Monthly Archives: July 2011

Suing alma mater for damages

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According to Todd Norcross

The current situation with the overproduction of PhDs is just one example of a broader problem in higher education. […] Our elected officials should enact laws that allow graduates to sue their alma matter for damages (recover tuition costs, housing, lost income and pain and suffering) if they are not able to find meaningful employment (a full time job paying private sector market wages in their field of training) within a year of graduating. By meaningful employment I don’t mean the typical slave-like situation that often accompanies academic STEM jobs. The almost immediate result of such legislation is that supply would align with demand and the quality of graduates would go up dramatically. Another consequence of this proposal is that committee members would not sign a dissertation if they suspected the PhD. candidate could not make a meaningful contribution to his/her field if they knew they could be financially liable. This sucking of money out of academic institutions would undoubtedly lead to layoffs of faculty members (tenured or not!), and the first to go would be those individuals who don’t produce anything practical (i.e. all their former graduate students and postdocs don’t have meaningful employment). Over time professors would no longer be judged by the number of scientific publications they co-auther, but the magnitude of the positive impact they have on the economy.

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The road ahead is scorched and barren

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According to Pascale Palmer

Millions of people across East Africa are looking down the barrel of the worst famine for 60 years. Thousands of families have picked up their possessions to walk towards what they hope is better pasture land, towards countries that might hold the promise of food.

But what they didn’t and don’t know is that what lies ahead of them is as scorched and barren as their homelands.

and

These people are poor to begin with – that’s why their only option is walking away from what they know towards something they pray will be better.

Suffering from hunger begets hunger. What I mean by this is that malnutrition leads to poor health, low energy and can hamper full brain development. All of these reduce a person’s ability to work and learn – both of which are lifelines to filling your and your families’ stomachs.

and

It is simply wrong that so many people go hungry; it is wrong that so many people can’t find a way out of being dirt poor. It is time we, in developed countries, stepped out of our whited sepulchres to do everything within our collective power to improve the lives of millions of people across the poorest countries on the planet – not just in times of humanitarian emergencies, but for good.