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What do we want graduate school to be?

from Astrobites

From Nov. 3, 2012: Recently, an email that was sent to graduate students at the astronomy department of a U.S. university caught the attention of faculty and students in departments across the country. Perhaps the most important result of this letter is a serious discussion about what the graduate student experience should be like. Recently, Astrobites, a daily blog written by a team of astronomy graduate students covering the latest research literature, asked its readers to comment on expectations and experiences of graduate school in general. The results indicate that the original letter itself was unpopular. There was much discussion on work-life balance, especially the number of hours per week students are expected to work. The comments showed much concern over job prospects, including the impression of a mentoring culture that suggests that tenure-track positions at research-focused universities are only desirable outcome for Ph.D. students in astronomy. The underrepresentation of women and minorities in the field was also a major concern. Overriding all the issues was the very real concern about student mental health, as graduate school can have consequences for the lives of real people. more

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