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Things to consider if you want to do a Ph.D. Things to consider if you want to do a Ph.D.
by Jay Gutman
2019-05-17 09:52:04
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Professors are chosen to teach at your school based on three criteria:

-The prestige of the school they attended
-The sheer volume of publications they have (the longer the list of publications the better)
-and, the statistics surrounding the number of citations they have (the more people cite them the better.)

But professors are not chosen to teach at your school based on:

-Their general knowledge of the field and general knowledge about the world
-Their ability to lead research and to supervise research
-Their people skills and soft skills
-Their ability to understand your research or show interest in your research
-Their teaching abilities

Let me break these down for you

acad01_400-Professors are chosen based on the prestige of the university they attended

That is, if they got their Ph.D. from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the MIT, Caltech, you name the big names, chances are they had access to better labs and better libraries. But does that automatically mean they are better professors?

Some have their dissertations ghostwritten, some slack through their Ph.D. while others build a reputation as “someone you cannot fail” because “my father is the governor of Wakanda” or “I patented sugar-free ketchup” kind of attitude.

-Professors are chosen based on the sheer volume of publications they have

So professors are hired when they have a five-page list of publications, the kind of publications no one bothers to read. Imagine Karl Marx or Adam Smith or Freud had published 1,000 papers. You would probably have read two or three of their publications. In the cases of most professors, not one single publication was widely read.

Problem is also that journalism and blogging are not considered academic publishing. So if you have a Blog with 60,000 followers or write a column for a newspaper that is widely read, you won't get hired. But the guy with 3,000 publications no one has ever read, that guy gets hired.

-Professors are chosen based on the number of citations they have

OK here's how citations work. You have academic associations; say the American Psychology Association or the Modern Language Association or such. They publish several journals and organize conferences every week, hundreds of conferences a week in fact.

So you go to those conferences, become a member of the circle, attend presentations, receive journals, and you keep citing your colleagues from the association based on the journal articles they are writing that no one is reading, and that you yourself have not bothered reading but are citing anyway.

Most citations are done in the form of “literature reviews” where the names of “previous studies” are cited. Except that no one really bothers to read “previous studies.”

So imagine I'm going to write a paper on the sales of tissues in the winter season. I will cite your study on the sales of beans in the summer, your study on the sales of nail clippers in the spring, your study on the sales of tables in Wisconsin, and your study on the sale of housing in rural Brazil etc. etc. etc.

-Professors are not hired based on their general knowledge or knowledge of the field

During job interviews, or when examining job applications, general knowledge of the field is not taken into account in any form. Professors are not asked what they have read, whether they have traveled, whether they have attended such or such course, or how much they know about the field.

This means professors make blunders when they lecture, often lecture off-topic, and often can't answer student questions.

-Professors are not hired based on their ability to lead research or supervise research

In a Ph.D. you are supposed to come up with your own research topic and have an adviser who can guide you through the research by giving you good book recommendations and helping you with the gray zones of your study.

Except, most professors don't know how to do that. They don't know how to help you complete your research, often don't care how far along you've come, often don't care about the difficulties you're having, and are often not sure how a research study should be structured or how you should structure your dissertation.

-Professors are not hired based on their people skills or soft skills

Along with nursing and hair salons, university jobs are the most people-intensive jobs. You deal with people all the time, and your job involves lots of conversations.

So you would assume professors would get hired based on their social skills and people skills. Wrong. A lot of professors are quick-tempered, couldn't handle a civilized conversation, and will put you down before you say anything. So much for intellectual debate.

-Professors are not hired based on their ability to understand your research or show interest in your research

Academia should be as much about your own research as about student and colleagues' research. Wrong. Most professors don't make the slightest effort to show interest in your research.

-Professors are not hired based on their teaching ability

Remember when you went to teacher's college and you were taught how to make a lesson plan and stick to the lesson plan, prepare for class and be prepared to answer student questions. Most professors do none of that.

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