Monday, April 25, 2016
To Ph.D. or not, that is the Question
ROBERT HEVEY was fascinated by gardening as a child, but then he grew up and took a 30-year career detour. Mr. Hevey earned a master’s in business and became a certified public accountant, working for accounting firms and businesses ranging from manufacturing to enterprise software and corporate restructuring.
“I went to college and made the mistake of getting an M.B.A. and a C.P.A.,” he recalled with a laugh.
Now 61, Mr. Hevey is making up for lost time. He’s a second-year Ph.D. student in a plant biology and conservation program offered jointly by Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Mr. Hevey, whose work focuses on invasive species, started on his master’s at age 53, and he expects to finish his doctorate around five years from now, when he will be 66.
“When I walk into a classroom of 20-year-olds, I do raise the average age a bit,” he says.
While the overall age of Ph.D. candidates has dropped in the last decade, about 14 percent of all doctoral recipients are over age 40, according to the National Science Foundation. Relatively few students work on Ph.D.s at Mr. Hevey’s age, but educators are seeing increasing enrollment in doctoral programs by students in their 40s and 50s. Many candidates hope doctorates will help them advance careers in business, government and nonprofit organizations; some, like Mr. Hevey, are headed for academic research or teaching positions.
At Cornell University, the trend is driven by women. The number of new female doctoral students age 36 or older was 44 percent higher last year than in 2009, according to Barbara Knuth, senior vice provost and dean of the graduate school.
“One of the shifts nationally is more emphasis on career paths that call for a Ph.D.,” Dr. Knuth said. “Part of it is that we have much more fluidity in career paths. It’s unusual for people to hold the same job for many years.”
“The people we see coming back have a variety of reasons,” she added. “It could be a personal interest or for career advancement. But they are very pragmatic and resilient: strong thinkers, willing to ask questions and take a risk in their lives.”
Many older doctoral candidates are motivated by a search for meaning, said Katrina Rogers, president of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif., which offers programs exclusively for adult learners in psychology, human and organizational development and education.
“Students are asking what they can do with the rest of their lives, and how they can have an impact,” she said. “They are approaching graduate school as a learning process for challenging themselves intellectually, but also along cognitive and emotional lines.”
Making a home for older students also makes business sense for universities and colleges, said Barbara Vacarr, director of the higher education initiative at Encore.org, a nonprofit organization focused on midlife career change. “The convergence of an aging population and an undersupply of qualified traditional college students are both a call to action and an opportunity for higher education.”
Some schools are serving older students in midcareer with pragmatic doctoral programs that can be completed more quickly than the seven or eight years traditionally required to earn a Ph.D. Moreover, many of those do not require candidates to spend much time on campus or even leave their full-time jobs.
That flexibility can help with the cost of obtaining a doctorate. In traditional programs, costs can range from $20,000 a year to $50,000 or more — although for some, tuition expenses are offset by fellowships. The shorter programs are less costly. The total cost at Fielding, for example, is $60,000.
Mr. Hevey’s advice to anyone considering a similar move? “Really ask yourself if this is something you want to do. If you think it would just be nice to be a student again, that’s wrong. It’s not a life of ease: You’ll be working all the time, perhaps for seven or eight years.”
Mr. Hevey does not expect to teach, but he does hope to work in a laboratory or do research. “I’m certainly not going to start a new career at 66 or 67,” he said. “But I’m not going to go home and sit on the couch, either.”
JACK ASS OF THE MONTH -
The N.H.L. suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw for one game for shouting an anti-gay slur while in the penalty box during his team’s Game 4 playoff loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Shaw was also fined $5,000 for directing an inappropriate gesture at the officials and will be required to take sensitivity training. He will miss Game 5 on Thursday in St. Louis, with the defending champion Blackhawks trailing by three games to one.
The incidents occurred late in the third period after Shaw was penalized for interference with Chicago down by 4-3. He gestured at the officials while skating to the penalty box. Video of Shaw in the penalty box seemed to show him shouting the slur, though it was not clear to whom his remarks were directed. After the game, Shaw told The Chicago Tribune: “I mean, emotions are high; I really don’t know what’s said. I was obviously upset with the call being that late in the game.”
But on Wednesday, he apologized in a statement. “I am sincerely sorry for the insensitive remarks that I made last night while in the penalty box,” he said. “When I got home and saw the video, it was evident that what I did was wrong, no matter the circumstances.”
Speaking to reporters later, Shaw said, “I’ll never use that word again, that’s for sure.”
“I get it,” he added. “It’s a hurtful word. It’s 2016 now. It’s time that everyone is treated equally.”
The Blackhawks said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed in Andrew Shaw’s actions last night. His comments do not reflect what we stand for as an organization.”
Colin Campbell, the N.H.L. vice president for hockey operations, said that while Shaw was remorseful, he had to be held accountable.
“The emotion of the moment cannot and will not be a mitigating factor for the conduct that is expected of an N.H.L. player,” Campbell said.
Andrew Shaw is our Jack Ass for the month of April for his actions this past week.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Kay Bigglestone ...Tucson's finest, Queen Elizabeth II (90) London, England; Al Pacino (76) Manhattan, N.Y, Joe Zanetta ...The Man & The Legend.
GOOD READS - The Secret History of Tiger Woods," by Wright Thompson on the cover of the upcoming "Fame" issue of ESPN: The Magazine: "The death of his father set a battle raging inside the world's greatest golfer. How he waged that war -- through an obsession with the Navy SEALs -- is the tale of how Tiger lost his way." http://es.pn/248L2rC
COLLEGE CHRONICLES – ANNUAL COMMENCEMENT SEASON (DRAMA): The University of Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Joe Biden and former House Speaker John Boehner with its highest award at next month's graduation ceremony. But some students are crying foul, saying that neither man represents the university's values. More than 80 students signed an op-ed in the school's newspaper in March criticizing the decision to give Biden the 2016 Laetare Medal, which university officials award to a Catholic "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity." Objections to Biden center on his support of abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage. Another op-ed takes aim at Boehner's selection, noting his positions on immigration, the death penalty and environmental issues. University spokesman Paul Browne indicated this year's award is intended to "promote that which unites us. I guess it's a sign of the times that fostering civil discourse would generate invective in some quarters," he said.
- Meanwhile, more than 600 students at the University of Alabama at Huntsville are petitioning to revoke Sen. Jeff Sessions' invitation to speak at the school's May 1st commencement. The petition lists Sessions' track record on education and civil rights and his endorsement of Donald Trump as president as reasons to rescind the invitation. Faculty members have joined in, submitting a petition with almost 200 signatures. A counter-petition supporting Sessions' invitation to the university, which enrolls about 8,000 students, is also circulating.
- Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is at the center of a flap on feminism and her foreign policy track record at a California women's college. Twenty-eight faculty members at Scripps College sent a letter to the school newspaper saying they would not attend this year's May 14 ceremony because Albright is delivering the commencement speech. In a letter to the paper, one student criticized Albright as a "white feminist and repeated genocide enabler" for her failure as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN to stop the killings in Rwanda and her support of NATO's bombing of Serbia in 1999.
- Not all the backlash is politically motivated. A group of students at Tulane University tried last month to replace Today Show's Hoda Kotb as commencement speaker for not being sufficiently serious or high-profile. The petition, which garnered more than 200 supporters, said students deserve better "given the amount of money, work, and passion we have poured into our educational careers at Tulane." The petition has since been taken down and Kotb will speak at the May 14 graduation.
- Students at Trinity College in Connecticut are reconsidering an invite to rapper Action Bronson, scheduled to perform at its spring concert, because of his violent and sexually explicit lyrics. George Washington University decided to remove him from the school's concert lineup earlier this year because his music wasn't "consistent" with the university's "values of diversity and inclusion."
POLITICS 101 - Donald Trump's Road to Washington Goes Through Fresno: For Trump to clinch the nomination, he has to do very well in the remaining contests, plus win a large majority of delegates in California - as many as 130, according to the Associated Press, representing victory in 39 out of the state's 53 congressional districts. As Breitbart News analysis has determined, that almost certainly means Trump has to win at least one or two districts in Cruz strongholds in the Central Valley of California, with large numbers of Latino and evangelical voters.
COUGH - Los Angeles and Bakersfield top list of worst air pollution in the nation: Bakersfield tops the list for having the most unhealthy days from airborne particles spewed by highway traffic, diesel trucks, farm equipment and fireplaces, the American Lung Assn.'s State of the Air 2016 report says. Los Angeles remains the nation's leader in harmful ozone pollution from car tailpipes emissions, the report says.
HAMILTON SURVIVES; TUBMAN ON THE $20 - Harriet Tubman will bump Andrew Jackson from the front of the $20 bill while Alexander Hamilton will stay put on the $10 - a historic move that gives a woman prime placement on U.S. currency and quells a controversy kicked up by Hamilton super-fans. ... [Treasury Secretary Jack] Lew rolled out sweeping changes that will put a new cast of historic figures onto various bills that have remained largely static for decades.
Leaders of the women's suffrage movement will make their way onto the back of the $10 bill, while civil rights era leaders and other important moments in American history will be incorporated into the $5 bill. Jackson will be kicked to the back of the $20 bill. The plan is a major reversal for Lew, who appeared taken aback by the swift rebukes Treasury received last summer when he announced that he was considering replacing Hamilton on the $10 bill with a woman. ... Lew ... got an earful from fans of Hamilton, who helped create the Treasury Department and the modern American financial system.
FORTUNE's new cover, "Business: The Trump Way," "He's a billionaire (though maybe not as rich as he says). He claims he hates debt (but his casino companies went bust because of it). He craves press attention (but sues at the drop of a hat). What does Trump's record tell us about how he'll lead?" http://for.tn/1WgVrPl
... See the cover. http://bit.ly/22T2EFv
THE PRESIDENT'S WEEK AHEAD: On Monday [in Germany], the President will open and tour the Hannover Messe Trade Fair with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Afterwards, the President will deliver remarks. In the afternoon, the President will meet with President Francois Hollande of France, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom in a meeting hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the evening, the President will depart Hannover and return to Washington ...
On Wednesday, the President will welcome the United States Naval Academy Football Team to the White House to present them with the 2015 Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. On Thursday, the President and the First Lady will mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder at the White House with friends and staff. On Friday, the President will attend the International Jazz Day Festival at the White House.
REAL ESTATE, REAL ESTATE - Richard Nixon's Western White House takes a $6-million price chop: A San Clemente estate that became known as the Western White House during Richard M. Nixon's presidency has come back up for sale at $69 million.
Called La Casa Pacifica when Nixon took ownership in 1969, the sprawling 5.45-acre compound occupies an ocean bluff in a gated enclave. While the 37th U.S. president lived there he replaced an existing tennis court with a swimming pool and built a 1,500-foot-long wall to enclose the property.
HOTTEST JOB IN TOWN? How clean tech innovation is rebuilding California: In California, 508,000 people work full-time or part-time in advanced energy, including 44,100 in Orange County, from solar panel installers to electric car designers, home energy auditors, irrigation specialists, chipmakers, biofuel scientists and sustainability executives. The sector's California job growth is explosive: up 18 percent in 2015, more than six times faster than the state's overall payroll expansion of 2.8 percent.
LEAVING BEHIND A PRINCELY SUM: At his death, Prince, the genre- and gender-bending musician had an estate worth about $300 million. It's not yet known if Prince prepared a will. If not, under Minnesota law, the estate would go to his nearest relative, leading some to speculate that it could end up in the hands of his sister, Tyka Nelson. Compares to John Lennon, $800 million; Michael Jackson, $600 million; David Bowie, $230 million.
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – April 27, Nashville Predators (3-3) vs. Anaheim Ducks (3-3): Game seven drama in the first round, Ducks prevail 4 – 2.
Season to date (32 -18)
MARKET WEEK – As the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee prepares to meet tomorrow, one signal suggests that investors believe the economy, and financial markets, may be finding a footing after a tumultuous start to the year. Government-bond yields are heading higher around the world, a move typically linked to rising expectations of economic growth and inflation. As investors drive down bond prices, yields rise. But many worry the recent bond selloff is just the latest in a series of false starts. In three of the last four years, bond prices have fallen sharply at the start of the year, only to surge later as economic and geopolitical concerns took over investors’ minds. And in other market news, the European Central Bank’s plan to buy corporate bonds has raised the question of whether easy access to money will let companies put off making hard choices.
The week begins with new home sales on Monday. The housing market data continues to be volatile, but after Wednesday's bounce in existing home sales of 5.1% the market will be hoping the trend continues into new home sales. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is back in the spotlight where they are expected to keep interest rates on hold. This year has been a volatile one for the Fed as they grapple with global growth and geopolitical concerns and a domestic economy that continues to show signs of improvement.
After the March meeting disappointed investors when Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen delivered a more dovish statement than expected, the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields all fell sharply. Since then the U.S. employment report for March again showed an employment market that is heading towards full capacity with another 215,000 jobs added. More importantly for the Fed, the average hourly earnings rose 0.3%. This won't be enough to tip the Fed into raising rates but hints at the potential timing of a rate hike will be closely watched.
Thursday sees the release of the first estimate of Q1 GDP. The market is expecting a pullback from 2015 fourth quarter of 1.4%.
DRIVING THE WEEK – Big primary day on Tuesday with contests in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are set up for big wins. But Trump could run into trouble in Pennsylvania because most of the state's delegates will not be bound even on the first ballot in Cleveland ... Will big losses drive Sanders from the race? Seems possible.
President Obama completes his European trip on Tuesday continuing to push for free trade in an appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel followed by remarks and meetings with other European leaders ... FOMC meets Tuesday and Wednesday but is not expected to make any change to rates. And there is no press conference by Chair Janet Yellen ... First read on Q1 GDP on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. expected to show growth of just 0.6%.
Next week: The Commencement season begins and do you have a Darth Vader at your work?
Until Next Monday, Adios.
April 25, 2016
CARTOON OF THE WEEK –2016 Pulitzer Prize winner, Sacramento Bee