After almost four years at Berkeley, I still did not exist on the department webpage. It was not until sometime between Fall 2012, Winter 2013–in the prime of my fifth year–that I finally made the cut.
This is actually a big deal. Up until 2012-2013, “Graduate Students” weren’t even a dropdown menu on par with “Professors,” “Staff,” and “Visiting Scholars.” I may be cutting hairs here, but someone else obviously noticed this too and made the change. The long list of current graduate students moved from being a side link and natural product of the “Graduate Programs” page to “People.”
This is a success story. I share another story: I recently emailed the department a blurb of my research interests and contact info to be added to the page, the response being that I would have to wait until fall for the work-study student to add it.
Of course, looks and the financial face of our department isn’t everything. Content is key. Which is why it was no surprise to me that the department didn’t post this little gem of a discussion on the department website:
To me, this all means it’s time for a better department website. Perhaps a department website isn’t meant to be a platform for department discussion.
But what if it was? A department website that is up-to-date, accessible, and accountable for its students. I’m not sure what this would look like yet (perhaps a blog-like format), but one thing is for sure: it would be student-run.