Monday, August 13, 2007

Turd blossom.

I heard this phrase used to describe Karl Rove this morning, apparently Bush uses it as his pet name.

I love it, I really do. And it so summaries how I feel in general right now.

But now I want to mention something I think I've mentioned before, because it still makes me furious:

The Chronicle of Higher Education refers to postdocs as "students".

Yup, we're lumped in with undergrads, and grads.

I mean, "graduate student" always seemed a bit oxymoronic to me.

But in some places on the site, we're even referred to as "postgraduate students".

How's that for an oxymoron?!

If I've ever thought about leaving academia, the reasons are exemplified by the Chronicle. It's a repository for politics and a shrine to hierarchy.

Is there a single equivalent for industry, a clearinghouse of hirings, firings and rumors? Or are those things just scattered through myriad publications with expensive subscription fees?

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At 12:01 PM, Blogger Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

Oooh, that pisses me off.

At 3:43 PM, Blogger Geeka said...

Yeah, I don't think post-docs should be classified as students...they don't take classes, they don't get grades, they don't have the protection that students get. If they are really students, then they should get their student loans deferred.

None of this actually happens. Therefore they are not students.

At 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Britain a "postgraduate student" is what you folks across the pond call a "graduate student".....

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel any better, the Chronicle has very little relevance to biomedical research. It is more of an undergraduate teaching institution rag in my opinion. However, it is still ridiculous to be referred to as a "student". Do postdocs earn a degree? No. Can postdocs defer their student loans? No, generally not. Are postdocs graded? No. Are postdocs allowed to evaluate their mentors? Definitely not. To classify us as students is insulting and degrades the many years we spent in school to get to this point.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger chall said...

hm , I fail to see where they do it since the link leads to the main page. Still, this is one of the reasons I contemplating not doing a second post doc in the States. I do feel it is more an "american thing" to make post docs as 'almost' grad students. Not saying it is beautiful in Europe but slightly different and more likely that you would be called scientist rather than post doc as in "student".

or I might be remembering wrong, but i am not completly sure about that.

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriously? This is what pisses you off - what some article in a publication aimed primarily at undergraduate liberal arts colleges calls postdocs? Enough to make one of you quit science altogether and another one boycott US research opportunities?

You are what you do. Not what someone calls you.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Propter Doc said...

Hah. My lab has a turd tree, so many damn blossoms around.

My uni currently makes a distinction between postdocs as employees (paid for by faculty member) and trainees (independent fellowship). The postdoc employees have to do what their PI tells them, the postdoc trainees are to be treated more as visiting researchers and have more autonomy, slightly more autonomy anyway.
In any case, postdocs are not students (except in the philosophical sense where all scientists might be considered students because we all learn). It is a very degrading mistake to make.


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