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Is There Life Beyond the Ivory Tower?

  • Thomas Q. Reefe


It is one of the misfortunes of a graduate education that students are exposed to a narrow range of career and employment models in the university environment. The most common model is that of the specialized university professor, and too many graduate students and Ph.D.’s make the very serious mistake of spending one or two recruitment years trying unsuccessfully to get work exclusively in the college and university professoriate in order to fulfill this single career goal. This perception is born out by the fact that university placement officers are suddenly deluged in August, the last month of the university recruiting year, by dozens upon dozens of unemployed Ph.D.’s in all fields asking, “What else can I do with my advanced degree?” I believe that the candidate who expands career goals and who seeks employment in the four year college and university teaching market and in other professional job markets at the same time can find well-paid and interesting career work. Multiple job searches can take forty hours a week and often have to be added to other commitments like part-time work or dissertation writing. Employment inquiries in non-academic professional fields take planning and a lot of hustle, for applications and job leads take months and months to mature just as they do in the academic market place.



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1. “Final Report on the New York State Regents Project: Alternatives for Graduate Education” (September, 1976) Part I, p. 3.

2. Ibid., Part I, pp. 5-6.

3. Ibid., Part I, p. 3.

Is There Life Beyond the Ivory Tower?

  • Thomas Q. Reefe


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