Academia doesn’t have a PhD problem, it has an attitude problem


The Contemplative Mammoth

A month after last January’s  State of the Union Address, in which President Obama called for an increase in STEM graduates, The Atlantic published this piece on the “Ph.D Bust,” lamenting the decline in academic job placement rates for scientists. The latter has been making the rounds again, coincident with the latest William “Don’t get a PhD” Pannapacker’s piece in which he reiterates that a humanities PhD is an immense investment of time and money, and that the job prospects are prohibitively dismal. Meanwhile, says Pannapacker, we know very little about job placement rates for PhDs, (if you have a moment, please fill out your information at the PhD Placement Project), and– most tellingly, to me– Academia is doing a deplorable job in general of preparing students for “alternative careers.”

This, to me, is the crux of the matter. People call Academia a pyramid scheme; certainly, if one scholar produces…

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