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Author Topic: Why the Grad. Student?  (Read 5413 times)
hiddendragon
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« on: April 28, 2012, 10:55:03 AM »

So, I teach this upper level course that always interests grad. students.  They take my course under an independent reading course number, but they attend the lectures.  They also do more work than the undergrads. For this class, I require a longer paper for the grad. students, and I also require a book review. They have to read this book in additional to the course materials.

My grad. students do not do as well as the best undergrads in the class in terms of the course work and exams.  They also do not turn their papers in on time (granted it's longer, but still due on the date off, sheesh!).  This semester, so far, my one grad. student in the class has not turned in the book review portion of the term paper requirements, which was due two days ago.  The grad. student also has been missing a lot of classes--as much as the worst offenders of the undergrads.

Are we to give grad. students more breaks?  I'm pretty strict with my undergrads. on deadlines.  Should I relax my deadlines for grads?  Are they more entitled?
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2012, 11:01:32 AM »

Do not relax your deadlines for graduate students. 
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anisogamy
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2012, 11:16:20 AM »

Do not relax your deadlines for graduate students. 

This.  The only reason I'd cut the grad student a break on attendance is if he or she were presenting research at a conference or otherwise engaged in time-sensitive scholarly activity, which doesn't appear to be the case from your description.
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anon99
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2012, 12:12:07 PM »

Do not relax your deadlines for graduate students. 

This.  The only reason I'd cut the grad student a break on attendance is if he or she were presenting research at a conference or otherwise engaged in time-sensitive scholarly activity, which doesn't appear to be the case from your description.

+1 or is it +2?  Grad students seem to have a hard time getting things done for coursework, yet as undergrads they managed to take 5 (or 4) courses per semester and get things done on time.  I'm not sure what happens between finishing undergrad and starting grad school.  Yes this is only some students, but more than I would expect.
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kshenko
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2012, 12:18:52 PM »

OP, how "good" is your grad program?  I am asking because there are institutions where they get the brightest of the undergrads--but their grad programs are quite weak and only attract mediocre students.  In such cases, I can see how grad students may show the characteristics you describe, and I am not really sure relaxing the requirements for grad students would be the solution.

By contrast, if these are students in a top/good grad program, they are probably busy with research, etc., as anisogamy notes and they don't have time for your class. But, that still won't justify their "attitude" anyhow.
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skeptical
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2012, 1:07:32 PM »

Like polly mer said!

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sciencegrad
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2012, 1:28:18 PM »

Do not relax your deadlines for graduate students. 

This.  The only reason I'd cut the grad student a break on attendance is if he or she were presenting research at a conference or otherwise engaged in time-sensitive scholarly activity, which doesn't appear to be the case from your description.

+1 or is it +2?  Grad students seem to have a hard time getting things done for coursework, yet as undergrads they managed to take 5 (or 4) courses per semester and get things done on time.  I'm not sure what happens between finishing undergrad and starting grad school.  Yes this is only some students, but more than I would expect.

I would imagine it has something to do with how so few undergrads ever have a job during college. 
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"Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into [argument], except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough." -Benjamin Franklin
ptarmigan
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2012, 1:35:55 PM »

I think in my program the best undergrads are better than most of the grad students. It's not that my institution attracts a particularly high caliber of undergrads, but rather that people aren't as fully sorted by undergrad as they are by the time they go to grad school. Our best undergrads will go to better programs than ours (if they go to grad school).

Your grad students may also be under the impression that because they are taking the class as an independent study, the deadlines are more negotiable. It might be helpful to let them know up front, specifically, that that is not the case, but you probably did that anyway.
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arizona
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2012, 1:44:50 PM »

Do not relax your deadlines for graduate students. 

This.  The only reason I'd cut the grad student a break on attendance is if he or she were presenting research at a conference or otherwise engaged in time-sensitive scholarly activity, which doesn't appear to be the case from your description.

+1 or is it +2?  Grad students seem to have a hard time getting things done for coursework, yet as undergrads they managed to take 5 (or 4) courses per semester and get things done on time.  I'm not sure what happens between finishing undergrad and starting grad school.  Yes this is only some students, but more than I would expect.

I would imagine it has something to do with how so few undergrads ever have a job during college. 

???

A majority of my students (at a large, competitive R1 and an elite SLAC) worked in college. I would expect the numbers would be even higher at state schools and CCs. When I was undergrad, I and most of my friends had jobs as well.
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sciencegrad
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2012, 7:47:02 PM »

Do not relax your deadlines for graduate students. 

This.  The only reason I'd cut the grad student a break on attendance is if he or she were presenting research at a conference or otherwise engaged in time-sensitive scholarly activity, which doesn't appear to be the case from your description.

+1 or is it +2?  Grad students seem to have a hard time getting things done for coursework, yet as undergrads they managed to take 5 (or 4) courses per semester and get things done on time.  I'm not sure what happens between finishing undergrad and starting grad school.  Yes this is only some students, but more than I would expect.

I would imagine it has something to do with how so few undergrads ever have a job during college. 

???

A majority of my students (at a large, competitive R1 and an elite SLAC) worked in college. I would expect the numbers would be even higher at state schools and CCs. When I was undergrad, I and most of my friends had jobs as well.

Ah, perhaps my experience is not as common as I thought.  I was the only person I knew with a job at an engineering college I went to my freshman year.  At the university to which I transferred and graduated, I only knew a small handful of students who ever worked during school. 
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"Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into [argument], except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough." -Benjamin Franklin
systeme_d_
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No T, no shade. Usually.


« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2012, 9:08:55 PM »

Yes, Sciencegrad, and just as an additional potential point of interest, in the humanities, most funded doctoral students are not allowed to hold jobs outside of their TAships. 

On the other hand, the vast majority of undergraduates in the US hold jobs.
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figureeight
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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2012, 7:26:06 AM »

I had a job (sometimes two) all four years of my undergrad, as did almost everyone I knew. I also don't know any students in my current grad program who would turn in work late unless on their death bed. This may have something to do with the fact that our program director knows everything about everyone and I work in a field where discussions of torture methods are common.
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hulkhogan
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2012, 5:51:05 PM »

I would guess that 98% of our undergraduates and graduates have jobs. The vast majority are also married with children. The difference is that the undergraduates work hard to complete their work on time and take zeros matter-of-factly whereas the graduate students are a whiny, high-maintenance bunch with endless complaints and sob stories. Many of my undergraduates can run circles around my graduate students. I can think of two reasons for weak graduate students:

1. You are in a field where many graduate students come into the field from different undergraduate majors and lack the necessary foundational knowledge.

2. Your university is desperately trying to preserve its RU/VH status and thus accepts anyone with a pulse into graduate school. 

Combine the two, and you have the perfect storm. Don't ask me how I know all this.
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fiona
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 2:17:23 AM »

I would guess that 98% of our undergraduates and graduates have jobs. The vast majority are also married with children. The difference is that the undergraduates work hard to complete their work on time and take zeros matter-of-factly whereas the graduate students are a whiny, high-maintenance bunch with endless complaints and sob stories. Many of my undergraduates can run circles around my graduate students. I can think of two reasons for weak graduate students:

1. You are in a field where many graduate students come into the field from different undergraduate majors and lack the necessary foundational knowledge.

2. Your university is desperately trying to preserve its RU/VH status and thus accepts anyone with a pulse into graduate school. 

Combine the two, and you have the perfect storm. Don't ask me how I know all this.

Agreeing with the bolded part. It's also true in the humanities that the brightest undergrads know that it's useless to go to grad school, as there are almost no TT jobs and one spends 5-10 years chasing them. The students who go to grad school in the humanities now tend to be the weaker, less informed ones.

The best undergrad students now are the pre-meds and the engineers. Both have very strong work ethics and are starting to be the best in humanities classes, too.

The Fiona
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The Fiona or Them FionŠ or Fiona the Sublime

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kaysixteen
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 4:23:48 PM »

Grad students should be held to higher, not lower standards.  No mercy.
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