A No-Brainer

This week I read a rather heartbreaking article in the Guardian entitled “They called my university a Ph.D. factory – now I understand why.” (The author is, I believe, a woman with a doctorate in literature, but since she goes by “Anonymous Academic,” this is not certain.)

“When I was considering whether to study for a doctorate, I heard my chosen university disparaged as a Ph.D. factory,” notes the author. “At the time, I took this to be a sign of efficiency. Now I understand. Ph.D.s are manufactured; they drop off the end of a conveyer belt, but no one cares what happens to graduates after that. All universities care about are the fees paid by students and the cheap labor they provide. This is the opposite of efficiency: no factory would mindlessly churn out goods that no one wants. Even so, I began a Ph.D. knowing that I stood a very small chance of securing a permanent academic job at the end of it. Why didn’t I quit? Undoubtedly, self-delusion played a part.” [Emphasis added.]

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