GRADUATE SCHOOL TASK FORCE
MASTER’S, DOCTORAL, AND FIRST PROFESSIONAL DOCTORATE SUBCOMMITTEES

CHARGE

Subcommittees are tasked with:

  • reviewing current practices and programs related to the graduate school guiding principles and graduate and professional education priorities identified in the University’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025
  • making recommendations to move our institution towards becoming a globally-recognized leader in graduate and professional education.

Master’s Subcommittee

Co-Chairs:  Julie Harlin (Graduate and Professional Studies) and Maria Escobar-Lemmon (Liberal Arts)
Members: Stacy Drake (Nursing), Hope Rising (Architecture), Lori Taylor (Bush), Deb Banerjee (Engineering), Paul Hernandez (Education), Michelle Mitchell (Engineering), Uthej Vattipalli (Graduate and Professional Student Government), Terri Helge (Law), Ashley Ross (Galveston), Anne Reber (Student Affairs)

  • Met twice as of second week of November.
  • Planning a series of open forums/focus groups the week of 11/16.
    • Faculty and Staff, Tuesday November 17, 9:30-10:30 am
    • Faculty and Staff--Wednesday, November 18, 9:30-10:30 am
    • Students--Thursday, November 19, 6:00-7:00 pm 
  • Gathering data related to the diversity of Master’s degrees offered across colleges and departments, including thesis/non-thesis, terminal/non-terminal, distance/face to face, as well as differentials in expected and actual time to degree. 
  • Exploring
    • ways to make our campus a more welcoming and inclusive environment for Master’s students, given the diversity among programs and students (terminal and non-terminal, distance and on-campus, research and professional, self-funded and funded, etc.)?
    • best practices related to Master’s level programming that might be priorities for the Graduate and Professional School and other university level units that support graduate students? 

Doctoral Subcommittee

Co-Chairs: Adam Seipp (Graduate and Professional Studies), Mark Zoran (Science)
Members: Antoinetta Quigg (TAMU-G), Jay Ramadoss (Vet Med), Idia Thurston (Liberal Arts), Narendra Kumar (Pharmacy), Richard Malak (Engineering), Christian Hilty (Science), David Threadgill (Medicine), Istvan Szunyogh (Geoscience), Wayne Smith (AGLS), Ashley Seabury (Vet Med), Kara Bond (Education), Chante Anderson (Black Graduate Student Association), Mohit Kurana (Indian Graduate Student Association), Shannon Walton (Graduate and Professional Studies), Gerianne Alexander (Research)

  • Met on 10/29 to discuss priorities, data needs, and information gathering forums. 
  • Will hold five feedback sessions, for the following groups in November: Doctoral Program Directors (faculty), Doctoral Program Administrators (staff), IDP Directors, and Doctoral Students. 
  • The first two are scheduled for 11/11 and 11/12, and invitations have been distributed. 
  • Meet with the EC of the Faculty Senate and the EC of the CPI in January to discuss the initial recommendations of the subcommittee.

First Professional Doctoral Subcommittee

Co-Chairs: George Cunningham (Graduate and Professional Studies), Charlotte Ku (Law)
Members: Bruno Ruest (Dentistry, faculty member); Amanda Cervantes (Law, student); Aric Short (Law, faculty member); Terri Helge (Law, administrator); Brett Mitchell (Medicine, faculty member); Katie Brakora (Medicine, faculty member); Nadia El Hamdi (Medicine, student); Adam Brown (Pharmacy, faculty member); Fadi Khasawneh (Pharmacy, faculty member); Ivan Rusyn (Vet Med, faculty member); and Kristin Chaney (Vet Med, faculty member).

  • Held first meeting on Friday, 11/6.
  • 11/13: gave feedback for the data collection exercise, including the items and information the subcommittee seeks.
  • 11/30 (4:00-5:00PM): Open Forum for professional school students. 
  • 12/4 (1:00-2:00PM): Open Forum for professional school faculty and staff.
  • 1/15: Deadline for collecting information.
  • 1/18-29: Data analysis, report writing, and editing.
  • 2/1: Submit report to Graduate and Professional School task force.
 

ANTICIPATED TIMELINE

October 2020 – Subcommittees convene
November 2020 –­­­­­­­­­ January 2021 – Subcommittees host open forums, etc. to gather input February 1, 2021 – Subcommittee reports submitted to Executive Committee of Task Force February 2021 – Task Force meeting to discuss subcommittee reports
March 2021 – Subcommittee draft recommendations presented at Open Forum March 31, 2021 – Final Task Force recommendations submitted to Provost

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

 The subcommittee’s work will be conducted in accordance with the following principles of the graduate school:

  • SERVICE AND EXCELLENCE – The school exists to serve students, faculty, and graduate programs and advance excellence in graduate and professional education.
  • A STUDENT-CENTERED APPROACH – The school should be leading the implementation of student centered, optimal approaches for student success and well-being across programs.
  • FACULTY GOVERNANCE – Faculty should retain a critical role in collective decision-making for graduate education
  • PROGRAM DIVERSITY – Texas A&M University administers a wide variety of graduate programs, from professional and research programs to STEM and Humanities programs. Respect for differences of disciplines in best practices will guide implementation of the school’s strategies.
  • BUDGETING – The core of the school’s budget should consist of funds currently allocated to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. Additional funding should come from new investments. For the subcommittee’s work, assume no additional funds.
 

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES AND STRATEGIES

The following strategic priorities and strategies will be considered by the subcommittees in an effort to advance graduate and professional education. Each category may be nuanced differently for the respective subcommittees (Master’s, Doctoral, and First Professional student groups).

  • ELEVATE – Strategically enhance our graduate and professional programs and elevate their visibility and prominence, both nationally and internationally;
  • RECRUIT & RETAIN – Attract, retain, develop, support, and graduate outstanding and diverse graduate and professional students;
  • CREATIVE FUNDING – Commit to providing multi-year competitive funding for all full-time doctoral (Ph.D.) students, including increasing individual and institutional graduate training grants and foundation support; provide suggestions for equitable funding models to improve monetary support of graduate students;
  • INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS – Improve interdisciplinary graduate and professional education, reducing barriers and fostering collaborations; expand professional master’s programs, including integrative bachelor’s and master’s programs; cultivate academic innovation in graduate and professional programs; address opportunities for graduate certificates and micro-credentials that are innovative and accessible;
  • CULTURE OF MENTORING – Build a culture of inclusive advising, mentoring, and professional development, providing mentor and mentee support and training that seeks to institutionalize the value of the mentor/mentee relationship; equip faculty and staff to better advise, mentor, and teach graduate and professional students and promote their professional growth;
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT – Expand our offerings of graduate student professional development programming to enhance career success and; deepen our engagement with graduate and professional alumni as life-long learners;
  • CULTURE & CLIMATE – Nurture a diverse, inclusive, and respectful environment between and among faculty, staff, and students; address climate and culture issues proactively; and improve transparency and accountability;
  • CAREER GUIDANCE – Improve career guidance and placement resources for graduate and professional students while articulating the value of diverse career pathways both in and outside of academia;
  • TRANSPARENT DATA – Provide greater transparency of graduate and professional student data and career outcomes to foster continuous improvement and innovation of programs;
  • STUDENT EXPERIENCE – Develop infrastructure and learner support services to ensure a high-quality digital learning environment, foster graduate and professional student community, ensure teaching effectiveness in the discipline and appropriate evaluation and feedback practices, and propagate the “Aggie” experience for all students;
  • PROFESSIONAL ADVANCEMENT – Establish innovative credentialing opportunities for professional advancement and to meet emerging career opportunities for traditional students and adult learners; create an educational advancement program and policies to provide opportunities for employees to achieve their dreams through additional education;
  • LIFELONG LEARNING – Enhance professional and personal development programs for lifelong learners, including a focus on core values such as leadership while highlighting professional development opportunities that value the graduate student from a holistic perspective.
 

GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

The following Graduate and Professional Key Performance Indicators will be positively impacted by the subcommittees’ suggestions and recommendations. Each category may be nuanced differently for the respective subcommittees (Master’s, Doctoral, and First Professional student groups).

  1. Increase URM graduate and professional enrollment to 30% of domestic students, and degrees awarded to 25%.
  2. Decrease median time to degree to five years, and increase five-year and 10-year completion rates to 50% and 80%, respectively, for Ph.D. students across all demographic groups.
  3. Increase the number of institutional external training grants by 100% [T32, NRT, GAANN, etc.]. 
  4. Increase the percentage of graduate students participating in university graduate professional development experiences by 20% each year.
  5. Improve graduate student climate as indicated by GradSERU climate survey for the following two metrics:
    • (i) I feel that I belong at Texas A&M University;
    • (ii) I feel welcome at Texas A&M University.
 

PROCESSES FOR GATHERING DATA FROM CONSTITUENT GROUPS

Subcommittees may consider the following options to gain feedback and create transparency for their work.

  • VIRTUAL OPEN FORUM USING ZOOM
  • FOCUS GROUPS/INTERVIEWS WITH SPECIFIC STAKEHOLDERS
  • SURVEYS/FORMS
  • HIGHLIGHTING BEST PRACTICES:  Members of the committee may want to reach out to those who are doing graduate education in innovative ways at our institution.

 

FEEDBACK

Visit the Graduate School Task Force page to offer feedback on the proceedings of each subcommittee: https://ogaps.tamu.edu/Graduate-School

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