Council of Graduate Schools - Ph.D. Completion Project  
Project Information Project Participants Quantitative Data Promising Practices

Research Partner Profile

University of Missouri—Columbia

Principal Investigator
Pam Benoit
Vice Provost for Advanced Studies and Dean of the Graduate School
(573) 882-6311

Co-Principal Investigator
Ronald Drobney
Assistant Dean of the Graduate School
(573) 882-6311

Participating Programs (10)
Animal Sciences
Biological Sciences
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Psychological Sciences
Veterinary Biomedical Sciences

During Phase I the University of Missouri-Columbia implemented a set of interventions to reduce the completion gap rate (between majority and underrepresented students), reduce late attrition by 25%; and reduce early attrition by 15%. MU learned that the interventions that work best are those that a) connect both students and faculty in programs that improve departmental culture, b) engage students in meaningful discussions of their experiences, and c) address perceptual and cultural issues resistant to change that would improve completion. They have continued successful programs, reshaped others, as well as increased the programmatic and fiscal evaluation of these initiatives. For Phase II MU will implement new, continuing, and revised interventions that provide greater focus and accountability and take into account the successes and challenges of Phase I.


  • Post-admissions grid that describes each newly admitted students according to a set of criteria pertinent to graduate school persistence including four common elements across all programs and up to two program-specific predictors.
  • Reimbursement for direct expenses related to group campus visits.
  • Online annual review of student progress.
  • Retention support and intervention services.
  • Discussions on mutual expectations for teaching and mentoring with graduate students and faculty in years 1 and 3.
  • Conflict resolution workshops.
  • Griffiths Leadership Society that links prominent professional and graduate women with current MU doctoral students.
  • Fellowship block grants and supplemental graduate fellowship.
  • Updated graduate student handbooks.
  • Directors of Graduate Studies Summit and DGS Network.
  • Graduate Colleague Circles.
  • Dissertation workshops.


Tools and Templates
Contact Information


© 2008 Council of Graduate Schools Ph.D. Completion Project
All rights reserved.