Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of History Joe Dennis is featured this week in an article from Inside Higher Ed discussing the impact of COVID-19 on graduate students. Many graduate students are facing increased anxiety and challenges for how to find funding at a time when much of the economy has frozen. Those students who would typically pick up off-campus work over the summer in service or seasonal industries are no longer able to. Some students have had to come home early from research trips that were essential to their dissertation. In the article, Dennis notes that “graduate students – like faculty members – suddenly have other types of work to juggle: online course transitions, caregiving, homeschooling children and sourcing materials needed for their studies.” As a response to these concerns, our department has been holding online forums for graduate students to better hear and understand the challenges they face. Dennis says “we are trying to do everything we can to reduce anxiety – working on finances, extending various deadlines, checking in on everyone.” The department is also looking to fund as many students as possible for summer work through various department sources and possible donations. Part of the challenge remains, however, that no one knows how long the coronavirus pandemic will last and what the effect will be on the university budget. In the meantime, department staff and leadership will continue to do their best to support grads in these uncertain times.
To read the article, see Inside High Ed.