This is a classic case of do what I say, not as I did. [Read more…]
I know it’s crunch time for undergraduates, but I found another reason why you shouldn’t use wikipedia for scholarly efforts. It’s OK for personal reasons (how old is Grace Slick now?) or for a first introduction to a topic, but if you are going to take the trouble to write a paper, use reliable sources.
Correction, June 14, 2011 – Now I think you should use wikipedia (with skepticism), expecially for exploring new topics.
Prof. Mark Taylor, religion department at Columbia, wrote in a recent op-ed piece: The dirty secret of higher education is that without underpaid graduate students to help in laboratories and with teaching, universities couldn’t conduct research or even instruct their growing undergraduate populations. That’s one of the main reasons we still encourage people to enroll in doctoral programs. It is simply cheaper to provide graduate students with modest stipends and adjuncts with as little as $5,000 a course — with no benefits — than it is to hire full-time professors.
(Read the complete editorial for yourself)
For those of you at Davidson (or similar colleges, like Haverford where my oldest son goes), I’m hoping that this is the reason you chose to attend a liberal arts college — for direct contact with professors whose main mission is teaching undergraduates. We do not have graduate students to teach and grade papers, although at this time of year I often wish we did!
Note his main criticism: graduate students are unprepared to pursue careers outside of academia. As reported by the American Anthropological Association about nine years ago, most anthropology PhD’s are not in academia – and given their interdisciplinary training, regional or methodological focus, are indeed well equipped to pursue a wide range of options outside academia. Of my own PhD class at Harvard (at least those who were in the picture that I took at graduation, since I glanced at the photo to try to remember who left in 1999), close to half are outside academia – in various businesses and NGO’s.