Special Committee on Graduate Education

October 17, 2013

We are pleased to share the following message from Professor Scott Lanyon, who is chairing the Special Committee on Graduate Education we have jointly charged with advancing a collaborative discussion of the future of graduate education at the University. We encourage you to check the provost's graduation education webpage for more information about the committee, a list of members, and ongoing updates.

Karen Hanson, Senor Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Will Durfee, Chair, Faculty Consultative Committee

Dear Faculty Colleagues, Staff Colleagues, and Graduate Students,

As Provost Hanson discussed in a recent update, she and FCC Chair Will Durfee have convened a Special Committee on Graduate Education (SCGE) to identify what is working well in graduate education at the University, and to identify areas that need further attention. I am very pleased with the great group of colleagues who have agreed to serve on this important committee.

The timeline for the SCGE is very short, but for good reasons. Based on input received by faculty governance, central administration and the Graduate School, the FCC and the provost believe strongly that the University needs more aggressively to recruit top graduate students. They would like to make substantive changes in time to improve our success in recruiting the next cohort of students over the winter and spring.

In addition, the provost and FCC emphasize the importance of graduate education to the University strategic planning process launched by President Kaler. A short timeline for the SCGE will ensure that its recommendations can inform the Strategic Planning Workgroup that Provost Hanson chairs. Consequently, the special committee has been asked to develop a report by December 1.

Normally, special committees such as this take much longer to study a problem before issuing a report. In this case, much of the work of gathering input preceded the formation of the committee. Last year, the FCC held a number of listening sessions with faculty and with department heads, with concerns regarding graduate education discussed at all such meetings. The provost and collegiate deans have discussed graduate education on many occasions. In addition, the vice provost for graduate education and the provost conducted a graduate education survey this past spring for which 1,124 responses were collected from across the university community. (Summary graphs are online.)

It was as a result of this input over the last year that the Special Committee was formed with a focus on NRC graduate programs. The committee's charge was shaped by concerns expressed over the last year, with four subcommittees established to focus on key issues: Graduate Student Financing; Facilitation of the Graduate Student Experience and Ensuring Program Quality; Graduate Program Enrollment Management; and Oversight of, and Advocacy for, the Visibility and Quality of Graduate Education.

The SCGE would now like to invite additional input. Please send your comments and suggestions to the committee at scge@umn.edu. We will be holding several listening sessions in early November to present the SCGE's preliminary recommendations and receive further feedback from the University community. The time and location of those sessions will be finalized and announced in the near future.


Scott M. Lanyon, Chair, Special Committee on Graduate Education

This message was sent October 17 by Provost Hanson and FCC Chair Durfee to faculty, staff, and graduate students on the Twin Cities, Duluth, and Rochester campuses.