Faster path to a humanities doctorate. Sounding promising. The fear is that it creates an "adjunct factory," since graduates are offered employment for two years as "assistant adjunct professors." On the positive side, a graduate has a two year cushion to try and find full-time employment. On the negative, a graduate has only two years guaranteed and is locked into goofy status that is neither faculty nor adjunct but something in between. Had I the option, though, I'd rather have two years to look for work than nothing after graduation. From Slate.The 5+2 Solution
“You finished your doctorate really fast!” The office manager of the University of California–Irvine School of Humanities was impressed as I forked over my completed and defended dissertation for their records.
“Not really,” I said. “It’s been five years.” Five long years, if you asked me.
“Exactly,” she said. “Fast.”
Welcome to academia, where five years to finish a humanities doctorate—coursework, comprehensive exams, dissertation—is considered speedy. So speedy that a new program at my alma mater has raised hackles for encouraging graduate students to finish in a half-decade. (It also foists upon its postdocs what is possibly the worst job title in academia. More on that in a bit.)
Irvine’s program, dubbed “5+2,” begins with increased funding for five years—about $23,000 per year, including summers. (Traditional fellowships and teaching assistantships vary, but usually pay less, and do not include summer funding.) Once the student has finished the dissertation, she receives a two-year “postdoctoral” teaching position within the university while she at last casts herself into a barren, jobless hellscape with completed Ph.D. in hand. The idea, according to School of Humanities associate dean James D. Herbert, is to shorten the time to degree while lengthening the odds of securing gainful employment afterward. Students have “a three-year window of optimal employment prospects,” Herbert told Inside Higher Ed. “So they’re better off applying from a real academic position rather than being a barista at Starbucks.”