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

Research Partner Profile

Pennsylvania State University

Principal Investigator
Eva Pell
Senior Vice President for Research
and Dean of The Graduate School
(814) 863-9580

Participating Programs (10)
Civil Engineering
Communications, Arts and Sciences
Electrical Engineering
Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

Pennsylvania State University will implement specific interventions that focus on various stakeholders in doctoral education, including administrators, faculty, graduate officers, as well as alumni and current students of the participating doctoral programs. Many of the core interventions that will be implemented in all ten programs have been derived from the existing scholarly research on recruitment, attrition and time-to-degree. Among these are a more inclusive approach to mentoring doctoral students, with a special emphasis on women and underrepresented students. Other interventions derived from existing scholarly research are developing pipeline partnerships with select institutions and building on existing resources at PSU. Finally, PSU takes great pride in its alumni following, and alumni of the graduate programs are equally proud of their alma mater. They will take advantage of those alumni from the ten programs that are highly committed to giving back to their programs by systematically including them in recruitment and mentoring activities.

Select Interventions

Selection and Recruitment
    • Make transparent the selection processes and expectations for
      students in their doctoral programs, including assessment
    • Create pipelines to Penn State through the Ronald McNair
      Scholars Program, McNair Summer Research Conference,
      multicultural directors from the three colleges and the Women in
      Science and Engineering (WISE) Program, and other sources.
    • Incorporate alumni into program recruitment strategies, in
      particular women and members of underrepresented groups who
      graduated after 1975.

Advising and Mentoring
    • Implement a compact that outlines the expectations for students
      and for their advisors.
    • Conduct annual reviews of graduate students through a new online
      Student Activity Summary (SAS).
    • Develop alumni mentor opportunities.
    • Participate in peer-to-peer mentoring programs for new students,
      especially women and underrepresented groups.
    • Provide opportunities for doctoral students to engage in research
      earlier in their graduate career.

Tools and Templates
Contact Information


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