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Subject: Re: grads. jobs & fisheries
From: grossman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 17 Apr 1997 09:23:37 EDT

text/plain (90 lines)

 I would ask people to read posts *carefully* before responding to a
thread.  If you're wondering why I am answering these posts (as I
myself am right now), it is because I do not want to see *talented
students* drop out of fisheries because they have come to believe
that obtaining a phd is a sure ticket to the unemployment line.
Is a phd a meal ticket? no, of course not.  Are there well qualified
people who haven't managed to obtain jobs? yes there are, and I
certainly am not trying to belittle their situations.  However,
the *entire* purpose of my original thread was to provide some tips
by which students could *improve* their chances of getting a job,
not to argue over whether getting a job is easier today than it was
15 years ago, or other unfortunate realities in our field (i.e. the
temporary vs. permanent job situation). Some specific comments follow:

with respect to Aquaculture jobs, I didn't include them in my challenge
because my original comment regarding jobs referred to jobs in *fish
ecology*, not fisheries in general or fisheries & aquaculture.  I
expanded the scope to fisheries in general, becuase many fish ecology
PhD's end up in population dynamics, or fisheries management positions

Second, with respect to ron coleman's post, here is my original comment

>> There are several other comments that I would like to make with respect
>> to the other posts. First, with reference to Aldo's claims that 4-7
>> publications are needed to obtain a PhD today, I can only say that
>> is certainly not true for a PhD in the United States.  From my
>> experiences at the Universities of California and Georgia, as well as
>> having served on perhaps 10 search committees, I suspect that 2-4
>> publications in international journals constitute a satisfactory PhD
>> at the vast majority of U.S. schools (and there are far more 2's
>> than 4's).

 You will note that I did *not* say that 2-4 publications would get you
either a job or a post-doc, I was merely responding to Aldo's comment
that the standards for PhD's had changed dramatically, and that now
4-7 papers were the standard.  In fact, I didn't even dispute Aldo's
claim for Sweeden, he knows more about the standards there than I do.
But for U.S. phd, i can only say that 4-7 pubs. doesn't fit what i've
seen or the dissertations of the seven phd students that i've
supervised or the two that are currently in my lab.  Can't any other
faculty or recent phd's comment on this?

Despite the above, here is ron coleman's reply to my post.

>I find these numbers rather low.  Being on the applying side of game,

>my impressions may be wrong, but it seems to me that the people I know
>getting research jobs in academia in the US and Canada right now have cv's
>with 10-20 good papers on them, less than 10 only in rare exceptions.
>(This is for Assistant Prof. jobs) and this isn't counting trivial papers.
>  Also, as a Canadian, my experience a few years ago was that 2-4 papers
>would have been very much on the low side to obtain an NSERC
>of Canada PostDoctoral Fellowship (one of the few PostDoc positions
>available to Canadians). 6-7 seemed the "acceptable" number.

Now first, let me say that although I still find his numbers a little
high, much of what he says generally is accurate (i.e. unless the dept.
is looking for someone in your *specific* field [e.g. stream fish
ecology, crustacean reproduction, etc] it probably does take 10 major
publications to get an academic position at a major institution.).
As for post-docs, I suspect that Ron is correct in asserting that
for "officially funded" postdocs, that probably have 200+ applicants
for five slots, 6-7 pubs will be needed to be successful.  But in
fact, if you poll the people who have had post-docs on this list
I will bet that no more than 15% of them had "officially funded"
(I guess I had better define what I mean by this, I am referring to
post-docs that are funded annually by some government institution
such as NSERC in canada and NRC in the US).  Most post-docs are
obtained by establishing a relationship with a faculty member
and writing a grant together, or sometimes writing it by yourself,
or in the luckiest of circumstances, knowing someone who has money
and being the top applicant in their pool.  My first post was
designed to increase the chances that a student would end up in
the last category.

Finally, lets take a minute to do the math for Ron's assertions,
because I don't think that we're all that far apart.  If a student
has done a good masters (and frankly if you want an academic or
research position, there's no point in not doing a masters) it
is reasonable to assume that you'll have 2 papers from your
masters and 3 pubs from your phd, which leaves you 5 over-all.
That means you're not even far from Ron's   minimum of 6.  For an
academic/research position, the competitive candidate will have
to do a post-doc, a point disputed by no one that I know.
Two to three years in a post-doc should put you close to
the magic number of 10 (i.e. in the pool).
Well I hope that these comments have served to unmuddy the
waters a bit. sincerely, gary d. grossman

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