research universities for economic development and to maintain or regain economic competitiveness. Finally, society also looks to research universities for leadership in health care and social programs.

Faced with this overwhelming set of institutional responsibilities, a department of mathematical sciences at a research university is pulled in many directions. It is called on to teach mathematics (often including statistics) at all levels to an increasing number of students; to maintain research excellence and help support such excellence in engineering and the sciences; to help support the renewal and invigoration of school mathematics; and to help recruit and attract American students to mathematics and areas depending on mathematics. (NRC, 1991b, p. 7)

Due to increasing production, to a large influx of researchers from the Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, and to an economic downturn in the United States, the 1990s have brought a tight employment market with few permanent academic research positions for new PhDs. The increasing production of PhDs (adjusted totals of 884 in 1988–1989, 929 in 1989–1990, and 1061 in 1990–1991 reported in McClure, 1991, p. 1093), normally a sign of health in the field, is currently a mixed blessing because of the following two facts:

  • Although many students are educated for the few jobs in academic research, only a few students are well educated for the many jobs in teaching, government laboratories, business, and industry.

  • Although there are more new PhDs, there are still too few new domestic PhDs, in particular, women and underrepresented minorities.

Although the number of new U.S. citizen PhDs has risen recently—there were 411 in 1988–1989, 410 in 1989–1990, and 461 in 1990–1991—the percentage of U.S. citizens among all new PhDs has decreased, from 46% to 43% to 43% (for the same three years). The number of female U.S. citizen recipients of the PhD was 98 in 1988–1989, 89 in 1989–1990, and 112 in 1990–1991. These numbers represent 24%, 22%, and 24%, respectively, of the new domestic PhDs granted in those years. However, these modest figures have been achieved not so much because the number of women receiving PhDs has increased dramatically but because the number of men has decreased. By way of comparison, among the 634 new U.S. citizen PhDs in 1977–1978, 545 were men and 89 (14%) were women, whereas among the 461 new U.S. citizen PhDs in 1990–1991, there were 349 men and 112 (24%) women. The numbers of underrepresented minorities among the new U.S. citizen PhDs continue to be small: in 1990–1991, 10 African-Americans, 6 Hispanics, and 2 Native Americans received a PhD in the mathematical sciences. Although some have questioned whether there are now too many new PhDs for the current employment market, it is clear that both the number and the percentage of new domestic PhDs, especially of women and underrepresented minorities, is far too small.



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