Don’t want to teach? Grad students to get more help from Yale

As the recession winnows the field of job openings, Yale’s Graduate Career Services is adding new programs and tweaking old ones to help students at Yale’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences find jobs.

Specifically, GCS is launching the Job Search Club and a new workshop series called “Nuts and Bolts: 2009,” designed for students looking for careers in fields other than academia, Director of Graduate Career Services Victoria Blodgett said.

The club launches against a backdrop of declining job offers in the academic field. Faced with steep declines in the value of their endowments, colleges and universities across the country have slowed or halted academic job searches, filling only critical positions with the most impressive candidates.

The idea for the club came from McDougal career fellow Maria Lebedeva GRD ’10, who works to provide graduate students with job search support.

“It’s something I thought of while looking for a job,” Lebedeva said. “I realized it was very different than what I thought it would be.”

Last spring, the graduate school held a series of job search workshops, in addition to similar classes that are typically offered in the fall. A club already exists for graduate students interested in consulting, and GCS offers workshops for graduate students hoping to enter academia, but this is the first attempt to start a club for those pursuing jobs outside of the academic field, Blodgett said.

“Fifty percent of our students end up in the professoriate. This program was designed to help the other half,” she said.

Lebedeva and Agata Gluszek GRD ’11, the two fellows in charge of the Job Search Club, said they hope the club will provide a networking base and knowledge source within a social setting. The job search process can be difficult to go through alone, Lebedeva and Gluszek said, especially in the current recession. The purpose of the club, Lebedeva said, is to bring together people with the same problems so they can help each other deal with the stress involved.

The new series, “Nuts and Bolts: 2009,” opened last Tuesday and also met Monday night for a session called “Finding Your Strengths and Weaknesses, What Careers Might You Enjoy.” The series, which will consist of eight workshops, runs through Dec. 1. Each session is led by Blodgett and focuses on a different aspect of the non-professorial job search, such as networking, writing résumés and preparing for interviews.

Fifteen students attended Monday’s session. Of the five students interviewed, all declined to comment about the job search process. Lebedeva and Gluszek, who attended Monday’s workshop, said graduate students seeking nonacademic jobs tend not to disclose that they are doing so, the two said, because the graduate community sometimes looks down upon making the switch from academia to the private sector.

Over the course of a year, GCS organizes more than 20 workshops for graduate students hoping to become professors, as well as programs for specific groups such as international students.

Blodgett said she thinks Yale graduate students will have fewer problems finding jobs than the average job-seeker, as long as they are willing to be flexible.

“I think, for our graduate students, the market looks fine,” Blodgett said, later adding: “It looks possible, depending on how flexible and how open they are to alternatives.”

The Job Search Club will meet every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Hall of Graduate Studies, beginning today.


  • JE

    With that headline I thought the article was going to be about reducing the number of TAs who don’t like doing it.

  • R

    I agree…very confusing headline.

  • grad

    Even before the recession Yale and other top graduate schools were issuing far far more PhDs than could ever be absorbed back into academia. The headline should be something like “Having Provided Years of Cheap Instruction, Grad Students Recognize They Were Duped; Yale Creates Another Administrative Position.”

  • seniorrzzz

    I agree with number 1 and 2

  • Alum ’08

    I completely agree with #4. Academia is a sad and sordid industry, with very, very few tenure-rack positions available. A professor position is the ultimate proverbial carrot university’s love to dangle over the heads of desperate grad school candidates. Combine this with a pay scale that doesn’t reflect the arduous work and it’s no wonder that, regardless of this economic downturn, more and more grad students are turning to more fruitful prospects.

  • GRD 10

    Let’s be honest Yale’s Grad Career Services are a joke. Upenn, Harvard, etc., have job fairs, resume drops, and OCIs for their grad. students. Yale’s Grad Career Service has nothing of the sort. This isn’t any one person’s fault, either. I think Yale is just behind all of those other schools in terms of career development.

  • grd

    Agree with #1 & 2. Being a professor at a research institution has nothing to do with teaching. In fact, I would consider teaching to be an alternative career – not the opposite as the title implies. My advisor “teaches” (i.e. gives his research spiel to grad students) two hours a year. For most professors, teaching is a chore they’re required to slog through.

  • GRD alum

    #3: Agree that too many PhD’s are being produced, but the problem is a systemic one. At least one department I know at Yale halved the number of doctoral students it took in, while many larger, public universities keep enormous staffs of grad students.

    #3 & #5: Yale is much, much less dependent on grad student and adjunct instruction than other institutions are. It’s sometimes almost difficult for grad students to get teaching here because the teaching is being done by, well, professors! And the Yale funding package for PhD students is very generous, especially when you add in the costs of tuition (which are real costs). Grad students are abused and overworked in many places, but not so much at Yale.

    (That’s not to say the administration doesn’t do other annoying things, but I think it’s good to keep some perspective on things.)

  • ’93 grad

    Re #7, that’s certainly true. But many research institutions (perhaps unintentionally) produce many excellent teachers that go to to careers in liberal arts colleges. For those that do, teaching is the primary job and avocation– that’s why smaller liberal arts colleges generally have better teachers.