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Postdoc and research staff diversity: the need for data

22 Apr 2015, 19:00 UTC
Postdoc and research staff diversity: the need for data
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Silicon Valley came under a lot of criticism last year for its seemingly grudging acknowledgement that it has a problem with diversity in its technical workforce. After a lot of pressure, many, but not all, major technology companies have released some data.Higher education also has a diversity problem -- several, in fact. An examination of MIT data on recruitment and retention of graduate students and faculty from underrepresented groups -- women and minorities in STEM fields -- gives evidence that positive efforts were yielding some successes, as detailed in a major report. These groups come under a lot of scrutiny, and to be sure, there is need for renewed efforts so that the talent available in more than half the population is developed and tapped more fully in academia. But it seems to me that all the light shone on graduate students and faculty has left other important groups struggling to read their career guides in astronomical twilight.Compared with graduate students and faculty, there has been near-silence on the diversity of postdocs and non-faculty researchers in academia. These positions are stepping stones to faculty positions or lead to alternative paths following the PhD. Yet some universities don't even know who ...

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