[NOTE: COMMENTS CLOSED. GO HERE FOR FOLLOW-UP]
So, you may have noticed that I have opinions.
You may have further noticed that some of them concern graduate education. Those opinions tend to draw some strong reactions from my grad student readers, principally those that advocate a sink-or-swim approach to grad school, and a harsh dose of the new reality for anyone considering it. I like to think in terms of that story about St. Benedict's early rules for admission: when the candidate comes, tell them to get lost. Several times. If, after three strong rebuffs, they continue to insist, and if they're qualified, let them in for a year, and see if it's a good fit for both parties. Either party should be able to opt out for any reason at the end of this year -- it's not for everyone. It is not meant to be a soft life.
You may have further noticed that I appear to be talking primarily to other faculty members on this blog -- a pose that I've recently realized may alienate my grad student readers. And the content of those conversations is likely to piss them off sometimes.
So you know what? For the next couple of days, I'm going to temporarily back off, and ask my proffie readers to do the same. I'll moderate, but I'm going to turn this over to the grad students. What do you wish we were doing/not doing with respect to our grad students? Should we let in more grad students, or fewer? Should we give second, third, and fourth chances, or is it better to cut the agony short? Should we be nurturing you like parents, or toughening you up like drill sergeants? Is there a difference between what we should expect of a terminal M.A. and someone who's Ph.D.-bound? Do gender and/or age play a role in what you expect of your grad faculty?
Maybe let us know a little about yourself -- M.A. student? PhD? ABD? Ditched it all and decided to do something else? ONE POST PER PERSON, AND KEEP IT BRIEF. Otherwise, people will just skip over it.
Ad hominem attacks will be summarily deleted. Praise or criticize (or both!), but please be constructive.
(There will be a follow-up post for profs to give their point of view -- also constructive, I hope.)