Having returned to Stanford after a lengthy stint in industry, I am struck by the dearth of (currently optional) public notices for University Ph.D. oral examinations appearing in the Stanford Report. This is quite unfortunate for a number of reasons. As a STEM field researcher, I am all too aware of how important the “white space” between traditional disciplines and departments is to advancing science and technology.
As a pre-major advisor, I encourage my advisees to attend Ph.D. orals (with me) so that they can get an understanding of what are the current frontiers in an area of possible career interest and a clear idea of what studies and training they might need to go down such a path.
And, irrespective of the field of discipline, orals provide a compact exposure to a wide range of subjects that can make one a more informed citizen. I hope these justifications may serve as a clarion call to all University departments to resume routine publication of Ph.D. oral schedules in the Stanford Report.
Stewart A. Levin
Consulting Associate Faculty, Department of Geophysics