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Assistant professors without PhDs?

By johnboy - 13 April 2012 31

Not naming any names, but I keep seeing people coming up from the University of Canberra revelling in the title of “Assistant Professor” who are yet to complete their doctoral thesis.

I’m curious as to what, if anything, our learned readers make of this?

What’s Your opinion?


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Assistant professors without PhDs?
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p1 12:36 pm 14 Apr 12

c_c said :

LSWCHP said :

I don’t really care if they call their academics Professors or Big Bananas. What matters, as with most things in life, is the results. I’ve worked with many UC graduates over the years, and I work with quite a few of them now. The ones I’ve known have been as well educated and technically capable as the graduates from any other University in Australia. Sometimes more so.

First, let’s be frank, the only reason University of Canberra became a “university” was due to funding changes meaning CAEs were obsolete. There was never a purposive change from an academic viewpoint, it was all about the dollars. It’s only recently they’re even getting serious about research which is what Univeristies should be about in the first instance.

You are quite correct though, it is true that UC graduates are quite often “technically capable” and desired by employers. Indeed it is “technical” capability that UC brags about to prospective students, stating that unlike ANU and other potential places, UC delivers more “practical” learning over “theoretical learning.” (That is a direct quote by the way from a senior UC admin who was trying to sign my Year 12 class up.)

They can paraphrase as much as they want, but in the end, by their own admission, they prefer practical over theoretical. Doers, over thinkers. And that places them much closer to TAFEs than true Universities.

Ko. said :

Well yeah, it is clear the Commonwealth are putting money into it because they fund the whole University.

Please go away and learn how University funding works because you clearly know squat.

I’m not going to waste time explaining it to you.

These “National Security” type research bodies get their funding because someone thinks they have something useful to add to the countries knowledge or capability, just like medical, environmental or financial research bodies.

What is interesting is the arrangements they must have that allow them access to classified materials to do their research on…

Diggety 12:28 pm 14 Apr 12

johnboy said :

I don’t know if it’s true, but I had heard that most of the philosophers in American universities are paid for by the US Marine Corp.

The thinking goes that it takes around $1,000,000 a year to keep a Marine ready for action, but you can get about 20 philosophers for that kind of money.

And a new paradigm is a much more powerful thing than 1 trained Marine.

I’ve never heard about that, but it does make a lot of sense.

Critical thinking with constructive output is incredibly cheap in it’s rawest form compared with other publicly funded experiments.

c_c 11:26 am 14 Apr 12

LSWCHP said :

I don’t really care if they call their academics Professors or Big Bananas. What matters, as with most things in life, is the results. I’ve worked with many UC graduates over the years, and I work with quite a few of them now. The ones I’ve known have been as well educated and technically capable as the graduates from any other University in Australia. Sometimes more so.

First, let’s be frank, the only reason University of Canberra became a “university” was due to funding changes meaning CAEs were obsolete. There was never a purposive change from an academic viewpoint, it was all about the dollars. It’s only recently they’re even getting serious about research which is what Univeristies should be about in the first instance.

You are quite correct though, it is true that UC graduates are quite often “technically capable” and desired by employers. Indeed it is “technical” capability that UC brags about to prospective students, stating that unlike ANU and other potential places, UC delivers more “practical” learning over “theoretical learning.” (That is a direct quote by the way from a senior UC admin who was trying to sign my Year 12 class up.)

They can paraphrase as much as they want, but in the end, by their own admission, they prefer practical over theoretical. Doers, over thinkers. And that places them much closer to TAFEs than true Universities.

Ko. said :

Well yeah, it is clear the Commonwealth are putting money into it because they fund the whole University.

Please go away and learn how University funding works because you clearly know squat.

I’m not going to waste time explaining it to you.

Ko. 11:14 am 14 Apr 12

c_c said :

More to the point though are the new research centres being established like the Public Policy and National Security ones at ANU where they receive special, separate premises with high security and the folks who work there need high level clearance. The funding may not explicitly come from Defence but it’s clear why the Commonwealth is putting money into it.

Well yeah, it is clear the Commonwealth are putting money into it because they fund the whole University.

c_c 10:14 am 14 Apr 12

johnboy said :

I don’t know if it’s true, but I had heard that most of the philosophers in American universities are paid for by the US Marine Corp.

The thinking goes that it takes around $1,000,000 a year to keep a Marine ready for action, but you can get about 20 philosophers for that kind of money.

And a new paradigm is a much more powerful thing than 1 trained Marine.

I can’t confirm that, but it sounds right. It’s also a common, though more indirect occurrence in Australian Universities. You’ll get certain areas of Defence or the Intelligence community funding events at Universities, even going so far as to vet the speakers and attendees much to the chagrin of some academic staff who see it as nothing more than stacking support in their favour.

More to the point though are the new research centres being established like the Public Policy and National Security ones at ANU where they receive special, separate premises with high security and the folks who work there need high level clearance. The funding may not explicitly come from Defence but it’s clear why the Commonwealth is putting money into it.

milkman 8:46 am 14 Apr 12

beejay76 said :

milkman said :

People who are more interested in real world outcomes?

Hope you don’t get sick, bro, and need some of that theoretical nuclear imaging or ivory-tower medication, hey?

No doubt there are very smart people who’ve studied and researched at uni.

I was referring more to the ANU Arts type academia of underwater basket weaving.

    johnboy 9:04 am 14 Apr 12

    I don’t know if it’s true, but I had heard that most of the philosophers in American universities are paid for by the US Marine Corp.

    The thinking goes that it takes around $1,000,000 a year to keep a Marine ready for action, but you can get about 20 philosophers for that kind of money.

    And a new paradigm is a much more powerful thing than 1 trained Marine.

Diggety 1:54 am 14 Apr 12

c_c said :

dr. faustus said :

UC is one of the few Australian universities that have adapted the US staff level ranking system: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor. ANU was considering it as part of the last EBA, but there was a lot of resistance from staff, IIRC. I’m pretty sure UWA use this system, but not too many other Australian universities have adopted it. It’s not unique or invalid, just rare.

Makes sense for UC, much like American cheese, American academic definitions make it easier to call something what it’s not.

c_c, I wouldn’t slag US universities if you are currently doing an undergrad at any of Canberra’s universities.

Keep that in mind until you experience otherwise.

LSWCHP 11:46 pm 13 Apr 12

c_c said :

dr. faustus said :

UC is one of the few Australian universities that have adapted the US staff level ranking system: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor. ANU was considering it as part of the last EBA, but there was a lot of resistance from staff, IIRC. I’m pretty sure UWA use this system, but not too many other Australian universities have adopted it. It’s not unique or invalid, just rare.

Makes sense for UC, much like American cheese, American academic definitions make it easier to call something what it’s not. In UC’s case, they started with the name of the whole place!

Ummm…lemme see now…I reckon that last sentence is crap.

I don’t really care if they call their academics Professors or Big Bananas. What matters, as with most things in life, is the results. I’ve worked with many UC graduates over the years, and I work with quite a few of them now. The ones I’ve known have been as well educated and technically capable as the graduates from any other University in Australia. Sometimes more so.

Clown Killer 11:41 pm 13 Apr 12

As a (rather casual) outside observer of academia, it would seem that your chance of jagging an academic job would appear to be based on the number of refereed publications you’ve managed to jag, and your track record in scoring ARC grants … As far as having a PhD is concerned, in the professional world it’s simply a ‘flag’ to let me know that you’ll need a little gentle finessing when you find out you’re going to be managed by an arts grad. (possibly without even an honours degree) who earns $75k more a year … But that’s life.

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