The Academic Job Market

For those of you who don’t get how brutal the academic job market is, imagine spending a minimum of 10-12 years in college, going through the rigors of a doctoral program, and being faced with this:

The University of Memphis invites applications for a non-tenure-track position in political science at the rank of instructor for the 2005-06 academic year. The main responsibilities of the position are in the area of International Relations and include lower division courses in International Relations plus upper division and graduate courses in International Conflict, International Relations Theory, and Research Methods and Statistics. The teaching load is five courses per semester; the salary is $30,000; Ph.D. is desired.

Just so you know, a 5-5 course load equates to about a 60 hour work week. Ah, how much we value education in this country.

FILED UNDER: Education, , ,
Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. bryan says:

    That’s very bad. Very bad indeed. Five courses per semester also pretty much puts the damper on pursuing any kind of research in hopes of *getting* a tenure-track gig.

  2. Attila Girl says:

    What is that in big-city dollars (LA, SF, NY)? Maybe $60K? Ugh: what a racket. It sounds like it’s even worse than publishing.

  3. AnjinSan says:

    Life in Bushs America. Billions for Iraq, pennies for education. What are you bitching about? You supported the guy…

  4. McGehee says:

    Another IdiotSan non-sequitur.

  5. DC Loser says:

    I guess there’s some truth to the old saying “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” If someone really wants to work in IR and teach, probably would be better to pursue work in government (State Dept) or think tank and then get the academia gig once you’ve established a reputation in the real world.

  6. James Joyner says:

    DCL: Actually, unless one is an awfully high profile ambassador or cabinet-level official, working for a bureaucracy or think tank will harm, not help, one’s academic prospects. Foreign Service Officers don’t establish any reputation worth having (Quick: Name three.) and almost certainly won’t have any publications.

  7. Mark says:

    I have seen more and more of these “positions” popping up of late. I consider this to be a good defense for a country that is beginning to lean right. I see this as a way for our academic institutions to keep conservatives, which are making up a larger percentage of doctorate students, from becoming tenured. As everyone knows, if you are not tenured, you better watch what you say. In essence, not being tenured is going to limit the free speech of these future CONSERVATIVE professors.

  8. C. Bordelon says:

    My sister-in-law is “First Nation” from Vancouver, BC. She had a choice of jobs once she got her PHD in Women’s Studies. (She never held any type of job prior to finishing her doctorate.) Her pay is much higher than the $30K figure. My brother-in-law also got a PHD (Social Services), but went back to school after working in this field for over 10 years. He had an extremely hard time getting a job at any university and his teaching job doesn’t pay as well as hers! So, if you are a female minority, you will do just fine in academia!

  9. Kappiy says:

    Actually, one wonders why the Univ. of Memphis is spending SO MUCH to fill this position.

    They would be smarter to hire adjuncts to teach the courses @ $1,800 per course without having to waste money on the benefits they’ll have to pay the limited-term person.

  10. Paul says:

    Just so you know, a 5-5 course load equates to about a 60 hour work week. Ah, how much we value education in this country.

    I’m going to have to bust your chops on this one Doc.

    Go dig up the stats for income vs level of education and blog it….

    Hint: The more you learn the more you earn.

  11. Herb Ely says:

    At least grade school teachers don’t have to spend as many years getting an education. They work (some of them) just as hard, earn about the same – and get tenure.

  12. Paul says:

    Here, I dug up the first link….

    Any advanced degree is worth 3X as much at a HS dropout. (the difference is less at a younger age… no kids make money)

    You guys (sorry) need to learn the difference between using your degree to make money (that damn real world argument) and getting a cushy job as an academic.

    You’ve worked both sides of the street. I’d bet you lunch you work harder now but you get paid more too. No?

  13. Paul: do me a favor and bite me. (Sorry, James and Leopold, but it needed to be said.)

    This is a frakking community college job at best, being offered at a place that at least thinks it’s a research institution. As an alumnus of that department, I’m embarrassed (a) that they’d have the balls to pay $30k to a Ph.D. to teach 15 contact hours a semester (and, if the department hasn’t changed since I was there, many of the classes will be combined undergrad-grad student sections) and (b) that they’ll probably fill the job. The only good thing is that you’d–on paper–get some graduate teaching experience, but since you’re not going to get any research done nobody’s going to care. Tiger High indeed.

  14. anjin-san says:


    Please stop whining about my posts. Whining is kind of repulsive in a grown man, which I assume you are, at least nominally. I notice you never seem to be able to argue intelligently against my positions. If you must, go get a hankie and sit in the corner.

  15. mike says:

    I love this site but the best are the comments by anjin-sin – esp. about anything having to do with Bush, Iraq, etc…- what a dumb shit… keep-em coming; I need the laughs

  16. AnjinSan says:

    I am guessing big Mike is safe at home scratching his ass and not in a combat unit in Iraq. Anyone want to lay odds?