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A Critique of the Nature article that says a PhD isn’t for Everyone

Nature got a lot of backlash yesterday on Twitter about an article they shared. What Nature tweeted wasn’t the article’s premise. The article’s thrust is that there is a real need to provide more instructions about and require those considering graduate work to research career outcomes, challenges, and strongly consider whether a PhD really is right for them.
I agree. Every student – in every undergraduate major and grad program – needs more support and training in career options, how to research careers, and how to build a thriving career. No arguments there. But I do have things to say about the rest of the article’s points…

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Permanently ABD

Why I quit my PhD program, and where I stand these many years later. in my alt-ac career. Looking back on my choice to quit and stay All But Dissertation.

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For Alt-Acs: Lose the Dissertation Requirement, PhD programs

“What might a PhD program designed specifically for alternative-academic careers look like” asks Joshua Kim in the Inside HigherEd article “Collaborative Work, Academic Training, and Alt-Ac Careers.” It’s a good question. Kim’s article points out how much PhD work – the prospectus, the lit reviews, the research, analysis, and the dissertation, are all done as solo efforts. But alt-acs “do almost all of their work in collaboration.” True. Nearly all of my work is as part of a team. Yes, there is a rhythm between doing individual tasks independently (writing curriculum, writing training workshops, etc.) but that is balanced in at least equal amounts of time by coming back together to work with a team (instructional designers, web developers) on how the curriculum I’ve written will be developed and delivered as eLearning. The other alt-acs I work with – their work is largely structured the same.

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