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August 2, 2012 8:54 a.m.
UC San Diego's eighth chancellor started work at the La Jolla campus today, with a long list of events scheduled.
I was disappointed to hear that Chancellor Khosla used the percentage of master's degrees at Sapphire Energy as a basis for justifying UCSD's (presumed future) emphasis on graduate degrees.
First, suggesting that the bachelor of science degree is insufficient to productively support a technology company's efforts disparages the level of education UCSD gives to its undergraduate students. Moreover, it disparages its largest pool of alums- who could someday provide that $5 B endowment the Chancellor is looking for. UCSD provides a very high level of undergraduate education, the Chancellor should not demean that achievement.
Second, there is a glut in the market of PhDs in at least my area (chemistry/biotechnology) and there has been for some time (before the recession). Because it is very difficult to climb the ladder in view of the numerous applicants, many have decided that they do not want to perform research and have searched for alternate careers.
Third, a company cannot be built exclusively with PhDs or master's graduates. There are drawbacks as the specialized education needed to obtain those degrees may make it difficult for the graduate to be flexible with problem-solving in a corporate environment. There are also expectations in compensation that make for an inefficient for every employee in the technical side to have a graduate degree.
Therefore, I believe that the Chancellor should be cautious when advocating that every employee have a string of degrees. While it may be good for UCSD, it emphasizes the current problem of degree inflation, and it only perpetuates the problems currently facing the corporate sector.
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