I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I just want to share a few things from around the web that caught my attention this week.
First off, you could absolutely lose yourself in The Professor is In, Karen Kelsky’s, Google Doc tracking graduate school debt. Here’s the article in Slate about it. Looks like the bottom line is that schools in urban areas are not adequately compensating for the cost of living. Most of the best programs are clustered around a few urban areas, so I imagine this will just become a bigger and bigger problem. And, of course, students without family support are relying on loans to fill the gap.
Side note: how do you feel about The Professor is In? I am deeply saddened that people are going broke for Ph.D. programs and at the same time don’t even get the support they need in those programs. I have no doubt that there is a need for such services, but I’m wondering what we could do institutionally to insure more support. What could we do structurally to create more career and professionalization workshops? As you all know, I’m beginning coursework at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. This has also led me to look at clinical licensure programs. Long story short, I saw a system wherein a student is locked in to a specific number of consultation hours annually. It actually impressed me quite a bit. I think it was something like 250 hours! I know it would be exceedingly taxing on our dissertation directors, but how would you feel about that–not necessarily 250 hours, but the general idea of a minimum number of hours together? I think even 50 over a year would be an absolute game changer. Something to consider…
In other news, this article on the smog problem in China (thanks to Mela for sharing it!) reminded me of the regular fires in California (and the smog!). I’ve got to say, I’m loving being back in this Midwestern air, but my word…I don’t even know what it would take for China to recover from this problem.
Did any of you follow the White House summit on education this week? I’m relieved to see education being addressed head on. I’m certainly glad 100 schools committed to making changes. That said, I think we also need to be critical of this information as well. Quite simply, it’s a drop in the bucket. I was also a bit dismayed that all of the coverage on the summit made it sound like this was the first time people realize that low-income, first-generation, under-represented students face challenges in college. Far from it. There has been so much work on this before–both in policy and in research–that I think it’s a true disservice to act like we’re reinventing the wheel.
Just take a glance at the Higher Education Act of 1965. It actually did quite a bit of good, but instead of expanding these programs to meet growing concerns, they were slowly dismantled and funding was pinched over the years. I’m an enormous supporter of TRIO programs especially and I’d really love to see their funding restored–and the focus of the programs again shared across disciplines (vs. recent pressures to go all STEM). It’s crucial that we understand how things went wrong with these programs, where they fell short, and where we failed them in order to ensure that we don’t just take one step forward and one step back every decade.
How did you feel about the summit and school commitments? What other steps would you like to see taken?
Finally, here are some things a bit on the lighter side: a new way to do PowerPoint presentations, Pecha Kucha.
Oh and I almost forgot, Kristen Steward joins a “romantic” remake of 1984. Hmm…