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

University of Georgia, University of Florida,
and North Carolina State University (consortium)

Principal Investigator (University of Georgia)
Maureen Grasso
Dean of the Graduate School
Tel (706) 542-4788/Fax (706) 583-0278
mgrasso@uga.edu

Co-Principal Investigator (North Carolina State)
Terri Lomax
Dean, Graduate School, & Associate Vice Chancellor
Tel (919) 515-2394
terri_lomax@ncsu.edu

Co-Principal Investigator (University of Florida)
Kenneth J. Gerhardt
Interim Dean of the Graduate School
Tel (352) 392-6622
gerhardt@csd.ufl.edu

Participating Programs

 

University of Florida

University of Georgia

North Carolina State University

Botany

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Chem Engineering

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Chemistry

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Civil Engineering

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Computer Science

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Economics

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English

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Genetics

 

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History

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Mathematics

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Microbiology

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Physics

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Psychology

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Sociology

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Abstract
The project calls for an array of interlocking, empirically enhanced, administrative actions including:

  • The creation of a database system for monitoring doctoral completion in all graduate departments at the three universities
  • The analysis of existing admission, orientation, and advance information practices employed by selected departments at the three universities and, subsequently, the crafting and dissemination of “guidelines for excellence” for the selection and orientation of doctoral students
  • The enhancement of advisor-advisee relationships through an action research project designed to foster understanding of congruent and conflicting perceptions and expectations on the part of faculty and doctoral students in selected departments
  • The provision of online, problem-centered support forums for advanced doctoral students at the three institutions

This collaborative project is designed to achieve maximum impact at minimum cost. By pooling resources and establishing a single research component, the participating institutions are able to avoid duplication of effort while still benefiting from solid, empirically based interventions. The immediate beneficiaries of this project will be students and faculty in the 37 participating programs. These thousands of students and hundreds of faculty members will receive the type of information—both normative and descriptive—that will help them work together more effectively toward doctoral completion. Moreover, it is the intention of the graduate deans at the participating institutions to subsequently expand our efforts to the other departments at our universities.

Proposed Interventions

  • Create a database at each institution to allow for the monitoring of doctoral completion
  • Conduct a telephone survey of faculty members in the selected departments
  • Conduct a questionnaire-based study of a cohort of doctoral students in the 37 departments
  • Develop procedures for a system of exit questionnaires
  • Evaluate the impact of the interventions
  • Improve advance information for would-be applicants so that they can make a realistic assessment of their preparedness to undertake the rigors and costs of doctoral study
  • Analyze school-level and department-level admission practices; advise and assist the departments in making needed improvements
  • Analyze department-level orientation and advisor-matching procedures; advise and assist in making needed improvements
  • Convene faculty for discussions about completion data and specific completion and attrition issues
  • Provide completion data to students and convene them to discuss completion and attrition issues
  • Establish an online, problem-centered forum to foster peer support among doctoral candidates in the selected department

 

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