Academic science, willingly or not, may be headed for structural change similar in magnitude to the changes it faced at the end of World War II. Research funding in many areas of the geosciences is feeling the pinch of federal budget belt-tightening. New job openings in research, academia, government, and industry are dwindling, and many graduating Ph.D.s have to seek employment in areas that are, at best, marginally related to their training.
A research culture developed in an environment of expansion is poorly suited to an era of limited resources. Since academic research is closely linked with graduate education, we must consider the question: How should our programs adapt to the changes in the external environment in which academic science must function? If our graduate programs do not meet our students' needs, we may not only be failing as educators, but we may also find it increasingly difficult to attract the qualified students that we need to keep our programs and research efforts healthy.