Non-traditional route to full-time professorship

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

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  1. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    I don’t do apps – never have done an app, cruising or otherwise. That’s partially because I have neither an I-phone nor a smart phone. Or a television, for that matter. There are many ways that I am intentionally old-fashioned – I’d probably make a good Mennonite.

    So I hate to disappoint you Chris, but I hardly spend my time sitting around and whacking off to your avatar. I should be offended by your inappropriate comment, but I figure I owed you one for the earlier “master baiter” comment.

    As for “hot young guys” like you, I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression, “I’m old enough to be your father.” Well, Chris, I’m old enough to be your grandfather. Notwithstanding that I don’t do the daddy thing, I’ve seen your picture and if being a hot young guy is your fantasy, enjoy it.
    I agree with you – barring anything unexpected, I have confidence that you can pull it off. But don’t be too cocky about it. That’s how people trip over their own feet.
    You already have compared yourself to me, and you’re still doing the competition thingey. Every time you make generational comments, you're full of comparisons. (And I agree with Rich - you are definitely ageist.)

    One of the best things about doing my doctorate at Union was that the school was not competitive, it was collegial. Do a biblical concordance search on the phrase “. . . one another,” and look at how many examples there are that encourage people to do just that – be collegial, not competitive.

    I will repeat myself here when I say that I am not in competition with you and, thus, can fully encourage you in your doctoral activities.

    But you’re still weak in one area – with knowledge comes wisdom. Work on that one. You’ll get there, I have full faith in that – but you’re not there yet. Maybe if you spend less time on those apps with which you appear to be more familiar than I am.
    ITJD and tadj like this.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It really was. I’ve done quite a few nontraditional degrees and none of them had that sense of community. No matter what we were all studying, we were going through the same experience. People helped each other, listened to each other, and (in some instances at residencies) did more than that with each other.

    I was at one residency with this guy who was Russian-born but by then a US resident. I asked if he’d ever served in the Soviet military. He had—military service was compulsory. He’d served in the reserve. I asked about the dates, and they overlapped my Air Force career. I noted, with a hint of irony, that we were once mortal enemies, poised to destroy the world and each other. Then we laughed and had a drink together.
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  3. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Funny thing is that the way the generations play out, it's usually not the generation before that's the problem with the current, it's usually the one prior. Boomers generally gave birth to Gen Y and Gen X generally births Gen Z.

    Generation list and dates.
    Traditionalists - Civil War to 1945. Dad was here, he's got his issues but things were normative.
    Boomers - 1946-1964 - The youngest are 56 years old. - This group is uniformly f'd up due to coming up when America could do no wrong.
    Gen X - 1965-1976 - I'm here, raised by traditionalists and afraid of recessions.
    Millennial or Gen Y - 1977- 1995 - Yup, you guessed it, pretty uniformly f'd up by the boomers. Everyone gets a trophy.
    Centennial or Gen Z - 1996 to diaper. My son is here. He looks at others and goes.. huh...

    Exceptions to every rule obviously. That said, those of us that are not boomer or millennial have to put up with the garbage those two generations throw at each other. "OK Boomer" should really be thrown at Gen Y too.
  4. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    You, dear sir are no doubt an academic talent and will succeed. However, my advice to you which I hope will be well received - is that academic positions are earned by developing good relationships with those who are already in the field and in many cases senior to you in more than just the professional definition.

    There is one general truth in academia. Schools with funds like to hire from doctoral pools from higher prestige schools. It's why Ivy folks tend to teach at other Ivies or top-tier schools and when they don't collaborate well or step in doo-doo end up teaching at second-tier schools. Step in doo-doo again end up on a second or third three year tenure track contract and you'll end up teaching at state schools. Of course, schools that don't have funds will hire from doctoral pools from schools of lesser prestige and the sliding scale eventually moves into online schools.

    I'm not saying that any of these jobs are "bad" or that any teaching job anywhere is "bad" it's just the nature of the beast. Exceptions where a person from a lower tier school end up teaching at higher end schools are because of good contacts, good research and performing above your measure.

    So you're exhibiting hubris and writing in a way that treats a member of the profession poorly. Therefore I give you a simpler truth.

    Act like a jerk, write like a jerk, let others perceive you as a jerk. You're going to "succeed" end up in academic Siberia. Fix that before someone like Steve takes you down a peg in real life when you'll never see it coming.

    Be well
  5. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I believe your advice came from a place of sincerity. Hence, it well received.

    Thank you,
  6. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    Problem is boomers never retire from the tenured gravy train. New hires end up working for a fraction of what the boomer faculty earn.
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    As I understand it, Baby Boomers, as a group were born between 1944 and 1964. That makes the youngest Boomers around 56 years old right now. If we use the age of 70 as a retirement target it will be another 15 years before the youngest Boomers retire. Somewhere around the year 2030 there will be relatively few Boomers still in the workforce. I don't know the distribution across the range. It may not be an even distribution but assuming it is even you've got 75 million people born across a 20 year span. That's 3.75 million people per year. So every year 5% of the Boomers retire and need to be replaced in the workforce. You 'd have to figure in the death rate too. And not all of them need to be replaced because some jobs are eliminated. Some created. Mmmm. Too many factors for me to easily figure out. If only there were some scientific study of populations . . .
  8. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    1. If you were the boomer in the spot you would not be retiring either. Therefore it's less a problem with the boomers than it is that you're not one. (for disclosure, I'm Gen X)

    2. The real problem is that once the boomer retires the job likely won't be there for you to take. There's a significant generational decline in the number of students attending college. That decline in enrollment is going to have a significant effect on academia and may result in a rework of tenure as a practice.
  9. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Boomers are retiring and relinquishing tenure positions, many engineering professors have very lucrative side gigs and consulting practices. A number are only in education for the love of sharing their passion and the benefits, not financial motivation. I would question any graduate level engineer who is impressed by faculty pay scales, perhaps with the exception of a few flagship institutions. If you look at some of the engineering fields, tenure track faculty positions are going unfulfilled for long periods. I'm active with a handful of professional associations and see a dozen(s) of postings each week. I know of a few that have been approaching 2-3 years of regular postings, and going unfulfilled. There's a reason that so many engineering faculty positions in America are going to visa holders, most are not even in the same league of private sector recruitment or what they could earn from a part-time side gig if they are entrepreneurial.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Older generations do not block younger ones from jobs, promotions, or careers. This implies a zero-sum game. Civilization is anything but.
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  11. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member


    The risk we run in having conversations is going from the below:

    John Doe the CIO of X company is in his chair so Jane Doe the Director of X company directly under John can not take John's job unless John is somehow removed.

    To going to the following conversation:

    John's a boomer and Jane is a Millenial so Jane is being blocked by boomers.

    That sort of broad-brush nonsense discounts a whole host of possibilities, but it's exactly the kind of trolling that fuels the popular conversation.
  12. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Someone very wise once told me, if you want to really climb the corporate ladder, every 3-4 years you need to jump ship for a new opportunity that can further build your career. It can take a year to really learn the job (assuming you were qualified to begin with) and a few years to master the position, make a difference, and demonstrate that you’re really ready for additional responsibilities. While there are certainly exceptions to that rule and it doesn’t necessarily require a change in companies, you have to be open to external opportunities. Alternative can be career stagnation and playing the blame game. Granted, people may argue that can’t apply to academia... everyone is special.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  13. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Cool story. Of course, often the reserve officer's training was what people got into to avoid the actual Army. That's why many guys would even go to a university.

    Not everyone in a military was a warrior, let alone Cold Warrior. My dad, technically, did his 2 years of active duty. He was in the tank corps, hilarious for a 6 ft. 6 in guy. In reality, he never saw the inside of a tank, and never fired a shot. He spent 2 years training with and playing for the SC Army Kiev basketball team. Doubt he saw himself as a "mortal enemy" of anyone in USAF.
  14. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    They'd be wrong but only because they'd be applying the corporate model to the academic model. Academics at Ivy level tend to move around a bit but keep honorary posts at the places they've been. If you take a look departments at Harvard (for example) over time you'll find that a person who led a lab there also holds a honorary post at Dartmouth and may now be full-time tenured at a school in Canada.

    Point is that moving up in academia means being able to do the research you want to do in a way that remains as unhindered as possible by things outside the research (politics, funding gaps etc.) and that very well may result in people moving around every few years but it's not as common as you'd see in a corporate context and you really need to be fortunate enough to run in the right circles to even be aware it happens. It's not exciting enough to really make popular conversation.

    Long and short in corporate America the corporation is the brand and you move from brand to brand to move up. In academia the professor is the brand and they pollenate and stay at a lot of places depending on their interests, where their students and mentors are, and what research they've collaborated on. All this said, I'm obviously speaking of one particular professor with a high trajectory career path and while this applies to a lot of folks, it's not like I'm talking about the majority of teaching faculty or even the majority of people with doctorates.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    And I'm sure if I'd met any Soviet officers while on active duty, we would have traded stories and drank together. It was the irony of the world's two superpowers in a mutual death grip while the little players like us would have gotten along just fine.
  16. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Not to split up this thing about the Soviets, but I also just thought I'd toss out there that "full time professorship" can mean different things. I have a friend who is a full time lecturer at Cornell. She's been there, in that role, for almost 20 years. She's faculty. She has an office. She doesn't have tenure but she has a fair number of protections for her job along with the rest of the staff there. One of my fellow CC instructors became a full time professor at the CC where we were teaching. He's almost certainly going to get tenure because they think he's a rockstar. But it's a job that pays very little relative to his counterpart at a four year school. Not every "full time" job leads to tenure and, frankly, there are a lot of people who are OK with that.

    So many schools, so many potential jobs and so many variables that affect hiring decision beyond where your degree is from make it impossible to say whether a person will or will not get such a job. On a previous cycle of showing how there were professors at reputable schools with PhDs from for-profit schools we saw this. It really should not be shocking at this stage especially for certain fields where a PhD from anywhere puts you in the running for a job that cannot find enough qualified candidates quickly enough.

    So good luck to all for whom that is the goal.

    As an aside, with the caveat that I don't know if this guy was teaching with his MFA and then topped off with a PhD or if the PhD "got him the job" here's another proud Capella alumnus:
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  17. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    A fluffy little résumé, indeed. This guy is a master of drama, at least. In short, the entire thing reads like he wrote it himself, reinforced by how many times he refers to "Dr. Whitehead" - he's doctoring himself out the wazoo, which is something I always find obnoxious. (And yet another reason I refer to myself by my first name - I don't need to pile my title on like too much icing on a cake.)

    But one thing of which I have become very leery is the description of his degrees which, in this case, leads me to ask,"Ph.D.? What Ph.D.?" To wit:

    "He holds a doctorate from Capella University, an M.F.A. from the University of Florida, and B.A. and B.M.E. degrees from the University of Cincinnati."​

    I don't see anything about a Ph.D. there. When someone specifically lists a B.A.,B.M.E., and M.F.A., it raises an immediate red fleg to see that they hold a generic doctorate. Is it a Ph.D., an Ed.D., a D.Mus., etc.? We don't know - and it seems that they have something to hide.

    We cannot automatically assume that this guy has a Ph.D. I grant that, if he has a LinkedIn page, we could perhaps find it there, but I'm not one to waste my time looking up all these numb-nuts. Let me be clear: To list three specific degrees and then say generically that you have a "doctorate" is downright suspicious. If anything, barring wasting my time on checking, I would lean toward suspecting that they have a generic, one-size-fits-all, doctorate du jour (e.g., an Ed.D. in Leadership).

    Another thought, FWIW: I take it that most of these people who graduated Capella, Walden, and schools of that ilk have no idea that there may (or may not) be an issue with their degree. Most people are not like we band of brethren at DI - they don't get hung up with issue like profit vs. non-profit, NA vs. RA, ad infinitum . . .
  18. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I would only want to point out that not all DI members share opinions on these issues. There is no band of brethren.
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  19. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    The effect of music-intensive intervention on mathematics scores of middle and high school students
    Author: Baruch Judge Whitehead
    Publisher: 2001.
    Dissertation: Doctor of Philosophy Capella University 2001
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    In the past, the MFA--like the MBA--was considered a terminal degree. But with the plethora of pathways to the PhD, we're seeing more demand for doctorates in those fields.
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