Academia

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Academia

PhD Complete Rates

Inside Higher Ed describes a study of complete rates for PhD students broken down by race/ethnicity, gender, whether the student is international or domestic, and by discipline. Here is the key chart: Cumulative Completion Rates for Students Starting Ph.D. Programs, 1992-3 Through 1994-5 Group By Year 5   By Year 6   By Year 7   By Year…

Are Academics Bitter?

There is a great blogginghead.tv conversation up between two of my favorite bloggers, Megan McArdle and Daniel Drezner. They discuss whether academics are bitter. McArdle argues that the labor market makes their lives very unfortunate. Drezner argues that the issue is complicated by the fact that some academics how outside job choices such as industry.…

A Review of Smart People

Yesterday I took a day off (first in a while for me), and I had a chance to see the movie Smart People starring Randy Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Ellen Page. The movie is about a rather odd literature professor, Lawrence Wetherhold, (Quaid) who is exhausted by the difficulties of academic life. His…

Stanley Fish of the NYTimes Think Again blog has some interesting things to say about the appointment of Bruce Benson, oil magnate and Republican activist, to be president of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The appointment raised eyebrows and protests from the faculty and students. Partly the issue is that Benson has never sought…

I just want to say before I start that I wrote this whole post by myself, and the parts I didn’t write are correctly attributed to the proper sources. Jacob Hale Russell, writing in 02138 Magazine (Harvard’s alumni magazine), discusses some disturbing trends in academic writing. Specifically, he takes on the modern practice of employing…

Reforming European academia

The Economist has an interesting article about reforming academia in Europe to make it more transparent and competitive. Resistance is to be expected. Money quote: Unleashing universities’ “full potential”, and “mobilising the brainpower of Europe” are at the heart of the commission’s plans to create a knowledge-based European economy. And change is indeed coming —…

Survery of Undergrad Research

I had the great pleasure of working in labs as an undergrad. Most of my classmates now did as well. Part of the good experience was the ability to really narrow down what type of science I was most interested in; part of it was the more mercenary goal of getting the experience that was…

I have talked about funding a couple of times (here and here), and I get the impression from the comments about those posts that my views are at the minimum somewhat iconoclastic. Basically, while I would prefer the government to give more to research, at the moment I don’t think that the primary issue is…

David Ignatius has a great column about the underestimated power of American education. American-style education is being rapidly exported all over the world, and foreign students are lining up to attend American universities at both a graduate and undergraduate level. In some cases, these students stay. In some cases, they return, bringing the values they…

Is Tenure Worth It? (updated)

Steven Levitt from the Freakonomics blog has started a discussion about whether the tenure system is worth it. His argument is that the tenure system supports the mediocre and should be scrapped: If there was ever a time when it made sense for economics professors to be given tenure, that time has surely passed. The…