From the Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated June 15, 2001



University and Colleges Team Up to Help Ph.D.'s

By DAN CURRY

Oberlin College and the University of Michigan at
Ann Arbor are collaborating on a new program
aimed at closing the widening gulf between what
Ph.D. recipients want and need and what they get
from their doctoral educations. 

Under the program, recent graduates of Michigan's
doctoral programs can apply for two-year
postdoctoral teaching stints at Oberlin, where they
can design their own courses and experience what
it is like to work at a liberal-arts college. 

Oberlin faculty members, in turn, can go to
Michigan to conduct research, catch up on current
ideas in their field, or try out a new discipline. "It's
a very exciting idea because it draws on the
relative strengths of two types of institutions -- the
liberal-arts college on the one hand, and the
research university on the other," says Clayton R.
Koppes, vice president for academic affairs at
Oberlin, who approached James J. Duderstadt,
then Michigan's president, with the idea four years
ago. 

Mr. Koppes says he envisioned that Oberlin would
play host to three to five recent doctoral students a
year, at an expense of about $250,000. 

Two recent recipients of Michigan doctorates will
teach this fall in Oberlin's English and
Japanese-literature departments. 

Another Michigan Ph.D. recipient will teach
evolution at Kalamazoo College, which also will
participate in the new exchange program. 

For now, the program's costs will be absorbed by
the operating budgets of the three institutions, but
Mr. Koppes says he believes they have a good shot
at receiving foundation support in the near future. 

A recent study sponsored by the Pew Charitable
Trusts found that while doctoral students
overwhelmingly desire full-time, tenure-track
posts, many of them are not prepared for the
various activities that most professors spend their
time doing, especially teaching. 

Chris M. Golde, the University of Wisconsin at
Madison researcher who conducted the study, says
that the new program sounds like a good start
toward a solution to that problem. 

"In graduate school, you only see what's around
you," which in most cases is research, not teaching,
she says. "Most students don't know what it's like
at a comprehensive or a teaching college." 


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Section: The Faculty
Page: A10 


Copyright 2001 by The Chronicle of Higher Education


 

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