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Fall Quarter Letter from Dean Dwight A. McBride

Modified: September 17, 2015

Dear Members of The Graduate Community at Northwestern University,

I am happy to bring you greetings from The Graduate School (TGS) here at the start of what I trust will be for all of you a productive and successful academic year.
We at TGS are beginning the year on strong footing. Our collective advocacy on behalf of graduate students resulted in an increase to the base stipend rate for PhD students, which was announced in June, and we have worked closely with schools and academic programs to provide support and guidance around the implementation of the new rate. We’re pleased that the University has made this strong move to support students and our ability to recruit the strongest caliber of students to graduate education at Northwestern. We are also working with academic programs to provide flexible funding models, allowing them to bank quarters of student funding. If your program is not currently pursuing a flexible funding model, and you are interested in doing so, please contact TGS Senior Associate Dean Sarah McGill.
With the increase to the base stipend rate, it is more important than ever to be cognizant of both time-to-degree and the professional development of each of our students. TGS offers and provides funding for a multitude of resources for our graduate students during their time with us, with the goal of preparing degree recipients for the best possible career outcomes. As a part of our focus on professional development, we have significantly revamped the section of our website with a focus on Career Paths and Core Competencies, listing the resources available that students and their mentors can draw upon as they outline appropriate opportunities that will meet the unique needs of each student.
This year, we will be working to implement a new platform for conducting graduate admissions, with an anticipated launch in fall of 2016. The new system will improve service delivery to programs and ease the graduate admissions evaluation and recruitment processes for faculty and staff. The platform will centralize all prospective student applications and provide the ability to review all relevant data in one central database. More information will soon be forthcoming from the TGS Office of Admission & Recruitment as we move this initiative forward over the coming academic year.
I’m pleased that on September 15, 2015 we officially opened our new offices on the Chicago Campus in Abbott Hall, Suite 332, expanding our footprint on Northwestern’s downtown campus. Members of TGS’s staff, myself included, will be using these offices on a regular basis to hold administrative meetings, and we will also offer both scheduled and walk-in hours for a variety of student services-related needs. The conference rooms in the space will also be available to student and postdoctoral organizations by reservation. One of the conference rooms is equipped with video conferencing technology that can easily be used to host meetings between our Chicago and Evanston offices for student groups and faculty committees—helping to further bridge the gap between our two campuses.
This week I look forward to greeting new students at TGS’s Orientation on Friday, September 18, and to seeing both new and returning students at TGS’s Night Out and Involvement Fest, held on the Norris's East Lawn from 5-7 PM, also on the 18th. I will then begin my academic leave on October 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 and Craig Bina will serve as Acting Dean in my absence, carrying on the strategic priorities of The Graduate School as we continue our work to diversify, serve, and engage our community.
With Warmest Regards,

Dwight A. McBride, PhD
Associate Provost & Dean of The Graduate School
Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African American Studies, English & Performance Studies

From the Dean