Summary of meeting with graduate students and steering committee members of the Center for Science in Society-March 6, 2001, 6 p.m. Physics Lounge



1. We discussed the strengths and associated trade-offs of a Bryn Mawr graduate degree.

  • flexibility (choice of research projects, access to multiple institutions and people in the area) opportunity to "carve your own path" rather than simply "jumping through a fixed program of hoops" for a degree.
  • opportunities for meaningful teaching responsibilities and feedback( progressive through the ug curriculum and involving developing teaching materials)
  • close, day-to-day teaching and research mentoring relations with advisors
  • the programs fosters independence, and requires a engaged, proactive attitude on the part of students.
  • the program has the potential to stand out nationally as producing broadly educated Ph.D.s which should be of value to employers both inside and outside of academia.

  • Trade-offs:

  • a small numbers of peers on campus in a given research area
  • limited faculty expertise
  • 2.   We discussed ways to stimulate and support more interaction among graduate students, between students in the science departments, but also between students in the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences.

    3. We discussed that administrative communications with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences could be improved.

    4. We discussed the importance of increasing the visibility of our graduate students both on campus and beyond. (e.g. applying for Sigma Xi Grants-in Aid, and travel grants to attend national meetings)

    5. We discussed implementing lab rotations(possibly across the science departments), graduate student internships with local industry, and an annual graduate student poster.

    6. It was proposed that the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences consider appointing a graduate student to be a Graduate Student Coordinator for the school. This would be a paid position, in lieu of a full or partial, T.A. fellowship. Duties would include administrative tasks and possibly recruitment. For example, setting up and running a web page that would highlight opportunities, events, school deadlines, and issues of concern to grad students on campus. Organizing brown bag lunches, research symposia on campus, inviting speakers, hosting workshops to acquire technical skills, etc.

    7. We discussed the appropriateness and possible advantages of developing two graduate-level courses, required for all students, that would provide a common curriculum experience for first or second year students and would contribute to producing distinctively broadly educated graduates. Two such courses were mentioned: Science and Culture Teaching the Natural Sciences.


    Paul indicated that he would be developing a science pedagogy course designed for graduate students. Liz and Al said they would organize an end-of-the-year poster session for graduate students.

    We all agreed to meet again April 3, same place, same time, same refreshments (pizza, beer, soda) to continue the discussion. We would all try to increase the participation of other graduate students and faculty for this next meeting.