A Letter to all of you...

Chris Hitchcock hitchcoc at sfu.ca
Thu Apr 16 00:42:15 EST 1998


In article <l03102800b14fc8ac8b8a@[206.117.88.242]>,
Mary Ann Sesma  <msesma at zeus.bell.k12.ca.us> wrote:
> I had cleared my calendar in anticipation of
>vacation but a broken hip intervened.  

Sorry to hear about your hip -- I hope it heals well!

>My belief is that a microcosmic study of two or three prestigious
>institutions would be highly valid and either disprove our concerns or
>provide in-depth data that  could be used to influence educational policy.
>Comparisons would be made with both NIH and NSF data.

It sounds like a great idea -- I'm interested in helping out, although
I can't offer the direct tracking at my graduate institution, since you 
explicitly excluded places like Canada. Linking up with Alumni 
associations would be a good thing. In fact, if there are several 
alternative university choices, how well the alumni association has tracked
their graduates would be a useful factor to select on.

I have read a book about a similar project, following up Sociologists
>From the 1970's, I believe. My memory is sketchy, but I think it was a 
female sociologist following up where other women in her class had ended
up and looking at their journeys. I don't remember if she followed
up with the men (which probably means she didn't). Having that control
group is essential, imho. I can look for the details.

>7. A larger Advisory Group would be convened via cyberspace to review the
>collected data and review format for publication.    Volunteers are again
>needed.

I have some statistical skills, and have written a paper on research 
choices by animal behaviour researchers based on the gender of the authors.
I'm interested in becoming involved in this project. 

I'm a little concerned about Mary Ann's suggestion that:
> Within my
>experience a questionnaire is considered satisfactory with a 30+ % return
>rate.

In particular, I think there is good reason to think that the probability
of responding will be correlated with the "success" of the research career,
and that the tendency of people to respond as a function of success may 
be gendered (i.e., women may be more comfortable to talk about a life
path that seems like a failure to them than men are). I think we'll need
to address this in some way.

I assume that people know about the publication "Who's where in Academia",
as one way to relocate graduates who are now in the academic stream. I 
also have a phone CD that wasn't too expensive, and turned out to be quite
useful for finding people across Canada.

Looking forward to seeing what comes of this! 

	Chris Hitchcock 
	(PhD 1992, self-employed and on the job market in 
	ecology, wildlife ecology, conservation biology, ornithology)






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