I read Gregory Semenza’s essay arguing that job seekers should not look for (wait on) jobs that focus on teaching over research (or don’t require research) this week. He argues that “Those jobs basically don’t exist and haven’t for some time.” He does admit that “some professors out there will tell me I’m wrong, that they managed to secure just such a job, maybe even recently.” Not surprisingly, he argues that “their experience is extremely far from the norm, and you need to realize that your chances of duplicating it are extraordinarily small.”
I am going to disagree, but, rather than write a post about this, I’m simply going to link to an essay I wrote for Academe seven years ago. The statistics I quoted are out of date, but, at that time, I wrote, “According to the 2005 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, only 6.5 percent of all colleges and universities are research institutions, while master’s colleges and universities make up another 15.1 percent. Other types of institutions account for the remaining 78.4 percent of U.S. colleges and universities.” I also wrote, “There are, for example, faith-based colleges; institutions that focus on particular ideas or serve particular regions, such as Berea College in Kentucky, Sterling College in Vermont, and Evergreen State College in Washington State; and colleges and universities geared toward the arts. Schools such as these make up 36.5 percent of the four-year institutions in the United States. Our graduates who pursue careers in higher education can just as easily end up at one of these institutions as at a research or master’s college or university.”
I’m guessing that Semenza, a professor at the University of Connecticut doesn’t have much interaction with professors at these types of schools, so he doesn’t know how common we are.