Graduate Education initiative encouraging interdisciplinary learning, promoting diversity
Stanford continues to encourage interdisciplinary learning at the graduate level and promote graduate student diversity. Both are among the objectives of the Reinventing Graduate Education initiative, which is designed to keep Stanford at the forefront of advanced education worldwide.
Stanford is known for interdisciplinary study and research at the graduate level. Many graduate students earn a second degree in another field. The Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (SIGF) program, which began in 2007, awards three-year fellowships to outstanding doctoral students engaged in interdisciplinary research. Fifteen fellows were named in 2010, bringing the total to 41.
Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship recipient Melinda Cromie explains her research, which combines physics and biology.
A key part to the initiative was the 2007 creation of the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE). In a presentation to the Faculty Senate this year, Vice Provost Patricia Gumport reported that graduate students—as of Autumn 2009—compose 55 percent of the Stanford student body. Among other facts:
Under the aegis of the initiative, Stanford continues to focus on diversifying the graduate student population and increasing the number of women and minorities who become faculty members. Support has been extended for the Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellowship Program. The DARE program awards two-year fellowships to doctoral students in their final two years who want to prepare for academic careers and whose presence will help diversify the professoriate. In the first three years of the program, 40 DARE fellows have been named.
Under the Distinguished Alumni Scholars program cosponsored by VPGE, alumni faculty members nationwide who are members of underrepresented groups return to campus to encourage Stanford students to consider academic careers. In 2010, 20 alumni were invited to return to campus, representing such fields as law, music, engineering, anthropology, psychology and physics. They met with about 70 graduate students and 45 undergraduates.
The Reinventing Graduate Education initiative was also bolstered in 2009-10 by construction of new facilities designed to enhance graduate education. Among them:
Among the graduate facilities now being completed:
Also benefiting graduate students is an additional childcare center on campus. Mulberry House is the second facility at the Madera Grove Children’s Center, which is located in the university graduate student neighborhood.
Kathleen Kavanaugh, program director for the Knight Management Center, gives a guided tour of the evolving new home of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.