2000 Conference: Selected Bibliography
Selected Bibliography on the topic of Post-Graduate Employment
Employment Patterns and Possibilities
Employment Patterns and Possibilities
American Chemical Society. (1995). Employment patterns of recent doctorates in chemistry: Institutional perspectives and imperatives for change. Washington, DC: Author.
Using available funding data as well as a departmental questionnaire designed to elicit employment data, an ACS task force explored the employment patterns of recent doctorates in chemistry. Conclusions confirm and debunk various extant beliefs or concerns: there are already more than sufficient doctoral programs to meet the needs of academia, business and government; there is not a severe unemployment problem among young doctorate-holding chemists, although length of post-docs suggests there is under-employment; and smaller graduate programs do not produce at high cost inadequately trained, unemployable Ph.D.s. Recommendations for Ph.D. preparation include embracing communication and problem-solving skills, and improving doctoral recipients' ability to act entrepreneurially in light of shifting employment realities.
Barkume, M. (1996). The job market for Ph.D.s: Two views. Occupational Outlook Quarterly, 40, 3-15.
Two views of the labor market for Ph.D.s emerge in this article. It is claimed that evidence points to extremely adverse job market conditions, while the vast majority of Ph.D.s do land full-time, high paying jobs, though not always in their field of specialization. Included are tabular qualitative data.
Berger, J. (1998, March 8). After her Ph.D., the scavenger's life: Trying to turn a patchwork of part-time jobs into an academic career. New York Times, (Metro Section) 35, 38.
This is a profile of an adjunct professor who works at several campuses in New York City and "has no office, not even a desk; no pension, and a salary that in most years is less than that of a starting elementary school teacher." The article points out that teachers like Ms. Scribner have become the subject ofintense debate within public and private colleges, which often feel some discomfort with a work force treated as "cheap labor," as adjuncts brand themselves. The article also discusses the situation at City University, where its 7,500 adjuncts have become the staff backbone, making up 60 percent of the faculty and teaching 50 percent of the classes.
Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. (1998). Employment outcomes of doctorates in science and engineering. Washington, DC: Author.
This document reports on results of a workshop organized to bring together the major organizations that collect and disseminate data on postgraduate education. Recognizing the institutional duty to better inform students, participants sought ways to increase the availability of reliable employment outcome data necessary for students, faculty advisors, and policy makers to make fully informed decisions. Findings were that researchers, policy makers, students, faculty and administrators, professional societies, funding agencies, and working scientists must each commit themselves to seeking and helping to compile solid employment outcome data. Includes a description of the type of data available from several state and national studies of graduate employment.
Gilbert, S. M. (1997, December). Final report: MLA Committee on Professional Employment. [On-line]. Available:
The committee reports that higher education in the fields served by the MLA faces a problem of insufficient funding and corresponding demands to limit spending. In exploring the dimensions of the "job crisis" in the Modern Languages, this report aims to make better understood the causes and effects of these fiscal constraints -- to thereby find optimal solutions, keeping in mind the aim of the highest quality instruction for thegreatest number and diversity of students. Their specific list of recommendations for graduate programs, departmental and campus administrators, and the MLA share three major objectives: to adjust the job system so as to balance the number of qualified Ph.D.s; to ensure that all faculty members, adjunct and otherwise, are recognized and compensated as trained professionals; and to improve the quality especially of lower-division courses which are increasingly taught by overworked, undervalued adjunct faculty members and graduate students.
Haworth, K. (1999, January 8). More community colleges push to hire Ph.D.s as professors. Chronicle of Higher Education, A12-A13.
According to this article, community colleges say they are receiving more applications from doctoral recipients than ever before, but some two-year colleges question the value of a doctorate on campuses where the first order of business is teaching. It is suggested that perhaps more two-year colleges would be willing to hire doctorates if Ph.D. programs included more courses on pedagogy in their curricula.
Magner, D. K. (1999, January 29). For job hunters in academe, 1999 offers signs of an upturn: Many institutions report a surge in hiring for tenure track posts. Chronicle of Higher Education, A14.
This report indicates that signs of renewed vigor in the academic job market have emerged due to the departure of retiring professors hired in the 1960s and the healthy U.S. economy.
National Research Council. (1998). Trends in the early careers of life scientists. Washington, DC: National Research Council. [On-line]. Available:
This report extends the analysis of previous reports by examining the changes that have occurred over the last 30 years in graduate and postgraduate training of life scientists and the nature of their postgraduate employment. It suggests reasons for the decrease in the number of young scientists applying for NIH grants and the growing "crisis in expectation" among young life scientists who face difficulty reaching their career objectives. This committee's goals were: construct a comprehensive data profile of the career paths for recent Ph.D. recipients in the life sciences; use the profile for assessing the implications of recent career trends for individuals and for the research enterprise; and make recommendations, as appropriate, about options for science policy.
National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Studies. (1998, November). Statistical profiles of foreign doctoral recipients in science and engineering: Plans to stay in the United States. Arlington, VA: Author.
This report provides detailed statistical profiles of students from several major foreign countries who have received doctorates in science and engineering (S&E) at U.S. universities; it also provides information on the initial intent of the majority of these foreign doctoral recipients to locate in the U.S. after graduation. The report notes, for example, that China is currently the main country of origin of foreign S&E doctoral recipients in the U.S., and that forecasted economic reforms there may result in a larger number of new Ph.D.s returning to China.
Nerad, M., & Cerny, J. (1999, Fall). From rumors to facts: Career outcomes of English Ph.D.s (Results from the Ph.D.'s-Ten Years Later Study). Special issue, CGS Communicator, 32(7).
This special issue of the CGS Communicator offers a first installment of the results from the national Ph.D.'s &endash; Ten Years Later study. This particular report examines the career paths of English Ph.D.s who graduated between 1982-1985. The transition from earning the doctorate to stable employment is often difficult, therefore the article discusses the value that Ph.D.s place on their degree in light of their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their current employment. Illuminating actual job patterns of Ph.D.s will contribute to a more realistic basis on which to develop policy, given the current crisis in the humanities academic job market.
Snyder, D. J. (1997, March 2). Sorry, the professional class is full. New York Times Magazine, 40-43.
This essay is an anecdotal account of a promising English professor who was fired after teaching for three years because the department was top-heavy with tenured professors. After being rejected for 30 more teaching jobs in the next year, he hypothesized, "white male professors in English departments are as plentiful as shopping-mall Santa Clauses." He ultimately decided to support his family doing contracting and house painting as well as teaching part-time at a school one-hundred miles from his home.
Snyder, C. (1998, May 26). Princeton graduate students seek alternatives to profdom. Princeton Business Journal, 3-4.
The author points out that a Princeton Ph.D., however prestigious, no longer guarantees the short track to tenure. While recent doctoral graduates wait to find academic jobs, they might apply for a post-doctoral fellowship, but competition for the higher-paying "post-docs" is sometimes more heated than for the associate professorships. Princeton offers guidance to these graduate students through a number of resources, such as the Office of Career Services, and an annual springtime event that has become one of the more tools for exploring alternative job options - the Career Paths After Graduate School conference, formerly called "Beyond Teaching."
Tobias, S., Chubin, D. E., & Aylesworth, K. (1995). Rethinking science as a career: Perceptions and realities in the physical sciences. Tucson, AZ: Research-Corporation.
This book chronicles the new reality of limited employment prospects in research for physical scientists, focusing on Ph.D.-holders in chemistry, physics, astronomy, and, occasionally, mathematics. Most of the book relates to the search for an initial faculty position. It documents the perception by faculty candidates of a cold, detached callousness on the part of many search committees. The book's bottom-line message is change or die. Change is incumbent for faculty, the industrial R&D establishment, the degree-seekers themselves, Congress, and the public. Tobias and colleagues finger the professoriate for failure to recognize the marketability of M.S. graduates. The authors also see a role for government, industry, academia, and the public in restructuring demand for scientists. They stress that practicing scientists must make a better case to Congress and to the public for what science has done and can do to solve the next generation of economic and social problems.
Association of American Universities. (1998, March). Com-mittee on postdoctoral education: Report and recommenda-tions. [On-line]. Available:
Postdoctoral education plays an increasingly prominent role in research and enterprise yet continues to evolve as a series of ad hoc, unsystematic responses to varied interests and pressures. This report recommends an authoritative definition of a postdoctoral appointment for universal adoption by all institutions involved in postdoctoral education. The report also recommends universities promptly develop standard core policies for appointments. Included in this report are statistical data on postdoctoral appointments in 50 universities.
Cavanaugh, J.P. (1999, February). The post-docs' plight. John Hopkins Magazine, 51(1), 52-60.
Postdocs have become essential to academic research, particularly in the sciences. However, partly because the academic job market is tight, a rising number of post-docs must take two or three successive research fellowships before they can expect to acquire full-time senior research positions. Although some senior researchers provide helpful learning experiences for their post-docs, others seem content to use post-docs as convenient, cheap labor. Because mentors must be relied upon to provide recommendations, post-docs often feel limited in discussing with them any shortcomings in the mentoring process. This article recommends that students consider known factors regarding competition in academic research markets before spending up to 15 years in a given course of study.
Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. (1997). Postdocs and career prospects: A status report. Washington, DC: Author.
Following a decade in which no specific national attention was given to postdocs, and considering the continually growing number of science and engineering postdocs each year, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation examined data relevant to postdoctoral appointments such as those they fund. Findings cited identify decreased opportunities for employment in traditional university research settings, a rise in time to employment following graduation, the broad economic considerations of the high availability of postdocs, the relatively large numbers of graduates still in postdocs 5-6 years after graduation, the range of average postdoc salaries and stipends, ongoing reductions in federal research funding, the ramifications for U.S. graduates of the fact that foreign graduates now receive more domestic postdocs than they do. Recommendations from surveys of postdocs and professional associations are included, along with a literature review concerning postdocs and career prospects.
Fiske, P. (1998). A postdoc bill of rights. Science's Next Wave. [On-line]. Available:
This commentary points out that a postdoc can be an opportunity to develop new ideas and support for research; a successful postdoc program can also benefit postdoc mentors and host institutions. The goal of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) meeting in Palm Springs, California, in September, 1998, was to examine features of optimal postdoctoral training programs. What emerged from this meeting was a list of practices and policies (some institutional, some attitudinal) that can strongly influence the success or failure of the postdoctoral experience.
Haworth, K. (1997, September 12). Science Ph.D.s spend more time as postdocs. Chronicle of Higher Education, A17.
A report by the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology notes that record numbers of students are receiving doctorates in science and engineering, but many are spending an increased amount of time in temporary, low-paying postdoctoral positions. Only 13% of those holding their first postdoctoral appointments in 1993 were in tenure-track positions by 1995. New doctoral recipients eventually find jobs, but the work does not always require doctoral-level training and may not provide an adequate return on the time and expense invested in an advanced degree.
Nerad, M., & Cerny, J. (1999, September 3). Postdoctoral patterns, career advancement, and problems. Science, 285, 1533-1535.
This article reports a set of findings from the national Ph.D.'s &endash; Ten Years Later study, that reveal career patterns of postdocs in biochemistry and mathematics. The study confirms that in biochemistry the postdoc (not the Ph.D.) has become the general proving ground for excellence both in academia and industry. In mathematics, substantially fewer postdoc positions are available, and Ph.D.s taking postdocs are more likely to obtain subsequent faculty positions &endash; but this is true only for men. Recommendations for administrators include monitoring and assisting postdocs' career growth, and offering creative solutions to the growing phenomenon of dual-career couples.