Graduate students dissatisfied with student experience

Some of the students enrolled in UA Little Rock’s graduate school feel that there are not as many career services, campus programs and recruitment opportunities geared toward them.

Brandon Burdette, Kathleen Lewis and Sen. Diamond McGehee, all of whom are working on advanced degrees at the university, shared their views on the matter and how they think the school can approach these concerns.

“There are no career services for graduate students,” Burdette said. “The job fairs have zero people who are looking for anyone above a bachelors, and trying to change that is showing to be very challenging, with little support outside the graduate school.”

Burdette also finds the travel grants offered by the Graduate Student Association to be insufficient.

“We were given $1,000 for the entire year,” Burdette said, “If we cannot travel, we cannot network. Our university will continue to not be recognized for all the wonderful research we are doing.”

Lewis feels that the numerous programs provided here on campus are a great asset to traditional students, but they do not fit the needs of graduate students.

“Workshops for study-habits, time management, and/or financial independence are vital for undergraduates who are just starting out in either academia or their adult lives. Even some of the stress-relieving events are great too. Grad students’ needs can be very different,” Lewis said. “How do I interview for doctoral programs?  How can I get professional development while still in graduate school?”

McGehee described some solutions the Graduate Student Association is starting to look at, such as giving employers a more prominent place on campus in order to help graduate students advertise their skills more effectively. She also said that the Association plans to boost Alpha Epsilon Lambda, the graduate students’ honor society, late this semester or in the early spring.

In addition, McGehee believes it is important to create mentorship opportunities with alumni. She thinks this may improve retention and recruitment of new graduate students, as well as develop relations between UA Little Rock and corporations in the state looking to hire graduates.

“I have, to date, not been informed of any event in which recruiters are coming specifically to talk to graduate students about employment opportunities after graduation. It does not help the state of Arkansas if all our highly educated individuals immediately leave after graduation.”

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