Gaining Transferable Skills in Graduate School

I was pleased to participate in a panel discussion on the importance of acquiring and developing transferable skills in graduate school.

Once again, It appears I’ve earned my reputation as Dr. Doom when it comes to talks about the prospects of graduate students. However, I hope my points are taken seriously. It’s time for graduate students as well as non-elite graduate programs to face the facts: you (or your students in the case of programs) are highly unlikely to ever come within sniffing distance of a tenure track faculty gig. Hell, over-production of Ph.D.’s has meant that even SLAC gigs are unlikely due to the massive numbers of elite-school Ph.D.’s looking for TT work.

While articles like “We Must Prepare Ph.D. Students for the Complicated Art of Teaching” by Derek Bok are well-intentioned, they are ultimately unhelpful. Those teaching jobs are gone and they aren’t coming back. Even the horrid conditions of adjunct work won’t be available much longer as advances in personalized and adaptive learning platforms move into automation of much of the intro-level coursework that contingent faculty are given to teach.

We need to be re-thinking the Ph.D. in terms of praxis: the ability to apply theoretical, substantive disciplinary knowledge alongside skilled practice applied to meaningful tasks.

Fooling ourselves will get us nowhere. I’m happy that the University of Kentucky is taking steps to help its graduate students prepare for non-ac/alt-ac careers, and I look forward to working with the UK Graduate School to help our amazing grad students prepare for their futures.

PS 545 Spring 2013 American Political Thought

Welcome PS 545 students! Until we can get you added to the course Evernote Notebook, I wanted to provide you with a copy of the syllabus and a link to this Friday’s readings. Please remember to sign up for an Evernote account (free!) as soon as possible so that you may access the course Notebook. […]


The Night Before #BIF8

Once again, I’ve been given the privilege of attending the Business Innovation Factory’s Collaborative Innovation Summit, affectionately known as BIF-8. Once again, as happened the night before BIFs 5 & 6, I can’t sleep. I’m too excited. You see, I’ve been looking forward to this two-day summit for months. The energy, the sheer delight of […]


Quick thoughts (and a 2×2) on Models of Online Course Production

I’m beginning to suspect the ecosystem of online course production will end up looking something like this: The chart also needs additional axes to capture social layer, enrollment size (small/traditional or full-on MOOC), and whether learning is meant to be formal or informal. iTunesU certainly looks to be shaping up into a lower-right quadrant offering, […]


Teaching & Learning Center 2015: A Day in the Life

The following is a fictionalized scenario, a day of a life of a teaching and learning center based on some futuring work I did for an internal planning retreat for the Center for the Enhancement of Learning & Teaching (CELT) in Summer 2012. I wrote up this scenario based on the outputs of several workshop exercises designed […]


Cell Phones or Digital Swiss Army Knives: Getting faculty over the hump

Over at The Next Web, Paul Sawers discusses the findings of a recent O2 survey that indicate that our phones really aren’t thought of as (primarily) voice communication tools anymore: “Smartphones are now being used like a digital ‘Swiss Army Knife’, replacing possessions like watches, cameras, books and even laptops,” says David Johnson, General Manager […]


The Transformation of Higher Ed: More than just “ed reform”

I was fortunate enough to have someone pass on to me this video by Michael Marantz this morning: “The Future is Ours.” Take a quick look (it’s only 2:14): The Future is Ours from Michael Marantz on Vimeo. It was a very welcome reminder on a Monday morning that in the end, those of us […]


My OpenClass Teaching and Learning Experience (Pearson CiTE 2012 Presentation)

Cross-posted from the Experience Design Works blog: Last month I had the opportunity to speak at the Pearson CiTE 2012 conference about my use of OpenClass – Pearson’s new LMS/Learning Platform – in the course I taught at the University of Kentucky this semester. Pearson CiTE 2012 OpenClass Presentation View more presentations from Christopher Rice […]


Smart Social Media: Building & Marketing a Strong Personal Brand

Cross-posted at the Experience Design Works blog: I had the great pleasure to kick off  the first Social Media Week at the University of Kentucky a couple of weeks ago with a presentation on building a strong personal brand using social media for college students. We had several undergraduates in attendance, as well as a […]


Distributed Labs for Sciences in Higher Education

This post by John Timmer on “How to run a successful research lab without having a lab” at Ars Technica really got me thinking this morning. One of the real difficulties with online or distributed higher education in the sciences is the problem of lab spaces. How, other than using an online simulation, do you […]