Campus News

Centennial kickoff speaker calls for renewed focus on graduate education

Centennial kickoff speaker calls for renewed focus on graduate education

The Graduate School began its 100th anniversary celebration Jan. 28 with a kickoff that commemorated the school’s storied history and looked forward to its future.

Summing up the spirit of the event, UGA President Michael F. Adams said, “I firmly believe that the economic development of this state is tied, perhaps more than any other factor, to the graduate-level education at this institution, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University and others.”

In addition, Debra Stewart, who has been the president of the Council of Graduate Schools for nearly 10 years, delivered a keynote address about the future of graduate education in a global world. Her talk was entitled, “The ­Future of Graduate Education: What do We Need to do More and Why?”

Stewart made the case for a renewed focus on graduate education to ensure that the American economy stays competitive with other nations, who are increasingly bolstering their own
master’s- and doctoral-level programs.

“Employers hire proven learners, and you demonstrate that you’re a proven learner by earning a graduate degree,” she said. “And we have opportunities to improve graduate education. We can start by ensuring that all the students who start graduate school actually graduate. We can’t do much about the pipeline problem, but we can do something about making sure that these students we admit actually graduate.”

The event also included the ­presentation of the inaugural Innovation in Graduate Education Award to the ­Interdisciplinary Life Sciences ­Program. The award comes with $1,000 and it honors the development and implementation of new practices that enhance graduate education at UGA.

The Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Program admits Ph.D. students to the life sciences department, and gives them the opportunity to explore nine different disciplines for one year before selecting a home department and research focus.

The Graduate School, founded in 1910, is planning a series of events to celebrate the centennial.