National Ph.D. initiative seeks UI assistance

The Association of American Universities has selected the UI Graduate College to participate in phase one of Ph.D. Education Initiative. The initiative is geared toward helping students as they transition into their post-doctoral careers.

John+Keller++speaking+in+the+UI+Senate+Chambers+on+Tuesday%2C+Oct.+24%2C+2017.+The+meeting+was+primarily+discussing+the+Academic+Organization+proposal+and+what+it+would+mean+for+the+College+of+Liberal+Arts+and+Sciences.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

National Ph.D. initiative seeks UI assistance

John Keller  speaking in the UI Senate Chambers on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The meeting was primarily discussing the Academic Organization proposal and what it would mean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

John Keller speaking in the UI Senate Chambers on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The meeting was primarily discussing the Academic Organization proposal and what it would mean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ashle

John Keller speaking in the UI Senate Chambers on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The meeting was primarily discussing the Academic Organization proposal and what it would mean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ashle

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ashle

John Keller speaking in the UI Senate Chambers on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The meeting was primarily discussing the Academic Organization proposal and what it would mean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Annie Fitzpatrick, News Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The national organization of leading research schools Association of American Universities has chosen the University of Iowa Graduate College as one of eight schools to participate in its Ph.D. Education Initiative. The initiative aims to prepare doctoral students for a number of career paths beyond academia.

Among selected universities, UI Graduate College Dean John Keller is the only in his position to serve as both his institution’s project leader and an advisory member of the Ph.D. Education Initiative. Through this initiative, he said the graduate school is creating a cultural shift for doctoral students to expand their career options.

“It gives them more empowerment in terms of directing their own doctoral experience,” he said.

Traditionally, Keller said most of the Graduate College’s focus was on training doctoral students to become faculty members, which led to preparing more students for a position with only a certain amount of available openings. This led to a population boom in doctoral education, he said.

RELATED: Webinar series helps UI grad students apply for research awards, fellowships

Association of American Universities President Mary Sue Coleman, the 18th UI president, inspired the project, Keller said. Coleman’s goal of making higher education viable, vital, and visible — which she coined the “three Vs of higher education” — became the focus of the initiative, Keller said.

“The idea here is that we’re trying to make this information as transparent as we can to current students and prospective students,” Keller said.

In an email to *The Daily Iowan,* the association’s Associate Vice President for Policy Emily Miller said the UI has proven its commitment to creating various career pathways for Ph.D. students.

“The [association] is excited to see the institutional commitment that the University of Iowa has made toward this initiative,” she said. “The departments that will be participating from Iowa have demonstrated that they are ready to promote the types of change necessary to support a diverse set of career pathways for Ph.D. students and to advance the goals of [this] effort.”

The initiative will work with four departments on campus — two in STEM and two in the humanities: mathematics, physics/astronomy, English, and history. Keller said he chose these programs because of their preparedness for the planned cultural shift.

All four departments unanimously voted to participate in the initiative, and their respective staffs are eager to help students build their careers and understand the changing career trajectories of students, Keller said.

“A lot of the younger faculty and mid-level faculty know that they need to do better for their students to help them with their career options,” he said. “So, they’re all on board with helping with this particular project.”

Katie McKibben, the UI Graduate College’s new external-relations director, said this is an exciting initiative for the school to participate in. She added that each department involved is excited for the opportunities the initiative will provide to students.

“The departments are really open to the innovative change, and they’re really excited about it, too,” she said.

RELATED: UI graduate student earns Excellence in Teaching Award

A key aspect of the initiative is data transparency and expanding the information available on the UI Graduate College’s website, Keller said. Providing current and prospective students with general information, demographics, numbers of applicants, completion rates, and more shows the career options students have, he said.

“We want to show how vital and visible it is and how transparent our information is, so that students can look and say, ‘Oh, I went to Iowa in program X, what are my career options?’ ” he said.

Facebook Comments