But for now, I'm focusing on the positive. One, it's refreshing that UBC is doing what everyone should be doing, which is openly acknowledging that many of its graduates will be going the #alt-ac and #post-ac route. This is an ever-so-necessary step toward doing away with the stigma of quitting academe, and yet it is ever-so-rare a practice--I regularly interact with hundreds of graduate faculty in my job, and I can count on two hands the number of them who do the same. Two, if PhD students are going all sorts of places other than academia after they graduate--and they are, in hordes--then graduate programs should be providing them with opportunities to get the skills and experience they'll need in those jobs, and that they'll need to get those jobs. Not only am I pleased that UBC has recognized this, and acted on it, I'm pleased that they're engaging in an open conversation about the skills their English PhDs have, and touting those skills both to the organizations they're partnering with and to the general public. Perhaps my favourite part of their co-op website was this:
It's that easy to articulate what PhDs do well, what we do every day, in terms that help grad students make sense of their skills and the world make sense of grad students. No PhD should feel like the only thing they're good for is the professoriate, and one of the best ways to squash that feeling is telling them, from the moment that they start their degree, that there's a whole world of things they can excel at. Let's do this more.