Letters to the Editor

New policy’s true purpose is obvious

Re: “New policy irks grad students,” Tony Marquis, July 17

Institutions, like individuals, can have short memories. Has the administration forgotten the “padding” scandal a

number of years ago when graduate

students were required to take additional hours “at no additional cost?” Local news media and legislators became aware it also meant “at no additional effort” and a major inquiry ensued. I remember when the dean of the College of Natural Science had a mandatory meeting involving all science faculty to discuss the issue. The new seminars offered as an option may be an effort to avoid this problem, but they seem similar to Cadillac Williams’ “Directed Readings” courses at Auburn. I do not understand the quoted statement by Delcie Durham, dean of The Graduate School, that the new requirement can benefit graduate students by helping them graduate faster and compete on the national level. The article states the new seminars will not count toward the degree. Graduate students are typically limited by their research, not credit requirements. The policy is understandable only when interpreted as a means to increase state funding.

John Lawrence is a professor of biology.

Graduate students not buying new policy

Re: “New Policy Irks Grad Students,” Tony Marquis, July 17

I cannot believe the administration thinks graduate students are stupid enough to actually believe its half-truths, simplistic reasoning and pathetic arguments. If the administration’s answers to graduate teaching assistant (GTA) questions about moving from nine to 12 credits showed up on one of my essay exams, I’d fail it. Graduate students know bull when they see it.

The administration says we will have an edge if we graduate faster. Balderdash! Employers are not looking for graduate students who finish their work fast. They are looking for most – if not all – of these talents: 1) thorough knowledge, 2) research ability, 3) communicative acumen (including publishing and presenting), 4) grant-writing ability, 5) service opportunities and 6) teaching ability. Speed as an extra edge? What a load of feces.

What The Graduate School representatives did not address is the effect this will have on undergraduate education. Undergraduates and their parents should really care about this, because GTAs teach a lot at USF. We work our extremities off taking nine credits and teaching six credits. Now a graduate student needs to take 12 credits, must get all A’s & B’s, research, publish, learn how to write a grant, do service work and teach two classes. Time, unfortunately, is limited. So if graduate students have to choose between getting the most of their

education and giving the most for undergraduate students’ education, theirs comes first. Sorry kids. If you think your education sucks now, just wait.

Hey dean, if you want us out of here faster, why offer courses that don’t count? The “course options” offered by the graduate school are ridiculous. Just what we want to do – take classes that are as useful as an oxygen mask to a corpse.

Finally, there is deception going on here. The dean’s office is expecting colleges and graduate programs to encourage grad students to register for 12 credit hours, even if they’ve already signed a contract to take nine. It seems unethical for the dean’s office to pressure departments into manipulating students. Congratulations to the dean’s office for setting a high moral standard. Hopefully a future graduate student will follow your deviousness and become the Ken Lay of the next generation of leaders.

Andrew F. Herrmann is a communications graduate student.