Should Professional Philosophy Be More Like Grad School?

Should Professional Philosophy Be More Like Grad School?

Graduate student Nick Byrd (Florida State) sends in an interesting thought to ponder: maybe professional philosophy would be improved in certain respects if it were more like graduate school. He writes:

If grad students were paid better, I’d be a serial PhD student. Grad school seems more fun than many of the post-grad experiences I hear about. Now I am beginning to wonder how professional philosophy might benefit from borrowing elements of the grad school model. E.g.:
  1. What if professional philosophers were required to assist or co-teach a certain number of their colleagues’ courses (modeled after teaching assistantships)?
  2. What if professional philosophers were required to formally assist a certain number of department colleagues’ research (modeled after research assistantships)?
  3. What if adjuncts (and some SLAC faculty) were paid as generously as most grad students? (I get an adequate stipend + tuition + benefits + conference reimbursements; I see lots of adjunct positions that don’t compensate nearly this well.)
I suppose there are already professional equivalents (or quasi-equivalents) of many grad school requirements (e.g., qualifying papers a la evaluating publication record for tenure review, etc.), but maybe there are other opportunities that I am overlooking.  

One “easy” response to these proposals (especially 1 and 2) is to object to how fanciful they are (e.g., “who would have the time for that?”) but the idea is to consider what it would be like if academia were restructured in such a way as to make them normal elements of professional life.

(image: PhD Comics, 5/22/15 by Jorge Cham)

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