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grant crunch and grad. students

Sarah Boomer sarai at u.washington.edu
Sat Sep 7 15:02:24 EST 1996

I am curious to ask whether others out there involved in grad. school
programs are being hit with problems in terms of funding altering grad.
student positions.  Our dept. has historically been extremely well funded
to the point that every student - until recently - was funded by the PI
throughout his/her training.  Teaching was required only the first year
and was a part of the training/funding apparatus.

Only in the last year and a half have a couple PIs lost significant grants
and several students have been creatively funded through a combination of
slush funds, teaching, and alternate pay methods (for example, my
partner's boss lost money and so he (my partner) was paid to create a
homepage for the dept. for one quarter;  he has also taught several
classes well beyond the first year "requirements").

My partner has several brothers who went through U WI/Madison and had to
teach virtually their whole careers to make ends meet, often because of
funding problems.  To our "spoiled" eyes, this seemed outrageous.  Most of
John's brothers took 8-9 years to finish, having to teach so often.  Our
average is about 6 years.

So - are we here at the UW unique/have we been unique among grad.
programs.  Is this phenomenon something a lot of other programs have
already gone through or is it something that is evolving rapidly right
now.  Any thoughts about the ramifications?

As a grad. student who "wants" to teach small college level, I am
personally envious of all the training that John has gotten - where I
can't even get a teaching position because my resume is poorly supported
on teaching (despite *a lot* of guest lectureships).  There have been
interesting ideas about doing "teaching" track PhDs vs research track to
solve this evolving dichotomy in PhD job market placement (to meet the
community college and small college market).  Anyone out there got any
ideas, thoughts, or experience with this kind of alternate training?

Thanks,  Sarah

Sarah Boomer				email:  sarai at u.washington.edu
Dept. of Microbiology			work phone:  543-3376
Box 357242				work FAX:  543-3376
University of Washington
Seattle, WA  98195

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