Thoughts on Tennessee, Missouri and the Ph.D

I got an email today that latest edition of the UT SIS Alumni Newsletter was online. It looks like SIS is finally getting some focus and direction thanks to the new director, Ed Cortez. The focus is pretty heavy on information science and technology, but they’ve still got some library focused items in the works too. Still, I’d like to be a fly on the wall at the faculty meetings. The faculty meetings I attended during 2004-2005 were very interesting. It was like nobody wanted to make any major decisions without a permanent director in place.

To be fair, the entire College of Communication and Information was in a bit of an upheaval during my time as a doctoral student and still doesn’t have a permenant dean yet. I picked a bad time to get a Ph.D I guess. My whole time there the Ph.D program was supposedly being revised. Believe me it needs it. The program is 87 hours semester hours, and 27 hours of that was a required core. Of course my primary concentration was information sciences and all of my master’s work counted toward that, so subtract 15 hours and you have 72 hours.

72 hours for Ph.D that was primarily communications stuff that I wasn’t that interested in and I didn’t have to and really couldn’t take that many more information science classes. Plus there was that nice involuntary break I took for a while. So I was looking for greener pastures when the Missouri opportunity appeared (see earlier post).

The SISLT Ph.D program is more library oriented and definately fits my interests better. The program is also shorter, 57 hours, and six of my UT credits will transfer, bringing me down to 51 hours. So I’ll still finish the degree here in about the same time a would have finished the UT degree had I not been forced into the extended vacation. So I haven’t lost that much time.

The program and the degree are good, even if I’m still a bit unsure about what to do with the degree once I have it. I do know that staying in Missouri isn’t an option. I would like mountains, hills and trees and more moderate weather. It’s 29 degrees now and this summer it was regularly over 95 degrees. Not exactly the climate I’m used to.

Stephanie and I really want to go back to Tennessee, or at least back to the area (North Carolina, Virginia etc.) so that may limit my teaching opportunities. And I’m not sure I like the odd and irregular schedule of a professor either. I’d greatly prefer the more regular schedule that working in a library would bring. Only time will tell.