Friday, January 09, 2009

A Scholarly Life of Ironies

Oh well, it looks like I won't be teaching philosophy after all. It seems the dean for the college I was set to teach at didn't approve of my credentials. You see, you have to have 18 graduate hours of philosophy to teach philosophy at the community college level, and UTD, where I got my Ph.D. has a strange, interdisciplinary program where philosophy classes, per se, aren't offered. Thus, one has to argue for each and every class. I thought for certain I had it:

HUSL-6372 -- Existentialism (school of philosophy)
HUSL-6370 -- Foundationalism and Antifoundationalism (metaphysics)
HUSL-7333 -- Rhetoric and Philosophy in Conflict (was also cross-listed as HUHI-7333)
HUSL-6370 -- Beauty (aesthetic philosophy)
HUHI-7379 -- Topics in Rec. Cont. Phil. -- Nietzsche
HUHI-7340 -- Germans and Greeks (history of philosophical thought)
HUSL-6355 -- Game Theory in the Humanities

I think the first 6 would be easiest to argue, though the last one is in essence informal logic and decision theory.

Now, here's the funny thing: this Fall my book, Diaphysics, a work of philosophy, will be published. So I can publish a book on philosophy, but I cannot teach philosophy. I also will have a paper published soon (after revisions are finished) on economics, though I also cannot teach economics. It seems I'm readily getting published in fields I'm not qualified to teach, but I'm not getting published in fields in which I am qualified to teach (creative writing, literary studies, humanities). Go figure.


John said...

I'm sorry to hear that. I'm apprehensive about the prospect of doing a Ph D at UTD myself, although maybe that amounts to counting my chickens before they've hatched.

Troy Camplin said...

I am qualified to teach the following, though: creative writing, humanities, interdisciplinary studies, literature, and composition. Had I gotten a Ph.D. in English, I would not have been able to teach philosophy, either, and humanities and interdisciplinary studies would also be left out.

Anonymous said...

You should demand a meeting with that person to press you case.


John said...

So if you had 18 credit hours of straight HUHI courses, would the situation be different?

My wife can't get sponsored to teach in Dallas because she doesn't have 18 credit hours of math or science at the university level. She's an elementary school teacher.

I think "credentialling" is basically designed to free people from the burden of using their brains to distinguish an asset from a liability. In a truly interdisciplinary world, perhaps the situation will change.

Troy Camplin said...

Yes, 18 hours of HUHI would do it, as they are recognized as being "philosophy" classes. It is the Lit. Studies classes that are the problem. Apparently, philosophy is not literature -- a designation people like Plato and Nietzsche, at the very least (and probably every postmodern philosopher) would disagree with.

And you are right about credentialing. It is also designed to protect whatever group requires it from competition. For example, I shouldn't be required to have a Teaching Certificate to teach middle or high school English (anyone with a Ph.D. in a field should be absolutely exempt from having to get certification in their field to teach that field in middle or high school).


The list I gave was from the very email I sent to make my argument. The chair of the dept. who wanted to hire me said about it that in her experience rarely do logic and academia go together.

John said...

Was that as insulting as it sounds, or is it missing some context here?

Kinda weird coming from a Dean, don't you think?

John said...

Don't know why I capitalized that.

Troy Camplin said...

The comment was from the chair of the dept. The dean, who is her boss, is the one who made the decision that I wasn't qualified based on my transcript. I'm surprised, since most deans do defer to the dept. chairs regarding whether they think the person they want to hire is qualified for the position.

John said...

Ah. I misread the original explanation.

Anonymous said...

Ahh the old saying holds true... those who can do... those who cannot teach.

Robert Canright said...

Fascinating results. Sorry for the disappointment. I immediately went to warn my daughter against interdisciplinary studies. No matter how much people say an interdisciplinary approach is important, hiring managers always want specialization.

I went to the UTD catalog and saw that UTD does not offer a degree in Philosophy, none at all. UTD offers courses in the Humanities. SMU offers a Bachelors, but no graduate degrees in Philosophy.


Troy Camplin said...

I would certainly recommend avoiding interdisciplinary studies at the undergraduate level -- nobody is prepared for it at that level -- but I still think it's a valuable way of thinking. You just have to be prepared to have trouble getting work, and be prepared to face resistance. I recommend focus on one discipline, and using an interdisciplinary approach to understand that discpline much more fully.