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Career Advice

How to alleviate graduate attrition

An interview with Janice Deakin, the associate vice-principal and dean of graduate studies and research at Queen’s University

BY CAROLYN WATTERS | SEP 21 2009

Welcome to the Dean’s Podcast – the podcast about issues shaping graduate studies in Canada.

In this episode, host Carolyn Watters, Dalhousie University dean of graduate studies, and 2009 Canadian Association of Graduate Studies president, talks to Janice Deakin, the associate vice-principal and dean of graduate studies and research at Queen’s University. They met in Quebec City at the summer meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools. They discussed some strategies to alleviate attrition and provide students with more opportunities to complete their studies. (Running time: 20:47 mins).

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0:00 – 2:10        Introducing Janice Deakin
2:10 – 4:59        Some results from Queen’s study on graduate attrition rates
4:59 – 5:42        Do master’s programs offer more alternatives than PhDs?
5:42 – 7:12        Is there an explanation for that variation across disciplines?
7:12 – 8:34        Attrition rates: Canadian and international students
8:34 – 9:00        Why international students finish more quickly
9:00 – 11:53      Factors that have an impact on time of completion
11:53 – 12:50    “PhD-type research done on the backs of Master’s students”
12:50 – 14:24    Can we increase flexibility in Master’s programs?
14:24 – 14:46    Why and how the PhD program needs to be distinct
14:46 – 16:11    The shift in student expectations for a PhD education
16:11 – 17:09    To what extent should programs offer more general skills?
17:09 – 18:21    How do we address professional skills for master’s students?
18:21 – 19:54    Need for a “taxonomy” of different kinds of degrees
19:54 – 20:47    Signoff, and getting in touch


If you’d like to get in touch with Carolyn about something you heard in the podcast, click here to e-mail her. Or, you can leave a comment in the forum below.

You can follow Carolyn and her colleagues, associate deans Sunny Marche and Dieter Pelzer,  at the Deans’ Blog, an intelligent and illuminating weekly take on issues affecting graduate students, post docs, and their supervisors at Dalhousie.

Theme music for the Dean’s Podcast by Derek K. Miller.

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