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End the University as We Know It

Graduate Students

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1beschrich
May 10, 2009, 7:34pm Top

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/opinion/27taylor.html?_r=1&scp=6&sq=un...

This editorial from the NYTimes a week ago caused a bit of a stir amongst the professors and grad students around me. What do you think?

Personally, although it raises a few concerns that need to be addressed (e.g. the ratio of graduate enrollments to available positions) much of the solution seems pretty absurd. The idea of top-down management of fields and positions (implicit in the article, though not spelled out fully) is particularly worrisome.

2shinkeikaku
Edited: May 10, 2009, 7:53pm Top

Indeed, it's absurd most of the time (particularly the second page. #2 got a good chuckle from me though).

The article makes a terrible assumption in the first paragraph--that all grad students "pay" for their education. Wrong. Many programs offer teaching and research assistantships (for 5 years guaranteed here), so we pay ~$300 a semester in fees while making a very modest living. It talks about stipends later, but then says no benefits. I have excellent health care. A friend had a baby basically for free, while another racked up 15k in doctor's bills (don't ask). We're no good to them sick or dead, after all. I'm having a hard time taking this seriously at all, since he seems ignorant of the whole process.

I'll agree that there are too many people, too few jobs. I'm graduating like.. next week and there are little to no job prospects for me, despite being in a highly applicable field (chemistry, not religion or whatever the writer was). We could use some help on that front. My PhD, instead of a masters, is going to hold me back in some ways I think. -.-

3MisfitKotLD
May 10, 2009, 8:15pm Top

A friend brought this up a bit ago, he's right more than wrong in this piece. We'll be fighting over adjunct spots soon while colleges and universities scale back full time faculty.

4MysteryWatcher
May 11, 2009, 5:22pm Top

I'm a PhD on scholarship and it's HECS free (no uni fees at all). I'm more worried about the debt that I have from my undergraduate degree. Ho hum.

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