Sunday, May 15, 2011

List of Issues/Changes for Professional Philosophy

A list of things I would like to see change in the realm of professional philosophy. It will be numbered in reverse order so that I will be able to update it as I find other issues which I feel should be taken up.

I would love to hear your thoughts about these issues. Please feel free to comment but be sure to include the number of the issue you are addressing.

Also feel free to suggest issues either in the comments section or by emailing me.

The List:

6. Create a way to professionally dig yourself out from under your pedigree.
Currently philosophy is very limited for philosophers who did not receive their PhD at a top 20 university with regards to creating a way to progress in their professional careers. One horror story, which is actually typical, told of one hiring committee which just tossed all applicants who did not receive their PhD's from "good" (top 20) universities. 
 I believe this could be offset if research committees at least glanced at the list of published works by candidates who did not receive their degree at a top 20 school.  Any other ideas?
About this issue: Lieter,  American Association of Philosophy Teachers, Inside Higher Ed

5. Allowing philosopher to submit one article to several journals at the same time.
This is especialy important for graduate students who only have a set amount of time in graduate school before going out to the market. With the submission process taking at least several months and up to a year, even in a PhD program, a student may only be able to submit their best work to a handful a journals. If graduate students and professors were allowed to submit to multiple journals at once, the process would be less time consuming. It would only require a couple more email by the committees and make life as a graduate student much less stressful.
Negatively this could effect the time it takes for one journal to get back to you. It would also create more work for the referees and reviewers, but I think it would save them time in their own publishing.
4. A serious attempt to build a more stable job market
I would really love to see a commission or at least a blog which address this issue. One post I read from a couple of years ago suggested the number of philosophers looking for jobs compared to the number of jobs was 2 to 1. I can only assume that it is much worse today then it was a decade ago.  I think that this is a serious issue if we as a profession want to attract not only passionate people but also people who are practical. How many brilliant philosophers have we lost to law alone braced only on our inability as a profession to create some sense of security in the job market. I would love to see some brainstorming going on regarding this issue.

3.  An increase in track programs leading out of philosophy
This seems like it would increase the number of philosophy teachers needed, while not increasing the number of 'to be' professors. 

2. Philosophy in pre-college schools.
Particularly in the area of critical thinking. Philosophy has alot to offer beyond academia. I think that creating a society which at least has the tools to think critically is one of the most important social issues which philosophy as a profession could help with.

1. MA thesis and PhD Applications
Almost all MA students write a thesis which is a great experience. The problem is that MA students who wish to go on to PhD programs go though the application process before they even start the thesis. A focus on a writing sample, getting oneself published, presenting papers, and teaching courses seems far more important for a PhD track student.
More info: Don't Write a Thesis 

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