Letter From the Editors

Jennifer Gammage, DePaul University
Lindsey Ives, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

This issue of In Progress came together during a time of transition, as both of the co-editors took up new positions at new universities, and we believe the articles reflect transitions taking place within in the academy as well. This issue’s authors address aspects of graduate studies that are often ignored and invite us to have a conversation about the status of graduate work that privileges first-person experience, well being within doctoral programs, diverse opportunities for post-graduate work, and the ability of online learning experiences to accomodate Ph.D. studies.

In “American Graduate Schools: Mental Health Concerns Surround ‘High Stakes’ Comprehensive Examinations,” Dr. Paul J. Flaer questions the efficacy of comprehensive exams in light of mental health risks. Dr. Flaer’s research suggests that traditional comprehensive exams not only create barriers for students with prior mental health problems, but often fail as effective pedagogical tools as well.

Dr. Amanda J. Rockinson-Szapkiw’s research identifies aspects of doctoral work that threaten mental health and suggests how students might prevent and manage mental health concerns. In “The Prevention, Diagnosis, Etiology, and Treatment of Mental Health Disorders During a Doctoral Journey: The Case of Ed,” Dr. Rockinson-Szapkiw draws from a case study involving a doctoral candidate’s battle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder to illustrate common concerns among graduate students and to advocate routes for treatment and prevention.

In their article, “Advice for New Ph.D. Students From Recent Graduates,” Dr. Karrie A. Jones and Dr. Jennifer L. Jones engage first person action research in order to draw meaningful advice for new graduate students from their own doctoral experiences. Working from these experiences, the authors are able to address common situations with insight and honesty. Jones and Jones lay out four key recommendations for new and current graduate students, which are germane in light of concerns regarding mental health and retention in the graduate community.

While Rockinson-Szapkiw and Jones and Jones offer advice for readers who are currently studying, Dr. William Christopher Brown contributes advice for those who are leaving doctoral study for the job market. In “Interviewing for Teaching Jobs: Succeeding Through Reflection and Rejection,” Dr. Brown gives tips for applicants navigating the divide between community college and university interviews. In addition to offering information concerning the application process for these kinds of positions, Dr. Brown’s methodology provides a framework for reflective assessment that could apply to diverse fields and accommodate nontraditional academic jobs as well.

Michelle Villanueva’s research helps us understand what some of the more diverse options available to Humanities graduates might be. Her article, “The Hybrid Imperative: Managing Post-Graduate Employment in the Humanities,” provides research on the status of job opportunities for Humanities graduates. The author uses Homi Bhaba’s theory of hybrity to address employment expectations and concerns while offering a critique of practices that exacerbate problems on the job market.

Dr. Tracy Christianson and Dr. Tracy Hoot’s research explores online Ph.D. programs, and so highlights diversity within graduate studies itself. In “Best Practices: an Online Doctoral Learning Experience,” Dr. Christianson and Dr. Hoot discusses concerns regarding online graduate education, alongside the benefits of distance learning for students who would not otherwise be able to complete Ph.D. studies. The authors draw from research and personal experience to offer a helpful list of factors to consider when choosing an online program as well as tips for pedagogical success in a distance learning environment.

Thanks are due to the wonderful authors and reviewers who made this issue possible.