Academic Matters looks at graduate education

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The newest issue of Academic Matters is now available online and in faculty mailboxes across Ontario. The magazine is OCUFA’s flagship publication, dedicated to exploring ideas and controversies that matter to academics and academia.
In this issue, we’re trying to get to grips with the changing world of graduate education and we’ve assembled an impressive group of contributors to help. Jennifer Polk writes a personal reflection on her own journey away from academia, painting the decision to pursue a career outside of the academy not as failure, but as liberation. Bryan Gopaul interrogates the narrative that suggests that grad school is futile or irrelevant to the needs of the modern economy. Critics get grad school wrong, he suggests, because they fail to pay attention to its nuances. For her part, Linda Muzzin looks at an often-overlooked career path for newly minted PhDs—teaching in Canada’s many community colleges and polytechnics.
At the policy level, Carl Amrhein, Diana Mackay, and Michael Bloom provide an overview of the Conference Board of Canada’s research into post-secondary education and the skills needs of the Canadian economy. In their article, they pay special attention to the implications of this research for graduate students and faculty members. As a counterpoint, Unifor economist Jim Stanford looks critically at the so-called “skills gap” and finds little reason to believe that our universities are producing graduates unsuited to the labour market. To add some much-needed international perspective, Elizabeth Bell provides a fascinating overview of the policy issues facing graduate education in the United Kingdom.
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