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The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2 - Page 159  

post #2371 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post

Romy, no offense but I'm just curious... you say you're a little girl nearing 30, meaning you're in your late twenties (a few years older than I am, I suppose) and you're already a college professor? I can somehow tell you're a well-educated person from the way you write, but becoming a college professor before 30 is quite unbelievable. And yet you seem to have a lot of time on your hands, being a really active member here at Head-Fi. Maybe people can become professors at a young age in your country, or you're just incredibly talented? What country are you from exactly, and what's your major?

It's not so bad, really. My wife is about to finish her PhD (in Lit) and is a few years shy of 30, and I completed a Master's in 4.5 years. It just requires focus. She's relaxed now, but at one time the Mrs was putting in 50hrs /wk outside of the classroom, in studying and projects, while working part-time as a library assistant. 18 hour days were normal for her.
post #2372 of 21760
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post

Romy, no offense but I'm just curious... you say you're a little girl nearing 30, meaning you're in your late twenties (a few years older than I am, I suppose) and you're already a college professor? I can somehow tell you're a well-educated person from the way you write, but becoming a college professor before 30 is quite unbelievable. And yet you seem to have a lot of time on your hands, being a really active member here at Head-Fi. Maybe people can become professors at a young age in your country, or you're just incredibly talented? What country are you from exactly, and what's your major?

 

LOL. It's all a conspiracy.

 

However being a professor in your late 20s isn't so radical in the US. This is actually my fourth year teaching. In graduate school, you can basically start teaching as an assistant professor and then move on to being adjunct faculty. There are different levels of professorship. Now, if I were senior faculty, a tenured professor, or a department chair at this age, that would certainly be amazing. As it stands however I wouldn't say I'm talented. I'm nothing special, really.

 

As for my time on head-fi, it's not free time so much as multitasking when I probably shouldn't be. I've got head-fi in the background (along with some other sites) while working. I spend a lot of time grading, lesson planning, writing, and reading. In theory at least.

post #2373 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post

Romy, no offense but I'm just curious... you say you're a little girl nearing 30, meaning you're in your late twenties (a few years older than I am, I suppose) and you're already a college professor? I can somehow tell you're a well-educated person from the way you write, but becoming a college professor before 30 is quite unbelievable. And yet you seem to have a lot of time on your hands, being a really active member here at Head-Fi. Maybe people can become professors at a young age in your country, or you're just incredibly talented? What country are you from exactly, and what's your major?

It's quite possible, really. I'll be wrapping up my Pharm. D when I'm 23.
post #2374 of 21760

I couldn't imagine going for an advanced degree. Getting my bachelors in engineering made me hate college with a passion. It was like four years of boot camp, not designed to educate us so much as weed-out folks. To this day, I won't go back to my alma mater simply because of that experience.

post #2375 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post

Romy, no offense but I'm just curious... you say you're a little girl nearing 30, meaning you're in your late twenties (a few years older than I am, I suppose) and you're already a college professor? 

 

Different disciplines (and different schools) have different requirements in their PhD programs. Many liberal arts programs have four-year PhD programs, which you can complete in three or less if you're smart, fiercely disciplined and have the right advisor to back you up. In addition, it's common for PhD candidates in many disciplines to plan and teach full courses. Some technical disciplines have accelerated-track graduate programs, too, that can turn out doctorates quickly. Of course, some science programs are naturally slower: I haven't heard of many biologists who got their PhD in less than 6 years: You have to work at the speed the organisms allow you to.

 

Even playing by the rules and without being an academic rock star or resorting to mail order, it's totally plausible that somebody could get a doctorate in something before the age of 26. That MF is getting faculty positions is what's impressive: The academic job market is fierce.

post #2376 of 21760

"In Russia the university academic career to the rank of Professor usually starts right after graduation. A graduate student can be recruited as an Assistant (teacher) without having any formal academic degree. The only requirement is to graduate as a Master of Science or as a Specialist (a specific Russian form of graduation after 5–6 years of study). Usually, (but not obligatory) the newly recruited Assistant goes through his PhD course, combining it with teaching undergraduate students (usually Assistants have a right to give lectures and examine students in small special courses, or, they assist a professor, who is reading a general course. In that case they teach students at laboratory works, test their knowledge, etc.). After 3 or 4 years of PhD course an Assistant defends a dissertation. The preparation for the "defense" includes writing thesis (approximately 150-200 pages), which presents the results of his/her own research work, done under a supervision of a professor. Several papers on the topic should be also published in Russian scientific journals accredited by VAK (see below). Finally, to be able to defend the thesis one should pass 3 exams: in his field of science, in foreign language and in history and philosophy of science. The defense itself is an official procedure and includes presenting the thesis to the Dissertation Council – several professors, including at least an appointed reviewer, two official opponents and the supervisor, who helped the Assistant in conducting his/her research. After the presentation the professors vote, and decide whether to recommend/not to recommend the dissertant to the rank of Candidate of Science. The right for final decision belongs to the VAK (governmental commission, granting official academic ranks), but it usually follows the recommendation of the Dissertation Council. In rare cases the dissertant can be called to go through the defense in VAK. At last a person is granted with a title "Candidate of Science" (Russian = кандидат наук), which cannot be dismissed.

As soon as the Assistant gets the title he/she usually goes to the post of Senior assistant, which does not differ very much. But if the Assistant had already written as many as 10 scientific papers and developed some educational materials he/she can get the rank of Docent. A Docent has a right to give lectures in some general courses and to examine students alone. Most academic careers finish at this stage. To go further one should write the second thesis, something very close to Habilitation in Germany. The second thesis is a very big research work, which often takes more than 10 years to be completed. The thesis is not limited in volume, but typically is around 300 pages, though some thesis which exceed 1000 pages. It generally requires fundamental research or a new research direction in a particular field. It can be a summary of the candidate's previous research, but should be of significant scientific, cultural, or social value. Another requirement is to have a large number of publications and a monograph. In some cases a monograph can work as a thesis if not too narrow in research.

The procedure of "defense" is similar, and at the end VAK grants one the title of Doctor of Science (Russian = доктор наук). The title gives a person the right to supervise PhD students, and to apply for the rank of Professor. The rank of Professor also requires a number of papers, books and educational works. The number of graduate students, and, if there are such, PhD students who passed through the defense successfully is also taken into account, but usually by the time a person gets the Doctor of Science title, he/she has accomplished a lot. The rank of Professor is exceedingly rarely achieved at the age of less than 40."


Edited by mutabor - 11/8/12 at 12:27pm
post #2377 of 21760

"In much of the world, including most Commonwealth nations (such as the United KingdomAustraliaNew Zealand) and northern Europe professor is reserved only for the most senior academics at a university, typically a department chair, or an awarded chair specifically bestowed recognizing an individual at a university or similar institution. A professor is a highly accomplished and recognized academic, and the title is awarded only after decades of scholarly work and/or practise. In the United States and Canadathe title of professor is granted to most scholars with Doctorate degrees (typically Ph.D.s) who teach in two- and four-year colleges and universities, and is used in the titles assistant professor and associate professor, which are not considered professor-level positions elsewhere, as well as for full professors."

post #2378 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by 333jeffery View Post

I couldn't imagine going for an advanced degree. Getting my bachelors in engineering made me hate college with a passion. It was like four years of boot camp, not designed to educate us so much as weed-out folks. To this day, I won't go back to my alma mater simply because of that experience.


Well said.

post #2379 of 21760

While some engineering departments definitely subscribe to the theory of "weeding out" students at first, you can look at the other side of the coin. In my college major's department, over a quarter of the students dropped the major when they took two required courses that made them realize the major was much more math and computer science heavy than they had expected. However, for all of the successful students who graduated with a degree, those two "bottleneck" courses really provided them with some of the basic analytic skills that they needed in order to have any sort of a shot at attempting upper-level elective courses, which were, generally speaking, far more engaging.

 

It really boils down to the idea that there is a certain minimum of knowledge you need to have to be able to tackle the problems and questions that are truly interesting (in my field, anyway).

post #2380 of 21760
There is no doubt that individual schools and departments can differ wildly in their approach - and so can the attitude of the students. Where I got my undergrad in engineering was not well known for graduate degrees - you could get an MS Engineering, but there were only a handful of students in the program, and almost all of them were part of a graduate internship program that was corporate sponsored. However, I never felt like I was being pressured or weeded-out. Sure, the classes were tough, but they were also taught from a very practical perspective with lots of labs and work that was based on real world problems. I didn't continue for an MS - and later in my career I went back for an MBA - which seemed like summer camp compared to my undergrad degree - but the MBA did more for my career than the MS would have - which probably says a lot about what's wrong with corporate America...
post #2381 of 21760

My classmates and I didn't expect it to be easy, but what we got was a very rude awakening. Every single one of the pre-engineering classes turned out to be weed-out courses. Some of the professors would even tell us on day one that they didn't give a damn if we passed or failed. Their job was just to administer tests. It's hard to learn a subject if your professors aren't interested in teaching the material. The only thing that saved us was the curve. That and programmable calculators!  Out of the hundreds of people I entered the engineering program with, maybe twenty made it all the way to graduation. Forever soured me on "higher education".

post #2382 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

 I didn't continue for an MS - and later in my career I went back for an MBA - which seemed like summer camp compared to my undergrad degree - but the MBA did more for my career than the MS would have - which probably says a lot about what's wrong with corporate America...

 

To my opinion corporate America problems are rather ethical problems.

 

What I like and highly praise in American system of education ( arguing with former soviet people which are inclined to ridicule it) is primarily a social aspect of it which I put higher than knowledge. Highly developed social aspect is essential in entrepreneurship, management and successful business. 

 

Probably there are many skilled engineers and scientists in Russia but because of awful management and unfriendly environment their work is not awarded. They get miserable salaries, they can do very little in their research because their work is not sponsored. The most talented leave Russia to Europe and USA to improve their lives.  


Edited by mutabor - 11/8/12 at 11:53pm
post #2383 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by 333jeffery View Post

My classmates and I didn't expect it to be easy, but what we got was a very rude awakening. Every single one of the pre-engineering classes turned out to be weed-out courses. Some of the professors would even tell us on day one that they didn't give a damn if we passed or failed. Their job was just to administer tests. It's hard to learn a subject if your professors aren't interested in teaching the material. The only thing that saved us was the curve. That and programmable calculators!  Out of the hundreds of people I entered the engineering program with, maybe twenty made it all the way to graduation. Forever soured me on "higher education".

 

Every single one of those teachers should be fired and banned from teaching. I had a calculus professor who thought his job was to weed out future math majors. Unfortunately for me, calculus was just a pre-req to get into pharmacy school. That made my life hell. 

 

The fact that your university let them get away with that crap is a travesty, and you should have alerted the federal government if it was a public funded school.

post #2384 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by 333jeffery View Post  My classmates and I didn't expect it to be easy, but what we got was a very rude awakening. Every single one of the pre-engineering classes turned out to be weed-out courses. Some of the professors would even tell us on day one that they didn't give a damn if we passed or failed. Their job was just to administer tests. It's hard to learn a subject if your professors aren't interested in teaching the material. The only thing that saved us was the curve. That and programmable calculators!  Out of the hundreds of people I entered the engineering program with, maybe twenty made it all the way to graduation. Forever soured me on "higher education".
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post  Every single one of those teachers should be fired and banned from teaching. I had a calculus professor who thought his job was to weed out future math majors. Unfortunately for me, calculus was just a pre-req to get into pharmacy school. That made my life hell. The fact that your university let them get away with that crap is a travesty, and you should have alerted the federal government if it was a public funded school.

 

I'm sorry, but that's not a very good way to look at things. If you attend a research-oriented institution (which is what most major universities are), then you need to be prepared that they don't take much stock in the quality of teaching; they expect you to learn on your own. The faculty's primary job is to get research grants and get published. Most of these classes are taught by the TAs anyways. Lectures don't mean a damn. Introductory courses are so broad anyways that the few hours of lecture students get a week are not nearly enough for people to learn. When you enter college, it is in fact the student's job to bear the responsibility of keeping at the learning material. The school does not do any hand holding. Alternatively, if students want a college education where they are actually taught, then they need to consider liberal arts colleges.

 

The other thing is that primary/secondary education in America is absolutely horrible. The majority of students entering college are simply not college-ready. They don't have their fundamentals down.

post #2385 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

 

I'm sorry, but that's not a very good way to look at things. If you attend a research-oriented institution (which is what most major universities are), then you need to be prepared that they don't take much stock in the quality of teaching; they expect you to learn on your own. The faculty's primary job is to get research grants and get published. Most of these classes are taught by the TAs anyways. Lectures don't mean a damn. Introductory courses are so broad anyways that the few hours of lecture students get a week are not nearly enough for people to learn. When you enter college, it is in fact the student's job to bear the responsibility of keeping at the learning material. The school does not do any hand holding. Alternatively, if students want a college education where they are actually taught, then they need to consider liberal arts colleges.

 

The other thing is that primary/secondary education in America is absolutely horrible. The majority of students entering college are simply not college-ready. They don't have their fundamentals down.

 

While responsibility for learning falls on the student, the first few classes are the ones that the faculty need to hold their hands through.

 

I know for me, calculus was a whole new language. The same applies to those who are taking freshman biology and chemistry classes. In the same way that a parent holds a child up while they take their first steps, so it should be for a faculty member and student.

 

When the student has been equipped with the necessary tools, then you can take off the training wheels and transfer full responsibility to them.

 

Example: my first calculus class in college involved a professor with the mindset that 333jeffery described. At the end of the semester, only one person passed the class. We started with 40 people. I retook the class the following summer with another professor who took a radically different approach. He took responsibility for the learning of each student, even going as far as revisiting basic algebraic skills if he needed to. Out of the 45 people in the class, only one person did not pass. 

 

This is the power that educators wield. They can build up, or they can destroy.

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