They stay up late crunching on a deadline because the advisor insists on it. They’re often sent on academic detours away from their thesis topic just because the advisor needs someone to finish a different project. If the students work long and hard enough to earn another big grant, the advisor gets a bonus.
Now you may be thinking, “Gosh, that’s grad school” or “you can’t change the system, it’s feudal.” American grad students have long worked under the assumption that grad school is a perfectly acceptable form of obeisance where we all work really hard on writing papers for the tenured few because tenure will come our way soon.
Oh sorry, I’ve been working the bait and switch just like the college industrial complex. You’ve been tricked into going along with some model of the world and now I’ll pull the rug out from under your feet. But hey, that’s grad school.
In far away China, Keith Bradsher and David Barboza of the NY Times highlight new rules from Hewlett-Packard about “student labor” in the factories making things with the Hewlett-Packard labor. Surprise, many of the games played by American colleges would be forbidden by the new Hewlett rules.
Charging tuition to “supervise” an internship? BAD. Pimping out the students to work on projects that don’t “complement the primary area of study”? DOUBLE BAD. Getting the grad student to work 80+ hours a week? REALLY BAD.
But hey, that’s only China and it’s a bazillion miles away. No one is saying that American grad schools will need to change.
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