Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Want to do a survey on your career path in science?

From the inbox, a survey:
While the number of PhDs conferred in the U.S. has increased over the past several decades, the number of tenure-track faculty positions has remained flat. Recent studies have illuminated the change in career decisions of some PhDs over time, but none has described or visualized a career map detailing where recent PhDs are currently employed.

The study “Identifying Career Pathways for PhDs in Science” will endeavor to accomplish this visual representation by collecting current employment data from PhDs who have studied, worked, or trained in the U.S. and received a doctorate in the last ten years. The study author and administrator is Melanie Sinche, Senior Research Associate in the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

If you have received a PhD in any of the physical, life, engineering, computational, or social sciences between 2004 and 2014 from any institution worldwide and have ever studied, worked, or trained in the United States, you are invited to participate in a survey study by completing the online survey below.

The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and includes questions about career interests, activities, current employment, and motivations for choosing your career. At the end of the survey, you will be invited to participate in a drawing for one of five (5) $100 gift cards to Amazon.com. Responses to this optional drawing will not be linked in any way to the Career Pathways survey.

The survey can be found at goo.gl/my1SfL.
Seems like a good idea to participate.  

13 comments:

  1. As a Harvard Postdoc I can confirm that Melanie Sinche is a real person and actually cares about employment for scientists and engineers. Go take her survey!

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    1. Oh, well, if she's from Harvard i'm sure she "cares" about all the little people and doesn't just do things for her own career aggrandizement.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sbFhOeqTzY

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    2. She's not from Harvard....

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    3. Wow Bad Wolf, inferiority complex much? That's a pretty shitty attitude to think that just because someone works at Harvard they are only out for themselves (in the same way that it would be shitty to think that just because someone is at Harvard they are smarter or more accomplished than anyone at University XYZ).

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    4. Maybe BW is annoyed that having the "H-bomb" on your resume opens up employment opportunities that are not available to equally competent people in boring ol' state school programs.

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    5. I'm going to have to go with.... NMH here. Good show!

      (I mostly bristled at the implication(s) that either we should listen to her because she's at H, or to Anonymous H Postdoc because s/he's at H. Either way, thanks for giving us the ol' H attitude, Anon #3! It's what we love about you all so much.)

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    6. Anon #3 here.

      My original comment was meant to confirm that 1) she is a real person, 2) that I had met her, and 3) that she has a passion about the future of hiring in science (a sentiment that is important to the folks on this blog). The Harvard part was only because the post itself mentioned she works there and it just happened to be where I met her.

      As a state-school kinda guy the idea that the mere mention of a school I happen to work at (never mind the undergrad or grad schools I spent much more time at) makes someone instantly think I'm an arrant ass is pretty shocking.

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  2. Works best if viewed using Internet Explore. Chrome really mangled the site for some reason.

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  3. Pity that it only covers those who completed their doctorates after 2003.

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  4. Has it ever bothered anyone else that we constantly hear about how the number of tenure-track faculty positions are remaining static, but numbers are not usually presented to support that claim? I hear all the time about new, small universities opening or expanding enrollment, and that has always suggested to me an increase in the demand for teachers. I took the time to find this study http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2014015 from the Institute of Education Sciences. Most of their numbers are for "full-time instructional staff (which may include some visiting professors)" vs. "part-time" but they also have statistics for the percentage of positions that are tenure track. You can sift through all of the data but I'll just highlight a few items: Total number of full-time instructional faculty in the US at degree-granting institutions: 1980 - 450,000; 2001 - 617,868; 2011 - 761,619. In the physical sciences, number of full-time instructional faculty in the US at degree granting institutions: 1998 - 27,000; 2003 - 36,000.

    Having just gone through the academic job-search process, I am not arguing that it is easy to get one of these positions...I empathize with anyone else going through that process right now. I am also willing to believe that the number of tenure-track R01 positions is remaining fairly static...I didn't even consider applying for those. Furthermore, the data in the study I linked above clearly shows an increase in the number and percentage of part-time/adjunct faculty. I just worry that we, as chemists (and especially as grad students), sometimes paint a bleaker picture for ourselves than we really need to. Just my opinion.

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    1. I have an impression that faculty in tenure-track positions tend to stay put for longer than their industrial colleagues. Less mobility can lower the number of positions that are open at any moment. Also, highly cyclical nature of faculty hiring means that if a candidate doesn't get a job for the fall he/she is done for the year.

      Both of these features can create the impression of scarcity.

      Again, this is based on my ideas. I don't have data to support these ideas.

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    2. Here is the BLS' best guess as to the number of "chemistry teachers, postsecondary" there are in the US: 21,470. I could believe that number, especially if it counts adjuncts.

      Of those 21k positions, how many are truly "desirable" and for what reasons? I dunno.

      http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251052.htm#(3)

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    3. Currently, I believe, 70% of all university and college classes in the US are taught by contingent faculty, i.e. adjuncts or visiting professors.

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