5 thoughts on “What is the one challenge that needs to be addressed to make graduate education more inclusive?

  1. The challenge isn’t to the student its to the colleges. How do the colleges and universities make an attractive program to students. This means resources for classes and tutors to keep students from failing.
    Example I just passed a graduate stat class with a B. But it was so hard I was freaking out day of the test and there were no resources for grad level help at my school.
    Do you think I will take another stats class without it being a requirement? No. And I’ve worked with stats before, I understand them better than the average person, but there is no argument you can make to me to shift from marketing requiring no books so far, because it understood what we are doing, to heavy science field where books are too complicated to understand on a practical level, or simply arent used as was the case with this class wasting 200 dollars just because…
    Thats the challenge! Do not waste your students time, efforts and money.

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  2. Students in any situation of disadvantage are more vulnerable to things going wrong during their training, and, at the same time, they have less leeway for anything to go wrong without it derailing their whole career. So, I believe that any measures that would help reduce the risks that all grad students face when they go to grad school (such as funding difficulties, getting stuck with a problematic mentor, lack of adequate information about what to expect, etc.) would especially help disadvantaged students. Just making academic science a safer, fairer, more humane career path in general, would go far towards making it more inclusive.

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    • I really agree with this. Navigating this path from high school to successful career with a PhD is really a long and hard road. It seems like one bump on the way can completely derail people in an ideal situation, much more so for someone who is disadvantaged in the first place. I think more support services not limited to but including access to affordable mental health care, affordable child care, better training for faculty and trainees on teamwork and management, and leave of absence support would a good start.

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  3. Both professors and students can work on being better listeners to students who are quieter because, for most of their lives, their voices haven’t been valued. For example, often white male students dominate conversations in and out of the classroom and assume that women and minorities don’t understand the topic at hand (e.g., “mansplaining”). In academia, we should have a culture of valuing ideas and opinions regardless of the speaker’s gender or skin color. Diversity training may help with this cultural shift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Overconfident communication styles do seem to be rewarded in academia, as in most settings. (And the fact that they are also highly correlated with gender is not the most important reason why this is a problem for science.)

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