New American Antiquity Forum: “CHOOSING A PATH TO THE ANCIENT WORLD IN A MODERN MARKET: THE REALITY OF FACULTY JOBS IN ARCHAEOLOGY”

A new study by archaeologists at the University of Georgia was just released in American Antiquity concerning the US/Canadian academic job market for archaeologists in anthropology departments. A must read for all archaeology faculty, staff, and students. This is sure to spark many discussions.

LINK TO THE ARTICLE

Abstract: Over the past 30 years, the number of US doctoral anthropology graduates has increased by about 70%, but there has not been a corresponding increase in the availability of new faculty positions. Consequently, doctoral degree-holding archaeologists face more competition than ever before when applying for faculty positions. Here we examine where US and Canadian anthropological archaeology faculty originate and where they ultimately end up teaching. Using data derived from the 2014–2015 AnthroGuide, we rank doctoral programs whose graduates in archaeology have been most successful in the academic job market; identify long-term and ongoing trends in doctoral programs; and discuss gender division in academic archaeology in the US and Canada. We conclude that success in obtaining a faculty position upon graduation is predicated in large part on where one attends graduate school.

Advertisements

2 comments on “New American Antiquity Forum: “CHOOSING A PATH TO THE ANCIENT WORLD IN A MODERN MARKET: THE REALITY OF FACULTY JOBS IN ARCHAEOLOGY”

  1. Shane says:

    What’s your take, Jake?

    • I think there are a lot of really important points that indirectly come out of this study. For one, if a handful of schools hold the majority share of faculty jobs, its likely that people who graduated from those schools also hold the majority share of funding dollars from grant agencies. Meaning those handful of programs have a very heavy hand in directing and shaping the overall trajectory of the discipline.

      It also seems like a pretty vicious circle. Many of those Tier I schools have large endowments that provide lots of internal funding for graduate students. Many of which end up using this internal funding to conduct substantial pilot studies before even applying for larger grants like NSF. Combined with general recruitment packages and the ability to bring in top scholars as endowed chairs, there’s likely to be more opportunities as a reault of both money and reputation.

      HOWEVER, when it comes down to it, any graduate student at any university should be able to produce. No matter where you are you should be publishing, securing external funding, and presenting at national and international conferences. 20% employment success (in academia) is not THAT bad. If youre producing, your chances of landing a job are higher, no matter what Tier university you are at. The question is whether or not your program’s name alone is influencing employment success. But like I mentioned above, its more likely the opportunities and resources afforded to students of Tier I programs that enable them to secure jobs at a higher rate. But again, lack of available resources does not by any means mean lack of talent or skill. With everything held constant except for quality and quantity of production, the questions is why are students at lower Tier universities not producing the same as students at higher Tier universities? Is this a product of an oversaturation of archaeology PhD students? Do programs need to be more selective and select less students overall? And would this increase the quality of production? How much of this falls to the advisor? Should an advisor be responsible for preparing students for the academic job market? And is this different from simply training good, quality archaeologists?

      Lastly, as the article suggests briefly, is the American, four field approach failing archaeologists? Do we need to be more specialized and more diversified, beyond what is considered appropriate within an anthropology department? Is our relationship with anthropology holding us back in any way?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s