Council of Graduate Schools - Ph.D. Completion Project  
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Research Partner Profile

Brown University

Principal Investigator
Sheila Bonde
Dean, Graduate School
(401) 863-2831
sheila_bonde@brown.edu

Co-PI and Project Manager
Valerie Wilson
Associate Dean, Graduate School
(401) 863-2713
valerie_wilson@brown.edu

Participating Programs (9)
Anthropology
Biomedical Engineering
Engineering, Other Programs
Chemistry
English
Geology
History
Pathobiology
Psychology

Abstract
Brown University will focus on the role of monitored milestones in improving degree completion. The specific interventions are focused in three areas: 1) advising, mentoring and research; 2) support and funding structures; and, 3) administrative procedures. A new graduate student management plan was launched in 2007, and several of the components of this plan are consistent with suggested interventions listed by the Ph.D. Completion Project. Nine graduate programs will participate in the project; these graduate programs will have the freedom to prioritize interventions in the target areas that are specific to their needs and give special consideration to the participation of women and underrepresented minority students.

Interventions

Advising, Mentoring and Research
    • Revise graduate student handbooks for each program.
    • Require each first year student to have an advisor or advisory
      structure. Conduct regular evaluations of progress.
    • Clearly articulate program expectations/academic milestones,
     requiring completion of all pre-dissertation milestones before year 4.

Support and Funding Structures
    • Guarantee multiyear support by allocation of funding to
      departments.
    • Monitor the timing of teaching/lab rotations and other obligations
      conducted early in academic training career.
    • Monitor studentsí requests for conference travel support.

Administrative Procedures
    • Create/enhance institutional data base on students via a web-
      based system to track student aid types.
    • Monitor and track all non-completion leaves.

Supplemental Interventions
    • Launch Early Start Program.
    • Monitor the process of advisor/mentor selection, especially for
      minorities and women.
    • Foster a research environment and a culture of competing for
      external grants.
    • Support the beginning of the dissertation research stage.

 

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