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What Helps New Ph.D.s Land Jobs in Academia? A Passport

The scramble for faculty jobs is prompting graduate students and newly minted Ph.D.s to look overseas.

While hiring freezes and budgets cuts pervade U.S. higher education, universities in Asia and the Middle East are hungry for candidates, often amid a dearth of native applicants. Although most advertise their faculty openings all over the world, the schools see U.S. doctorates as prestigious and useful in recruiting students as they build their reputations.

Last year, Frederick “Fritz” Monsma, who earned his doctorate in philosophy from Boston College in 2003, applied for one position in humanities after another — only to learn that U.S. universities were canceling their searches. He eventually got an offer from American University in Iraq-Sulaimani, a private school in the country’s Kurdistan region that opened in 2007. “I stopped looking elsewhere,” says. Mr. Monsma. “I knew it was going to be an adventure, both in life and pedagogy.”

The Iraqi university says it received between 400 and 500 applications, mostly from the U.S., this year alone, more than double the 150-200 it had last year.

Cuts in government funding and shrinking endowments are taking a toll on many U.S. universities. To cope, some have frozen hiring and increased teaching loads, prompting teaching candidates to look overseas for work. Read more…


Publish date: June 27, 2009