Faculty Resources: Trends and Directions in Graduate Education

"The Impact of Affirmative Action Bans in Graduate Education," July 17, 2012
(Liliana M. Garces, Foreword by Gary Orfield)

Recently published by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, The Impact of Affirmative Action Bans in Graduate Education focuses on the effects of affirmative action bans on diversity among graduate students.  According to the Council of Graduate Schools, "The study looked at minority graduate enrollment in California, Florida, Texas and Washington during the time that each had bans on the consideration of race in admissions (Texas’ ban has since been lifted; the other three states’ remain in place).  In graduate programs overall, the enrollment of underrepresented minorities (URMs) fell 12%.  This reduction was particularly pronounced in engineering, where the drop was 26%, and natural sciences, which fell 19%.  This study’s publishing is timely, as the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin this fall, a case where the court will determine if race and ethnicity may be considered in admissions decisions."


"Advancing STEM Graduate Education: The "I's" Have It." From GradEdge (newsletter of the Council of Graduate Schools), May 2012. (Richard W. Linton)

Read the article

This article concerning "the four 'Imperatives' facing graduate education" was written by Richard W. Linton, former Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Oregon, and currently NSF/CGS Dean in Residence. Although the article is focused specifically on graduate education in STEM fields, it is informed by broad objectives that are applicable to graduate studies in all disciplines: inclusiveness, interdisciplinary programs, innovation, and student career development. Linton provides a number of insights on how we can spark a new round of dialog with the academic community and associated graduate school leadership to catalyze institutional transformations in the face of intense budget pressures.


"Trends in Interdisciplinary Dissertation Research: An Analysis of the Survey of Earned Doctorates." NCSES working paper, April 2012. (Morgan M. Millar and Don A. Dillman)

Read the working paper

"Interdisciplinary" is a topic of increased interest within the academic and scientific communities. Interdisciplinary research is often viewed as a necessary approach to addressing increasingly complex problems, and numerous efforts have been made to promote interdisciplinary scholarship, yet there is still much to be learned about the nature of interdisciplinary research and those who practice it. In addressing some of the unanswered questions, this working paper uses data from the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates to identify trends in the reporting of  interdisciplinary dissertation research among doctoral graduates in the United States form 2001-2008.


"The Path Forward: the Future of Graduate Education in the United States." A report by the Commission on the Future of Graduate Education, April 29, 2010.

Read the executive summary (6 pages)

Read the full report (71 pages)

The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States is the landmark report from the Commission on the Future of Graduate Education in the United States, a joint effort of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and Educational Testing Service (ETS). It demonstrates that graduate education remains the engine of a highly skilled workforce, yet is currently vulnerable on several fronts. The report includes policy recommendations designed to ensure that U.S. graduate schools remain preeminent and that a growing number of U.S. citizens begin and complete graduate degree programs.

The report addresses the role of graduate education in sustaining our intellectual leadership into the future. It summarizes political, demographic, educational, and economic trends, analyzing data from a wide spectrum of sources. The report includes:

  • data on current domestic and international talent pools

  • analysis of the international competition for talented students

  • projected workforce needs requiring advanced degrees

  • vulnerabilities in the university, employer, and public-policy domains

  • policy recommendations promoting collaboration among universities, employers, and policymakers



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