Skip to main content

Job Market

I am on track to receive my Ph.D formally this April or May, depending on university paperwork processing. The dissertation is done, approved by my adviser, and only minor edits remain. The university bureaucracy is certainly navigable, though it is essential to have extra copies of every form on file.

Now, I am on the job market as a "Ph.D Pending" (dissertation submitted).

As I have previously stated, I am exiting most autism-related research after this academic year. I will continue to write and express my own views, but I have no interest in focusing the next 20 or more years of my life on autism. The debates, mistrust, and even hatred are too much for me to tolerate.

The universities with which I have interviewed are hiring writing, new media, and visual design professors. One post includes the potential of teaching a graphical novel seminar, while another is primarily theatre and "rhetoric of performance" in media studies.

In a tough, competitive job market, it is good to have interviews with universities willing to consider me for something beyond autism and cognitive development. I realize how difficult it can be to change specialties in academic settings. Thankfully, I have a history of creative writing and media experiences, outside universities.

I'm learning that what you do is as important as a degree. Work experience can be equal to a degree specialty. That's good news, at least for me.

In a few weeks, hopefully by the end of January, I'll have any in-person interviews scheduled. If I do land at a teaching post I'll be sure to explain where and what I will be doing in the future.

When I speak to students, teachers, and parents, I emphasize that we should not let any disability define us. We are shaped by our limits, but we do not have to embrace them as crutches or badges of honor. I do not want to be known as the "high-functioning" literacy expert. I want to be known as a writer and professor apart from my physical traits.

That's one reason to broaden my academic role beyond autism. It was starting to define me.


Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …