got cited hundreds of times or thousands of times). Of course, understandably, they could not, with such minimal advising and poor connection with the field and other well known folks in the field.

Okay, research aside, how about course offering? Probably the biggest class size you could find in a phd program, with a single course crosslisted and taken by BA, MA, and Ph.D students. What this means is little to none personal attention from instructors. Plus, the quality of instructors is so low to the point that many courses are taught by nontenured people with little to none publication whatsoever, and they cannot address many questions about the materials they are teaching. Better to ask google than asking them! I am not saying adjuncts are necessarily bad, but adjuncts who are not interested in research and not doing research at all are bad fits to teach such research oriented courses.

another problem is that course offering neither fits students research interests nor is marketable. Because the course intends for large enrollment from BA, MA, and PhD at the same time, it is impossible to make it specialized. Then, a so-called graduate level seminar here ends up being a general survey course that would otherwise be a lower division undergrad course in other better universities. These kind of course are majority of offering here and seem to me useless for research, and training in these courses are not the training marketable for academic job search in the future.

These are some of the reasons that I want to get the hell out of here. Any Input welcomed !







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