Spring Quarter Letter from the Dean of The Graduate School
Dear Members of the Graduate Community at Northwestern,
Let me begin my spring 2017 quarterly letter with warm spring wishes from The Graduate School. I hope that this season brings along with it the same sense of renewal for you that it does for us here at TGS. Toward that end, I am pleased to share with you an update on some of our ongoing efforts to strengthen graduate education at Northwestern.
Today, I am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, PhD students in The Graduate School will receive guaranteed funding for five years and five summers of study, or 20 quarters. The guarantee of the 20th quarter of support has been a concern for some students, especially in the humanities, and Northwestern wants to remove that concern. This new guarantee will allow our PhD candidates to focus more intently on completing their dissertations and advancing their careers at a crucial stage in their professional development. University administrators have taken action to address this issue, as we have with the stipend increase, concerns around vision insurance, and the needs of graduate students with children. TGS has a strong track record of working continually to address the needs of our students, graduate faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows as we become aware of them.
As part of our annual planning cycle with Central Administration, we at TGS have been in active discussions not only about the ways in which we best engage with our community, but also about imagining what the future looks like for the robust support at Northwestern of graduate education and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. This work is now being conducted, of course, in the context of a group of peer institutions for Northwestern that has only become more elite over the last 20 years as our doctoral programs have risen in both rankings and in stature. Indeed, our efforts in TGS over the last nearly seven years of my deanship have been focused on how we not only continue to compete for the very best students in an environment that values diversity and inclusive excellence, but also how to make Northwestern a destination and school of choice among our very elite group of peers. It is in this context that providing resources (financial, social, career and professional development, support services) relevant to our students at different points throughout the student life cycle is of critical importance, and we continually strive to meet the unique needs of the populations we serve.
I am pleased to announce that, beginning April 24, The Graduate School will have a new Office of Student Engagement, led by Dana Bozeman, who will serve as its Associate Director. Dana joins us from Loyola University, where she has served as the Program Director for Campus Life, creating programming for graduate, professional, and adult resource populations. She holds a master’s degree in higher education from Lewis University. Dana will serve as a point of contact at TGS for many of you, and she will spearhead our efforts to maintain and increase communication with students and student groups. In addition, she will work to help us build stronger connections between students across the Chicago and Evanston campuses. Her work will involve connecting students with services relevant to their needs, building a network of resources that is more easily accessed by graduate students, and working directly with the Graduate Leadership and Advocacy Council (GLAC) and other graduate student organizations and Community Building Grant recipient groups. Through her work engaging students, she will also help us better identify emerging needs in our student population. There will be many opportunities for you to meet and work with Dana once she arrives on campus, so please join me in welcoming her to Northwestern and to TGS.
As I often say, community does not happen by accident, and we have purposefully found ways to engage with each of you that you may take advantage of, including funding student groups and organizations, community building grants, Drinks with the Dean (which we host regularly), the TGS annual holiday party, quarterly TGS Nights Out for students, quarterly TGS Days Out (focused more on students and postdocs with children), and the TGS Awards and Recognition ceremony to name only a few. We will continue to create opportunities for you to become part of TGS’s engaged student body.
We have also hired a new Associate Director of Graduate Alumni Engagement, Jaclyn Hugg, who will start at May 1 at Northwestern in TGS and Alumni Relations and Development. She holds a master’s degree in postsecondary eduational leadership from San Diego State University. Jaclyn’s role will be to help us develop a strategy and plan to create a community of engaged graduate alumni. We particularly look forward to creating opportunities for recent graduates to participate on professional development panels, serve as mentors for current students, and to support our ongoing recruitment efforts by helping us to identify the very best prospective students. We also look forward to a near future of regional graduate alumni events and to the establishment of a graduate alumni board at TGS. I hope that if you will soon be receiving your degree from TGS that you will stay connected with us and consider donating your time, expertise, or resources to graduate students and graduate support services at Northwestern that have been most meaningful for you.
Meanwhile, please accept my best wishes to each of you for a happy and productive spring quarter. I look forward to seeing some of you at our PhD and MFA Hooding Ceremony on June 15, and many of you the next day at Commencement.
With Warm Regards,
Dwight A. McBride, PhD
Associate Provost & Dean of The Graduate School