Kamis, 28 April 2011

Mark Taylor: Reform the PhD system or close it down

There are two responsible courses of action: either radically reform doctoral programmes or shut them down.

The necessary changes are both curricular and institutional. One reason that many doctoral programmes do not adequately serve students is that they are overly specialized, with curricula fragmented and increasingly irrelevant to the world beyond academia. Expertise, of course, is essential to the advancement of knowledge and to society. But in far too many cases, specialization has led to areas of research so narrow that they are of interest only to other people working in the same fields, subfields or sub-subfields. Many researchers struggle to talk to colleagues in the same department, and communication across departments and disciplines can be impossible.

If doctoral education is to remain viable in the twenty-first century, universities must tear down the walls that separate fields, and establish programmes that nourish cross-disciplinary investigation and communication. They must design curricula that focus on solving practical problems, such as providing clean water to a growing population. Unfortunately, significant change is unlikely to come from faculty members, who all too often remain committed to traditional approaches. Students, administrators, trustees and even people from the public and private sectors must create pressure for reform. It is important to realize that problems will never be solved as long as each institution continues to act independently. The difficulties are systemic and must be addressed comprehensively and cooperatively. Prestige is measured both within and beyond institutions by the number and purported strength of a department's doctoral programmes, so, seeking competitive advantage and financial gain from alliances with the private sector, universities continue to create them. As is detailed on page 276, that has led most fields to produce too many PhDs for too long.

from www.nature.com

Read the rest »

Tidak ada komentar:

Posting Komentar