However, there are many critical skills (relevant to eventual careers in both academia and industry) that get by-passed. I'm not sure how you would actually teach these things in practice, and setting up courses to do so would widely be viewed as a waste of student time. Still, it's interesting how much of being a good faculty member (or valued employee with managerial responsibilities) is never taught; it's just assumed that you pick this stuff up along the way somehow, or you are innately skilled. Examples:
- Managing students. This includes: motivating students; determining what level of guidance is best suited to a particular student to instill independence and creativity yet avoid either aimless floundering or complete micromanagement; how to deal with personal, physical health or mental health problems; how to assess whether a student really has strong potential or an affinity for a particular project or set of skills.
- Managing money. No one ever tells you how to run a research group's finances. No one ever explicitly sits you down and explains how the university's finances really work, what indirect costs really mean, how to deal with unanticipated financial issues, how to write a budget justification, how to stretch money as far as possible, how to negotiate with vendors, how the university accounting system works, how much responsibility to delegate to students/postdocs, how you may interact with the office of research accounting, how to do effort reporting.
- Working with colleagues within the department and the university. (actually, my department does a decent job at this through faculty mentoring, but most of that was put in place after I had been promoted already.) How does university decision making work, what can the chair do, what do the deans do, what does the provost do. Why are there so many university committees? Do any of them do anything useful? Are they just a refuge for people with too much free time, who like to argue for hours about whether "could" or "should" is the appropriate language for a policy?
- Writing. The only way people learn to write all of the really critical documents (papers, grant proposals, white papers, little blurbs for the department web page, group websites, etc.) is by doing.
- Teaching. At the modern research university, there is an assumption that you can pick up teaching. This is widely considered insulting by serious education professionals, though there is truth to it - most people who are highly successful, communicative, organized scientists tend to be pretty good in the classroom, since good teaching requires good communications and organization capabilities (though also considerably more).
- Time management. No one teaches you how to budget your time, but if you can't do it reasonably well, you're really in trouble. (For example, I should be writing three other things right now....)