The great PhD scam: Jordan Ellenberg
“We dangle our three magic letters before the eyes of these predestined victims, and they swarm to us like moths to an electric light. They come at a time of life when failure can no longer be repaired easily and when the wounds it leaves are permanent . . . “
This is a presentation given by Dr. Hisashi Kobayashi. I have extracted most of the text in English. Please read his original and check his web pages for more insightful comments.
Problems that Japan faces today
October 23, 2009
1) Declining Ranking of Japan’s GDP per capita:
2) Japan’s Deteriorating EducationJapan was a country with a well educated and highly motivated workforce, but not any
longer. English education is disastrous
2) Transform Japanese organizations open and global
3) Rapidly Declining Industrial Competitiveness.
Observations and analysis:
1) Japan’s industrial and education system worked well while Japan was in the imitation and catch‐up mode, but Japan kept this old system too long.
2) Japan’s leaders (industry, government and academia) did not recognize the importance nor made serious efforts to produce ideas that could create new industry and jobs.
3) Japanese institutions and organizations are closed and inward looking. Many of them do not have visionary leaders and lack the human resources that can create new ideas
and new business. Japan has been primarily good at perfecting known technologies.
4) Japanese universities and institutions do not make serious effort to attract and retain top talents from abroad.
5) A majority of young Japanese (men in particular) do not seem to have any great ambition, drive, or confidence. Who are to blame?
6) Japan has not taken seriously the critical importance of Ph.D. level education.
7) Lack of entrepreneurship spirit.
What should Japan do? Continue Reading
College instructors are living on food stamps and paid less than janitors. This cannot be good for college students, he argues.
Confessions of a Tenured Professor
May 11, 2010
By Peter D.G. Brown
“I must confess right off that I did not become a contingent labor activist until I turned 60, a mere six years ago. Until then, I was a fairly typical senior professor, passionately involved in teaching my students and interacting with my tenured colleagues on a variety of faculty governance committees. I have also pursued a fairly active research agenda. In addition to publishing my own scholarly articles, I have edited over a hundred books dealing with modern German literature, Jewish history and women’s studies. This year saw the publication of the third book I have written on Oskar Panizza, the 19th-century German author …
I’m sure my tenured colleagues would find it totally unacceptable if they could be told at the end of any semester that they should simply leave, that there was no value to their accumulated expertise, thank you, because the college wished to hire a fresh young face at a lower salary.”
It seems all the industries in developed countries are on the verge of a mass extinction. But science and engineer disciplines look more promising or do they?
I encountered quite interesting articles. I was aware of the risks involving in going to graduate school. At least no physics and mathematics professor I know recommended me to go to graduate school without talking about risks. Or probably no one really recommended me to go to grad school even though I never asked their advice either. They told us that you will see other people who just do any given tasks easily and make you think their brain are made of unknown materials etc. Also many books already informed me the hardships of graduate schools.
But it is quite nice to see some one writes so clearly about the danger of going to graduate in humanity. I am really not in humanity but many things are true in science as well.
Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go By Thomas H. Benton
Just Don’t Go, Part 2
The Big Lie About the ‘Life of the Mind’
What to Advise Unemployed Graduates
Graduate School? Socrates Would Approve
An ‘Unsavory’ Appraisal of the Humanities Market
He described horrific life in graduate school, but life can be much worse than he described. Any case, no matter what people write, I would go to graduate school in science or engineer even if I had a chance to change my life completely. Of course I would plan it better than before. Depending on the topic of studies, scientists may show no sympathy to difficulties of graduates from humanity disciplines. Some of the topics they study seem to be just an extension of hobby, but the real value of education is hard to measure.
Waterloo is located 100 km west of Toronto. No one will stop by unless they are coming to universities or high tech companies since no particular attraction lures tourists. But it is a good place to get things done and lead high quality life without active night life. It has plenty of places to play soccer. When I was in Canada, I took nature and greens for granted. A Kurdish man told me he would never see such beautiful playing fields in Iraq. It is beautiful but it is flat as well. An often cited excuse for Waterloo is that it is just 2 hours away from Toronto. But from Waterloo, it will take more than an hours to get to Grey hound bus station. There is a Japanese culture club but I went there only a few occasions. It is mostly for undergrads and those grads who just come there for an exchange program and Canadians who like Japanese stuffs. These days that means they like games and mangas and not traditional cultural things, I think. US people have more stronger interest in Japan than Canadians in general in the east.
University of Waterloo, Ont, Ca was on Globe, Asahi.
International students may experience different problems than people who grown up in a country where a school is located, but most difficulties can be overcome in the end. Some problems, though, can cause you to give up school and if that happens the life can be not so easy but this is the case for any one. Giving up school is sometimes better than being stuck on to a bottomless ditch. For graduate students, changing supervisors may help and for undergrads, changing schools or majors.
In regard to dealing with new people, I think changing elementary or high schools in your own country will give you more headaches; people in the US said same thing. There are many extremely smart international and domestic students; the best part of studying and living in a new place is you can meet many eccentric folks. On the other hand some graduate students in Canada are more interested in immigration than their studies and are happier to get their permanent residence card than their intended degree. Some always complain about their new places especially when people from a country get to gather Continue Reading