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Graduate Education Task Force Report

In late spring of 2019, a group of faculty members, staff, and graduate students from across Virginia Tech’s colleges received a charge from Provost Cyril Clarke and then-Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw: Conduct a comparative analysis of Virginia Tech’s research-based graduate education programs relative to peer land-grant universities across the nation and draft recommendations for further enhancement.

For the next year, the Graduate Education Task Force (GETF) did just that, sifting through reams of data and surveying peer institutions, holding forums with graduate students, and testing key hypotheses. Their recently released report offers findings regarding comparisons of Virginia Tech’s graduate programs to those of other institutions, and recommendations aimed at further improving excellence, while addressing shortcomings. 

The task force made more than 15 recommendations to enhance graduate education and address areas of improvement including adopting a hybrid recruitment model, with the Graduate School assisting departments and programs to strengthen recruiting efforts. The task force also recommended expanding mentorship training to include all new assistant professors, implementing a Professional Development Graduate Certificate, making a concerted effort to solicit donations for endowed graduate fellowships, and implementing a modified version of candidacy status for doctoral students a year after they successfully complete their preliminary exams. 

Links to the report, recommendations, and slides used during presentations of the report, can be accessed via the links provided on this page.