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PhD in Humanities
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kittyfye



Joined: 11 Jul 2005
Posts: 46
Location: was Korea, now Albuquerque

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheikh, you are just plain silly. A good thing to see around here. temba and Hudda, thanks. I am thinking about the money, and did not realize that the money is not as good as rumored. I will say that a friend of mine researching ESL jobs, particularly for those teachers with some kind of a Masters, reports monthly salaries in the Mid-east as high as $4,000USD. With housing provided, that comes out to substantially more, so you can see why I have been considering the Mid-east. The culture-deal is cool, but I've already spent 3 years in South Korea, so I know how the romance wears off.

temba, I had considered going East again strictly for the money, to get out of debt and to establish some financial independence. While there, I planned to write my way into a better job (a gamble, perhaps, but it's a plan--and I have a few years yet to worry about it anyway). It looks like you have done just that. Can you give me more info about your new European gig? CONGRATS, by the way! I have always considered Europe to be off-limits to a yank like me; why would they need another Shakespearean??

VS, I agree with your def of humanities, but even in American universities now that def is getting stretched! The integrity of many fields is getting compromised , too. I'm in a Research 1 uni where colleagues of mine are getting foreign language credit b/c they have background in computer programming or statistics--both of those studies somehow amounting to a mastery of a "language." But these are f-ing English Lit PhD's! I have another colleague from China, an international student, who has no (0) language requirements, b/c she knows Chinese and English. Yes, both of these scenarios are "sensible," but it's disappointing to me how pragmatic the Humanities have become.
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eha



Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: ME

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'...it's disappointing to me how pragmatic the Humanities have become....'

Nothing to what the situation is GOING to become, if the present managerialist/commodification stranglehold on education continues. OR, since THAT approach hasn't done much to stave off recession, dare we hope that more intelligent values will start to inform educational planning? No, I suppose not. Silly idea.
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temba



Joined: 05 Jul 2008
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Letís take this from the top: Kittyfye, I guess from your posts you must be a reasonably young fresh PhD. This is what you must consider; do you want a normal academic career, how to you want to invest the 1000ís of hours you spent on your PhD, and the years of lost earning power? You have already spent 3 years in Korea so I would venture to say the time has come to settle down and you have but two academic choices: 1) you return to the US and start up the ass. Prof. Assoc. Prof Full Prof, Dean and die ladder or 2) you find some Middle Eastern or Asian back water and vegetate, you will never be a Dean or above, thatís for locals and maybe that as it should be! The promotion systems are totally arbitrary, I know I have chaired more than a few, the President will put in his pick, like it or not after you have spent hours reviewing the applicants and the Faculty will just have to live with it, sometimes he might not care and your candidate will sneak in under the radar!! But believe me you will never have an academic career as it is understood in the West. If you spend more than a few years out of the Western system it will become almost impossible to get back in, if for no other reason that American Universities in particular take a dim view of the Arab east!! And the chances of you having published anything of merit will be slim given the lack of support from the establishment. As a long time Chair my advice to junior faculty was always: ďget out after your 2nd. YearĒ You can always return as a visiting Prof. or do some Fulbright stints. But then there are the advantages of a really rewarding local cultural life, travel, and for the most part none of the pressures of western academic life, you will probably get away with one or two articles a year!! Long holidays and warm weather (for the most part) the money is not good, $4000 is not a lot these days even with accommodation thrown in, think of those expensive trips home. If you are into western culture forget it, no Mozart just the British Council bringing over the odd street band!! You will meet fascinating people but do you really want to become one of them?

I agree with veiledsentiments who is this Hudda, a self hating EFL teacher with a dodgy distance PhD. from Leicester University no doubt. And I totally agree with her definition of the Humanities.

The next big and very interesting battle over Middle East universities will come from the US. where academics from top institutions which are opening up in the region are getting very worried about such things as standards, entrance requirements and salary parity to mention just a few concerns. I know that the knives are being sharpened at NYU, and CNUY, SUNY as I write, MIT will not be far behind!!

Well Kittyfye good luck.
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kittyfye



Joined: 11 Jul 2005
Posts: 46
Location: was Korea, now Albuquerque

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

temba,

I get the impression you are being perfectly candid with me, and I appreciate it. Let me give you a clearer picture of where I am professionally:

I am fresh, in a way, in that I am only in my first semester of PhD study, but I am on a timeline to finish course-work by May 2010. And that's with teaching two sections of composition each semester. Anyway, so I still have time to plan--and also to sit back and see what may happen next. This may be the best time to start a grad program, since everything out there is so unstable.

One set-back is that I am about to turn 38, so best case scenario, I will be a PhD on the market at age 41. Now, there may be laws against age-discrimination in the US, but there's still the discrimination, all the same. So I am actually thinking that I may HAVE to consider overseas opportunities, if I am going to have any profession at all. (Of course, the wonderful thing about coming from a "merit-based society" is that if I publish well enough, then no matter what my age, opportunities will present themselves.)

You and I are both native ENglish speakers, but perhaps we come from two different sides of the pond; I am uncertain about some of your idiom.

You said:
The next big and very interesting battle over Middle East universities will come from the US. where academics from top institutions which are opening up in the region are getting very worried about such things as standards, entrance requirements and salary parity to mention just a few concerns. I know that the knives are being sharpened at NYU, and CNUY, SUNY as I write, MIT will not be far behind!!

Does this mean that American unis in Mid east are attracting top academics to work in those unis? I find it hard to believe that they can KEEP top academics so far from home, esp if the profs have no international living experience. Also, do you think these unis will be closing? Getting the knife?

I may be wrong, but I think most assoc profs are responsible for about two articles a year anyway, and a book if they want to move up. As well, $4000 a month = $48,000 a year, which is about the average ($46,000, I think) for a ass prof starting. And, of course, that is with no housing provided. However, the cost of living in the mid-east would have to be pretty manageable with $48,000 to pay off debt and save what I want to save.

Your experience over there is very similar to our experience back in Korea; nepotism and not merit.

And, yes, I have been warned that to leave the US with your PhD is to remain out of the US with it. It's eerie, in a way, but I may have few options here at home.

Thanks for your considerations here~
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temba



Joined: 05 Jul 2008
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Kittyfye I seem to have been confused. So you are 38 and in the 1st. semester of your PhD. in the Humanities at a Korean University? This would change the picture a great deal. What is your discipline? I now think that your best bet would be to stay OUT of the USA unless you have some really sterling publications under your belt before you go looking for jobs there, you simply wonít get a look in unless you strike it very lucky and know someone who knows someone though even then it will be tough. If you are researching on some extremely esoteric and obscure Korean topic things might look a little brighter for the states, but not much and a lot darker for a humanities post in the Middle East. Sorry to be Jobís comforter but that is the reality of things.

What I mean by Top American universities are the likes of the following in Qatarís Education City: Virginia Commonwealth Universityís School of the Arts (main campus based in Richmond, Virginia), the Weil-Cornell Medical College (based in Ithaca, New York), Texas A&Mís College of Engineering (based in College Station, Texas), Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (based in Pittsburgh, PA), and most recently, Georgetown Universityís Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service (based in Washington, DC). Not such places as AUB, AUC, American University of Sharjah and the American University of Kuwait. And I mean that the American faculties at the home institutions are getting very upset about all this franchising; New York University in particular is host to a very lively debate on this topic.

And for the record Iím a Brit. But have had a home in NYC for the past 30 years. Once again good luck!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15851
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kittyfye wrote:
You said:
The next big and very interesting battle over Middle East universities will come from the US. where academics from top institutions which are opening up in the region are getting very worried about such things as standards, entrance requirements and salary parity to mention just a few concerns. I know that the knives are being sharpened at NYU, and CNUY, SUNY as I write, MIT will not be far behind!!

Does this mean that American unis in Mid east are attracting top academics to work in those unis? I find it hard to believe that they can KEEP top academics so far from home, esp if the profs have no international living experience. Also, do you think these unis will be closing? Getting the knife?

These are a number of mostly new places coming in... the first ones started about 5 or less years ago in various "University Cities." The first ones in Qatar are just realizing that the rhetoric about "maintaining standards" and bringing an equivalent standard to the Middle East is... just that... rhetoric. Basic Academic English skills are very low... reading and writing skills, scarily low for most of the local students. They are currently trying to raise the skills in the schools rather than pretending to do it with 17-18 year olds who have only intermediate level skills entering university. But, that will take years... and at the rate that it is currently progressing... perhaps a generation.

Thus the pool of students for these places is actually small if they maintain the academic standards from their home base. Currently, many of them are sending their own professors for a semester or two... but can they get the funding from the countries to pay them to stay for longer? They won't be able to get it from tuition.

Truly... it's a bit of a soap opera...

VS
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eha



Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: ME

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'.....Truly... it's a bit of a soap opera... '

Well, did any of us think it was a humanitarian or academic or educational enterprise? It's a money game even in good times, and in the midst of a recession, it's a disgrace-- how can people make such grandiose plans with so little initial knowledge about the situation they're moving into?

Silly question, eh?
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12292
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear eha,

" . . . how can people make such grandiose plans with so little initial knowledge about the situation they're moving into?"

Well, not so silly because it certainly happens a lot - ever been married/had children?

Regards,
John
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eha



Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: ME

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John: well, yes, I get the point--- but personal plans don't involves hundreds of hours of planning time and hundreds of thousands of $$$$. And the $$$$, if wasted, is usually one's own. Anyway, a registry office and a little house in the suburbs and a Toyota to run the kids to school, can hardly be called 'grandiose' (at least until they start college!)

So where do all the wasted time and $$$$ come from, that go into these crazy 'Sorbonne in the Sandhills' projects?
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Sheikh N Bake



Joined: 26 Apr 2007
Posts: 1307
Location: Dis ting of ours

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An earlier corollary with American universities occurred in the late 1980s and early '90s when up to 40 (yes, count 'em, 40) American university branch campuses sprung up on Japanese soil. I was at the first of them (except for the long-established Temple Univ in Tokyo), Southern Illinois in Niigata prefecture. At that time everyone thought the Japanese economic empire would only expand exponentially forever and ever and there would be a corresponding expansion of the Japanese mind. Some kind of amazing epiphany would occur as a result of the unlimited Japanese economy and the society would be transformed into some kind of new inclusive paradigm in which the American higher-educational system would serve as the main alternative to the rather pathetic Japanese undergraduate experience.

Two problems: (a) there was no epiphany (Japanese corporate and social culture lend themselves to the Japanese university, not the American, and (b) they failed to consider the obvious fact that the number of 18-year-olds in Japan would very soon decline and continues to do so today.

All of the 40 campuses had closed down by the late '90s.

As for the Middle East, I think the previous posters have said it all.
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Never Ceased To Be Amazed



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 3500
Location: Shhh...don't talk to me...I'm playin' dead...

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a TUJ grad!...and happier for it!!! Very Happy

NCTBA
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Sheikh N Bake



Joined: 26 Apr 2007
Posts: 1307
Location: Dis ting of ours

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes--as I mentioned, Temple U in Tokyo was well-established long before the others showed up and disappeared. One decent American campus is probably what the market in Japan can bear...and probably only in Tokyo.
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kittyfye



Joined: 11 Jul 2005
Posts: 46
Location: was Korea, now Albuquerque

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

temba,

I'm sorry for the confusion! I'm in an American PhD program, in the States. It's probably a mid-ranked, research 1 university. I'm in the discipline of English Lit, specifically a Shakespearean, broadly I focus on "poetics." By graduation I will have background sufficient for teaching American undergrads in Trans-Atlantic Modernism, Shakespearean drama, Italian lit (Petrarch), Italian philosophy (Machiavelli), Classical Latin poetry (Ovid, Vergil), and classical philosophy (Aristotle and Plato); and then grad students in Shakespearean poetry and poetics.

I have to tell you this: My background is diverse only because before I went into a research 1 program (and I did it for the teaching stipend, which takes good care of me), I was in liberal arts schools where I studied strictly "canonical" literatures and philosophy. No one in the "big" schools does this anymore, and it is astonishing how limited and narrow the breadth of knowledge is of some profs in this R1 school, so focused is their knowledge in only their one field. Like medical physicians or something. If I wish to work in a country like Japan or in one of the better unis in the Mid-East, at least this diversity will be marketable.

Haha, temba, you are absolutely right about the American academy. Coming from S Korea I'd have to be a specialist in some far-out topic that no one really understands anyway; the more esoteric the better off I'd be looking for a job.

Right now I mingle with "experts" in such specialized "fields," like American, Southwest region, Chicano/a, Gay lesbian, non-fiction literature. Yeah. Experts. Let me ask, just what does it take to be an expert in a field that is only 25 years old? Anything you write this week is like gospel, still. I hate to sound like a snob, but those few of us who dare to go for canonical literatures really have to work to publish. The expectations in these fields are quite high.

Anyway, thanks all, especially temba and VS, for your generosity.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15851
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kittyfye wrote:
I'm in the discipline of English Lit, specifically a Shakespearean, broadly I focus on "poetics." By graduation I will have background sufficient for teaching American undergrads in Trans-Atlantic Modernism, Shakespearean drama, Italian lit (Petrarch), Italian philosophy (Machiavelli), Classical Latin poetry (Ovid, Vergil), and classical philosophy (Aristotle and Plato); and then grad students in Shakespearean poetry and poetics.

I'm curious whether anyone has seen any courses related to these in the Gulf. I have seen a general course on Shakespeare (I think they covered one play and a couple poems... for the whole semester)

Any programs that focus on poetry? ...since there is a great love of the Arabic poetry, do they extend to studying English poetry or classical Greek or Latin?

At the moment, I suspect that your best chances would be with universities like the American University in Cairo or Beirut or Sharjah. The last one being relatively new and perhaps more limited. Check out their websites - all three are good employers too. The new places discussed above have very limited opportunities as yet.

VS
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kittyfye



Joined: 11 Jul 2005
Posts: 46
Location: was Korea, now Albuquerque

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, VS~
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