limited academic market

Tue, 18 Apr 1995 12:54:04 EDT

In line with the recent thread started by Anita Cohen-Williams, about
limited opportunities for anthropologists, the door to the academy ain't
open for loads of folks, regardless of ethnicity or gender.

The last issue [4/14] of the Chronicle of Higher Education focussed on
Ohio State tenure cases -- mind you they weren't talking about
anthropology, just the grand club of the tenured arts and science
professorate... It's hard to get a foot in that door if you are ANYBODY.
It requires hard work, networking, publications, savvy, intelligence,
luck of the draw, mentoring, planning for one's intellectual and career
path the whole way through grad school, etc. The Chronicle article
threw me for a loop: Despite loads of higher education connections,
friends who earned tenure through the years the hard, hard way, and ten
years on my own phd quest, I was really taken aback when I considered how
small the neck is into the bottle. Somehow, I had never really REALLY
focussed on the long shot it is to focus on higher education career when
one enters grad school. Not to disparage anyone who didn't get hired or
didn't even make the medium short list, nor to praise all that earned
tenure,BUT... the journey from the decision to enter graduate school, to
focus on research or teaching in college or university, and one's ability
to achieve that particular success marker/path is a long and arduous
one... I am impressed by those that can do it, want to do it, etc.

BTW, in my grad cohort of 8, the very bright, very diligent
phenotypically "white" male in our group, got the fancy post doc, and has
a tenure track job, albeit at a small univ.... he's writing.. I know
he'll make the higher echelons and will deserve it. One very hard
working female also has a tenure track, the rest of the 8... not for the
hollowed halls of the academy, despite wishes, and some very impressive
records. One friend, also phenotypically "white," who is equally bright,
has many, many publications, good grant record, has made short lists 7
times.... I -- the phenotypically "colored" one - was offered a job at a
good small college, but the rural isolated community didn't have the
right stuff for raising my son, although it broke my academic dream not
jumping on that lone opportunity.

Finally, when you look at the statistics of the makeup of the current
crop of grad students, females outnumber males, which is inching it;s way
up the employment triangle. Female asst. profs outnumber males, but
males still outnumber the females at the full professorate - in anthro...
I was at a meeting at NSF where someone raised a question about
diversity... and the most recent hires were introduced. It was
stunning... the last five years worth of hires and promotions, in that
room, in that group, which included a variety of discipline, all [save
one -- a foreign citizen --] of the new hires were women and one was a
minority woman. All of the senior staff, save two women, were men.

Patsy Evans