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PHD-DESIGN  November 2012

PHD-DESIGN November 2012

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Subject:

Re: fostering research communities

From:

Karen <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 4 Nov 2012 15:46:34 +0800

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Thanks Prof Friedman for the note. I think I have not written properly. I am still single finger typing as I fix things up at the moment. I should have said PhD is the academic pinnacle at college, not working academic. Learning doesn't confined to the college premises anyway. It goes far beyond those walls and the ceiling above our heads. The Learning spirit should be infinite. Scholarship should go to the most motivated and able, especially to those who are not in the most favourable social class. (those who are clearly well off in a privileged situation should not take scholarships that tagged with huge amounts of money.. It should be parted to those who need the money) 

Actually I have different mindset towards college, scholarship and PhDs. To me,  entry to the terminal degrees go to the finest. There is no point letting letting so many people doing PhDs. There isn't a need to do that. The reason why PhDs are now the usual basic requirement  is because we have too many of them. We can even find them in high schools and polytechnics. There is a complex situation whereby those with doctorate degrees and are very bright don't end up teaching at universities. I think it's a waste of human resource. Then again there should be another system for such situations.

PhDs are research degrees. They should be for the brightest and the most brilliant of minds regardless they express themselves literally or visually. 

Also, to me, I value character very seriously. I don't expect saints but I do expect them to come round with very honourable characters. When I term someone as 'Dr', I expect them to not only look like one but do like one. PhDs are the terminal degrees in college. Supposedly this level is for the brightest and the most capable, they are then seen as intellectual leaders in their respective colleges as far as being students are concerned. We cannot allow leaders to be lacklustre. However again in reality, this is untrue. 

At times, I often wonder what kind of world we are getting at. If we talk about doctorate graduates who go into teaching, I have come to see quite a good number of them being more 'robotic' at delivering a thought as to being very fluid and natural. Often chuting in with some odd ball pretentiousness, as if a butler is there. I often find that amusing as it is ridiculous. There are,of course, some doctorate students and graduates who gain much respect with knowledge and humility. But I see this as the minority, not  the majority. 

Fostering research communities come from sincerity and the staunch insistence to grow with the whole bunch of other different human species at different levels. Robust work is a must. But I often feel the freedom and the resource of materials should be made out in the open. So anyone who wants to do learning and the research could do so. Research study should not be confined within the walls and ceilings of an institution. It should be free for all. For what you may know, you may find brilliance and a couple of great minds fit for your divine PhDs, and a more enriched world of knowledge for real execution. At times, I do not even respect the conventional way of recruiting students. I doubt the accuracy now. 

Anyway, i type too much. Apologies for the length of post. Hope my finger typing comes out well. 


Cheers,
Karen Fu




On 3 Nov, 2012, at 8:34, Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dear Karen,
> 
> Without sounding too gloomy, it must be said that a PhD is not the academic pinnacle. It is the entry point to life as a working academic, the transition from student who studies the practice of a profession or discipline to one who studies the substance of the discipline itself.
> 
> At most universities, you cannot get a job without a PhD — at least not a permanent job. To reach the next plateau in an academic career, you need to engage in research and publish your work so that others may take it board, adapt it to their own purposes, and use it. The PhD is the license to practice research. The training for a PhD is effectively the course of experience and learning in which you develop the skills, information, and knowledge to engage in original research. The thesis is generally a modest piece of original research that demonstrates your ability to do research by contributing to the larger body of knowledge of the field in which you work. This is journeyman work — very few people demonstrate brilliance, and we do not expect them to do so. We expect reasonable intelligence and serious work.
> 
> We do not restrict the PhD to people who have the "finest characters." That's expecting to much. We expect people to behave responsibly, to engage in appropriate collegial work within the university, and to adhere to established standards of research ethics with respect to their doctoral research. It's a mistake to expect people with a PhD to be saints — they are not. If everyone simply did competent work and serious research while living up to reasonable standards of decent professional and collegial behavior, that would be marvelous — and it would be a better world.
> 
> This kind of world would foster better research communities.
> 
> There are brilliant people, and there are people of great character — communities depend on all of us, and for this, all we need is serious intent, responsible behavior, and reasonably robust work.
> 
> Yours,
> 
> Ken
> 
> Professor Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | University Distinguished Professor | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia | [log in to unmask] | Phone +61 3 9214 6102 | http://www.swinburne.edu.au/design
> 
> --
> 
> Karen wrote: "I was meaning to say that PhDs should belong to brilliant people of those aforementioned positive characteristics. To get to that academic pinnacle, one expects these people to uphold the highest of both intellectual knowledge and finest characters to lead what is right for humanity as a whole."
> 
> 
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