Current Situation for Finding Qualified People with PhDs; an Academic Perspective

Tuesday, July 22, 2014: 3:25 PM
2102A (Kansas City Convention Center)
Vikram V Mistry , South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
Abstract Text:

The tripartite mission of teaching, research, and extension established 150 years ago remains at the core of Land Grant Universities today but numerous structural differences today have an impact on programs.  PhD holding candidates at universities may find positions such as Post-Doctoral Research associates, faculty members, and later in their careers, administrative positions such as department head, associate dean, dean, etc., that help define academic programs. University programs that were typically funded by state and federal funds in the form of teaching, Hatch, and Extension funds have seen a substantial reduction in dependency on these funds due to competition from other local (state) and national needs.  Therefore, dependency on other non-appropriated funds has become essential, e.g., competitive grants, tuition and fees, and discretionary funds.  Expectations of research output from faculty members have also increased.  Thus dependency on competitive grants for supporting research programs, graduate students, and portions of faculty salaries has become imperative.  Simultaneously, non-university research programs as in industry have also become more sophisticated and in many cases targeted at long-term research efforts.  Consequently only those high quality PhD graduates that have a strong desire to develop a career in academia become candidates for faculty positions.  Salaries in industry are usually higher than in academic faculty positions.  It is essential for universities to fill faculty positions with highly competitive individuals, that in today’s climate are not just excellent researchers that have an interest in teaching but are also competitive entrepreneurs.  Such individuals if provided the right resources through start-up funds, grants writing training and research resources will be well positioned to develop research programs that will train graduate students.  Opportunities provided in a university environment are sometimes not known by prospective faculty members, such as the ability to consult, the ability to share royalties from patents and licensed intellectual property they develop and the general fulfilling nature of training students.  It is therefore imperative that industry and universities and state and federal governments jointly develop efforts to help make the academic career attractive for PhD holding candidates.  Further, university graduate programs should also be encouraged to design curricula at that will help students position themselves for a successful academic career.  Examples include courses or training in teaching, grant writing, and publications.  Also important is the ability for students and faculty to develop relationships with industry.


university, faculty, recruitment