Campus News

Blueprint for the future

Task force to study graduate education program

With its 100th anniversary approaching, the graduate education program at UGA will undergo a thorough examination aimed at ensuring that strong advanced education remains a centerpiece of UGA’s academic portfolio.

Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr. has appointed a 29-member task force to examine graduate programs and create a “blueprint for the future” to make UGA a national leader in graduate education.

“We haven’t undertaken a holistic review of our graduate programs in a number of years,” Mace said. “It’s essential that we evaluate current graduate ­programs and possible modifications to recruit the very best graduate students, develop and implement interdisciplinary programs that meet contemporary needs and assure inclusiveness.”

Craig Edelbrock, associate dean of the Graduate School, and Duncan Krause, professor of microbiology, will be co-chairs of the Graduate Education Task Force, which includes 25 other senior faculty members and two students.

The group will hold its first meeting at 8 a.m. Sept. 1 in the Administration Building. Mace and Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School, will present a charge and task force members will begin discussing how to organize their work.

UGA began offering post-graduate courses in the 19th century, but the Graduate School wasn’t formed until 1910. Today the university offers three doctoral degrees in 90 areas and 30 master’s degrees in 128 fields, as well as 20 educational specialist degrees and professional degrees in law, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

Graduate enrollment has risen steadily in recent years and last fall totaled 8,456. In fiscal year 2005 UGA awarded 2,523 graduate and professional degrees-almost 30 percent of all degrees ­conferred.

Mace said he will ask the task force to look specifically at three “major challenges” facing graduate education.

One challenge is to ensure that graduate education is increasingly interdisciplinary in nature, bringing together research, scholarship and training from a range of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences and humanities. A second challenge is to foster “inclusiveness” by extending graduate education opportunities to diverse populations. The third challenge is to enhance innovation in graduate education.

“The future of graduate education and the opportunity to move to a new level as a national leader will be shaped largely by how we respond to these challenges,” Mace said.