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university of kentucky = hostile environment for philosophers


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I'll be reposting this every month or so that new students can see it and be properly informed about the debacle that is the university of kentucky philosophy program. Get this: the program's been around for 20 years. According to a website analysis, in all that time, the number of alumni who are on the TT or tenured at a non-community college in philosophy is 6, and one of those is at the university of kentucky itself. The department claims that in that time, 42 students who obtained degrees were not placed--so that's a 14% placement record, a record sure to decline with recent market pressures (only 1 of the 6 named received their degree after 2003). That makes the placement percentage since 2003 a whopping 5.8%!!! Scores of other students continue to be ABD after the departure of prominent faculty (Ho, Goldberg). Approximately 10 people are on the market this year from UK. Instead of admitting their poor placement across two decades, the faculty have decided to implement arcane percentages of failure on comprehensive examinations for current graduate students. When confronted by an external review report which indicated that the exam's function was counterproductive and possibly sexist, the faculty took no action. The department provides a meager wage (less than 11k) accompanied by one of the arduous teaching loads in the business, especially in the first years of the program.

Even if you're from Kentucky (which is of course a growing segment of the grad student body), at best, with a 5.8% chance of a full-time job, and standards tightening, you face a better chance of being a three year teaching robot in the program before you get dumped or decide, probably most wisely, to leave. This goes without saying, and it's not just UK, but you really shouldn't even waste your money to APPLY to a non-ranked program. I applied to Kentucky because I was willing to take the risk but the risk looks very different after you realize the new way they've decided to improve placement--unjustifiably getting rid of 70% of first through third years over a three year period, most of them analysts. Many people from diverse areas of the country live in areas with no Ph.D. programs in philosophy. They have to apply elsewhere in order to further their careers. Students in Kentucky should think of their state similarly. Students interested in continental philosophy from afar should note that the program is fragmenting widely and that, with faculty walking out of hiring meetings, and everyone trying like hell to get away, the department will cease to exist soon enough. Vandy, Penn State, Depaul are all exceptional options. If you don't get in, apply again the next year and work for a year. UK just can't, can't be an option for you.

link: http://www.as.uky.edu/academics/departments_programs/Philosophy/Philosophy/Graduate/Pages/FormerPhDStudents.aspx

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It should be noted that the author of the first post on this thread is (was) a disgruntled grad student at UK who could not accept the fact that he failed their comprehensive exam. In the aftermath of his failure, he decided to bash the department any way he could, and in doing so he himself caused the department to be a hostile environment for philosophers.

Having been at UK for four years now, I would like to state that the program/department is improving every year and that most of the grad students there are satisfied with the department.

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