From today’s Hatchet, PhD student John Figura:
This quest for answers has brought many students, such as English Ph.D. candidate John Figura, into doctoral programs despite the lack of any previous graduate credentials or work experience. Figura said he made the leap immediately following his undergraduate degree because of his decidedly clear career goals.
“I knew coming out of undergraduate school that I had a passion for literature and that my ultimate goal was to be a professor of English, and the only way to do that was to get a Ph.D,” Figura said.
While this experience gap initially put Figura at a disadvantage, he said he soon caught up because he was “a quick study.”
Yeah John! We are VERY happy to have you in the program.
The article is entitled Half do not complete CCAS Ph.D.s. Can I suggest an easy answer to that enigma? We are strapped for funding at the graduate level. If the English Department, like many of its competitors, were able to fund all of its PhD students, we’d not only have a very high completion rate … we would have one of the best doctoral programs in literature in the United States. That statement is not hyperbole: we have the faculty, we have the willing students, we have a deep relationship with all kinds of other DC institutions like the Folger … but what we lack is sufficient funding to attract and keep the very best students. We’re very happy to have John Figura and the many others like him in our doctoral program: take it from me, you won’t find better elsehere, and I have been to many elsewheres. But without more graduate student funding, the future of our own excellent graduate program is uncertain.
And you know, everyone benefits from very good PhD students being present at GW — they are in fact among our udnergraduate majors’ favorite people in the department, because they are truly partners in inquiry.