2000 Conference: Selected Bibliography
Selected Bibliography on the Topic of Disciplinary Trends and Concerns - Other Topics
Humanities / Social Sciences
Science / Mathematics / Engineering
Humanities and Social Sciences
American Philosophical Association. (1998). What philosophy Ph.D.s are doing [On-line]. Available:
This report offers statistics on Philosophy Ph.D.s in the job market and a brief discussion of the underlying causes of the difficult market, specifically the over-use of adjunct and part time faculty.
Biggs, M. (1991). A perspective on library science doctoral programs. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 32(3/4), 188-193.
This article views the Ph.D. as a research degree and sees the current Ph.D. in library science as being a one to two year post-masters program. The author believes that librarianship is a professional study, not a discipline, and lacks the potential to develop a body of governing theory. Advocated is the abandonment of the library school Ph.D. and the creation of a librarianship specialty within academic disciplines.
Givens, D. B., Evans, P., & Jablonski, T. (1997). 1997 AAA Survey of anthropology Ph.D.s. [On-line]. Available:
The American Anthropological Association conducts periodic surveys of recent anthropology Ph.D. recipients. This report summarizes quantitative survey responses from 163 1996-97 doctoral recipients (a 42% response rate), covering a wide array of topic areas, including graduate student demographics, specific field of study, program enrollment means, time to degree, funding sources, satisfaction with program, and career choices, salary, and satisfaction rates. Qualitative responses also address advice to graduate students, assessments of thequality of mentoring they received, and thoughts on necessary preparation for both applied and academic realms. The "modal" 96-97 Ph.D. recipient is "Cynthia," a white, 39-year-old female who found employment in the academic realm; her doctorate in sociocultural anthropology was based on fieldwork in North America on a non-applied topic, and she took 8.5 years to complete her Ph.D. degree.
Iaccarino, A. (1997). Rethinking the role of history graduate programs. AHA Perspectives. [Online]. Available:
The author recommends ways in which history graduate students can acquire diverse skills that will open up opportunities beyond academia ; the article claims that such options do not reduce academic rigor but instead promote a broader definition of the role of the university in society.
Lunsford, A., Moglen, H., & Slevin, J. F. (Eds.). (1989). The future of doctoral studies in English. New York: Modern Language Association of America.
This is a collection of papers from the 1987 "Spring Hill conference" at which representatives from 80 PhD-granting departments assembled to consider what can be said to constitute the English discipline. Part 1, "Intellectual and curricular structures of current graduate programs," examines the state of English doctoral programs, focusing on conceptual frameworks and curricular arrangements and the often unsettled and unsettling relations between them. Part 2, "The transition from graduate student to faculty member," explores the ways in which graduate curricula did or did not prepare relatively recent graduates of different PhD programs for what they faced as new faculty members. The papers in Part 3, "Exploring the future," propose ways to strengthen doctoral study in English, suggesting changes that range from modest to radical.
Sternberg, R. J. and Williams, W. M. (1997, June). Does the Graduate Record Examination predict meaningful success in the graduate training of psychologists? American Psychologist, 630-640.
This article raises questions about the validity of the Graduate Record Examination as a predictor of various kinds of performance in a graduate psychology program. While the test is found to be of some use to anticipate first-year grades, it is only of limited or no use in predicting other important kinds of performance in graduate school, and it is said to show a gender bias. The authors call for developing better theory-based tests.
Weisbuch, R. (1998, November). Triumph for the human-ities: Proposals to end the liberal arts losing streak. Address given at the meeting of the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, Vancouver, B. C.
The problems and insularity faced by the humanities were noted in this address, and the point was made that some of these problems are self-inflicted. The address offers six proposals for revitalizing the humanities, including the Woodrow Wilson Foundation's initiative to expand career opportunities for humanities Ph.D.s both within and beyond the academy.
Weisbuch, R. (1999, March 26). Six proposals to revive the humanities. Chronicle of Higher Education, B4-5.
Weisbuch argues that one reason for the decline of the humanities is that they have stopped being fun&emdash;for faculty members and students, and for the public beyond academe. According to him, abusive pettiness, defeatism, and insularity characterize contemporary humanities departments. As a solution to too much posturing and too few ideas headed toward action, he elaborates upon six proposals for revitalizing humanities departments: 1) act on fact, not rhetoric or supposition, regarding the real experience of humanities graduates; 2) practice strict doctoral birth control, admitting no more students than the number finding meaningful employment each year upon graduation or no more than could be fully supported for a complete Ph.D. program; 3) reclaim the curriculum, redesigning the basic courses so that regular faculty members and students want to be involved; 4) unleash the humanities from the insularity of academe; 5) redesign graduate programs to teach research university students about other kinds of academic lives; and 6) embrace contradiction, recognizing that learning for its own sake is not inconsistent with engaging the immediate challenges in our culture.
Science / Mathematics / Engineering
Armstrong, J. A. (1994, Summer). Rethinking the Ph.D. Issues in Science and Technology, 19-22.
This article discusses the need for an evaluation and revision of Ph.D. programs in science and engineering to ensure that the United States maintains their status as world leaders in a variety of areas. It calls for a new Ph.D. student who has the ability to play a more frequent and prominent role in activities outside of the laboratory.
Association of Graduate Schools. (1995). AGS statement on the COSEPUP report: Reshaping the graduate education of scientists and engineers. [On-line]. Available
This statement compares COSEPUP's general recommendations for improving graduate education with the views of the AGS as represented in a 1990 AGS report on doctoral education and in responses to a brief survey of AGS members regarding institutional responses to issues raised in the report. Joining COSEPUP in praising the general state of current U.S. systems of graduate education in science and engineering, and in support for retaining the research focus of the Ph.D., AGS offers clarifying commentary and cautions concerning other issues raised in the report, such as: broadening graduate student options; shifting federal funding from RAships to training grants; minimizing possible costs of change; providing better career information and guidance; developing a national human-resource policy; the Ph.D. job market in general; and the impact of foreign graduate students. Generally speaking, AGS reports agreement with many of the COSEPUP recommendations.
Blum, D. E. (1991, December 11). Three big pharmacy groups call for new doctoral program to be adopted as entry-level requirement for profession. Chronicle of Higher Education, A15, A18.
Three of the largest organizations representing pharmacists call for a new doctorate to serve as the sole entry-level degree for pharmacists, joining a 30-year debate over what credentials should be required to enter the profession. In the early 90s, pharmacists entered the profession with either a five-year baccalaureate (the B.S.P.) or a six-year doctorate (the Pharm.D.). Supporters of the six-year doctorate argue that it is necessary to prepare students adequately for the profession; in addition, the single degree makes competition for jobs more fair. Critics argue that students should be allowed to choose the degree best-suited to their career goals; they worry that converting to a Pharm.D.-only system would cause an even greater shortage of pharmacists.
Breslow, R. C. (1995, December 11). The education of Ph.D.s in chemistry. Chemical and Engineering News, 65-66.
Described here is a conference that was held at Columbia University to discuss U.S. doctoral education in chemistry. Conferees from industry described qualities they find most valuable in prospective Ph.D.-chemist employees, while the academic participants described the content of their graduate programs and any planned changes. There emerged a remarkable agreement on what doctoral education in chemistry should accomplish and how the goals might be achieved. Points discussed included mastery of a specific area of chemistry, with extensive involvement in research, leading to a thesis; educational breadth that covers chemistry and related fields; a full year of advanced course work, one-third or so outside the student's general area of research; modular courses at the advanced level, each module extending over half a term or less; departmental colloquia given by outside speakers; close connections between university departments and industry to help students plan and obtain industrial careers; speaking, writing, and teaching opportunities for students including original research proposals; instruction in scientific practices, including ethics; time to degree of no more than five years; a thesis committee for each student, including the thesis director, to be set up early; special responsibilities for thesis directors; and mentor support of the decisions of students who choose nontraditional career paths.
Breslow, R. (1996, October 14). Best practices in chemistry Ph.D. education. Chemical and Engineering News, 43.
Presented here are results of a questionnaire sent by the ACS Committee on Professional Training to all U.S. Ph.D.-granting chemistry departments asking about their current practices. The results indicate a rather broad but not universal consensus on the desirable ingredients of a Ph.D. program. Some of the significant factors that emerged include: amount of course work, including that taken outside the student's specialty; department-wide colloquia attended by students, including those outside the scientific area of the speaker and including speakers from industry; opportunities for oral presentations, writing, and teaching; original research proposals; limit on time to degree or on support; foreign language requirement. The responses to the questionnaire indicate that most in the academic community agree on the components of a Ph.D. program that will produce chemists with scientific depth and breadth, creativity, and good communication skills.
Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. (1995). Graduate education and postdoctoral training in the mathematical and physical sciences. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.
Participants in this workshop focused on career, support mode, educational, and demographic issues in graduate education in the mathematical and physical sciences. Concerns identified included: the impending decreases in public resources available to support graduate training activities; the sense that new Ph.D.s' skills and knowledge are too narrowly focused and are inadequately applicable to the diverse business and industry environments in which most Ph.D. scientists actually work; the increasing emphasis on the research component of the graduate experience perhaps at the expense of the students' best interests; and the continuing underrepresentation of women, minorities, and other groups in graduate student populations. Participants recommended broadening both the intellectual content and the diversity of skills acquired during Ph.D. training, examining mechanisms for shortening the average time to degree, increasing use of off-campus internships and other real-world experiences, and gradually shifting graduate student support mechanisms.
Fiske, P. (1996). To boldly go: A practical career guide for scientists. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union.
This is a career guide written specifically for scientists and graduate students in the sciences who are considering non-academic careers.
Gorovitz, S. (1998). Ethical issues in graduate education. Science and Engineering Ethics, 4(2), 235-250.
This article suggests that concern about the employment prospects for Ph.D.s in the sciences and engineering has prompted overdue interest in the ethical aspects of graduate education. The article questions the possibility of isolating an ethical inquiry that focuses solely on job-related issues. It further points out that ethical problems in graduate education are each related to employment, but none is related to employment only. The article concludes that we can illuminate potential ethical problems by considering conflicts of interest at each point from the decision to offer a graduate program through the treatment of its alumni, thus prompting reassessment of program content, relations with students, and the objectives of graduate programs.
House Committee on Science. (1998). Unlocking Our future: Toward a new national science policy. [On-line]. Available:
The Committee suggests that higher education should prepare students who plan careers outside academe by increasing flexibility in graduate training programs. Ph.D. students should be allowed to pursue coursework and gain relevant experience outside their specific areas of research. Direct federal funding programs should be expanded to greater numbers of graduate students in math, science and engineering should. Additional master's degree programs should be available to allow graduate study that does not require the Ph.D. The length of time to degree should be controlled and science graduate students should take at least one journalism course.
Jacobs, M. (1996, October 14). Educating doctoral chemists. Chemical and Engineering News, 40-42.
An ACS Committee on Professional Training survey probed current practices at 155 programs that grant chemistry Ph.D.s. At the same time, CPT conducted a survey on master's degrees, which went to 318chemistry departments. These survey results reveal the enormous diversity in size of Ph.D. programs. Graduate students received financial support in a variety of ways, but nearly half was in the form of teaching assistantships. Statistics on industry support, educational breadth, communication skills, and Ph.D. requirements (including thesis, research proposals, exams, foreign languages, and time-to-degree and support limits) follow the summary of findings.
Knobil, E. (1996). Doctoral education in the biomedical sciences: Back to the future? Academic Medicine, 71(8), 871-875.
The author discusses the debate about the nature and aims of graduate education which the poor job market for scientists and engineers has initiated. Two long-term remedies&emdash;to reduce enrollment or promote non-academic jobs&emdash;have received considerable advocacy, but both are flawed. It is suggested that, in the long term, the paucity of employment opportunities for recent Ph.D.s can realistically be addressed only by increasing the rigor of graduate education, which should not be expected to serve as a job-training program. The author proposes that the responsibility of the graduate school is to ensure that its graduates have: a well-rounded scientific education; the experience of pursuing a challenging problem in depth; and the intellect, resourcefulness, and drive to succeed in any endeavor that requires keen problem-solving abilities.
Kraut, A. G. (1996). Mortgaging science's future. Science, 273(5278), 1027.
The prospect of cutbacks in federal funding of research has provoked a strong defense by the scientific community. However, the author argues that this response has ignored the priority of advancing the next generation of scientists. The article asserts that unless deliberate steps are taken to make sure money is available for training and supporting new investigators -- even if that means less money for today's investigators -- science is in danger of mortgaging research's future for its current spending. Agency heads report that there may not be enough researchers in the future to continue their agencies' missions; Congress needs to be convinced of the importance of this priority. The article suggests that to encourage talented people to move in promising directions, the needs of young investigators must be recognized; one example is the B/START (Behavioral Science Track Awards for Rapid Transition) program, which allows young Ph.D.s to collect data while learning how things work at NIH.
National Research Council. (1998). Graduate education programs in life sciences should curtail growth. [On-line]. Available:
This report concludes that universities and research institutions should neither increase enrollment in existing graduate education programs in the life sciences nor develop new ones. The number of doctorates awarded in life sciences has risen dramatically while research opportunities at universities, in industry and in government laboratories are not growing. Rather than encouraging students to obtain Ph.D.s for careers outside research, universities should identify specific areas in life sciences for which focused interdisciplinary master's degree programs are more appropriate than doctoral training.
National Research Council. (1992). Educating mathematical scientists: Doctoral study and the postdoctoral experience in the United States. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
This is a report on a study of American doctoral and postdoctoral systems of education in the mathematical sciences, designed to determine what makes certain programs successful in producing large numbers of domestic Ph.D.'s with sufficient professional experience and versatility to meet the research, teaching, and industrial needs of our society. Based on discussions following a set of on-site visits to a diverse set of programs at 10 universities, the committee strongly advised adjusting the entire mathematical sciences educational system to better respond to the needs of various stakeholders: while a quality faculty is necessary, of equal importance are students and researchers that can benefit from the program. The report suggests that, even with limited resources, success can be achieved by focusing energies rather than seeking to fashion more "traditional" programs, and thereby seeking to offer more than can meaningfully be covered.
National Research Council Board on Mathematical Sciences. (1997). Preserving strength while meeting challenges: Summary report of a workshop on actions for the mathematical sciences. Washington, DC: National Research Council Board on Mathematical Sciences.
This summary reports on a workshop addressing evolving needs in the mathematical sciences community. Two papers specifically focus on issues facing graduate education and research universities. R. G. Douglas challenges a range of assumptions concerning graduate-level mathematics education, questioning the wisdom of "hands-off," "survival of the fittest" program philosophies. E. F. Infante identifies the external pressures and challenges faced by higher education, suggesting that the academic community must learn to adapt to less money, deal with increased accountability, utilize technology, develop novel roles and responsibilities for faculty, and develop new activities and new forms of competition and cooperation.
National Research Council Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. (1994). Modern interdisciplinary statistics education: Proceedings of a symposium. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
These proceedings report on a symposium examining the changes needed to incorporate interdisciplinary training into the upper-undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral statistics programs, to bringcurricula up to data, to improve apprenticing of statistics graduate and postdoctoral students, and to appropriately reward faculty mentors. Papers examine the needs of industry, academic, and government "customers," as well as the course content and educational experiences necessary to address these needs.
National Research Council Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy. (1995). Reshaping the graduate education of scientists and engineers. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
The Council calls on educational institutions to reform Ph.D. programs so students will be better prepared for careers outside academic research. It reveals that more than half of Ph.D.s gain employment in non-academic fields and that the period required to earn a doctorate degree has grown in scientific disciplines. Recommendations include: the inclusion of non-academic alternatives in Ph.D. training to allow scientists to switch positions and careers more easily; discouragement of overspecialization; better career information and guidance; a new class of education and training grants; and a national human resource policy for advanced scientists and engineers. The report includes extensive quantitative data as well as qualitative data from graduate students, professors, university administrators, industry scientists, and representatives of scientific societies.
Triggle, D. J., & Miller, K. W. (1999). Commission on the Future of Graduate Education in the Pharmaceutical Sciences: Final report. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 63, 218-248. [On-line]. Available:
This report summarizes findings from a comprehensive study of graduate education in the pharmaceutical sciences, based on demographic program data, career pathways of past graduates, and recommendations from pharmacy faculty. Generally, the current outlook for pharmaceutical science graduates appears good to excellent, with no apparent need to constrain future enrollment (as the biological sciences appear to need to do); this is perhaps due to the tendency, within the pharmaceutical sciences, to view industrial careers as equivalent to academic careers, and not as less desirable "alternative" careers. Specific recommendations for programs and faculty focus on means for becoming simultaneously more competitive and more collaborative with other academic disciplines.