[Air-l] Reactions to PhD blogs at conference

Mary-Helen Ward mhward at usyd.edu.au
Thu Oct 5 14:51:31 PDT 2006

It has changed in Aus. At my university many PhD students are on a  
government fees scholarship. These used to be loosely administered,  
and students could go years over their original submission dates and  
still complete. But now the time limits are much more strictly  
imposed by the funding body. And, more seriously, no funding is now  
released until the student completes. So the pressure is very high to  
complete as quickly as possible. As a part-time student I'm not  
subject to quite so much pressure, and p/t students who complete  
generally do it under their time limit, unlike full-time students who  
often have to stretch the limits. As you'd expect - major projects,  
big brain work and their presentation in the form of a 100,000 word  
thesis isn't always amenable to an imposed timetable. In addition,  
the introduction of some course work at the beginning of the process  
to make up real or perceived deficits in the candidate's knowledge  
isn't reflected in a shorter thesis, so the process has in fact  
become much more pressured downunder.


On 06/10/2006, at 12:55 AM, Nancy Baym wrote:

> Regarding the PhD student/older academic split Mary-Helen alludes to,
> I guess I now qualify as the latter, and my sense sitting in there
> was that the PhD students might be romanticizing what it was like
> back in the old days. I don't recall a world where writing a
> dissertation caused no stress, where we were assured of rewarding
> academic employment, and so on. It was hard then too, we just didn't
> have blogs to share the experience. That said, one of the interesting
> things I got a little bit of a feel for in Brisbane was the
> differences between the Australian higher educational system and the
> American one, and maybe it is different for younger Australian
> academics than older ones.

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