- Stanford University wants its humanities departments to redesign their doctoral programs so students finish in five years instead of seven and are prepared for careers in academe and beyond, and though it isn't forcing the change, it is offering additional support to departments that provide concrete plans for cutting the time to degree and changing curriculum.
- Faculty members at Stanford hope that, because the school is a top research university, their efforts to improve the humanities doctorate inspires other universities to do the same, making a shorter and more affordable track to a doctorate the norm.
- The push at Stanford for an improved humanities doctorate program is the latest move in a national debate regarding the humanities doctorate, and the Modern Language Association (MLA)--which has helped to promote the discussion--is studying the structure of dissertations in languages and literature programs, which will be examined at its annual meeting in January.
From the article:
While some Stanford faculty members in the humanities have been speaking out about the need to reform humanities programs for some time, and while a few universities elsewhere have experimented with one or two programs, the Stanford initiative could shape up to be the broadest yet to encourage substantial change in humanities Ph.D. education. And faculty members there say that by putting money on the table, the university has many thinking that a five-year Ph.D. is possible in the humanities -- and that it's worth the effort to try to make it work. ...