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Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic | The Economist - 27 views

  • There is an oversupply of PhDs. Although a doctorate is designed as training for a job in academia, the number of PhD positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Meanwhile, business leaders complain about shortages of high-level skills, suggesting PhDs are not teaching the right things. The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes.
  • A graduate assistant at Yale might earn $20,000 a year for nine months of teaching. The average pay of full professors in America was $109,000 in 2009
  • America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees between 2005 and 2009. In the same period there were just 16,000 new professorships.
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  • PhD students and contract staff known as “postdocs”, described by one student as “the ugly underbelly of academia”, do much of the research these days.
  • In some areas five years as a postdoc is now a prerequisite for landing a secure full-time job.
  • in 1966 only 23% of science and engineering PhDs in America were awarded to students born outside the country. By 2006 that proportion had increased to 48%. Foreign students tend to tolerate poorer working conditions, and the supply of cheap, brilliant, foreign labour also keeps wages down.
  • In America only 57% of doctoral students will have a PhD ten years after their first date of enrolment. In the humanities, where most students pay for their own PhDs, the figure is 49%.
  • About one-third of Austria’s PhD graduates take jobs unrelated to their degrees. In Germany 13% of all PhD graduates end up in lowly occupations. In the Netherlands the proportion is 21%.
  • The earnings premium for a PhD is 26%. But the premium for a master’s degree, which can be accomplished in as little as one year, is almost as high, at 23%
  • PhDs in maths and computing, social sciences and languages earn no more than those with master’s degrees
  • the skills learned in the course of a PhD can be readily acquired through much shorter courses.
  • In one study of British PhD graduates, about a third admitted that they were doing their doctorate partly to go on being a student, or put off job hunting.
  • The more bright students stay at universities, the better it is for academics. Postgraduate students bring in grants and beef up their supervisors’ publication records.
  • Writing lab reports, giving academic presentations and conducting six-month literature reviews can be surprisingly unhelpful in a world where technical knowledge has to be assimilated quickly and presented simply to a wide audience.
  • Many of those who embark on a PhD are the smartest in their class and will have been the best at everything they have done. They will have amassed awards and prizes. As this year’s new crop of graduate students bounce into their research, few will be willing to accept that the system they are entering could be designed for the benefit of others, that even hard work and brilliance may well not be enough to succeed, and that they would be better off doing something else.
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    article from the Economist "The Disposable Academic: Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time
Chuck Baker

5. Signs of the Trigonometric Functions - 56 views

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    interactive trig values on the unit circle!  move around the radius to get angle measures and trig values
Greg Brandenburg

Bringing Girls and Boys to Computer Science with 'Alice' - 1 views

  • Attracting females is key to the future of computer science, Rodger says. In 2008, only 11.8 percent of U.S. bachelor's degrees in computer science went to women, according to the Computing Research Association. And Duke's showing is hardly better, said Rodger, who is trying to turn that around by making programming fun to learn.
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