Everything said in this article is true of my experience with getting a doctorate in mass communication from the U Iowa in 1994. Even worse, I became disabled within 4 years of finishing, and those disabilities I never shared with my faculty, fearing their judgment.

It affected my teaching & I received low evaluations from students [along with some great ones], but I take those with a very large grain of salt. Example: one said “if I wanted to learn about black people I would have taken an African American Studies course!” [I took seriously the administration’s exhortations to integrate multicultural education into mainstream courses.] I was the only member of the department doing that, and pretty much one of the very few doing that around the country in my field.

I was up against major resistance and little backup from other faculty, and I lost my 2nd faculty employment contract. And couldn’t find others over the space of 4 years, when I finally realized I wasn’t going to be able to teach full-time anyway, and received SSDI. I’m now on “retirement” 25 years after the last time I taught FT.


I have never regretted it for a single moment. Those years were the best years of my life. I became a different person, a better person, a more disciplined person, a more knowledgeable person than I would have been otherwise. Not to mention a better researcher, writer and teacher of writing.

At least for a period of time I was able to occupy space where I could engage the intellectual side of me [which is about 50%, the rest being creative] and be rewarded for it. Literally. I won the top award that my department gave out annually. I had finally come to understand that, despite being a woman, despite never having my intellect be taken seriously before, despite all the negative BS that had been dumped on me before, I had, in fact, an intellectual capacity no one had bothered to see before. And I was in one of the toughest, most prestigious departments in my field.

Most precious to me was that I gained a solid theoretical knowledge of how the world works…and it’s come in very handy as, like others, I am forced to cope emotionally & intellectually with the most insane world a modern person could ever encounter.

There’s nowhere else in the world I know where you can get those things.

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.