Don’t Forget About Graduate StudentsRoundup
tags: higher education, academia, graduate education, coronavirus
Nadirah Farah Foley is a Ph.D. candidate in education at Harvard University.
As the urgency and severity of the coronavirus pandemic have become apparent, universities have rapidly been thrust into troubled — and uncharted — waters. They have required students to evacuate their dormitories, faculty to move classes online, and staff to work remotely, all to prioritize safety while maintaining the educational mission. With the immediate crises of getting students home and classes online now largely behind us, colleges are now starting to focus on longer-term issues.
Across the academy, research has come to a grinding halt. Access to archives, labs, libraries, and field-research sites has been disrupted. Research with human subjects faces new difficulties. In light of all this, dozens of universities have announced extensions of the tenure clock for tenure-track faculty. These extensions acknowledge a new reality: It’s not easy to produce scholarship during a pandemic.
And yet there have been only a few announcements of similar support for graduate students. The University of California at Berkeley is allowing doctoral students to apply for one-semester increases in time to complete their degrees, and the sociology department at the University of Maryland at College Park has extended graduate-program milestones by an additional semester, for instance. But when I ask fellow graduate students what changes their programs have made to accommodate them, the answer, generally, is none.