Graduate School / About / Strategic Plan, 2017-2022

Strategic Plan, 2017-2022

Our Mission

To facilitate and advocate for excellence in graduate education and postdoctoral training

Strategic Objectives & Initiatives

Diversity

Increase the diversity of students receiving graduate degrees and postdoctoral training

Diversity in all forms leads to the evolution of scholarship and knowledge. The Graduate School promotes a vibrant student body and a welcoming campus climate in order to accelerate the diversity of thought, varied career paths, and cross-disciplinary dialogue that contribute to a quality education and the strength of our discoveries.

  • Establish the Creating Inclusive Cohorts (CIC) Training Program in order to help colleges in their efforts to recruit highly qualified applicants from under-represented communities
  • Work with colleges and campuses to build inclusive communities for graduate students and postdocs from under- represented populations in order to improve scholarly depth and excellence in our graduate programs as well as to increase recruitment, retention, and graduation rates
  • Establish the U of M Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion in order to assist efforts to improve campus climate and inclusivity and to increase retention
  • Update "Breaking Boundaries" video, a tool used with departments, in order to ensure a welcoming climate for diverse graduate students

Best Practices

Increase innovation of best practices in graduate education and postdoctoral training

Graduate education, like any other enterprise, must continually adapt and change in order to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world. By researching, sharing and promoting innovative best practices in graduate and postdoctoral training programs, we will better prepare our graduate students and postdoctoral scholars for what lies ahead.  

  • Partner with colleges and campuses to provide training to faculty advisors and Directors of Graduate Studies in order to improve faculty effectiveness as advisors
  • Collect information about the impact of Graduate Education Goals in order to encourage graduate programs to constantly improve
  • Survey graduate alumni in order to better understand career pathways they have pursued so that graduate programs can be updated to better prepare students for diverse careers
  • Name the Graduate School in order to establish an endowment, the earnings from which can help sustain initiatives to improve the quality of graduate education

Advocacy

Advocate for, recognize, support and reward excellence in graduate education and postdoctoral training

Recognition and reward are key motivators for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, programs and colleges. As an impartial administrative unit, the Graduate School identifies exemplary achievements in order to promote excellence in graduate education and postdoctoral training

  • Establish University-wide three minute thesis competition in order to help prepare students to effectively communicate their scholarship as well as to highlight our young scholars
  • Address concerns regarding differential benefits received by Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellows in order to avoid punishing individuals for being successful at securing fellowships

Service

Provide consistently exceptional service to graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, graduate programs, colleges, and campuses

First and foremost, the Graduate School is a service organization. We provide our constituents with the critical information, support, tools, training and resources they need in order to help them make better decisions and achieve greater success.

  • Make data about graduate education publicly available in order to provide prospective and current students, faculty and colleges with the information they need to make informed decisions.
  • Upgrade the admissions system in order to better support prospective students and graduate program admissions efforts
  • Upgrade the Graduate School website in order to better serve our constituents
  • Expand Grad School Orientation in order to provide a more welcoming and informative introduction to graduate education, to decrease stress, and increase retention rates
  • Provide comprehensive reports on graduate education for each of the colleges and/or campuses on an annual basis and/or through a data dashboard in order to facilitate informed decision-making
  • Establish an Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in order to better serve the needs of postdoctoral associates and fellows.

Ongoing Initiatives

In addition to the new initiatives outlined in its 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, the Graduate School continues to work on a number of ongoing projects and activities: