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Graduate Student Enrolment Natural selection or Intelligent design? How many? What type? How to determine? How to manage?

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Presentation on theme: "Graduate Student Enrolment Natural selection or Intelligent design? How many? What type? How to determine? How to manage?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Graduate Student Enrolment Natural selection or Intelligent design? How many? What type? How to determine? How to manage?

2 Potentially limiting factors Applicant pool Student funding Faculty #’s Student services Student admin Research funding Research infrastructure Student space Individual career outcomes; workforce capacity; societal need, benefit Benefits to enrolment Research productivity TAships Tuition Community Personal enrichment Individual career outcomes; societal need, benefit UBC research graduate student enrolment Limits/Incentives to Growth Canadian research renewal BC graduate seat expansion

3 Field % Employment in job requiring PhD % Other employment % Unemployed % In education % Out of labour force Life Sciences Engineering Computer, Math, Phys Sci Psych, Soc Sci Humanities Education, other All fields Of employed graduates: 30% - less than doctorate needed 19% - subjectively ‘overqualified’ Workforce capacity Expectations and Labour Market Outcomes of Doctoral Graduates from Canadian Universities – Statistics Canada survey of 2005 Canadian doctoral graduates in Canada or US N=2345 NB: Before 30%↑ in PhD enrolment (7%↑ in pop.), recession

4 Workforce capacity The PhD Factory: The world is producing more PhDs than ever before. Is it time to stop? Editorial, Nature 472:279, 2011 In some countries, including the US and Japan, people who have trained at great length and expense to be researchers confront a dwindling number of academic jobs, and an industrial sector unable to take up the slack. We Need to Acknowledge the Realities of Employment in the Humanities. P. Conn, The Chronicle Review, April 4, 2010 The obvious conclusions, though many senior faculty members in the humanities seem reluctant to admit it, are these: As a profession, we are enrolling too many Ph.D. students, we have been doing so for decades, we spend far too long in guiding them to their degrees, and we then consign them to a dysfunctional job market. The disposable academic: Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time. Editorial, The Economist Dec. 16, 2010 There is an oversupply of PhDs. …the number of PhD positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Doctoral Education: Another Tragedy of the Commons? Triggle, DJ & Miller, KW. Amer. J. Pharm. Educ. 66:287, 2002 NRC reports argue for a reduction in graduate enrollment, an increased emphasis on program quality, and a call to halt new programs at institutions eager to climb the research ladder or to satisfy the research-oriented career aspirations of their faculty. Too many PhDs in the world?

5 Workforce capacity Not too many PhDs? PhD graduates and postdocs are told that relevant jobs outside of academia in Canada are plentiful. Maybe. But where are they? [A. Crawley, CAPS] The real question is why aren’t PhDs getting jobs, and what can we do about it? [O. Stachova, Mitacs] Many of you will have to create the jobs of tomorrow. That’s the big challenge. [S. Fortier, NSERC] Dr. Crawley of the postdoctoral association seemed only partially assuaged by those comments.

6 Actual Funded Provincial funding ̴38%

7 1.We need to better prepare students for careers outside academe 2.We need better career outcome data 3.We need more transparency wrt times and outcomes for applicants 4.We should aspire to fund all (at least) PhD students Givens: Questions:  “soft” enrolment management based on student funding and outcomes? Natural selection or intelligent design? Do we have a responsibility as publicy-funded institutions to ensure our graduate numbers do not exceed workforce capacity? And how do we determine workforce capacity? Or is it “buyer beware” for students? Is it really OK to accept PhD students with no funding?


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