PhD jobs crisis

July 23, 1999

I am 24 and my supervisor is looking at the first draft of my PhD thesis in English. I have spent two of the past three years as a hall tutor dealing with unpleasant situations, ranging from potential physical abuse from drunken students to dealing with the victim of an attempted rape.

These "life experiences" were endured in the knowledge that I was financing my PhD myself, funding for the arts being an endangered species. I have also spent two of my three years as a tutorial assistant to first-year undergrads. I now ask myself why.

The fact I am not published means I do not exist in the eyes of would-be academic employers because I will not boost any research assessment exercise rating.

In the meantime, I will probably have to take a non-academic job, try to get published and hope that in a few years someone will want me. The fact that by then three or four years of productivity and excellent teaching will have been wasted will not matter because at least my name will be risk free and the cash tills will be ringing.

P. J. Davies Vale of Glamorgan

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