Friday, March 27, 2009

Lack of tenure track jobs will drive future scientists out of US universities

A Princeton department chair gets it: treating faculty like toilet paper might seem to make economic sense in the short term, but in the long term it will kill our higher education system.

I would go further than he does and say that lack of tenure track positions for those who choose to focus on TEACHING future scientists (and businessmen, teachers, and political leaders) is already killing them personally.

If someone chooses to teach or be an academic, they don't expect to get rich, but they do expect to be able to pay back their student loans, get health insurance, and support a family


Nation needs recovery plan for science faculty jobs
February 28th, 2009

Even if the economy were to recover over the next one to two years, the academic job market for the next few years is likely to be bleak. It will probably take several years for university finances to recover. Even more significantly, the collapse of the stock market has led many faculty members to defer retirement plans. Many professors in their late 60s and early 70s who were planning to retire in the next two to three years have decided to stay on and work for an additional few years so that they can recover some of their market losses.

While this choice makes a great deal of sense for each individual, it will likely have tragic side effects. If all of the faculty members who were planning on retiring at age 67 defer retirement to 72, then universities will not be able to hire any new faculty for the next five years! (This claim rests on the assumption that universities are not likely to rapidly grow their faculty size during an economic downturn and early in the recovery.) When the current cohort of 67-year-olds and the current cohort of 62-year-olds retire over the next five to 10 years, this wave of retirements may create a job bump; however, the next several years will be a difficult time for any scholar seeking a faculty position.


The lack of tenure-track jobs in the United States will likely lead many of our best young U.S.-trained scientists and engineers to seek faculty positions in Europe and Asia, or to abandon their scientific careers. Many of our promising young Ph.D.s are foreign-born scientists who will likely return to their home countries. Most other advanced nations have mandatory retirement ages at their universities and do not have retirement pensions connected to the stock market.

FULL TEXT (includes his solution)

1 comment:

Padmanaban said...

Part time work is just to earn money to spend on for useful purposes such as for learning etc., this makes a path to get more job openings and experience