Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security
    June 14, 2012

    Julia Kent
    (202) 223-3791


    CGS President, Debra W. Stewart, issued the following statement on the National Research Council’s June 2012 report, Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security.


    Washington, D.C.  ̶  The Council of Graduate Schools commends the National Research Council for its thorough review of the role of U.S. research universities in enhancing the nation’s prosperity and security.  The report’s ten breakthrough actions affirm priorities identified by the U.S. graduate community and other key stakeholders, in particular, the need to build U.S. global competitiveness through strategic investments in U.S. graduate institutions, with a focus on the role of doctoral education in preparing highly skilled talent.


    We strongly endorse the recommendation to support graduate education through a balanced program of fellowships, traineeships and research assistantships, specifically by providing federal support for an initial 5,000 new graduate students per year based on assessments of national need.  This recommendation is consistent with findings and recommendations from the 2010 CGS-ETS report, The Path Forward:  The Future of Graduate Education in the United States. Among other things, that report recommended the creation of a COMPETES Doctoral Traineeship program focused on areas of national need, with the goal of developing the highly skilled talent that can sustain and revitalize U.S. innovation.


    A 2012 report, Pathways through Graduate School and Into Careers, recommended greater collaboration among key stakeholders in business, higher education and public policy, to support the nation’s graduate education system, a strategic national asset.  We are pleased that the need for enhanced collaboration among leaders in business and higher education to support U.S. research universities is also echoed in Research Universities and the Future of America.


    CGS also applauds the NRC’s recommendations to increase the participation of domestic students in graduate education, particularly those from under-represented groups in the STEM education pipeline, while also ensuring the continued participation of international students and scholars in U.S. educational programs. The ability to recruit and develop talent both domestically and globally has been an essential ingredient in the success of U.S. institutions and the U.S. research enterprise. Strategic efforts to build this capacity become even more important in the context of globalization, especially as other countries redouble their efforts to build and recruit highly-skilled talent.


    In conclusion, we urge federal and state policymakers to heed the report’s recommendations to make investments in graduate education and the higher education research enterprise.  Such a “third wave” of investment, which builds on past accomplishments set forth in the Morrill Act and “Science the Endless Frontier,” will help strengthen the U.S.’s global leadership in the related areas of higher education, research and development, and innovation.

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92% of the doctoral degrees and 77% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.


    * Based on data from the 2010 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees


    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.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.