From  DAILY NORTHWESTERN at Northwestern University

 
U-WIRE, February 8, 2001
(c) 2001 Copyright U-Wire. All Rights Reserved.
 

Survey: Ph.D. students face difficult job market

By Andrea Cohen, 


EVANSTON, Ill. -- A recent survey shows that most of the 40,000 Ph.D. recipients each year want to become tenure-track professors. The study also shows that there aren't enough jobs to go around.
 
But a Northwestern University program gives its doctoral students an edge in this tight job market.
 
The University of Wisconsin-Madison surveyed 4,000 doctorate students across the country for a study released this year. Chris Golde, director of the study, concluded that Ph.D. students' goals are unrealistic considering the current tight job market in higher education.
 
Moreover, the study found, they are not adequately prepared for careers as professors.
 
Long before this study was conducted, NU developed a program to train doctorate students for teaching careers. The core of NU's "Preparing Future Faculty" program is a yearlong graduate course called "On the Academic Profession."

In the class doctoral students prepare teaching philosophies and attend seminars on a variety of topics such as dealing with ethical issues and teaching minority students.

Speech Prof. Carol Simpson Stern brought the program to NU in 1993 by winning one of five grants from the Pew Charitable Trust, which also funded the University of Wisconsin's study this year.

 
The Pew trust earmarked the 1993 grant money for training Ph.D. students for professorial careers.
 
Stern applied for that grant while serving as the dean of the graduate school.
 
She said the merits of the yearlong faculty-preparation program go beyond beating the tight job market.
 
"For me the program was never a question of job placement," said Stern, on sabbatical this year from her duties as director of the program.
 
"It is about versatility and empowering students to make an informed judgment about where they want to play out their careers," she said.
 
The program has grown since 1993, when it was only open to 18 students from six departments. Today it is open to all doctoral students.
 
About 180 students from 37 departments have participated in the program during its seven years.
 
Because Northwestern is such a prestigious research school, many NU Ph.D. students feel pressure from their advisers to accept only research jobs at other prestigious schools, Stern said.
 
This program provides Ph.D. students options, as well as giving them an edge in competitive markets.
 
Program graduates now have tenure-track positions at the University of Minnesota, Seton Hall University and Stanford, among other schools, she said. Others have done post-doctoral work at universities nationwide.



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