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For eight hundred years Western societies have turned to universities for the teaching discovery and preservation of advanced knowledge. From small beginnings in Bologna and Paris. Men have built giant educational complexes to serve not only students but governments industries and the general public as well. They huge American Multiversity these are the subject for this series the Multiversity today. The programs were produced in the studios of WRAL the University of Illinois Broadcasting Service. Dennis Corrigan is your host for today's program about what's going on inside the Multiversity today. War. In the academic community a graduate student is a lot like an apprentice carpenter in the construction business. Seventeen years of grammar school junior high school high school and college have been a prelude. They are just enough to admit
you to the academic unit. The beginning graduate student faces three to eight or more years of apprenticeship before he receives a doctorate degree and full acceptance in today's academic community. It is true that all universities have at least some faculty members who do not have Ph.D.. However even in the small colleges it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a teaching job let alone advance without a doctorate or its appropriate equivalent. While there are exceptions to this rule particularly in the Fine Arts in professional schools such as LAW FACULTY recruiters are putting more and more emphasis on the doctorate degree. Does industry and government are also in the market for Ph.D.s especially those who have degrees in the natural sciences. And there is every indication that the demand for these highly educated individuals will grow.
Your. War. What is it like to be a graduate student in today's Multiversity. Yes it is in some ways a unique experience. Most of the friends from high school and college of left for jobs for marriage for hitch in the army. You are plunged into a new social group a social group that worries about grades and fellowships and part time jobs. It's also a group that worries about taxes and babies and housing and the cost of living. It's an unusual half student half adult world. There are many a 28 year old graduate students who've never held a permanent full time job because there hasn't been time for Tom lot says finishing his graduate work and hopes to receive his doctorate in astronomy in February 1969. Like nearly every other graduate student Thomas thought about how long he's been in school.
For some reason I was thinking about the other day I spent a third of my life in college. We asked him if he had ever felt as though he had been here forever. The writing convinced of it yes. Been here longer than I have been in high school or in college or anything else this is my home. You're sure you all. I had about three weeks of graduate work left when we talked to him. He has spent five years in graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in economics. This is his reaction to the experience. I think graduate life is a very rewarding experience as long as it doesn't persist for too long mainly due to the income sacrifice. You're really living at a poverty level as the president's commission defines it.
And while you realize you're investing in yourself human capital as we say if it goes on longer and longer let's say five years you begin to realize the tremendous sacrifices that are being made also each year your earning potential and whatever field you're going to go in increases I as I say after your bachelor's degree may be worth $5000 after your graduate school you're worth another couple thousand after three or four years of graduate school. You're worth another thousand dollars even if you don't have your degree so the the opportunity cost really that is what you're sacrificing in income by staying in graduate school increases every year and I think the Ford Foundation has realized this in their study they just released a ball several months ago they set up fellowships for people in the social sciences because it turned out that about half of them never did finish the time requirement and the lack of aid was so great that way. About half of the people finally left for good before they were finished. So
the lack of income and also the the length of time that's required I'd say the average is about four and a half years to get it. I think green really makes the lack of income a great great problem especially if you're married lots reacts to graduate student life this way. Well I like it in general. Some of my friends claim that I like it too much and probably stay here forever but that's not true. What kind of a person goes to graduate school. How very few are perpetual students. That is people who through part time jobs of private resources can afford to stay on in school for 10 15 or more years. They keep on going to school because they have no real goals
and don't know what else to do. Until recently many young men went on to graduate school to keep their student deferments and avoid the draft. Some go to graduate school because they can't find a job they like. Or in the case of some women can't find a husband. Most graduate students however are in school because their advanced degrees are necessary to accomplish their personal goals. Most graduate students are far thinking individuals who are willing to sacrifice a great deal of personal comfort and mental effort to reach their goal. Graduate students are important to a Multiversity in many ways. They are not merely trainees for future Multiversity employment as graduate students. They play an important part in the Multiversity their
roles vary from department to department in the sciences graduate students are often employed as laboratory assistants thereby helping to advance knowledge in almost every department. Graduate students may be hired as teaching assistants or TAFE and assume a variety of teaching responsibilities. These jobs serve a dual purpose. They are a training ground for future professors and they provide the university with badly needed teachers. Dr D E. Alexander is a professor of plant genetics at the University of Illinois. He had this to say about the importance of graduate students in a multi varsity. We would die without graduate students professors. Who are the product of a past era in teaching they they may know their specialties very well but they aren't able to attend lectures. They cannot keep themselves informed in the
sciences which impinge upon their own disciplines. Now I personally would find that it would be a horrible circumstance to be in Illinois without having graduate students who are really expert in bio chemistry for example and I'm not a biochemist. Our research would die without these young men and a matter of fact when my students come to Illinois the first thing I say to them is your staff member you're going to be teaching us we're not going to teach you. You have to teach your part of the new segment of the university you're going to advance our learning you're going to have the time and the capacity you won't have to meet all these classes. You don't have to make the reports that they quote Multiversity unquote requires you don't have to attend the meetings. You can you really can devote your time to problems that are of interest to you. Now I should be able to make suggestions on what you would find useful to
think about. To start you off but after you're involved with it in two years you're going to be a world authority on this particular problem. Now can you imagine University existing without this component. Good. Lord. Were it were. All graduate students no matter what their goals are potential professors and many efforts are made to encourage graduates to become faculty members. The road to a full professorship is not an easy one however in most cases you have to start at the very bottom of the academic ladder with a teaching assistant ship or a research appointment in either case the pay is small especially when compared to the salaries received by college graduates in industry. The income problem for single graduate students is not too severe but can be
a real problem for memory graduates. We asked to discuss the economic facts of life. You are supporting me right now. We clarified our question by asking about income sources. Well most people I know. Well let's say most of the married people I know usually depend on their wives for a large proportion of their income. In most cases will have an assistantship or a fellowship and their wives will be working half time or or full time. This is the case with almost all the graduate students I know and many people of the winds that work full time if they're also working for the RE will each share their half times and will live on one full time. That seems to be about the minimum that people can survive on. If a married couple doesn't have one full time assistant ship I think you usually find the wife will stop taking courses and will increase her time and support her husband. I say this is the usual situation this well in economics and in the social
sciences there isn't as much money in the national natural sciences and I think perhaps in the people I've known in the natural sciences there is perhaps less dependence on the wise but only slightly. I think universally the wives support their husbands a right as well as a family man. Tom Lutz's had to face economic problems. It depends on personal circumstances to a large degree. My wife had some money when we got married so we've been kind of drawing on that in our bank account keeps going down and down but it hasn't hit rock bottom right now and some students who had to go considerably into debt in order to stay here but they always found that they could borrow the money to through a credit union or get it through some student loan service or relatives things like this. And certainly isn't the easiest thing and as I said the bank account that we have continually goes downhill it has yet to increase. But I have known very few people who have dropped out of school
because of financial reasons. If you cut all your expenses to a minimum as possible live on. I'll say half time assistantship which is about 12 including a Summer is about fifty eight hundred dollars a year. This oh I do this amount of money which of course is pretax. You've got to pay for a great amount of books. I guess my own investment books is probably well over a thousand dollars because I've got about 200 textbooks and the average price is probably eight or nine dollars was I imagine I poured two or three hundred dollars in the Xerox machine plus plus plus plus plus. So it's really possible to live on your income say on five thousand dollars after taxes but you really can't enjoy yourself too much. You can't take any you know you can't take too many are luxuries vacations now in our case we managed to go to Aspen to win Arizona with the University of Illinois ski
ski club on the bus and we managed to drive to Yellowstone this past summer. But camping along the way and so if you really want to make some sort of an expensive vacation in the winter or the summer time you really got to do it. I was a student you can't do it. I say businessman or ally former student you've got to do it the way the students to do the income of the station. With limited budgets graduate students must limit their entertainment and vacation activity and daily schedules are planned for economy. Oh right now and I think any courses and simply writing by this your patient I'll usually get up about 0 9 or 9:30 and my wife for review to work so I'll make some
breakfast and then I'll go on. I work do a lot of my work in the den. I go and work on my thesis from say 10 to 12 or something like this and make lunch and then I usually work on my thesis from one to about five. And then after dinner about 7 go to my Carol and work there in the evening till 10:30 or so and then watch TV for an hour or go to bed as usual. I'll do this typically or six days a week as Sunday and usually Saturday afternoon but I'll take Saturday morning Saturday evening off. The baby wakes up in the morning because she wants to get fed. I usually get to the office about 9:00 o'clock. Usually the laughter 9:00 a.m. from
9:00 o'clock and then work till about noon. I usually go to the gym during an hour and get some exercise go home about 5 o'clock. Eat supper and then either my wife or I come back to the office and study. She has two nights a week and I get two nights only. More confusing than sleep. No go to the movies have friends over drive my daughter over to form so that she can watch the sheep and cows and things like that. This last year has been a little more over I think a social abbess than previously because so many people I've gotten to know over the previous
years of Left. And there really aren't that many people now that I know here a lot of people are gone and this is a problem. But in previous years one we were more socially. I say act on that and I say that bridge is a big thing and simply are having people over and sitting around and drinking is one of the more usual entertainments among the ragged students that I know among the single fellows drinking was one of the bigger things and there's always going to Chicago or going to a movie but in this town there really isn't that much I think you can do. It's one of the more unfortunate aspects of it. Getting any graduate degree is rigorous. Much more so than undergraduate work a master's degree requires eight units or thirty two
hours of credit at the University of Illinois. Specific requirements regarding these credits vary from department to department. A comprehensive examination must be passed and in many departments a master's paper or thesis is also required. A Doctor of Philosophy degree. In most cases require 16 units of coursework followed by a preliminary or prevent examination. You must then do research and write a thesis based on this research. When you have finished your thesis you must pass and other written and oral examination. Most graduate students do not have the financial resources to do their work on a full time basis so they must combine their studies with outside work. Usually teaching a research assistant ships or some kind of grant or fellowship. Some graduate students complain that assistantships particularly teaching assistantships take too much time from their studies. We asked Tom if he had had this problem.
I have personally a lot I've known some students who have had difficulties on these lines in the strong department the teaching loads. Aren't that. I don't know exactly how and I'm searching for a word. You know the responsibility isn't as strong in the astronomy department for getting the course material across to a student as it is in some of the departments. There are some departments on campus where students graduate student actually teaches the entire course in the start of the department for the most part the graduate students see the students and me who sections and so each student actually has a professor teaching a course and a grad student teaching a course section as opposed to grad student teaching entire course. So the responsibility isn't a strong thing with responsibility. Being a little bit less it isn't as weighty on you to see to it that you're doing that. Taking time away from your studies
in order to do the teaching job. Well I thought only after I passed the prelims and so I didn't have any formal coursework that competed with my teaching however my work on my thesis which was my main concern definitely conflicted to some extent with the teaching just in the amount of time that was available to teach. I think I did a good job teaching took a great deal of time. I was only teaching one three hour course a week and doing some administration to fulfill the half time requirement. But I say that I want. To do the teaching probably took Oh a minimum of 15 hours a week preparation about 5 hours for each hour eyes and class. Plus the amount of time I spend grading that sort of thing so it did take a good know
probably. Twenty five hours a week by the time I can grading all the exams and doing administration it but it works. Most especially preparing for my class and this was time that I could have been working on my thesis. However I consider teaching the most meaningful experience I've ever been through. And so that in this respect I don't mind the fact that perhaps I delayed with the progress of my thesis because I learned so much statistics I was teaching sticks and I came out of this with a compromise in the area which made the whole experience very worthwhile if I could recommend that every graduate student have to go through it because number one you especially the people on fellowship. You run the one thing you learn very completely I think what you teach in the second X on the second instance you also learn how to teach too. You're forced really is a pressure pot situation so
in the two respects you learn a lot from teaching. You also I think learn how to teach which is good if you're playing in teaching eventually. Sure. What do professors think of their teaching assistants. Do they feel their assistants do a good job of teaching. Professor Alexander It depends I suppose again I sound like Professor I qualify everything. In my own experience when graduate students are impressed. They're shanghaied into teaching in order to subsidize their research and their effort to secure a higher degree. There may be some pretty lousy teaching Yes. It's rather odd. I've often thought how frightening it must be for a
young man or woman to come to the university and say Well here you have three sections of this lab now you attend the lectures and you're supposed to give the quizzes and you're supposed to keep your office open and talk to all these people. And this this fellow may have majored in this field but he really is. And he's he's running on pretty narrow bases he's kind of teaching the textbook perhaps he's repeating the notes of a professor so he has a formidable problem so he does a good job. Really concerned about it he really must feel very cutely that he's not a fully developed person yet and so he's teaching by rote. You know I think this is where bad teaching occurs. Now on the other hand if we could if we could secure the if we could get teaching assistance from the upper levels of graduate students. That is those that have completed the prelim or that are approaching this that have had a great deal of training. I think they can easily teach and do a good job as a matter of fact I've had a number of
graduate students who work with me in the teaching of genetics who consistently get better readings from their students than I do. So I think this is that which is clearly that these people can do a great job. I must say of course that there is a tendency for some of them to like teaching and to neglect their research. And of course we've already said the opposite is true. I think I think it depends on the person. I think very difficult to imagine an intellectual would not have at one time or another. The need to communicate ideas in science so teaching is a good opportunity under direction under a system saw his peers. And that this is valuable experience to be looked upon it is that I think he would do a better job. What is it like to assume the responsibilities of teaching. Well the first time this has experience I think the first day I took a guy from one of the class two compos and a second that in one column
for the third day I don't need to take any but it was fairly nerve wracking because I never got into the thing before and and I will say that the second semester I thought I did and a better job than the first the first one I really had to do. I had to go over everything the first time it was a lot easier the second time and I feel that I knew I couldnt learn from my mistakes that first time but. You really have to I think this is a traumatic experience the first night that everybody has to go through because there's no real a way of calming liner or easing one into I think I can say and I think most people that I've I've talked to or that I've observed in any case in this or a sink or swim process usually by the time their graduate student are mature enough and knowledgeable enough that they swim rather than say and do a pretty good job. In fact in many cases better than old faculty members that I know.
Economics personal temperament workloads outside pressure individual scholastic problems all these can upon occasion combine to make graduate student life difficult if not almost impossible. At one time or another every graduate student finds numerous things to gripe or complain about. Yet most would be happy to do it all over again. I probably would take an undergraduate major in physics instead of going to an earring because mechanical engineering certainly no preparation for going into astronomy but I enjoyed being an astronomy like they were very much range I was studying and the people I met. Things in that sort of thing. As I said I'd like an inland opinion to consider myself a good economist. I really have to do it too. I have to experience graduate school. I say experience if not the dissertation because the dissertation is somewhat
esoteric. That is very highly specialized and perhaps we have too much practical relevance although it is grounding in doing practical research I saidI the units of coursework are very very worthwhile and definitely tremendously increase and in my case an economist's analytical capabilities. So if I do it over again I definitely do or again. Well I'd love to know more. The the above work so to speak that I've managed to surmount right now I'd love like to be able to go back with that knowledge because I think I'd be a lot easier I know how my way around a little bit more. I feel like I've been here forever. Is that a plea for help. Not really it's only a very human reaction to a challenging sometimes trying sometimes frustrating but in the end rewarding experience inside the multiverse city today.
The multiversity today
I Feel Like I've Been Here Forever
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University of Illinois
WILL Illinois Public Media
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3648. This prog.: I Feel Like I've Been Here Forever. Graduate students discuss their problems, education and goals. Also, faculty members comment on graduate work and the role of the graduate student in a multiversity.
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Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Producing Organization: WILL Illinois Public Media
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-38-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “The multiversity today; I Feel Like I've Been Here Forever,” 1968-09-27, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “The multiversity today; I Feel Like I've Been Here Forever.” 1968-09-27. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: The multiversity today; I Feel Like I've Been Here Forever. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from