Monday, August 13, 2012

Glut of Ph.Ds and STEM Students

Statistician John McGowan offers a rarely-heard take on the mathematics of the Ph.D. "glut" and what it means concerning STEM education:

...bottom-line, according to McGowan: there IS a Ph.D. glut and in turn there is NO shortage of STEM students (despite frequent claims) in general, even though there are a lot of now-very-highly-specialized positions that are short of applicants.

a blurb from his contrarian conclusion:
 "Yes, there is a Ph.D. glut. In fact, there has been a Ph.D. glut for over forty years, since about 1970. This is inherent to the structure of the current government funded system of scientific research. It is a matter of public policy. Sometimes the Ph.D. gluts get especially bad as in physics in 1970 and 1992/1993 and now in biology and medicine, but there has always been and are sizable Ph.D. gluts in almost all scientific disciplines since 1970.
The remarkable persistence of Ph.D. and scientist shortage claims in the major “mainstream” media should raise questions about the reliability and independence of the major media. This evident lack of basic fact-checking is not what one should expect of a 'free press.'
"Finally and most importantly, there is considerable evidence that the Ph.D. glut has not worked. Far from accelerating the rate of scientific and technological progress, it has contributed to a slowing rate of progress."

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