Another Note on Graduate Education

Two recent articles about grant-funded efforts to reform doctoral training caught my attention. One appeared in Inside Higher Ed and the other in The Chronicle. The latter article is paywalled, so here is a summary if you can’t access it:

  1. Professional internships need to be part of doctoral training because they provide examples of non-academic career paths. Yet the internships created through the grant were in arts and humanities non-profit organizations and in higher education — industries with few jobs and low salaries.
  2. Graduate department curricula remained focused on producing subject matter experts, through traditional disciplinary coursework and production of a dissertation.
  3. Initiatives died when the grant ended. There was no institutional buy-in.

I’ve written before about the need to change doctoral programs; for example, here and here. But I don’t have much hope that this change is going to occur quickly enough. Institutionally, graduate education in the humanities and social sciences is mainly organized to replicate itself, leaving it increasingly disconnected from present reality.