So, stuck as I am in Columbia’s “airport,” I thought I might try to get the ball rolling on a discussion of appropriate “milestones” en route to the PhD. Please feel free to add or amend, and then I’d like the group to think about how these moments in a grad student’s career work, or don’t work, on their own and together.
The summer before
*Choosing a specialization* (added by Eric; see below)
*Career explorations* (added by Russell; see below)
Qualifying exams
Programs of study/the “curriculum”
Choosing a committee
Choosing an advisor
Comprehensive examinations
Foreign language courses/exams
Dissertation proposal
Study abroad Research
Writing the dissertation
Defending the dissertation
Submitting the dissertation
“Publishing” the dissertation
Finding a job
Leaving graduate school
Are there critical moments I’ve left out in my five minute self-brainstorm? Does responsibility for all of these moments lie with the faculty of graduate programs and their universities?

Introductory remarks

I’ve started this group as a discussion forum for a topic at the center of our profession (and our organization’s) attention: what should the PhD look like in the years ahead? We have a responsibility to the students we admit to our programs; and we have a responsibility to our discipline. We also need to respond to the “job market,” whatever it is and in whatever form it takes. I have a particular take on this issue since my full-time job at the moment is as graduate dean on the campus of a major research university. I spend my days with programs ranging far outside of the “humanities.” And, sad to say, I have found my colleagues outside of the humanities far more engaged in the questions I’ve raised in my description for the group. Let’s change that; and let’s become change agents at our institutions and in our profession.