The current academic job market, to state the matter as elegantly as possible, sucks. This has been its chronic condition ever since I emerged from graduate school in the 1970s. Now, of course, employment possibilities for faculty in higher education are further constrained by the dismal prospects affecting the rest of the economy. In truth, employment in general resembles the situation that occurred during the Great Depression, with little hope for significant recovery any time soon.
Percent Job Losses in Post-WWII Recessions
Now that nearly all businesses have discovered the internet, business writing is booming. With the click of a mouse, clients can ferret out product and service descriptions, corporate policies, investment information, and job descriptions. Search engines have become life rafts to keep us all from drowning in a sea of corporate verbiage. But does what we read hold our attention, satisfy our desire to know, or compel us to action? Or has too much of business writing gone the way of collateralized debt obligations—neatly packaged, but empty of value, bankrupt? Continue reading
However desirable or necessary, marketing the humanities is, at best, difficult. We live in a culture increasingly bent on individual economic survival and seeking “practical” education or training as a means to that end. Moreover, the culture suffers the consequences of unethical business practice and increasingly demagogic public debate (witness the timely success of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). As college students become older (average age of undergraduate students in the U.S. is 26) and as they seek certification of skills to improve their career and employment prospects, of what use are the humanities? Many students and employment hiring officers regard study of the humanities as a waste of time and money, as a luxury that only the few can afford. And some institutions agree with them! Those who believe, as I do, that Continue reading
Have you ever wondered why so many college web pages are so boring? Many college websites contain pages that largely reproduce their catalog copy. And catalog copy—understandably, given its purpose—is dreadfully boring. I know. I used to fall asleep editing my college’s catalog. Continue reading