Two-tier system?

In today’s Chronicle of Higher Education, Rob Jenkins suggests a “two-tier” approach to the future of the professoriate. Here is the link:

I think this is worth a conversation, but it raises a deeper question about the purpose of the PhD-track (top tier) faculty in his discussion. What *do* we add to our universities and cultures, to our classrooms and our conversations, for which our PhD educations provide unique qualification?

I personally would prefer one PhD track, and one “career,” but with the possibility of flexibility over that career. Not everyone, at all times, needs to be on the classic (but utterly false) 40/40/20 model. There are already numerous tracks, but we don’t understand them well, nor do our PhD programs adequately prepare future faculty for those varying opportunities.

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About George L. Justice

George Justice is Dean of Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Associate Vice President for Humanities and Arts in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at Arizona State University. A specialist in eighteenth-century British literature, Justice is the author and editor of scholarship on the literary marketplace, authorship, and women's writing. His BA is from Wesleyan University and his MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to coming to ASU, Justice taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Marquette University, Louisiana State University, and the University of Missouri, where he also served as Vice Provost for Advanced Studies and Dean of the Graduate School.