Non-traditional route to full-time professorship

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Feb 3, 2020.

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  1. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    When I was in school, kids would say Lil Wayne dropped out and he did fine, so they should be okay.

    And the retort was that just because Lil Wayne dropped out doesn't mean dropping out makes you Lil Wayne. (Or replace Lil Wayne with Zuckerberg, Gates, Dell, et al.)
     
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    How is a trend here discerned? Are there actually more instances? Or are we finding more because we're looking more?

    Personally, I don't know. I think no one else does, either. This could very well be "wish fulfillment." Or it might actually be a "trend." We don't know. It's not measured.

    But let's stipulate that it is happening, that more holders of DL doctorates are getting traditional academic jobs. That piece of information isn't anywhere near as valuable to others as would be:

    1. How this is happening, and
    2. To whom.

    Are these grads with little experience competing with their brethren from traditional schools? Or, are they nontraditional applicants? Say, people with substantial practical experience who are moving to academia? And how are they doing it? Are they applying through traditional pathways? Or, are they finding positions the way most professionals do, through contacts, referrals, etc., where someone wants to hire them and pulls them through the process?

    We can't even safely say this is a thing. And we have absolutely no idea the magnitude, nor the dynamics of the phenomenon. The reason I'm hot about this issue is that I find a lot of self-delusion when it comes to earning college degrees nontraditionally. Some people tell themselves some pretty fanciful things. This is particularly true with the "I want a doctorate so I can teach" crowd. But we all know that a quid pro quo like that doesn't exist; that things are more complicated, more messy than that. (Same with the "I need 18 graduate credits so I can teach" bunch. But I digress.) It's that kind of thinking--and the sloppy thinking that feeds into it--that sets off my B.S. detector.

    I've been an advocate for nontraditional higher education for more than 40 years. I cheered DETC when it filled a void ignored (briefly) by the RAs. I'm for the little guy in all of this. A large part of my personal, professional, and academic lives are tied up in it. Heck, I designed, executed, and graduated from a PhD specializing in this stuff. And I very much want this to be true and the way to do it be known. But we don't know that it's true and we know even less about how it happens. Why does this matter? Because of what I described earlier about self-delusion and quid pro quo.

    A little confirmation bias can go a long way, but it doesn't help anyone.
     
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.
  3. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

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