Friday, July 24, 2009

False Assumptions

Often in science, when trying to solve a difficult problem or model a complex system, researchers make simplifying assumptions. A good scientist will constantly reevaluate their assumptions to make sure they are still valid. As a community of scientist and researchers we need to begin to question whether the main assumption governing the current structure of academia is legitimate. We assume that because a person is smart enough to get a PhD, land a good postdoc position, publish some papers in high impact journals makes them a qualified teacher, manager and mentor. Currently, university faculty receive little to no direct training on how to be a professor. I actually find it had to believe that in most states you need a postgraduate degree in education to instruct kindergartners on how to say their ABCs but no training on effective teaching is needed to teach the future doctors, engineers, business superheros the intricacies of their respective trades. Tenured track university facility are also expected, immediately upon hiring, to create, run and fund a productive lab. From experience and observation, many principle investigators lack the managerial know how to effectively coordinate the efforts of their students. If research facility was given training on how to effectively run a lab research endeavors would progress forward at a far faster pace. AND if college professors were forced to focus on how to improve their teaching, the students that graduate from college and grad school will be better informed and possibly better members of society.

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