Why aren't more graduate programs doing this? 

This is a brilliant idea: the University of Texas at Austin has developed a program to train graduate students in what they call Intellectual Entrepreneurship or "citizen scholarship." Which means that they encourage doctoral students to apply their expertise to both academic and nonacademic realms. If I'd been able to take interdisciplinary courses on "Academic and Professional Uses of Technology" or "Academic and Professional Communication" or "Entrepreneurship," I think I'd be a lot better equipped to avoid the "but I can't do anything else!" mindset. And they even have a pre-graduate school internship program for undergrads who want to see what it's like to be a grad student. Which is also a brilliant idea, given how many undergrads sail blithely into grad school with very little information about what it's like.

It makes me happy to see that at least one university is doing the ethical thing by acknowledging that not all of its Ph.D.s will find jobs in academia, that not all of them will necessarily want said jobs, and that some of them will want to take their skills elsewhere. And it also makes me happy that they're taking the additional step of actively helping graduate students do just that.

The Powers That Be in my department have started overhauling the structure of our doctoral program, and at the next "town hall" meeting on the subject (I missed the first one, which was yesterday; I was coughing and hacking too much to inflict my germ-laden presence on a roomful of colleagues) I fully intend to point out that we need more options like these.



Last night's rantings sound a little ridiculous now that I've finished grading the papers and had a night's sleep (more or less; I seem to have acquired a cold, and today I encouraged my students to talk more by warning them that my feeble, croaky, octave-below-normal-range voice was about to give out). 52 down, none to go, and another couple of weeks' respite before the next batch come in. Yay.

I'm rather dazed with a combination of fatigue and cold medication, but I'm relishing the sensation of reentering the world after the paper-hell weekend. Not to mention reentering the blogosphere, but I'll have to catch up on the bloggage later, after I go home and spend an evening doing nothing but watching Spike's guest appearance on the new season of Angel and drinking several gallons of orange juice and echinacea tea.


We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog to bring you the following incoherent wailings. 

Warning: this is probably the kind of blog entry of which Ms. Mentor would disapprove (er, hi, Ms. Mentor, if you're reading this. For the record, I'm glad you ended that column by advising "Troy" to go on blogging). It consists entirely of self-absorbed whining, it probably makes me look unprofessional as all get-out, and it contains Too Much Information. That said, however...

PMS and grading do not mix. That's what I learned today.

I'm in the fifth -- or is it sixth? -- day of a too-long-postponed grading marathon. I'm down to the last half-dozen papers. Somehow, those six papers seem far more daunting than the initial stack of fifty-plus. I look at them and I think, how on earth am I going to be able to do this again with their next assignment? And again, and again, with longer and longer papers to read each time?

Today I had the "Er, actually, not going on the job market, looking elsewhere instead" conversation with my outside dissertation committee member, who said "Really? After all this?" To which I had no real answer. Then I made a deeply embarrassing gaffe in front of one of my sections and now I'm convinced they think I'm an idiot. Then H. and T. and I graded together for several hours, drinking an ungodly amount of coffee, and I smoked too many cigarettes. Now my throat hurts and I'm jittery from the caffeine. And I'm tired. And, thanks to the PMS, I'm on the verge of tears or paranoia or some unpleasant combination of both.

I want to be in a different profession right now. I want companionship. I want a life that doesn't consist entirely of telling the umpteenth student in a row to be more specific and to watch out for the passive voice. I want a bubble bath. I want to write, but I have to grade. Stupid effing hormones.

But at least I'm pretty much guaranteed to feel better as soon as the mood swings calm down and the last of the papers are in. And at least I'm not in a public-school education program, wondering about whether future school administrators are reading my blog.

Right. Time for dinner, then back to grading. 46 down, six to go. 46 down, six to go. That's going to be my mantra of the evening.