The Alt-Ac Diaries seeks personal essays on topics related to the pursuit of a terminal degree by current or former graduate students, university instructors, and administrators. We are especially interested in diverse ways of thinking about the relationship between graduate study and career, be it an academic or a non-academic career. “Alt-ac” has tended to refer to Ph.D.s employed in academic administration, industry, business, government or elsewhere in a non-teaching capacity. As the academy has transitioned from a primarily tenure-track to an increasingly contingent instructional labor force, we suggest that there is now an “alt” aspect to university teaching as well. For that reason, we solicit essays that document the experiences and choices that lead both toward or away from the academy. For more information on the goals of our project, please see the About page.
Possible essay topics include but are not limited to:
- What is alt-ac?
- Why attend grad school, or not?
• Selecting the right graduate program
• Surviving grad school
• Mental health
• Deciding to leave grad school
- The dissertation
- Personal values on career and lifestyle
• Choosing a non-academic career
- Non-academic career options
• Choosing a teaching career
• “Using your degree” in a career
• Surviving the job market
• How to find a non-academic job
• How to find an academic job
• Adjunct teaching
• Academic labor
• Mentoring grad students for alt-ac careers
• Designing new alt-ac Ph.D. programs
- University culture change toward alt-ac
Submit queries and finished essays as Microsoft Word documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please use MLA format for citations.
Essays will be reviewed and published on a rolling basis.