The Boston Globe reports on the post-doc crisis in science research:
The life of the humble biomedical postdoctoral researcher was never easy: toiling in obscurity in a low-paying scientific apprenticeship that can stretch more than a decade. The long hours were worth it for the expected reward — the chance to launch an independent laboratory and do science that could expand human understanding of biology and disease.
But in recent years, the postdoc position has become less a stepping stone and more of a holding tank. Some of the smartest people in Boston are caught up in an all-but-invisible crisis, mired in a biomedical underclass as federal funding for research has leveled off, leaving the supply of well-trained scientists outstripping demand.
Look Who Nick Kristof’s Saving Now. Political scientist Corey Robin on today's public intellectuals, an "entire economy of unsung writers with PhDs," and what Nicholas Kristof doesn't understand when he writes academics have marginalizes themselves and "just don’t matter in today’s great debates." As Aaron Bady wrote, ”He only reads The New Yorker, and then complains that everyone doesn’t write for The New Yorker.”
Amid a number of recent articles (previously, previously, and previously) about the state of doctoral study in the United States, the NSF has released an interactive report compiling statistical analysis of broad trends about who earns a doctorates, which fields are attracting students, influences to obtain a degree, payment for that degree, and trends after graduation. The report is also available as a .pdf, with further explanation of what these numbers generally indicate.
Even Ph.D.s Who Got “Full Funding” Have Huge Amounts of Debt (SLSLATE) "A shocking number of users also report [a debt loan of] $100,000 and up; some $200,000 and over, even with a funding package. “My graduate stipend did not cover my living expenses, books, money I needed for research,” explains one user. “TA salary and fee remission not enough to support my two children,” says another. Graduate students do not usually receive funding in the summer—but are often expected to complete intensive research or exam prep—so many users also cited summer living expenses. Though Kelsky expected a substantial reaction, she says she is still “stunned” at the rate at which entries keep coming in, and “with such devastating figures and stories.” (be sure to check out the link for 'fully funded')
On Graduate School and 'Love' is yet another commentary on the economics of academic work. A younger student chimes in on the role of education in life: "much of education is oriented, for better or worse, toward making a living, rather than making a life." [more inside]
anyone who goes into science expecting employers to clamor for their services will be deeply disappointed
"It's the dirty little secret of higher education," says Mr. Williams of the New Faculty Majority. "Many administrators are not aware of the whole extent of the problem. But all it takes is for somebody to run the numbers to see that their faculty is eligible for welfare assistance." [more inside]
The job market is saturated and graduates are unable to get hired anywhere to get proper training. Law professors Richard Rhee and Bradley Borden have a solution: law schools should open their own law firms.
The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce released a study comparing the economic value of different college majors.
What we have in academia, in other words, is a microcosm of the American economy as a whole: a self-enriching aristocracy, a swelling and increasingly immiserated proletariat, and a shrinking middle class. The same devil’s bargain stabilizes the system: the middle, or at least the upper middle, the tenured professoriate, is allowed to retain its prerogatives—its comfortable compensation packages, its workplace autonomy and its job security—in return for acquiescing to the exploitation of the bottom by the top, and indirectly, the betrayal of the future of the entire enterprise. Graduate school as suicide mission, in the Nation.
“It is my hope that this essay will initiate such a conversation. As for me, I'm planning to retire. I'm tired of helping you make your students look competent.”
NYU President John Sexton warns striking grad students that they must resume teaching or lose their benefits. After weeks of marching outside Bobst library and refusing to teach classes, NYU grad students have been sent a letter from President John Sexton, warning them that any TA who does not return to work next week will lose their stipends and eligibility to teach next semester. Until recently, NYU was the only private school that allowed graduate teaching assistants to unionize, following a 2000 NLRB decision, which was subsequently reversed. NYU claims that it has negotiated in good faith and that the union's demands would limit decision making that should remain in the hands of academics, while the grad students argue that they cannot trust NYU's admistration to take care of them without unionization (and representation by the UAW). Meanwhile, many undergrads paying tuition upwards of 50K/year will have to retake classes or opt for pass/fail. Do you sympathize with highly educated American grad students who receive free tuition, health insurance, and stipends in exchange for modest teaching duties (when many other students depend on student loans), especially compared the with 19th century coal miners, third-world factory workers, and modern-day wage slaves we normally associate with unions and strikes?
Want an MBA - without spending half your life doing it? It seems as if Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey has put together a 12 week "no frills" program with "just the essentials" to get what they term a "mini MBA". Now I'm not sure what this "mini" certificate will mean when you go to apply for a job and show it to your prospective employer, but apparently some folks are filling out the classes for $2495 each term. You can read more about it in this pdf, check out page 3.
Keep your CEO out of grad school. I found this article to be provocative. Can the performance of a CEO be judged by just one number (i.e., return to shareholders)? Shouldn't the study be controlling for size of firm, industry characteristics, economic cycle etc.? What do you think?