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Should You Go to Graduate School? - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
Fundamentally, I think the reason for this is that because we had second-rate funding packages (only 3 years of guaranteed funding as opposed to the 5 or 6 years at supposedly better programs) and because no one believed in us anyway, we had to hustle. So we ended up on the market having done a whole variety of different things that the Yale students never had to do, making us more versatile and allowing us to stand out. I put myself through the last couple of years of graduate school doing work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, making sure it complied with the National Historic Preservation Act. I also put together a climate change report for New Mexico environmental organizations that gave me some early consulting experience. That, plus the blogging, made me different than other candidates. I never quite realized how important that was until I was on a search committee for a job last year for the first time. What became instantly clear to me is that every Ivy League applicant is basically the same–the projects are very similar, the letters are all from the same people, none of them have meaningful teaching experience. You could barely tell them apart. We ended up bringing in 4 candidates from public institutions and hiring two amazing historians.

I say all of this because there are a couple of interesting posts from the last couple of days about graduate school and I think these stories help frame a discussion not only of whether to go to graduate school but also how to do graduate school. There is one basic rule about graduate school: don’t go into debt for it. If someone doesn’t want you or you can’t pay for it in some way yourself that makes sense, then don’t do it.

Now, you might say that it is immoral to send students to graduate school for jobs they won’t get. Possible, but this gets to how to do graduate school and why to do graduate school. The biggest problem right now with Ph.D. programs is that professors don’t know how to get a job as a historian today because they all got extremely lucky to get a job in academia or they did so a long time ago. So when I advise a student on going to graduate school, the first thing I tell them is that they have to assume they will never get an academic job and therefore must prepare for that as well as doing the academic work necessary to get a dissertation and compete for whatever jobs are out there. As part of that, I tell them to keep this in mind even if their advisor doesn’t agree because their advisor may be the absolutely worst person for a student to listen about career preparation.
gradschool  academia  debt  advice  t-ruck 
yesterday by ianmclaury
Triumph of the Thought Leader … and the Eclipse of the Public Intellectual - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Develops a distinction between "public Intellectuals" and "thought leaders," which is related to the fox and hedgehog. Public intellectuals are foxes with a broad range of knowledge, who can comment on events or ideas (and usually explain the problems with them). Though leaders are hedgehogs who develop and evangelize for one big idea. Both are useful for society, but declining trust in authority/expertise, political polarization, and economic inequality have all led to the supplanting of the public intellectual by the thought leader, whose approach and tone better suit the large corporate donors upon whom universities are increasingly dependent.
academia  intellectuals  ideas  inequality 
2 days ago by johnmfrench
Let Them Talk by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Still, once we have admitted that the regulation of racist speech is partly or wholly a symbolic act, we must register the force of the other symbolic considerations that may come into play. Thus, even if you think that the notion of free speech contains logical inconsistencies, you need to register the symbolic force of its further abridgement. And it is this level of scrutiny that may tip the balance in the other direction. The controversy over flag-burning is a good illustration of the two-edged nature of symbolic arguments. Safeguarding the flag may symbolize something nice for some of us, but safeguarding our freedom to burn the flag symbolizes something nicer for others of us.

Note, too, that the expressivist position suffers from an uncomfortable contradiction. A university administration that merely condemns hate speech, without mobilizing punitive sanctions, is held to have done little, to have offered "mere words." And yet this skepticism about the power of "mere words" comports oddly with the attempt to regulate "mere words" that, since they are spoken by those not in a position of authority, would seem to have even less symbolic force. Why is it "mere words" when a university only condemns racist speech, but not "mere words" that the student utters in the first place? Whose words are "only words"? Why are racist words deeds, but anti-racist words just lip service?
politics  academia 
4 days ago by cjmcnamara
Image-to-Image Demo - Affine Layer
In-browser demo of "Image-to-Image Translation with Conditional Adversarial Nets" by Phillip Isola et al.
machinelearning  cats  ai  shoes  bags  ml  deeplearning  cnn  academia  demo  browser 
5 days ago by yig

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