I just found out this morning that, as head of the Majors’ Recruitment Committee, I’m running the departmental Open House this Friday. I’ve got to introduce a few speakers and probably say a few words about the value of an English degree. That’s where the CFP (or A, or D) comes in. Consider this a call for papers, anecdotes, or data. I’m looking to discover what it is that an English degree prepares one to do, out there in the world post-graduation. What are their prospects? What was most valuable about this degree? Is there something supplemental that in hindsight they wish they’d done as students? And so on.

I have some ideas of my own*, but I’m looking for more. If you have anecdotes or actual data, that would be swell.

*By the way, one of the things that has me thinking, and is probably of interest to others, is Mark Slouka’s “Dehumanized: When Math and Science Rule the School,” from the September Harper’s (unfortunately only available to subscribers). A brief teaser quote:

Rain does not follow the plow. Political freedom, whatever the market evangelists tell us, is not an automatic by-product of a growing economy; democratic institutions do not spring up, like flowers at the feet of the magi, in the tire tracks of commerce. They just don’t. They’re a different species. They require a different kind of tending….

Like a single species taking over an ecosystem, like an elephant on a see-saw, the problem today is in disequilibrium. Why is every Crisis in American Education cast as an economic threat and never a civic one? In part, because we don’t have the language for it. There are no corresponding “civic indicators,” no generally agreed-upon warning signs of political vulnerability, even thought the inability of more than two-thirds of our college graduates to read a text and draw rational inferences could be seen as the political equivalent of runaway inflation or soaring unemployment.

A provocative argument, I think–not entirely right (what article is?), but salutary in these times of fiscal worry and political bad behavior.

At any rate, my kingdom for your anecdotes and data!

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