why women leave the pipeline?

Susan Jane Hogarth sjhogart at unity.ncsu.edu
Sun Jan 5 20:08:40 EST 1997


aloisia schmid wrote:
> 
> Dear Group,
> 
>       I got an email response to a posting I put in yesterday and wanted
> to respond to that...

Yeah, that was me - I had some problem posting from home, or I would
have posted the letter as well.
 
>       O.K., so first off.  There was a posting from a woman named Susan
> who said she knew of someone in her old department who ran a lab, with
> students, etc., and who was doing that with only a master's degree and
> that he did excellent science and simply never felt getting the PhD was
> important.  And someone responded and asked how this could be possible?
> And I responded as well and said that my limited experience did support
> the idea that you had to have a PhD to get grants (and students,
> etc)....and that admittedly these were post-doc grants, but still...and
> Susan, who posted the original thing about this guy,  thought I was being
> pretty dense.  As in "of COURSE they required PhD's---they were post doc
> grants!  Duuhhhhhh!"  But really, I was trying to qualify my report by
> saying that I realized this was not a representative sample....but that
> even for something as comparatively minor as a post-doc grant, funding
> agencies were explicit about educational requirements.  And that I would
> imagine that PI grants would have even more stringent and explicit
> educational requirements. 

Well, sorry if I misunderstood you. I'm not far enough into the
"pipeline" to realise that post-doc grants are "comparatively minor."

> I had also said that even though the guy may
> have been a good scientist, and was doing just fine without a PhD and just
> didn't think the PhD was important enough, what did this mean to the
> people who DID have PhDs and weren't able to get academic positions?  And
> Susan asked if I was being just a little bitter?  Well, here's my
> opportunity to say, "duhhhh".  Of COURSE I'd be bitter about that.  Susan
> has said something about being a graduate student (now? or at the time?),
> so maybe she hasn't finished yet,  but I cannot imagine anyone who goes
> through the hell of writing a dissertation NOT being bitter about some guy
> having the job just about everyone in acaedemics aims for, without going
> through that.  And actually, I think someone who doesn't go through that
> is no where near as prepared or seasoned or thoroughly educated as someone
> who does.  Writing a dissertation is the ULTIMATE learning experience.

I guess I can understand this (although as you've correctly surmised,
I've yet to go through the "hell" myself). I don't really know enough
about the person I was talking about to be able to explain why he was
"worthy" of a faculty position, but I could see that he was a productive
scientist. In a way it cheers me to know that, sometimes, brilliance is
rewarded, even without having to jump through all the hoops. (Although
for myself, I believe the "hoops" are an essential training/testing
tool).

> And I think I resent the arrogance of someone who would
> say, "I don't see any need to do it.  it's a waste of my time." 

The only thing that bothers me about this is that I think we probably
waste quite a bit of talent under what I think of as the "guild" model
of academics (students=aprentices, post-docs=journeymen, profs=masters).
Generallly, I think that the system works well (I agree that the thesis
is quite a test of character and ability), but surely there are
instances in which the system should be flexible. Isn't flexibility
something to be desired? 
 
>       For those of you just reading those postings now, let me also
> correct myself.  Susan pointed out that I had incorrectly attributed this
> to North Carolina and this was incorrect.  Some of the other things she
> said suggested to me that this may have been a really small department,
> maybe in a small school?---where these kinds of situations ARE way more
> common. 

No. Another large state university. Large department (grant-wise,
anyway). Almost *no* teaching load (no undergrads in our department).

> That's just the problem though.  Those situations do not
> generally lead to particularly fruitful research careers, because the
> smallness of the place, the heavy teaching demands and the broad range of
> roles you are asked to fill all act together to limit the amount of time
> you can devote to research and getting grants in the first place.

Not true in this case, but I suppose you're probably generally correct
about this.

Sorry about this: 
my news host is cranky 'cause I have more quoted material than original,
so I'll add some XXXX's until it condescends to post this. grrr.
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--
Susan 

http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/users/s/sjhogart/public/home.html
Check this! http://homepage.cistron.nl/~peterh/gsresources/



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