In his plenary address entitled "The Future of Graduate Education in the Humanities," MLA president Michael Bérubé said graduate education today is "like a seamless garment of crisis, in which, if you pull on any one thread, the entire thing unravels."
The image of nakedness evoked all too much vulnerability for me. But vulnerability of Bérubé's image was nothing compared to the analogy Patton used to summarize another discussion at the conference, held the next day.
In this session, entitled "Graduate Student Debt: Issues and Implications," participants suggested that graduate institutions offer more transparency for incoming or prospective students about the financial realities of graduate school. Patton analogizes these kind of FYI's to "warning labels" -- you know, like the kind you may find on:
Here, Patton summarizes the gist of the session's conclusions and suggestions:
What graduate programs can do, some presenters said, is offer warnings, information, and guidance.In light of these analogies, I began to wonder: How might a graduate education warning label read? Here's a rough draft:
That process, some people said, should begin at admission with disclosures about what debt and repayment options would look like with or without a fellowship. Individual programs should also provide comprehensive data on where recent graduates landed jobs and what types of salaries they're earning.
Armed with that knowledge, students will then have to decide for themselves whether pursuing a graduate degree is worth it or not.
What do you think of the figures of speech and analogies underpinning the current discourse on graduate student reform? Write in!