just a cheap source of labor for their advisor to exploit as needed. It is critical for a student’s professional development to be involved in decision making as to the direction of his or her research, instead of being treated as a glorified technician. This brings up the issue of how long is long enough for the completion of a Ph.D. I think it should be of a sufficient period to allow a student to provide a significant contribution to their particular field of the chemical sciences. Although it may be tempting to “squeeze” one more compound or paper out of a student, advisors must be careful not to exploit students by extending their program beyond a reasonable time.

To conclude, I feel that our system of making chemists is an excellent one overall. After all, our graduate programs are the envy of the world. Several individuals have mentioned at this workshop that we should not fix what is not broken. I think this is an excellent idea. We do however, need to ensure that we have a supply of “raw material” to continue our excellence. The suggestions that I have mentioned concerning education at the undergraduate level need to be heeded if this supply is to be sustained. We also need to ensure that the concerns raised by graduate students are treated seriously and thoughtfully, so that the majority of those who pursue graduate study in the chemical sciences graduate from their programs with the impression that getting an advanced degree was worth it.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement