Tuesday, July 08, 2014

At Chronicle Vitae: Clueless faculty say to grad students "let them eat cake"

At Chronicle Vitae, a select group of STEM faculty are giving the profession the Marie Antoinette* treatment by responding to the jobs crisis as though it's 1968 all over again.  You've heard all these before:
  • "The best students will always succeed."
  • "Students just don't want faculty positions." 
  • “It’s my JOB to create more people like me.
You can read the rest at the link.  Humanities professors aren't quoted in the article.

I'm taking it on faith that these are actual quotations and not random spoutings from an online cliche-generator sponsored by the people who hate tenured faculty, which is what they sound like.

These are the people whose heads would explode if you called them climate-change deniers or quoted them as saying that Adam and Eve walked with the dinosaurs. But how is the failure to recognize this reality for their students any less irresponsible and damaging?

* I know she never said it, but this is kind of a fact-free post, wouldn't you say, so isn't it appropriate?


Anonymous said...

Interestingly, my husband's grad program does have career counseling that most of his cohort took advantage of. (My grad school did too, and they even offered their services to faculty members wanting/needing to leave academia.) I imagine that most big universities do, but that grad students tend not to take advantage of it unless it's already a habit for the lab.

I only know of one person in DH's grad lab who is still in academia, and he was generally thought to be not the best and brightest. There are alumni of his lab who have given up tenured positions at high quality schools. Even the Macarthur awardee is out of academia working in Silicon Valley. Why fight for academic NIH funding when you can get start-up money (and stock options) and SBIR money (and DARPA) and eventually make real products?

Of course, that's engineers. STEM physicists are just SOL until they go into finance. Not sure what to say about STEM biologists. They probably do have the same kind of pipeline problem that the humanities is having.

undine said...

nicoleandmaggie--good to hear about some actual experiences. Why indeed fight for dwindling NIH funding in those circumstances? I wonder, too, if engineers feel as though they're doing more good in the world and getting more of the work done that they want to do out of academia rather than in it.

Anonymous said...

I think that's also very likely to be true.