Virginia Tech® home

Transformative Graduate Education Initiative

Students in the Graduate School's communicating science class

Transformative Graduate Education (TGE) is a university-wide initiative developed by former Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen P. DePauw and facilitated by the Graduate School. Through the implementation of unique programs and opportunities, TGE pushes the boundaries of traditional disciplinary academic education and provides the philosophical underpinnings for a truly innovative graduate education experience. TGE aims to significantly change how graduate students prepare to become the next generation of scientists, educators, scholars, engineers, artists, and career professionals in an ever-evolving global context.

Graphic depiction of the key elements of the Transformative Graduate Education initiative , which notes the Preparing the future professoriate, career professional, teaching/learning Academy for GTA Excellence, Citizen Scholar Engagement, and Communicating Science programs, surrounded by integral attributes of knowledge, leadership,  scholarly inquiry, and responsibility (Graphic by Karen P. DePauw, 2003, revised 2017)

Knowledge, leadership, scholarly inquiry, and social responsibility are the four pillars guiding TGE. Each pillar includes a variety of scholarly and extracurricular opportunities. All TGE offerings emphasize the application of innovative technologies, a commitment to excellence through diversity and inclusivity, active civic engagement, and support for interdisciplinary research and education. These value-added programs and courses reach beyond traditional and discipline-specific degree programs and help build an inclusive and interdisciplinary academic community. Following the TGE model, the Graduate School helps students engage with the trends affecting the 21st-century universities and growth of their professional communities.

Doctoral student Najla Mouchrek is pursuing an Individualized Interdisciplinary Ph.D. at Virginia Tech

TGE provides an opportunity for future faculty members and aspiring professional practitioners to explore a variety of pedagogies, research methodologies, and scholarly paradigms while completing their graduate degrees. As a framework for university-wide interdisciplinary graduate education, TGE encourages participants to connect their scholarly activities with community service and enrich their understanding of scholarship and research as ethical pursuits.

At its very foundation, Transformative Graduate Education rests upon exemplary teaching and dynamic learning environments. Faculty work diligently to create challenging and stimulating learning environments, reiterating the pillars upon which the TGE curriculum is built. You can find the TGE courses developed and offered by the graduate school here.

Students present posters of their work during the annual Graduate Student Assembly research symposium at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech's innovative Graduate Life Center (GLC) provides the physical space for many TGE courses, programs, and special events. As home to the Graduate School administrative offices as well as graduate student apartments, the GLC provides the space and place for building a strong, inclusive and diverse graduate community. Combined, the conceptual framework of TGE and the physical attributes of the Graduate Life Center provide for a uniquely rewarding graduate education.

Desired Outcomes for TGE Participants

  •     Conduct meaningful and innovative research and scholarly inquiry
  •     Work successfully in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary settings
  •     Use innovative technologies in research, scholarship, teaching, learning, and engagement
  •     Apply scholarship to contemporary and global contexts
  •     Assume roles and responsibilities as faculty and career professionals
  •     Work successfully in diverse and global communities
  •     Utilize critical thinking and problem-defining skills
  •     Develop dynamic leadership skills
  •     Utilize collaborative and team approach
  •     Understand and adhere to ethical standards and professional practices
Sheldon Masters, Ph.D. '15

"As part of my graduate program at Virginia Tech I had the opportunity to participate in the Global Perspectives Program. Being immersed in different educational cultures as part of the Global Perspectives experience provided me with useful tools, from various educational systems, that can be effectively incorporated into my pedagogical training."

Sheldon Masters, Ph.D. '15 

A number of official programs and organizations are available to those graduate students interested in further immersing themselves in the TGE experience.

  • Graduate students enrolled in any degree seeking program can earn the nine-credit Future Professoriate Graduate Certificate.
  • Students wanting to share their knowledge with all members of the community may wish to apply for recognition as a Citizen Scholar.
  • Students engaged in interdisciplinary research are eligible to apply for membership in the interdisciplinary research honor society (IDR).
  • Regardless of discipline, graduate students from across the university may apply for membership in the graduate honor society, Alpha Epsilon Lambda (AEL).
  • After completing the core requirements for the Future Professoriate Graduate Certificate, students have the opportunity to apply for the Global Perspectives fellowship that provides an immersive learning experience focused on global trends in higher education.
  • Graduate students who specialize in and advocate for the awareness, knowledge, and skills associated with diversity and inclusion can receive resources and mentoring from the Diversity Scholars Program.
  • Various leadership opportunities, such as GLC Resident Fellows and Graduate Ambassadors, are also available to interested and eligible students.