The Blogger from “Why We Are Screwed” Has a Comment!!

049The Blogger from “Why We Are Screwed” Has a Comment!!

I am delighted to have found the blog, Why we are screwed. The owner/operator has very kindly given permission to use the comment below. It was made and is still attached to the blog post –

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James Pilant

The Comment

Thanks for posting these two articles. Although I do realize that the scope of the articles were more on teaching, public funding for science and engineering research has steadily been declining for decades, but teaching and research go hand in hand. When looking at the National Science Foundation (USA) data; however, in terms of private research money available (adjusting for the Recession), things have never been better! And, job security and good salaries are in place for tenured professors in scientific domains. I’m talking about those who are typically male, 50-65ish.

The problem we have now is underemployment for scientists say, under 50 years old in specific domains that don’t ‘suit’ private interests, and with sparse public funding, professors at the top of the pay scale are skimming off the top, leaving less available for new tenure track positions. As such, these ‘younger’ scientists can’t find suitable employment and many are caught in a never ending postdoctoral cycle, of which older generation profs can easily take advantage now more than ever (cheap labor = more publications with better authorship opportunities for the tenured prof). Not all older generation professors have the skills necessary as it is to provide students with the technology skills needed for future employment because the amount of knowledge required and technology available in computing has really been exploding in the past 10 years or so. Yet students are paying more than ever for education.

I wonder what will happen to quality of post secondary education when the older generation of professors retires in effect at the same time? There will be ever more students demanding a quality education in a breadth of subjects which is necessary to maintain a quality education (not just those that are of interest to the private sector) and there will be generally fewer top-notch academic folks around to fill the shoes of these professors.

I suspect at some point the tenure and publicly funded postsecondary systems as we know them will have to be revamped, but this is going to take years.