Last summer I began an endless project: gathering comprehensive, up-to-date information about English Ph.D. stipends around the United States. I wanted to quantify the widespread perception that doctoral candidates are not earning stipends commensurate with their contributions to research, teaching, and service at their universities. To that end, I scrolled through program websites, emailed directors of graduate studies and graduate-school administrators, and polled current Ph.D. candidates. As the numbers rolled in, I compiled a spreadsheet to compute averages, medians, and ratios.

The work was invigorating. It differed from the qualitative scholarship I generally compose, immersing me in surveys, consent forms, and mathematics. In its form, it resembled committee service or union organizing, not elaborating a new interpretation of a Henry Fielding novel.

There were some eye-catching results. [read more]

Chronicle of Higher Education 2 September 2022