January 30, 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas

Graduate Teaching Workshop

(On the agenda this morning. I hope I’ll have something else to say about it other than I went.)

Doctoral Workshop Invitation.jpg

Graduate school is certainly different from when I attended in the 1990s. Maybe it’s just the nature of the all-important-job Zeitgeist our country seems to be caught in. Yeah, if it doesn’t go to directly benefit your economic interests, what good is it? I’m not saying that’s all this was, but instead of talking about mentoring doctoral students, it was more about administrative matters. And I’m not up on the lingo. Cohort was used for a group of accepted grad students, as in this is our Technical Writing cohort. There was discussion of onboarding; sunsetting, and advisement.[1] Etc. These seem like corporate nationalizations that are infecting all higher-ed administration. I don’t think I was the intended audience.

In a sense, this is about professionalization—which my graduate program did as well. We learned how to be academics. Professors: how to teach, research, and serve our discipline. Since MGA’s programs are career-oriented, it makes sense to consider the particular needs of the various cohorts.[2] However, Ph.D.s are still about serving the academy for the most part, right? No? I’m pretty sure my Ph.D. is useless[3] in the private sector. Are we training private-sector Ph.D.s now? Am I getting old?

I don’t want my general crankiness about the corporatization of higher-ed to look bad for the presenter Maria Bruner. Maria was well-informed and detail-oriented. She had done her homework, and I despite my grousing, I did get some ideas about how to run my graduate classes, like this excellent article (despite its clickbait title): “The Top 13 Qualities of a Successful Graduate Student.” This should be incorporated in my “How to Do Well in My Class.”[4]

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Spent this morning (I was up at 4am) working on this site, Wikipedia, and reading the Barbrook and Cameron’s “The Californian Ideology.” The latter, my new media students are reading for next week, so I should have more to say about it soon.

For Wikipedia, I’ve been spending time helping my students write our article on Mailer’s The Faith of Graffiti (I’d link to it, but it’s still a draft). It’s going pretty well, though it seems to be more work for me than I had intended. Still, that’s OK. I want it to be good. So far, there have been minimal errors and difficulties, and I think most are collaborating. I have to do midterm grades by Monday.

Notes

  1. 🤮 I know “advisement” is a word, but it is weak. Why is the gerund advising any better? Making nouns out of verbs just seems pretentious, or something out of a Kafkaesque nightmare. Yes, I’m getting old.
  2. Did I use it correctly?
  3. Read: overqualified and over-specialized.
  4. That article targets undergrads; maybe I need a new one for graduate students?