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Houston Chronicle Shines Spotlight on Declining Number of Petroleum Professors

By: 

Melanie Ziems

As the petroleum engineering industry grows more and more lucrative for professionals, educational institutions are having a harder time recruiting experts for academic roles, according to a new article published in the Houston Chronicle on July 4. According to the report, petroleum engineering student numbers at universities across the country are increasing every year, but the competition between industry and academia for field experts is increasing as well.

Chronicle reporters spoke about the growing problem with both Ramanan Krishnamoorti, petroleum engineering professor and the director of UH Energy, as well as Tom Holley, founding director of petroleum engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering.

According to Krishnamoorti, the tradition of professionals moving back and forth between professional and university jobs is coming to a halt, and transforming into more of a single migration of professionals from academia to industry. Holley added that the influx of students to the petroleum engineering program coupled with the lack of available faculty has created a significant deficit in the college.

In an effort to lure more faculty members to the petroleum engineering department, UH offers incentives like the ability to work consulting jobs while teaching and positions for industry experts without PhD.'s to teach but not perform research. Holley said the university's proximity to the energy epicenter of Houston helps with recruitment efforts as well.

Read the full article here.

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