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

Research Partner Profile

University of Michigan

Principal Investigator
Janet A. Weiss
Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Tel (734) 764-4401

Participating Programs (8)
Classical Art and Archaeology
English and Women's Studies
Macromolecular Science and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear Engineering

The University of Michigan will implement a set of interventions and enhancements of existing policies and practices designed to improve the retention and completion rates of students from underrepresented groups. For each intervention described, the proposal details a tailored evaluation strategy.

Proposed Interventions

  • “GradTools”: a web-based navigator that enables students, departments and allied administrative units an opportunity to improve the doctoral education process and monitor student progress. Major features include:
    • Dissertation checklist. Documents the major steps in the process
    • Schedule. Provides a single place to record events, dates, and milestones
    • Resources. Site where documents can be shared, stored, and organized; includes links to research and dissertation writing resources
    • Discussion. Committee members and the students can interact online to comment on the drafts of the dissertation
  • Enhance awards and fellowships for underrepresented students in STEM fields
  • Develop a first year handbook
  • Annual assessments of student progress
  • Dissertation writing assistance modeled on best practices of the Dissertation Writing Institute, which provides
    • Dedicated office space for writing
    • Frequent reviews of writing by both a writing mentor and peers
    • Writing workshops
    • Specific, frequent deadlines for completing revising dissertation sections
    • A stipend to free students from responsibilities that conflict with writing
  • Early research experience through a summer institute program


Tools and Templates
Contact Information


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