Synopses of Winning Proposals
    Synopses of Winning Proposals


    2014: Duke University

    Duke OPTIONS: Online Professional development Tool for Individual OpportuNitieS

    Duke Options is an online professional development planning tool that helps doctoral students identify career opportunities and target their professional development activities to reach their career goals.The tool identifies six core competencies doctoral students should development: teaching and mentoring communication skills, professional adaptability, self-awareness, leadership, and professionalism and scholarly integrity. The tool provides suggestions, resources and steps based on the four broad disciplinary areas at Duke: social sciences, humanities, basic medical sciences and natural sciences and engineering.


    Users then can set deadlines for themselves to achieve their goals on a 5-year planning calendar, with suggestions embedded by the tool for appropriate timeframes. Additionally, the tool includes ways students can consult with their advisors to help achieve their goals.


    Development of the tool involves cross-campus collaborations, including the Career Center and Office of Postdoctoral Services, Directors of Graduate Studies, key faculty members, and student groups. Lunches with targeted student groups would roll-out the tool to students.


    2013: Florida International University

    Academy of Graduates for Integrative Learning Experiences (AGILE): A Synergistic Community of Doctoral Scholars


    AGILE is designed to meet the need for a learning community of doctoral URM students where interpersonal and intrapersonal skills are integrated with scholarly and research pursuits. The program promotes peer mentoring and coordinated professional development modules. Community meetings will enable socialization and open communication links. The first cohort will include 15 students selected from Hispanic and African American groups and will participate for two years. Participants will prepare and maintain a portfolio and academic diary of their participation in AGILE.


    The professional development modules will bring together a variety of campus offices ranging from writing, wellness, research integrity, community engagement, leadership and service, career center and academic planning and accountability. AGILE will facilitate a one-semester long leadership track of events to explore, develop and apply leadership skills. Students will undertake community service/engagement in areas of interest and expertise. The community meetings will provide an opportunity for practicing communication skills.


    The collective performance of the cohort will be assessed against the general graduate population using surveys. Conclusions on the effectiveness of the program in improving retention rates, time to degree and student success will be based on the overall performance assessment.


    2012: University of Illinois at Chicago

    Promoting Success in STEM Graduate Education Scholars Program (PaSSaGE Scholars Program)


    In the first phase of the PaSSaGE program, STEM departments will nominate incoming Underrepresented Minority graduate students for the program; six will be selected for the Scholar Transition to Graduate School Program based on recommendations from their research mentors and a student statement addressing research, education and career goals as well as socio-cultural challenges faced. The students will receive a stipend of $4000 each for summer research in their home departments and participation in orientation and skills development workshops. This will allow them to building relationships in the department with the graduate college staff, to get settled in Chicago, and to get a jump-start on graduate school.


    In phase two, Scholars Mentoring and Career Development Program, the students will be incorporated in the Fellows Mentoring Initiative which will provide career and psychosocial mentoring and professional and skills development activities. They will meet with graduate college staff members for one-on-one mentoring, interact with a peer mentor/become a peer mentor, and participate in community building activities and career development events such as brown bag research seminars.


    Each student completing the preliminary/qualifying examination and advancing to PhD candidacy will receive $500 to present their work at a discipline-specific meeting/conference or to attend a non-UIC discipline-specific course or workshop. As they move toward completion of the doctorate, they will also be eligible for an additional $500 for travel to interview for postgraduate job opportunities.


    UIC will assess how the PaSSaGE program impacts the retention and success of URM students. UIC hopes to secure longer term funding from public and private sectors to continue to incrase retention and degree conferrals and to sustain these new initiatives in perpetuity.


    2011:  Eastern Illinois University

    The Integrative Graduate Studies Institute


    The Integrative Graduate Studies Institute will offer over a two-year period five integrative graduate mentoring programs with related assessment to track the outcomes and guide effectiveness for promoting graduate education.  The institute will be staffed by a director and three graduate assistants who have experience working with underrepresented groups. The Integrative Graduate Mentoring staff will identify a graduate advocate in each undergraduate degree program and in selected partner offices.  Graduate advocates will be provided with on-line and face-to-face guidance on what to include in graduate preparation materials and websites. Students will be targeted in their sophomore year.


    The IGM for Key Educational Institutions program will involve having IGM-KEI staff identify existing and desired undergraduate or graduate institutional partnerships.  Graduate recruitment will target key university partnerships using outreach, services and communication to build a strong and diverse graduate community.


    First year graduate students will be provided with opportunities to connect with faculty, other students and the community at three key points (1st, 6th and 10th week of study). An on-line network will allow first year students to post questions, raise issues and find guidance.  The IGM Goal program will integrate alumni who have entered or completed a doctoral degree as a resource for current students to consider doctoral degrees.


    The IGM-Scholars program identifies 20 high-performing undergraduates from underrepresented groups nominated by their departments. The junior year will be the focus.  The students will participate a summer program mentored by graduate faculty and conduct a research as the basis for future graduate study. Stipends for the students and faculty mentors and a summer tuition waiver will be provided.


    2010: Michigan State University

    The Whole Student Experience: Admissions to Student Success


    The proposal will bring together 4 projects as a continuation of the most successful interventions from previous grant programs, focusing on 5-10 departments who participated in other grant programs, and follow 2 cohorts of their students (entering fall 2011 and 2012) from admission to completion. Focusing on interventions that emphasize the “whole student,” the topics will include:


    1. Admitting students using holistic review
    2. Setting expectations early
    3. Developing career and professional development plans from the first year of doctoral experience through early years of first job placement
    4. Providing development at key transition points at the doctoral program


    These activities will draw upon the Setting Expectation and Conflict Resolution program, , the PREP program (career and professional development); an AGEP grant, an NSF Innovation through Institutional Integrant grant, and the CGS Ph.D. Completion Project.


    1.  Admissions

    Admissions and outcomes date from the PhD Completion Project will be shared with the admissions committees in participating depart as well as information on the new GRE. The committees will track additional “\predictors for success” used in admissions decisions. Student outcomes will be tracked.


    1.  Setting Expectations and Conflict Resolution

    A workshop will be designed for partner departments and offered for doctoral cohorts during their first semester.


    1. Career and Professional Development

    A workshop will be held for students, focusing on assessing skills, developing a professional plan and using the website to save it, finding professional development activities, and using resources on campus. The follow-up will include yearly focus groups.


    1. Writing

    Senior graduate students in participating departments will be trained and success will be assessed. A module on writing will be added to the Summer Resources Opportunities Program that encourages an inclusive community of undergraduate to explore research and graduate education.


    2009: University of California, Davis

    Mentoring at Critical Transitions: Faculty Readiness from Admission to Completion


    This pilot project draws upon the best practices of national initiatives in graduate education to enhance faculty preparedness in areas affecting the academic socialization and success of a diverse doctoral student population during the transitions from applicant to student, coursework to research, and research to professional career. Brief proposals from doctoral programs will be solicited and five to eight will be selected representing broad disciplines, different levels of students diversity and varying strengths/weaknesses at key transition points in doctoral education.


    The project will be launched with a retreat for graduate faculty in the programs with themes focusing on socialization, mentoring, and inclusiveness. During the year faculty will participate in a seminar to discuss and review personal contact and interviewing practices to enhance their ability to evaluate potential for persistence and retention of their students. They will also participate in seminars on early career mentoring and a new Iterative Writing and Research Project, which will entail quarterly meetings of faculty and advisees to introduce the new students to the process of research, writing, critique and revision.


    Faculty in the MCT project will participate in Career and Professional development seminars to update or strengthen their knowledge of topics such as:

    • Careers outside of academia
    • Building an effective CV
    • Interviewing skills
    • Weighing job options and negotiating offers
    • Networking strategies
    • Academic writing and publishing


    Two certified MCT faculty seminars will be offer per quarter and a year-end, da6y- long capstone seminar. Faculty with expertise will facilitate the seminars on topics such as:

    • Learning and communication styles
    • Diverse scholarship in curricula
    • Critical concerns and best practices involving gender, ethnicity, disabilities and sexual orientation in mentoring an detaching
    • Admissions, matriculation and retention
    • Milestone models for coursework, qualifiers, and dissertation
    • Graduate student parent needs
    • Professional and academic development
    • Retention accountability


    The programs will use current and historic data to identify and target areas for improvement in faculty mentoring. At the conclusion of the year, participating programs will receive an updated data report.


    The Office of Graduate Studies will work with the pilot programs to identify the best practices and interventions most likely to have impacted changes observed in the data. The data reports will also serve as a model for graduate program reviews.


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
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