Tuesday, 17 February 2009


This time of year we are getting loads of applications for graduate studies. More than half of our child lit masters are applying for PhD, which I guess means they are enjoying the course. I hope they all come in and we'll have a really strong seminar! But there is always a but. There are not many of us in child lit who can act as supervisors. And every student must have two supervisors. Besides, every student must have an advisor, apparently to settle the problems when the two supervisors disagree. Further, we must think strategically because four years from now the students will need examiners. The dilemma is whether to save someone for examiner rather than make them supervisors. So here we are, with a pile of applications, shuffling and reshuffling them and trying to match student, lead supervisor, co-supervisor, advisor, examiner - preferably taking into account our competence, interest and experience. I know it probably sounds trivial. But I cannot help thinking about the power we have. We are in fact deciding several people's fates for the coming years, maybe for the rest of their lives. Looking back, I realize that someone was one day sitting like this with my application.

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