Accidental Composition: How the Ph.D. Machine Fails Our Students

  •  Lash Vance    


Imagine spending six or more years diligently training in a particular subject to only apply for a job in an unrelated field. Most everything you know will never be used; your education remains for your own edification, locked in a dusty wardrobe of the mind. Add to this a lack of awareness of how to do your new job. This is the picture of the modern-day college composition teacher. Newly printed Ph.D.s (and sometimes Masters) apply for positions for freshmen composition with very little pedagogical training, background, or awareness of the task. For them, composition is a backup plan in the event that their preferred occupation (usually as professor in the humanities) does not pan out. Students in freshmen composition series across the United States end up paying the price for the limited pedagogical preparation that many teachers have had. These students should not have to wait five or ten years before experience teaches these instructors how to be excellent in their craft. This is a silent institutional problem of massive proportions that can—and should—be fixed. This article offers tangible solutions to the issues involved in the lack of pedagogical training of our newly minted Ph.D. students.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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