Why Learned Societies and Academic Publishers Can Benefit from Hiring Ph.Ds
Someone with a Ph.D. offers certain key advantages
In The New PhD: How to Build a Better Graduate Education, Leonard Cassuto and Robert Weisbuch estimate that half of students who enter PhD programs will not complete their degrees. Of the half who do complete their degrees, half of those will go into non-academic positions. These positions are often referred to as “alt-ac” careers or as “career diversity,” the term preferred by the American Historical Association. Often, PhDs may enter fields outside of the academy altogether, such as non-profit, corporate, or government work. However, some careers take PhDs only a short distance from university teaching and research, such as learned societies or academic publishers.
Conversations about alt-ac or career-diverse doctorates can be fraught for universities, students, and employers. Students may wonder how their skills can transfer outside of the academy, while professors may struggle with how to help students in a career path that they may never have undertaken. Potential employers may wonder, “What can someone with a PhD offer my organization?”
Learned societies and academic publishers may find that someone with a PhD can offer advantages, such as an insider knowledge of academia. For example, I earned my PhD in communication in August 2019. Shortly after, I joined the staff of the National Communication Association (NCA) as the Content Development Specialist. Because of my background, I understand the kinds of questions graduate students ask, the unique timing of the academic calendar, and the publication process. This knowledge helps when writing content and promoting resources because I can identify the most relevant information for our stakeholders and better tailor those resources to the intended audience.
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