Below are ways in which how some units on campus help their students to be successful in their graduate program.
Animal Biology: To keep students on track we produced a student handbook, with an annual checklist covering benchmarks to help students maintain adequate progress.
Biochemistry: Our faculty are actively engaged in mentoring graduate students, as well as providing regular feedback.
Slavic Languages & Literature: Our unit has given priority to properly supporting our students and trying to create the conditions necessary for them to succeed in their studies rather than stretching resources and underfunding continuing students so as to grow the program. The results in terms of academic progress have varied, but on the whole been quite positive; there ought to be proof of that in the next one to two years, when three or four of our current advanced students will have defended their dissertations. We hope that this leads to greater student satisfaction as well. It does seem to facilitate a collaborative, collegial attitude among the graduate student cohort, which can lead to substantial enhancements of learning. We are also inclined to believe that the lack of tension or turmoil during the graduate assistant strike last year resulted at least in part from the TAs' appreciation of the department's level of commitment to its graduate students.
Urban & Regional Planning: We are most excited about our newest practices. The Plan of Study, completed in the first year by the student, along with his/her advisor and two other faculty members (the Plan of Study Committee), is a way of laying out an academic strategy from the very beginning of a student’s program. In a highly flexible, multidisciplinary field, this is an important way of helping students to focus within a few months of starting the program. The participation of additional faculty members as advisors (via the committee) helps to provide additional quality control in the process and facilitates sharing of information among faculty.