Reviews

Times Higher Education (Eve Worth)

The PhDictionary cleverly uses the traditional dictionary format to explain academic terminology through the lens of personal experience…His book lays bare the unspoken and often assumed rules of the game and sets about defining them for the uninitiated…What makes The PhDictionary so successful is that Childress’ perspective allows him to make the kind of class and structural analysis so often absent from career advice given to doctoral students and early career researchers.

Inside Higher Ed (Colleen Flaherty)

While Childress is honest with readers about their relatively poor chances at a landing a tenure-track position, he offers himself and his experiences up as guides to those who would tread the graduate school path anyway. The result is an unusually hopeful addition to the literature on graduate school that makes pursuing a life of the mind — even if the end state isn’t a professorship — seem worthwhile.

Library Journal (Alan Farber, UNC-Chapel Hill)

Writing in an informal and entertaining manner, the author includes a fair share of anecdotes and opinions… The occasional personal biases notwithstanding, the book provides a balanced viewpoint and a wealth of valuable information that will benefit anyone considering or pursuing a higher education faculty or administrative career. General readers interested in what goes on behind the hallowed (and enigmatic) walls of academia will delight in this well-written, witty, and thought-provoking compendium.

Jeanne Mekolichick, assistant provost for academic programs and professor of sociology at Radford University

Beautifully vivid and well-written, The PhDictionary pulls back the curtains of higher education to those of us, like myself, who have come to the academy from first generation, blue-collar families. Childress delivers a valuable view of the organizational landscape by blending human stories with national trends and wisdom from the field. Balancing the unforgiving realities of faculty life in higher education today with a good dose of humor, this book is an important addition to “the Straddler’s” library for those new to the field and anyone who mentors them.

Ken O’Donnell, senior director of student engagement and academic initiatives & partnerships at California State University

This book is very funny. Though not a satire, at times it feels like Gulliver describing Yahoos in the land of Houyhnhnms: the perspective of outsider-to-outsider allows for some laugh-out-loud observations about the world of higher education. New or prospective faculty will find it helpful, even reassuring, to have the stresses and occasional daffiness presented with such accuracy and candor.

David D. Perlmutter, professor and dean of the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University and author of Promotion and Tenure Confidential

An offbeat, original, and witty take on surviving graduate school and the professor track. Childress’s book will be especially useful for “first in family” academics who have no previous experience with our peculiar profession.