David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Are Humanities Grad Students Exploited?

Question: Are humanities\r\ndegrees high-risk?


Louis Menand:  Yeah.  Well, I think the time to degree is right now the big\r\nobstacle to entry into the professions. \r\nNow, the median time to degree, to PhD in the humanities is nine \r\nyears,\r\nand that’s time as a registered student. \r\nThe time between Bachelor’s degree and a PhD, the median time is \r\nover 11\r\nyears.  So then you’re still only\r\non a tenure ladder, you’re not tenured. \r\nSo it generally takes 6 to 8 years after that to get tenure.  So that’s a very long period of what’s\r\nessentially apprenticeship, of insecurity. \r\nI don’t think that’s very healthy for any business, certainly not\r\n for a\r\nbusiness where you want people to be original and creative and take \r\nrisks.  So I think that’s a big problem, and\r\nthe humanities seems to be doing worse than the other disciplines, \r\nthough the\r\nother disciplines also have increased time to degrees.


Now, part of the reason for that is that it’s \r\ndifficult to\r\nget a job and people stay in school longer because they’re employed as \r\nteaching\r\nassistants or instructors by their schools, by their schools where \r\nthey’re\r\ngraduate students, and that does become exploitative eventually because \r\nthey’re\r\nvery cheap labor and there’s a way in which in it’s not in the \r\ninstitution’s\r\ninterest to give them a degree if they can continue to employ them, I \r\ndon’t\r\nthink anybody thinks that way, but effectively that’s the way the system\r\n is\r\nstarting to work.  That’s a bad\r\nmorale problem and it’s something that gets into the mentality of the \r\nABD’s, who\r\ndo a lot of this teaching, and it’s not good for, again, not good for\r\ncollegiality, and not good for intellectual culture.


So I think everybody recognizes at this point that \r\nwe’ve\r\ngotten ourselves into a really weird situation where the supply curve \r\nand the\r\ndemand curve are just not, you know, where they should be and it would \r\nbe very\r\ngood for the profession generally, and the humanities in particular, \r\nbecause we\r\nhave a lot of other things that we’re struggling with, if we could \r\nget the\r\nprofessional training part of it a little more rational and efficient.

Not on purpose, says the "Marketplace of Ideas" author. But the system is starting to hurt them nonetheless.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less

Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
Keep reading Show less

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.