homeprev issuesexecpublic affairsSTAFFASA home

What Do We Know About Postdocs? No "Reserve Army" in Sociology

Are postdoctoral fellows an industrial or academic "reserve army" of unemployed PhDs? Are they apprentices learning to master their trade? Or, is the academic postdoctoral system simply an awkward way to accommodate modern science's need for hierarchical research teams within universities?

These provocative questions were posed by Mark Regets, a sociologist and Senior Analyst at the National Science Foundation's Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) and the first speaker during a well-attended workshop, titled Postdocs: What Do We Know and What Would We Like to Know?, held last month. Addressing the meeting, which was held in Washington, DC, and was jointly sponsored by the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST) and SRS, Regets also asked whether postdocs are the "best of the best" or whether the postdoctoral fellowship is a way to drive people out of science.

also in this issue
The Changing Face of Atlanta

The last time the American Sociological Association's meetings were held in Atlanta, Ronald Reagan was president, George Bush Sr. and Michael Dukakis were jockeying for the White House, UB40's "Red, Red Wine" was the summer's number-one pop song, and The Cosby Show dominated America's living rooms. Just as national politics and popular culture have under-gone dramatic changes in the last 14 years, so has Atlanta. If you last traveled to the area in 1988, you might not recog-nize much of the city and the surround-ing in-town neighborhoods today.

Public Opinion in Islamic Countries: Survey Results

Over the past two years, my colleagues in Egypt, Jordan, and Iran and I have uncovered counterintuitive findings and other interesting similarities and differences across public worldviews in these countries prior to and after the horrific terrorist events of September 11, 2001. Preliminary analysis of responses provided, among other things, a window into public opinion on key religious, political, and gender issues.

Copyright 2003 by the American Sociological Association. All rights reserved.