Academics face diversity challenges of many sorts

Listen to a radio interview with Inclusant’s principal diversity consultant, anupama jain, on the subject of academic professional diversity.

The Steel City is justifiably proud of its many universities, but with more education can come more problems.

People graduating with Ph.D.s and other advanced degrees face an employment crisis in today’s university and the larger economy.

Joining us to talk about their efforts in expanding the options for Pittsburghers with advanced degrees are Alexandra Oliver and anupama jain. They’re local representatives for Versatile PhD, a business that fosters networking and professional development for people with graduate degrees who may want to explore non-academic work.

According to Oliver, major changes in the higher education system over the last 30 years have negatively impacted the labor situation in the industry.

“Many people have called this a crisis,” she says, “I don’t think that’s wrong.”

jain and Oliver point to many problems in the current education system, including the low wage, low job security adjunct system that many universities have adopted in recent years.

The issue of underpaid professors made headlines in 2013 when the story of Margaret Mary Vojtko, an 83-year-old adjunct at Duquesne whose dismissal left her in extreme poverty, went viral following her death. The system exists, according to jain, in spite of well-documented tuition increases.

“Much of the rise in tuition is not going to faculty,” says jain.

Their organization, Versatile PhD, helps graduates to network and develop connections in the community, and to connect people to resources to aid in their job search. You can follow them on Twitter, or keep up with their work on Facebook.

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