Science moves faster than curriculum. This means we are leaving some of our students behind.
Let’s say you’re a grad student heading off to the annual 5-day conference in your field. You’re giving a poster, you are scheduled to have coffee with a person whose work you admire, you’ll be seeing a some old friends, and you’re there to learn about the newest work in your field.
Then, you get contacted by the people who run the conference. They’re wondering if you want to work — during the conference — at a rate of $14 per hour.
Stats on tenure-track hires in Ecology and Evolution, in which Dr. Fox combs though a lot of CVs.
I admit it’s hard to keep track of the many avenues of malfeasance from the federal government, and a variety of state governments. But if you’re in higher education, I think it behooves us all to look at what’s happening in Alaska.
Have you heard of the newly published misogynist paper in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine? Here’s the start of the abstract:
It is unknown whether female physicians can perform equivalently to male physicians with respect to emergency procedures. Endotracheal intubation is one of the most critical procedures performed in the emergency department (ED). We hypothesized that female physicians are not inferior to male physicians in first-pass success rate for this endotracheal intubation.
There has been much outrage. But hold on. This might not be what it might look like.
In ecology and zoology, the number of women authors on papers with male senior authors is shockingly low. I mean, yeah, you’d expect an effect of gender, but, I mean, wow, this is worse than I would have imagined:
Some while ago, a colleague mentioned how his job as a professor was a “triple position.” Teaching well is a full time job. Doing research well is a full time job. And the service that we do, if done well, can or should be a full time job. We professors have three jobs rolled into one salary (and a 9-month one at that)!
This has been a lot of food for thought. I’ve come to realize that for nearly everything I do for the university on part-time basis, there are people who do that work on a full-time basis with a higher degree of specialization.
Remember when I was saying that junior scientists of color are more likely to get ignored when they send their CVs to PIs they want to work with? A couple weeks ago, a paper came out with some substantial data validating concerns about this problem.
Even you might not think of your college students as adults, it would help if you treated them as if they were.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite animals, Aphaenogaster araneoides, and a major league screwup of mine:
image: Benoit Guenard
A wave of graduate programs drops the GRE application requirement, with biology programs leading the way.
“If you’ve ever been at a wedding or conference or on board a United connection from O’Hare, and been cornered by a man with Theories About It All, and you came away thinking, ‘That was a great experience,’ have I got the book for you.” So begins what I think is a generally Important Review of the most recent Jared Diamond book. It’s important, for the broader academic community, because it puts stark light on the absence of fact checking of popular academic nonfiction. It’s also an entertaining review to read, unless you’re uncomfortable with scrutiny of the more specious ideas forwarded by Jared Diamond.
Summer is go-time for research, particularly in undergraduate institutions. But yet, when I walk across the desolate campus in summer, I inevitably get from the first person I see, “What are you doing here?” If classes aren’t in session, most folks campus can’t imagine why we’d stick around.
For most grad students in the sciences, their doctoral advisor has an extraordinary level of power over their professional and personal life. This is long overdue for an overhaul. No single person should have that much power over another, particularly in academia where institutions chronically overlook and enable misconduct.
If you haven’t read this editorial about “What ‘good’ dads get away with,” please do. It’s about the the “Myth of Equal Partnership.”
Someone measured the disregard that natural scientists hold for research in the social sciences. You can imagine how this article is being received by the people they studied.
You are sending students to a conference. What’s the best way to pay for it?
I don’t know about you, but I’m used to hearing academics talking about how some people are just inherently brilliant. That there are people with oodles of raw talent, that just needs to be molded, and it’s our job as academia to find them and raise them up.
One hundred fifty. I’ve done this 150 times! How ’bout that, eh?
This review of a new book about Joy Division by Henry Rollins is not Everything, but it’s Quite A Lot. (And here’s a blog post about the science of the cover of Unknown Pleasures, which you’ve definitely seen in t-shirt form.)
When I visit other universities and chat with grad students, I love fielding questions about career stuff. I realize that’s part of why I was invited. Since I often get the same questions, I suppose I should also answer those questions here, too. Because if I get asked a question every time I visit an R1 department, it must be a really common question.
This is my ninth day of being sick. I think it was a flu. (Yes, I had this year’s flu shot.) It caught everybody in my home.
I’ve been back at work for a couple days, though I’m still coughing regularly, and my brain remains foggy. I’ve dropped so many balls. Fortunately, none of them are glass, though there are enough of them bouncing that I can’t quite keep up. There are a few things I am waaaaaay too late on.
It’s that time of year again. Congrats to the 2000 students who are recipients of the GRFP! From talking to so many panelists about their experiences, it’s clear that they could fund so more people, and every single one of them would be quite worthy of the support.
I can concisely encapsulate these concerns: Your odds of personally knowing someone who got a GRFP from your undergrad years might be best predicted by the size of the endowment of that institution. NSF is working hard to be inclusive with respect to gender, ethnicity, and various axes of diversity, but the bottom line is that students attending wealthier and more prestigious undergraduate institutions are more likely to end up with fellowships.
How do you explain what research is?
My go-to metaphor has been a jigsaw puzzle.
An article arrived in my inbox this morning and it seems so spectacular, I wanted to highlight it as its own post:
Emery, N., A. Hund, R. Burks, M. Duffy, C. Scoffoli, A. Swei. 2019. Students as ecologists: Strategies for successful mentorship of undergraduate researchers. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.5090
Does your spring break overlap with your kids’ spring break? If you’re like me, the answer is usually “no.” Which is annoying and a pain in the butt.
Since the news broke about the college admissions bribery sting by the FBI, I’ve had a lot of thoughts. And so has everybody else, it seems. (If you have not looked at media in the last 1.5 days, here’s the LA Times page that collects the many articles they’ve already assembled about it.)
This story is a singularity of problems in higher education in the United States, a convergence of drama into a single high-gravity point.