Monday, January 21, 2008

Too many Ph.Ds

This news story appeals to my sense of absurdity. So we don't have enough full time teaching jobs for PhD graduates. So, let's recruit more PhD candidates and then hire the PhD graduates to teach the classes. Makes perfect sense.

Analysis: Universities Overproduce Ph.Ds

College students are getting a raw deal, a recent New York report asserted. The problem is they're taking too many classes from part-time, or adjunct, professors.

But that same report unwittingly revealed something about how higher education is more culpable than it likes to admit when it comes to creating the problem.

The issue is a huge one in higher education far beyond New York, with about half of the nation's college faculty now on part-time contracts. Adjuncts are cheaper for colleges, but they often lack the time and resources for focused teaching, and research shows students' performance suffers if they are taught by part-timers too often.

In its report last month, a 30-member commission called for New York's state (SUNY) and city (CUNY) systems to alleviate the over reliance on adjuncts by hiring 2,000 more full-time faculty for their 87 campuses.

But just one page away, the report also called for adding at least 4,000 new doctoral students.

There's a connection between those numbers that deserves more attention.
This is not that complicated. It is easy to see the effects of "supply and demand."

In many fields, there are already too many Ph.Ds awarded for the full-time academic posts available, creating a surplus of likely jobseekers. That pool becomes adjuncts, who command wages and benefits so low that universities find them irresistible hires.

"It's not uncommon to have a disconnect like this in higher education, in which people are both concerned about the difficult career prospects being faced by recent Ph.D. graduates and concerned there aren't enough Ph.D. students," said Michael Teitelbaum, of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The ideas, he said, "often don't get connected. It's puzzling."

It is shocking to see how much academia types are disconnected from the real world.

Here are a few other examples that illustrate the disconnect:

All whites are racist

Go off to college and forget what you knew (And pay money to do this)

The coming revolution in higher education

Technorati tags: college, university, tuition, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


TheTutor said...

My dh is currently pursuing his PhD, and one question we had to ask ourselves before deciding to follow this path was, "Why are you pursuing this?" He had a few answers:

1. He'd love the pursuit.
2. He could teach at the college level once he graduated, but if no jobs were found, he could teach on the secondary level if he had to.
3. After analyzing his gifts and talents, he felt that this was the best path to choose of those available to him where he could "glorify God and enjoy Him forever".

We know that he may not get a job, and the rampant Marxism in academia surprised him (not its presence, but its depth and the passion behind it), but after a semester we feel we made the right decision, but we are still watching our budget closely, limiting our use of student loans, and keeping our eyes on the goals we set up to achieve while here:

1. Grow in knowledge
2. Grow in wisdom
3. Grow in favor with God and men
4. Glorify God and enjoy Him forever
5. Do all of these as a family which is part of the Church and part of the University and town

As in all of life's choices, enter with your eyes wide open, know your destination, and know where the emergency exits are. :)

Janine Cate said...

I had heard somewhere the income goes up with the level of education, but that PhDs usually earn less than people with Masters degrees.

Like you husband, I would get a PhD just for the joy of learning. However, I don't have a family to support.

It's great that you are so clear on your objectives.

>As in all of life's choices, enter with your eyes wide open, know your destination, and know where the emergency exits are. :)

Good point!

Out of curiosity, what's your husband's major?

TheTutor said...

English with an emphasis in American Studies and Culture (aka "Advance Do You Want Fries With That").

In all honesty, the discipline he has learned has been well worth the pursuit of the degree. He has always desired to write and had wonderful ideas, but never had the discipline. Now that he is busy going to school full-time, working part-time, and helping with homeschooling and household things, he has found the discipline and time to write as well.

Before we began this journey, a friend and businessman who has his PhD told us that it didn't matter so much what dh received his PhD in as much as that he finished it an finished well. Future employers are interested in hiring PhD mainly because they have the sick-to-it-iveness (not sure if that's how you spell it or if it's even a word) to dig in a accomplish a long-term task and see it to completion.

Janine Cate said...

I think there is a big difference between PhDs who go out into the world to work on those who stay on campus as professors. Those that have never been out in the "real" world believe their own propaganda.

I don't trust the judgment of an academic type who has spent their entire life being indoctrinated in school/university and then working in the school/university system. They are completely insulated from any hint of real "diversity" in thought.