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July 11, 2012

University of Birmingham, UK: New Low in compensation, exploitation of young Minds!?.

We've long criticized the low compensation that many university researchers receive, but the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom hit absolute rock bottom when it advertised openings for "honorary" research assistants to work on a "voluntary basis," reports Times Higher Education (THE).

The successful candidates, if that's the word, not only needed "excellent" degrees, but vehicles of their own. The university would be generous enough to provide reimbursement for gas, space to work, and "regular supervision." Gosh, could the research project really afford all that? After critics pointed out that advertising for people to work for nothing is exploitative and illegal in Britain, the School of Psychology at Birmingham cited a generous motive for the ad: In a statement, it claimed that it had wanted to make this "opportunity" to work for free "available to all" rather than just to those "with existing networks and contacts." The university says the "honorary" posts were intended as "training positions," but the ad did not reflect that.

The university has withdrawn the offer. But, as the THE article indicates, unpaid internships are widespread in today's depressed job market. There's a fine and murky line between positions that actually provide interns valuable experiences or training and those that merely exploit people's desire to add a line to their résumés. 

Is Canadian Govt Research Funding in Peril?

from Nature News Blog site: Scientists march on Canadian parliament

Posted on behalf of Jennifer Carpenter.

To the mournful tune of a lone saxophone scientists marched through the streets of Ottawa and onto Canada’s Parliament Hill  to protest a glut of cuts to government research labs and — they say — a lack of evidence-based decision making in the Canadian government.


The 10 July rally drew an estimated 2000 scientists, graduate students and their supporters to the sunny capital, many of them dressed in white lab coats; smaller protests took place in other cities across the country including in Regina,  Guelph and Calgary.

June 25, 2012

WSJ: Should Tenure for College Professors Be Abolished?

Is American School Education in shambles and peril?, the Higher Education is not looking any brighter?
Quote from the following Naomis article captures the reality of Education in America:
American Education Not World Class The schools systematically let kids down. By grade 4, American students only score in the middle of 26 countries reported. By grade 8 they are in the bottom third, and at the finish line, where it really counts, we're near dead last. Its even worse when you notice that some of the superior countries in grade 8 (especially the Asians) were not included in published 12th grade results. They do not need 12 grades""
[image]
Pic from WSJ
It is an interesting, Challenging and head churning question, should tenure for college or University Professors be abolished?.  

Ask this beautiful looking journalist Naomi Schaefer Riley, yes she affirms. Most of her arguments are true, if anyone out there really know where exactly America stands today with regard to science and maths, even the third world nations do much better than America, they are on top of America. 
I am not surprised to read the report that says:American Education is not world class, wait a minute?, Is it right to say so, I think they might say American 

Education is no longer world class. [Link: American Education Not World Class]. The following chart displays the plight of America, for me it certainly is shocking, I never thought American education is so bad. But many academics may not agree or admit this fact.I can almost imagine the commotion among lots of academics and scholars, what is the school education got to do with college or higher education. Well, that has lots to do with college education dear. First, there is a significant number of foreign students on college courses and research labs, including PhD researchers and postdocs. Higher education or research in America is to a larger extent still alive... 

......and appreciated because of the contribution of the so called Aliens?, what a Nasty and moronic classification this US Immigration dept adopted, Aliens?. If most of the higher education and research level progress is made by the foreigners, where is the real progress and growth contributed by Americans?. Don't you see the connection, if more than half of the school students fail to gain knowledge in science and math, it has a crippling effect for the rest of education system, even those American students who do well in schools and colleges hesitate or do not like to go for research or higher education, that is another detrimental factor as to why American education is not world class, top to bottom it is not world class. Look at the staggering numbers below. Even Czech and Slovenia is better than America in Science and Math, what a Shame. Go head and read what Emily has to say....! and oh wait, read some of the comments, there you can find a comment from a Tenured Professor, he unequivocally says that tenure jobs must be eliminated.


The following Facts and figures are published at http://4brevard.com
American Education Not World Class The schools systematically let kids down. By grade 4, American students only score in the middle of 26 countries reported. By grade 8 they are in the bottom third, and at the finish line, where it really counts,  we're near dead last. Its even worse when you notice that some of the superior countries in grade 8 (especially the Asians) were not included in published 12th grade results. They do not need 12 grades.
Math
Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
Rank Nation Score Nation Score Nation Score
1. Singapore 625 Singapore 643 Netherlands 560
2. Korea 611 Korea 607 Sweden 552
3. Japan 597 Japan 605 Denmark 547
4. Hong Kong 587 Hong Kong 588 Switzerland 540
5. Netherlands 577 Belgium 565 Iceland 534
6. Czech Republic 567 Czech Republic 564 Norway 528
7. Austria 559 Slovak Republic 547 France 523
8. Slovenia 552 Switzerland 545 New Zealand 522
9. Ireland 550 Netherlands 541 Australia 522
10. Hungary 548 Slovenia 541 Canada 519
11. Australia 546 Bulgaria 540 Austria 518
12. United States 545 Austria 539 Slovenia 512
13. Canada 532 France 538 Germany 495
14. Israel 531 Hungary 537 Hungary 483
15. Latvia 525 Russian Fed. 535 Italy 476
16. Scotland 520 Australia 530 Russian Fed. 471
17. England 513 Ireland 527 Lithuania 469
18. Cyprus 502 Canada 527 Czech Republic 466
19. Norway 502 Belgium 526 United States 461
20. New Zealand 499 Sweden 519 Cyprus 446
21. Greece 492 Thailand 522 South Africa 356
22. Thailand 490 Israel 522
23. Portugal 475 Germany 509
24. Iceland 474 New Zealand 508
25. Iran 429 England 506
26. Kuwait 400 Norway 503
27. Denmark 502
28. United States 500
29. Scotland 498
30. Latvia 493
31. Spain 487
32. Iceland 487
33. Greece 484
34. Romania 482
35. Lithuania 477
36. Cyprus 474
37. Portugal 454
38. Iran 428
39. Kuwait 392
40. Colombia 385
41. South Africa 354


Grade Average 529 Grade Average 513 Grade Average 500
Also check the plights on Science and 12 Grade Students global standing at the 4brevard original article. Overview and Key Findings Across Grade Levels, Report from National Center for Educational Statistics
According to the 4brevard.com: In 1983, A Nation At Risk urgently recommended reforms in education warning "the United States is under challenge from many quarters".  Today we're at greater risk than ever. The Government Education Monopoly continues to imperil our economy by failing miserably at preparing the workforce. Business increasingly looks for talent overseas. The world's greatest concentration of PhD's is in Seoul, Korea and half of Americans can't even find Seoul on a map.
Microsoft India taps Indian programming and engineering skills with 83,000 certifications issued in 1999. We import 107,000 H-1B professionals every year, half of them with PhD's.

W.Post News: By Rene Sanchez blue line
U.S. High School Seniors Rank Near Bottom
American high school seniors have scored far below their peers from many other countries on a rigorous new international exam in math and science.
USA today:  Report: Poor science education impairs U.S. economy 
"Our nation's outlook has worsened," concludes the report panel headed by former Lockheed Martin chief Norman Augustine. The report "paints a daunting outlook for America if it were to continue on the perilous path it has been following":
•U.S. mathematics and science K-12 education ranks 48th worldwide.
•49% of U.S. adults don't know how long it takes for the Earth to circle the sun.
China has replaced the United States as the world's top high-technology exporter.
Although U.S. school achievement scores have stagnated, harming the economy as employers look elsewhere for competent workers, the report says that other nations have made gains.
If U.S. students matched Finland's, for example, analysis suggests the U.S. economy would grow 9%-16%.
"The real point is that we have to have a well-educated workforce to create opportunities for young people," says Charles Vest, head of the National Academy of Engineering, a report sponsor. "Otherwise, we don't have a chance."

May 30, 2012

One Countries Satirical another countries Serious Move-Look Homeward Indians?.

India's IITs, IIMs, IISc, and AIIMs are pinnacle of barbarians, (Exibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C, and Exhibit D, endless exhibits. 

The Exhibit D is a press release from UNESCO that suggests that India is among the 30 countries that will miss Educational Goal of 2015, UNESCO, UN and other bodies constantly warn India to fix the educational system from caste abuse and sear discrimination, nothing has improved?) 

wherever there are hindus, where there is no Equality, no affirmation, no diversity and no humanity, but full of bigoted minds, so be mindful when you read some quacks from a hindu writer known as Basu, who writes quite a flattering (yellow highlighted) words about India's premier Instituitions as follows......
 Kaustuv Basu, the author of the "Call for Indian Expats" writes that ""Alumni are fond of mentioning how Indian students who cannot get into the IIT of their choice sometimes end up at the Ivies in the United States -- their safety schools'". 
That is a lot more like words coming from the desi's, a typical casteists who brag India is a hindu country, it is in other words an Indian talk, not a realistic and sensible talk. They have no sense of being mindful about what they think and what they say, an unstructured, unthoughtful and loose talk so to say.
The IITs, IISCs and many more universities and higher ed institutes in India are known for their higher end productivity of cheap labor force to supply it to America and UK, but within India what these highly trained IITs has done is a very serious debate only should be taken by honest people, not someone who brags like Basu can justify. Most higher education institutes do have some good teachings but not without disparity, bigotry and caste virulence embedded in every single teacher and student's Mind set. There is no Equality, affirmative functionality and diversity in these places, most or almost all the Directors are casteist hindus, so do 90% of all faculties and most student positions are occupied by the brahmins or those who had the money, power and some background to somehow show a higher score in their school or college curriculum. One would argue about reservation to students, faculties and so on, but most of those reservation are unfilled and there is an obnoxious amount of discrimination that the outside world has no idea to begin with regard to this issue...
Most certainly, it is not only an exaggeration but sear stupidity to say that those who did not get a seat in IIT of their choice ended up in Ivy's?. This is the typical casteist mindset that spews lies and venom, the truth is, most Ivy league Graduates, faculties and technical staff are all from Universities in India, such as Madras University, IISc, TIFR or NII, Bangalore University, such as JNU, or Other specialty universities like Agriculture or Biotech and so on. There is some portion of the graduate students in Ivys perhaps from IITs, IIMs  and so on but they represent a tiny little proportion of the larger numbers from small and not so globally known Universities. Because, the Indian research communities some how composed of lots of hard working, labouring youngsters with dreams to become a Dean, a Professor or Director or make lots of money or start a bio company and so on, they are the one reaches out to Ivys not those self promoting IITs.

There are too many issues why people after moving to US do not return back to India, the sear amount of corrupt administrative system, bigoted faculties and directors, favoritism it the top most reason why the Indian students leave India for seeking green pastures elsewhere?. If one third of the faculty seats are vacant, ask the first question why did not they filled them and how long has they kept these positions vacant?, most reserved seats were never been filled, most reserved graduate students been subjected to terrifying, humiliating discrimination, some drop out, some commit suicide  
Case I: [ Caste-virus breeds in IIT labs : A Report
12Jul08On behalf of Insight & National Dalit students’ Forum, following report is made by visiting IIT delhi campus in the wake of recent inhuman caste atrocity in the campus, one among few which got noticed, hundreds like this go unnoticed. Thanks to media and faculty that successfully bred the caste-virus over the years in such Govt Instituions, by subverting constitutional mandate of equal representation; resulting even after 50 years of few caste superiority in academia. Report: Caste Atrocity in IIT Delhi “A caste-hindu by his very make up is incapable of showing any consideration to an untouchable candidate. He is a man with strong sympathies and strong antipathies”
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (The Untouchables and the Pax Britannica)]
Case II: [ Sunday, August 07, 2011 IIT, IIM, IISc, JNU, AIIMS and Higher Learning Centers of India:- Living Hell  full of Casteists..!AARAK SHUNdalitskerala@ R.Prakash | August 7, 2011 at 10:51 AM | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/pPo08-o9 AARAK SHUN http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-toi/special-report/AARAK-SHUN/articleshow/9512625.cms A knock on the door always makes Amit nervous. If it is daytime, he quickly moves the book rack so that it hides the framed photo of B R Ambedkar, dressed in a dark suit and looking at some distant horizon. If it's night, Amit lies still in bed, staring at the fan. As the banging goes on, he slips in and out of sleep. In his dreams he often sees a boy putting a noose around his neck. Sometimes he sees the boy hanging from a rope that's furiously twisting by itself. Then there is dead silence. He can't go back to sleep.
Amit, a student of IIT-Kanpur, is not suicidal. He has been to a shrink, though, and says he lives in some kind of dread. For two years, life on the campus was beautiful - at least until the day his classmates found out his caste, a fact he had masked with a caste-neutral surname.. read full story at the Blog] and if they had gone through at all with their graduation, they will never go back to their old institutes?, the number of graduates who will return back are very tiny?. Indian govt and those who are working on making these instituitions do well, must first fix the inequality, discrimination and other impending issues among the IITs, only then a meaningful progress will be made in these instituitions, certainly they are not anywhere close to how Ivys in US work, I am from Ivy School, Yale, nothing gets as great as this top notch school, I did not see or hear what the writer proclaims.
Call for Indian Expats 
May 24, 2012 - 3:00am
By Kaustuv Basu
Inside Higher Ed: The mere mention of the Indian Institutes of Technology conjures up images of academic rigor and excellence. Alumni are fond of mentioning how Indian students who cannot get into the IIT of their choice sometimes end up at the Ivies in the United States -- their safety schools. But the IITs also face a major problem: lack of new faculty members.“We have very few students in India going for their Ph.Ds. And those that go for a doctoral degree tend to do it outside India, and prefer to stay back and work there,” said Manindra Agrawal, dean of resource planning and generation and a computer science professor at IIT Kanpur. Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/05/24/premier-indian-engineering-institute-wants-open-us-office#ixzz1wOYRbEqR Inside Higher Ed
Science Careers News: We've just reported on a scientist-founded satirical group called Americans for a More American America. Now Inside Higher Ed is reporting in a serious vein on what I suppose could be called "Indians for a More Indian India." It's a proposed plan for the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in the northern city of Kanpur -- one of the celebrated IITs that are the country's most prestigious scientific universities -- establish an office in the United States to lure some of the many Indian-born scientists working or studying on American campuses back home to faculty posts in their native country.

Unlike at comparable institutions in the U.S., where hiring is highly competitive, at IIT Kanpur, one in three faculty slots goes unfilled, writes Inside Higher Ed's Kaustuv Basu. This faculty shortage reportedly limits the courses and research projects the institution can undertake. 

Low salaries and high levels of bureaucracy are major factors that discourage many Indian Ph.D.s from returning to become professors in their home country. The office, tentatively slated for Washington, D.C., or New York City, would have access to private funds to boost the salaries offered to new hires at the government-supported IIT.

March 15, 2012

Do You Have a Science, Nature or Cell Paper...No..!, oh yea, You Pretty much Screwed! PostDoc Cartoon!


Thanks Lou Dobbs, a Good Challenge to Bill Gates and the likes, but Academic structure needs a overhaul Lou!!

PostDocs at University of Oregon close to Unionize?.. Next PostDoc Union in the making!

Though the original AAUP news do not specifies PostDoc but claims as three categories of faculties and researchers initiated Union mission, the Higher Ed Chronicles lists one among the category the PostDocs...

Chronicles of Higher Ed: Adjuncts and Postdocs Are Among U. of Oregon Faculty Who Vote to Unionize

March 14, 2012, 2:29 pm
A wide range of different faculty types at the University of Oregon have voted to form a union affiliated with the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, according to a statementfrom union organizers. The AAUP says the formation of the union was supported by a majority of University of Oregon workers in each faculty category it would represent: tenured and tenure-track faculty, full-time and part-time contingent faculty, research assistants, research associates, and postdoctoral employees. The union will be formally certified once Oregon’s Employee Relations Board confirms the election’s results.


AAUP news

Faculty at the University of Oregon One Step Closer to Forming a Union

March 14, 2012
For more ininformation, please contact: Yonna Carroll.
View pictures on our Facebook page.
 

University of Oregon Faculty File Cards with Majority Support for New Union

Faculty members at the University of Oregon have moved one step closer to forming a union.  Yesterday, union authorization cards signed by a clear majority of faculty were filed with the state Employment Relations Board (ERB). 
The United Academics of the University of Oregon seeks to restore the voice of faculty in the university’s educational and research priorities. “We look forward to a cooperative and productive relationship with the University administration, based on a collaborative approach to meeting the needs of our students,” said Michael Dreiling, Associate Professor of Sociology.



Oh India......Shortage of 300,000 Faculties?....

The Chronicles of Higher Education news 
In Search of India’s ‘Missing’ Professors

March 8, 2012, 4:26 pm,   By Guest Writer,  The following is a guest post by P. Pushkar, a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University.
——————————————————————–
There are reports that India faces a shortage of 300,000 faculty members in its universities and colleges. It is estimated that the shortage will increase at the rate of 100,000 each year. These are big numbers even for a country of one billion-plus people and counting.

What is remarkable is that the faculty shortage is serious not only in poor-quality public universities and colleges, but even at the world-class Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

February 23, 2012

PostDoc Unions, almost a Decade in the Making....How is it going?.

Uconn Health Center PostDocs& a Mission to Unionize: 
The first ever fully functional PostDoc Union in the world was formed during 2003 (refer the UCONN PostDoc Union chronology in this blog).  It is almost 10 years since our fight to unionize the postdocs, and the 10 years to be completed next year 2013.  This decade is one of the most remarkable 10 years in the history of scientific research, academia  and in the history of  postdocs. Furthermore, it is a remarkable event as far as the plights of Postdocs concerned, as far as the welfare of young, hardworking and highly qualified broken scientists concerned?.  For those who want a change in Academic structure, the postdoc union will show the way...!
I was one of the first to involve in the postdoc unionization at the UCONN medical campus, and was also one of those who were in the front row of leading this initiative and postdoc union foundation. However, we were fortunate and thankful to those have been fighting without much success on resolving postdoc needs and issues in the preceding years before us, for about three years preceding the 2003 success. The failures of them during the late 1990s, toil of many of the Uconn Health center postdocs gave us a path to laid our success in the later years. However it was not without toil, pain and some suffering if not all the postdocs but by some postdocs who have been intimated and threatened, warned to be suspended or dismissed from postdocs and so on.At the outset, everything was straightened up, ironed out and the first PostDoc Union was born at the Uconn Medical school campus (UCHC). I can never forget all those days, activities, people involved and the local union that spearheaded our mission to integrate PostDocs into their association for recognition, honor and equal respect, ofcourse the equity and power to negotiate.
The decade is in completion, there were many campuses in US and Canada propelled by our success and they embraced this mission, the fruition is seen spectacularly in none other than the largest Postdoc group, the UC campuses.
I am no longer a PostDoc, soon after the complete negotiation was done and about a year after the Uconn Health center postdoc union was in full force, I moved out of my research field, infact moved into medical and health care industry long time ago. Since then I had gone up in the ladder of success multifold far beyond a University Professor or a Dean or Director can achieve in every sphere of work or life, including a big salary. As a matter of fact I have my own health care practice and a small business company in medical field. But, all these changes in life and sky high progress I made did not change my concern or interest or helping PostDocs. As a matter of fact, I am still thrilled to look back and enjoy the work we have done, albeit not a postdoc I still think and feel about the postdocs in US and all over the world.  They need respect and must be treated with equity they deserve. I am sure the fire we set at UCHC has picked up speed and spreading exponentially, I am enjoying the fact that postdocs world is getting better, and better. Quite gratifying   to be part of the postdoc union mission, as one of the Pioneers and front row leader, I can say now that  "PostDoc Union Mission Accomplished".!. For those who are still struggling, learn the lesson from your peers and the pioneers.
And here is the latest updates from UC campuses and other Union lenient Universities across.
Updates:
2011 Year in Review and Plans for 2012

Dear UC Postdocs,

With our first full calendar year as a union now over, we thought we would summarize what we accomplished working together and lay out our expected roadmap for the year ahead. We are interested in your feedback and participation, so please like us on Facebook or contact your campus rep to let us know what you think!

Wage Increases
2011 was the first full year in which postdocs worked under a contract. Thanks to your involvement and support, thousands of postdocs received first-ever guaranteed experience-based raises upon reappointment. In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced a stipend increase of 2% in 2012, meaning that each of our experience-based salary steps will increase by 2% in 2012. This makes UC postdocs among the best compensated in the country, an achievement we were only able to deliver thanks to your courage and willingness to stand together.
******************************************************
Big News – Pay Scale Set to Increase by 2% in 2012
Dear UC Postdocs,

Great news – the National Institute of Health (NIH) has just announced that its Ruth Kirschstein NRSA stipends will increase by 2% for fiscal year 2012 – meaning that the minimum pay scale for UC postdocs will also increase by that amount. In other words, for all UC postdocs hired on or after June 1, 2011, each experience-based minimum salary step is now increased by 2%. Salary increases go into effect when postdocs are newly appointed, reappointed, or on the anniversary date for those with multiple year appointments.For complete information about compensation, read our contract. As you know, there has been tremendous pressure in Washington over the past year to cut funding for research. This news punctuates all of the hard work done by our members, both in terms of fighting cuts to the NIH and in standing together to bargain as a group.
***********************************
Post Docs at UMass Boston and Dartmouth, Bargaining initiated:

Bargaining Updates

The following UMass Amherst postdocs have been elected by acclamation to the Bargaining Team.  We will have more updates within the next week as postdocs at UMass Boston and Dartmouth elect their representatives.

UMass Amherst Bargaining Team Members
Jing Su, Chemical Engineering
My background and experience serves well on the tasks of the negotiation team. In college and graduate school I have the experience of organizing campaigns, from which I learned how to listen, coordinate, negotiate, compromise, and reach constructive solutions. As a postdoc, my situations (married, foreign, having kids, and with academic career goals) allow me understanding and grasping the crucial needs and concerns of postdocs of various background. My working experience for PRO/UAW as a volunteer makes me familiar with the goals and tasks of the campaign. During calling and talking with postdocs on behalf of PRO/UAW, I not only attained the firsthand feedbacks of the concerns and needs from postdocs of different background, but also I found my real passion.
I hope I could contribute my experience and passion as a member of the Bargaining Committee and serve the needs of postdocs.
*************************************
to be updated..

February 22, 2012

PostDoc Unions, way to fix issues in research institutes and Academia!!!


February 15, 2012

University of California Postdoc Union Claims Successes in First Full Year

In August 2010, postdocs at the University of California's ten campuses ratified their union'sfirst 5-year contract. Now, after its first full calendar year under the pact, the union known as UAW Local  5810 is looking back with satisfaction at its accomplishments. These include the "first-ever guaranteed experience-based raises upon reappointment" and a 2% increase in the overall wage scale for 2012, according to the union's website.

The union also helped individual postdocs resolve issues involving back pay, vacation time, attempts to terminate postdoc appointments because of pregnancy, and other instances of unwarranted termination, the website continues. Advocacy efforts included pressing the California Congressional delegation to oppose cuts to research funding and to support comprehensive immigration reform.

Featured Post

Univerisity of Washington PostDocs Forming Union- Latest University PostDocs to Unionize!

University of Washington, yet another top notch higher education/research institute known for an impressive history and record setting, rig...

UNION yes!!! www.2110uaw.org/gseu/

UNION yes!!! www.2110uaw.org/gseu/
Hello Grads-Say Yes to Union!

PRO/UAW Site

http://www.prouaw.org/home/home.php
Here is the PostDoc Wheel of PRO/UAW, this is like the Wheel of Dhamma of Lord Buddha's that is a symbol of justice and liberation. The latest news from PRO/UAW is very promising to the 5000 or more postdocs in different campuses of University of California System.
PRO/UAW

The Union for Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California
PRO/UAW is the Union for over 5,000 Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California. By signing up a majority of Postdocs, we can exercise our legal rights to bargain with UC. Postdoc representatives we choose will survey us to determine priorities and will then negotiate a contract with UC. We can negotiate for improvements in wages, hours, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. Postdocs will then have an opportunity to democractically approve the agreement that UC and our bargaining team reach, before it becomes a binding contract.