Yesterday I participated in an excellent graduate student’s M.A. thesis defense (in French – now that kept me on my passively-bilingual toes). This is the third student in nine months to complete an M.A. under my direction or co-direction. It’s been an anomalous last two years with multiple students on the go, pursuing feasible and fabulous projects related to my own early modern specialty. Usually I’ll supervise one grad student every few years as more of our students are interested in modern Canadian history which definitely isn’t my strength.
Right now, I have no grad students lined up for next year and that’s all right with me. First off, most people don’t need a graduate degree in history. Second? Well, let’s just say that graduate students require a lot of work. It’s all the good kind of work: the real exercise of scholarship for which we all entered our fields. Still, I look forward to focusing on my own research and writing in the next while.
I pride myself on the fact that these three received excellent support, not just from myself but from our program!, and a chance to develop as researchers and writers. They can apply these skills inside and outside academia. That’s a vital consideration these days. Only one of the three is going on to doctoral work at the present and that’s because this student received full funding. Without that support, it’s really hard to justify the endeavour.