[Air-L] Fwd: danah's response - Graduate programs for Internet studies

Jeremy hunsinger jeremy at tmttlt.com
Fri Oct 1 07:12:32 PDT 2010

I don't think this is really fair... 'haters gonna hate'

I think it is fair to recognize that many of us in this field have been
extraordinarily lucky, benefited immensely by the opportunities we could
take that others could not.  I think it is fair to realize that we might be
entering an age where most people who graduate with ph.d.'s will not become
professors or professional researchers, or really have as much choice in
their careers as they might imagine the ph.d affords.   I know danah works
hard and does great work and I deeply appreciate everything she has done and
is doing to make her and other researcher's work relevant to policymakers,
businesses and others, but i think it is fair to recognize that she had
opportunities, took them, and had she not been presented with those
opportunities and had the capacity to take them, she wouldn't be in the same
place in her career, I thinks she's said as much on her blog and elsewhere.
  The problem is that many people don't get great opportunities and even if
they do, not everyone has the capacity to pursue them, in other words lives
and careers aren't fair.  I think we can acknowledge that many things in the
ph.d. and professorial/research system aren't fair, they are dependent on
many factors and realize that people can honestly feel and think that things
could have been different and more fair from their perspective.  So to say
that not everyone gets to go to Berkeley and meet a great advisor... that I
think is fine and true, and while i do feel there may be some emotional
commitments to the statement....  I don't think it is 'haters gonna hate'...
I think it is just indicating something that we should be telling our
graduate students, 'you may not get a t-t job or even the job you want, and
that won't be your fault' (though it could be their fault, i don't deny that

I've worked professionally in academia for 12 years now, and it is not all
pretty and some of it is downright ugly. I've seen brilliant people drop out
of tenure track, I've seen brilliant people quit while adjuncting, and I've
had colleagues and friends drink themselves to death, and commit suicide in
graduate school and on the t-t (Granted this happens all the time in the
rest of the professional world too, which is sort of my point).  It isn't
fair at all, they all were great and interesting people that did well with
students and their work.  I'd say they didn't deserve to leave the way they
did, but I honestly think that deserving isn't the real issue as there isn't
really a justice here, there is just universities, states, and capital, and
the people in them trying to get by and do the best they can, which again,
usually isn't just or fair.  For me though, it is a job and probably my

my best advice to those seeking to get a ph.d. usually is 'do not get a
ph.d.'   past that, get two sets of statistics from the dept before you
apply.  get their gradation rates for 5 and 10 years and get their placement
rate in the sort of job you want.   almost every accrediting agency requires
some compilation of these numbers, so they probably exist or should exist
somewhere. Departments rarely report them unless they are excellent in
graduate rate and in placement.  There are places out there who take in
doctoral students, 10 per year, graduate 3 of those after 10 years, and only
place 10% in academia.  There are places out there that want to start Ph.D.
programs so that their senior professors don't have to teach the
introduction courses, and similar things.  That's fine if the students know
that, and know what kind of jobs are being had by the student body.  We just
need to be much more real about these things.

For my part... I know I have been extremely lucky so far in my career, with
my colleagues in AoIR, at Virginia Tech, and around the world, and I am
eternally grateful for everything that everyone has done for me and I will
continue doing what I can, even if it means that occasionally i post
responses like this.

jeremy hunsinger
Center for Digital Discourse and Culture
Virginia Tech

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