Navigating Culture Shock

San Jose State University’s densely built urban campus is the kind of regional public university that educates millions of Americans.

Its enrollment of 31,000 includes many first-generation students, parents, transfer students, and those who juggle coursework with jobs. There is a gritty feel to some parts of the campus’s 19 square blocks, especially in  places with aging buildings and outdated classrooms. Recent budget cuts have taken a toll, forcing professors to teach larger classes and, at one point, go a few years without raises.

San Jose State is also the kind of university where new Ph.D.’s often find themselves teaching, and the environment and workload can be unfamiliar. For those who trained at elite research universities, the jobs look very different from their professors’. Being a professor here means more teaching and committee work, finding resources on tight budgets, and getting by with less help with grading and in the lab.

Just 20 miles away, Stanford University’s doctoral students are training in a different world. The Stanford campus, nicknamed “the Farm,” sprawls across 8,180 meticulously landscaped acres. Nearly all of the students live on the campus, and each year transfer students make up only a smattering of the entire student body. The $18.7-billion endowment dwarfs San Jose’s of $100-million. <Read more.>

Via Audrey Williams June, The Chronicle of Higher Education.