Vanderbilt University Receives ETS/CGS Award for Innovation in Promoting Success in Graduate Education
    December 6, 2018


    Katherine Hazelrigg, CGS

    (202) 461-3888 |


    Jason Baran, ETS

    (609) 683-2428 |


    Washington, DC – Today the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and ETS presented Vanderbilt University with the 2018 ETS/CGS Award for Innovation in Promoting Success in Graduate Education: From Admission through Completion. Dr. Mark Wallace, dean of the Graduate School and Louise B. McGavock Endowed Chair, accepted the co-sponsored award on Vanderbilt’s behalf during the award ceremony at CGS’s 58th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.


    The ETS/CGS Award for Innovation in Promoting Success in Graduate Education recognizes promising, innovative proposals to enhance student success and degree completion at the master’s and doctoral levels while promoting inclusiveness. The winning institution is selected on the strength of its proposal to meet the award’s goals and to serve as a model for other schools. The winner receives a two-year, $20,000 matching grant.


    The proposal for Vanderbilt University’s Russell G. Hamilton Leadership Development Institute, Supporting the Transformation from Students to Leaders promotes graduate student leadership development through three innovative interventions. “FirstGen Success” will provide graduate students who self-identify as first-generation students with three avenues of support: discussion groups and social events, formal training events, and experiential learning of professional norms. “Training Tomorrow’s Mentors” aims to improve the quality of mentoring by providing training to mentees that will prepare them to be the mentors of tomorrow. Lastly, through “Managing Conflict and Difficult Conversations,” external mediation skills trainers will conduct workshops to teach students, postdocs, faculty, and staff how to confront and successfully navigate conflict.


    “We are honored and delighted to be the recipient of this generous award from ETS and CGS. Establishing the Russell G. Hamilton Leadership Institute is among several bold strategic investments that Vanderbilt University is making in Ph.D. education, so we are deeply honored with this recognition” said Mark Wallace, dean of the Graduate School and Louise B. McGavock Endowed Chair, Vanderbilt University. “The support provided through this award will allow us to build innovative new programming to provide the tools for our graduate students to become society’s future leaders--through robust career development support, a collaborative culture that encourages interdisciplinary discovery, and much more.”


    “We are grateful to ETS, whose support makes possible this innovative way to promote best practices among graduate schools. Vanderbilt’s Russell G. Hamilton Leadership Development Institute is a model that addresses the needs of all graduate students, with particular attention to first-generation students, underrepresented minorities, and women in the academy and is one that could be replicated on other campuses,” said CGS President Suzanne T. Ortega.


    “Vanderbilt deserves this honor in recognition of the school’s approach to advancing graduate education by holistically supporting the graduate student lifecycle,” said David G. Payne, vice president and COO of ETS’s Global Education Division. “Their system not only includes an integrated set of supports that help students to be successful on their academic and career journeys, but it also successfully promotes diversity and inclusivity.”



    About ETS

    At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.


    About CGS

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced 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.


    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.