Gone for Good: Tales of University Life After the Golden Age

July 20, 2007 at 7:46 am | | grad life, literature

Somebody recently raised the question: would our professors survive as young scientists in today’s competitive academic environment? After all, their Ph.D. was 4 years, and doing a postdoc was unheard of. I’ve asked this question of several established faculty (John Brauman, Mike Fayer, Vijay Pande, Steve Boxer) and I am watching my cousin go through the tenure meat grinder as I prepare for it myself.

To anyone considering a life in academia, I strongly recommend reading this book by Stuart Rojstaczer (available in the Stanford chem library):


From the amazon.com blurb:

During the “golden age,” research money flowed freely. But the end of the cold war reduced competition within the international research community and government dollars diminished correspondingly, forcing schools to seek funding elsewhere. These days, Rojstaczer writes, overburdened professors must deal with making their courses easier for students (who seem more interested in heading out into the job market than in getting a quality education), which in turn increases the teachers’ popularity and assures future full classes. The educators must also contend with writing grant proposals, student athletes, and campus politics. Rojstaczer’s is not a pretty picture, but Gone for Good is an important book that suggests that the halls of ivy are not as green and fresh as one might hope. Ron Kaplan

If you’re seriously considering going into academia, reading this book is a must.

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  1. well that’s depressing…

    Comment by sam — July 20, 2007 #

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