The Ire of Doctoral Students at Mizzou

The Missouri University state college system intersects at Columbia, Missouri– which is better known as Mizzou, home to the popular Mizzou Tigers and a host of associated college traditions.
But despite the tranquil campus and rolling lawns, Vimal Patel reports a growing unrest among its graduate students, including doctoral students, over their treatment and remuneration, among other issues.

A handful of students launched a type of movement through the agency of a graduate rights forum, resulting in two weeks of protests and administrative activism.  The graduate students report the temporary loss of their university health-insurance subsidies, the lack of student housing for grad students, and incredibly modest stipends paid out for fellowships to grad assistants: a mere $12,000 annually.
These challenges echo similar situations faced by doctoral students everywhere.  Because of the staggering lack of academic positions available compared to the volume of graduates, newly-minted doctors often take refuge in graduate fellowships such as those at Mizzou.  The situation isn’t likely to change soon, as university funding issues, student debt, and challenges in higher education and the Department of Education indicate there is no end in sight.
As such, the best advice for doctoral students and graduates is to invest more heavily in themselves and the professional aspects of their career preparation.  Doing so will provide better odds in identifying and landing the relatively small number of academic positions that do exist.  What is happening at Mizzou is a microcosm of the broader crisis, and students are realizing it is up to them to become activists for their own plight.  Included in these actions should be proactively preparing for their careers– and not only challenging budget-strapped administrations with little wiggle room.  The solution is certainly both-and… not “either-or.”
If you’re a graduate student or one on a grad fellowship, take control by investing in yourself… not only raging at the machine.
 
Sources:
Original Full Article by Vimal Patal
Image courtesy of Missouri Times
 
 

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