Over at the Leiter Reports, there’s beena lively discussion about irresponsible (or even abusive) advising and teaching in philosophy graduate programs. But the larger question is what is to be done?
First, it would be valuable to have some idea of whether such abusive and irresponsible behavior is close to the norm or whether it’s at a level we might expect in any discipline or profession. (You can’t weed out every bad apple, I expect.) There are plenty of anecdotes provided in the
comments there, and I’m sure we’ve all heard horror stories (or perhaps
we’re the ones telling said stories!). Yet to my knowledge, no systematic intradisciplinary study of graduate student experiences or of teaching and advising practices has ever been undertaken. This would be a worthwhile project for one of the standing committees of our esteemed professional organization to tackle. In recent decades, ‘accountability’ has been a buzzword in higher education, but graduate teaching and advising appears to be one section of the academia that’s hardly subject to accountability at all. And there can’t be accountability without systematic information about the habits and practices within various graduate programs.
So PEA Soup readers: How big a problem is lousy and/or unethical graduate teaching and advising, and what can we do about it? We here at PEA Soup are fond of standards of professional conduct. Is it time to create a set of standards for graduate teaching and advising?