In this blog post I provide some detailed, up-to-date information about two philosophy PhD programs. This week's picks are Binghamton University and University of New Mexico. These programs were chosen randomly, using an app called "Pickster." (Next week's picks are listed at the bottom of this post.) I updated this information myself, using the program's placement page and what I could find online. I aim to construct these posts with an eye to what can be seen about the programs from the APDA data set alone. This information has come from several sources, including current students and graduates. Prospective graduate students should look at the websites for the programs, linked above, for more complete information. The running tally includes select numbers from all of the programs covered so far.
- Binghamton and UNM are similarly sized programs, both with above average permanent academic placement
- Binghamton students specialize in Value Theory, whereas UNM students specialize in History and Traditions (esp. non-Western)
- Both Binghamton and UNM have above average gender and racial/ethnic diversity
- Ratings by past graduates for both programs are below average
Overall placement, 2012-present
Binghamton appears to have had 21 graduates in this period, whereas UNM has had 16. 5 of Binghamton's students and 1 of UNM's students chose a nonacademic career path, leaving 16 on the academic path from Binghamton and 15 from UNM. Binghamton placed 8 of these graduates into tenure-track or other permanent academic positions (50%), with 1 of these in a program that offers a PhD in philosophy (6%). UNM also placed 8 into permanent academic positions (53%), with none in philosophy programs with a PhD. Of Binghamton's other graduates, 7 are in other temporary academic positions and 1 has no or unknown placement. Of UNM's other graduates, 1 is in a postdoctoral or fellowship position, 3 have other temporary academic placements, and 3 have no or unknown placement. The average salary of Binghamton graduates was $58,875 and 88% preferred an academic job. Too few UNM graduates provided salary information or job preferences to report.
Note that removing nonacademic positions from the total number of graduates is a new standard for this project. According to the old standard, the overall proportion of 2012-2016 graduates from the 135 programs tracked by APDA in permanent academic positions is 36%, with 11% in PhD granting programs. The current database values for all 2012 and later graduates according to the new standard are 43% and 14%, respectively, with an overall average salary of $68,542 and 90% who prefer an academic job.
Areas of Specialization, by Category
Including all past and current students in the APDA database, 66% of Binghamton students are in Value Theory and 34% are in History and Traditions. 5% of UNM students are in LEMM, 9% are in Value Theory, and 86% are in History and Traditions. For Binghamton, the majority of graduates 2012 onward placed into permanent academic positions were in Value Theory (75%). For UNM, the majority were in History and Traditions (88%).
Note that the current database values for all past graduates and current students are 28% in LEMM, 34% in Value Theory, 24% in History and Traditions, and 14% in Science, Logic, and Math.
Including all past graduates and current students, 35% of those from Binghamton are women, as are 40% of UNM students.
29% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017. The current database percentage is 31% for all past graduates and current students.
Including all past graduates and current students, 54% of those who answered questions about race and ethnicity from Binghamton identified as something other than White, non-Hispanic. This number is 29% for UNM.
13% is the overall proportion reported by APDA in 2017. The percentage from the Diversity and Inclusivity survey is 14%. The current database percentage is 20%, but this is likely inflated relative to the true population due to some of our data gathering efforts.
20% of Binghamton students were first generation, but too few from UNM provided this information to report.
The percentage of all survey respondents who are first generation college students is 23.4%, compared to 31% for all United States doctoral degree recipients in 2015.
Binghamton students provided two public comments on how philosophy could be more inclusive:
Hire black or latinx philosophers.
There are likely many steps. An important one is to adequately review syllabuses and classroom pedagogies during hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions, with a focus on diversity and inclusion. I think we need to do this for every review of teaching, especially with those charged with the responsibility of teaching undergraduates. I think the field lacks in diversity and equity because very early in philosophy courses, students who understand the world from outside the canonical frame of reference are subtly, if not explicitly, dissuaded from pursuing philosophy. I also think there should be some form of remediation for tenured professors who fail to acknowledge, or explicitly deny the value of inclusive pedagogy. I think we need to call the misogynists, hetero-sexists, racists, able-ists, and arrogant dogmatists out, and hold them accountable. I also think we need to change the culture of complicity that idolizes the scholar regardless of their bigotry.
and UNM students provided one:
De-center the West.
In response to the question: "How likely would you be to recommend the program from which you obtained or will obtain your PhD to prospective philosophy students?" past and current Binghamton students selected "somewhat likely," on average (3.8, n=8), whereas UNM students selected between "neither likely nor unlikely," (3.4, n=5).
"Somewhat likely," 4.0, is the average rating reported in 2017. The current database overall average is the same, with an average of 3.7 for teaching, 3.9 for research, and 3.7 for financial support.
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for undergraduate teaching," Binghamton students selected "satisfied" (4.0, n=6). Too few UNM students answered this and the next two questions to report.
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the advice and preparation this program provides to its graduate students for academic research," Binghamton students selected "satisfied" (3.8, n=6).
In response to: "Rate your satisfaction with the financial support this program provides for its graduate students," Binghamton students selected "satisfied" (4.0, n=6) .
Binghamton students provided public comments on the program overall:
Strong, diverse, and supportive faculty; inclusive and progressive departmental culture; good blend of continental and analytic philosophy; decent selection of graduate courses; significant support and prep for job seekers. Overall, this is a great department for those who want to do relevant work in contemporary social and political philosophy and ethics.
The program is very welcoming and has a remarkably diverse community (at least in terms of gender and ethnicity).
on preparation for teaching:
The program has a very well planned roadmap for grad students. The first two years grad students work as teaching assistants and run small discussion sessions. After the first two years, they are encouraged to develop introductory level summer courses. Towards the end of their funding they are allowed to teach regular semester courses. So, step by step the program prepares the student to undergraduate teaching. The student graduates with significant teaching experience and a variety of courses on her cv.
There were teaching opportunities with a lot of resources for preparing syllabus, approaches to grading etc.
on preparation for research:
The department encourages students to attend conferences, network, and publish. Many faculty would be happy to read drafts and give advice. The department also offers workshop on publishing (also workshops on the job market, writing a cv and job application, and so on).
and on financial support:
Binghamton used to offer funding for four years and then a competitive dissertation fellowship. If a student comes in with an MA, five years would be sufficient be abd, and make meaningful progress with the dissertation. But it will be very hard for a student without an MA to get to the abd stage in four-five years. The annual stipend one receives is not much though sufficient to live a pretty decent life in Binghamton as the cost of living is absurdly low.
I had four year funding and an excellent advisor for my dissertation.
UNM students likewise provided public comments on the program overall:
Specialty in non-Western philosophy.
on teaching preparation:
Not much by way of instruction in pedagogy but provided a lot by way of teaching experience.
and on preparation for research:
The guidance in conducting research by knowledgable faculty was great but not much by way of mentoring graduate students in the publishing process.
Next week I hope to look at University of Dallas and Saint Louis University. Feedback is welcome, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Link to this post at: https://academic-placement-data-and-analysis.ghost.io/binghamtonandnewmexico/