On April 29, 2010, a landmark report by the Commission on the Future of Graduate Education confirmed the necessity of a graduate-level educated workforce to maintain U.S. competiveness and innovation.
The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States calls on government, universities, and industry to work together to ensure that U.S. graduate schools remain preeminent and that more U.S. citizens begin and complete graduate degree programs.
“Our data showed that 2.5 million new jobs will require either a master’s or doctoral degree,” said James C. Wimbush, dean of the University Graduate School. “That means we have to focus on our continuing efforts to recruit excellent students, work to improve our completion rates, and make sure our students are aware of the different career avenues for students with graduate degrees. They are not all in academia; many jobs in industry are for people with Ph.D.s.”
The report was produced by the Commission on the Future of Graduate Education, an 18-member group made up of university and industry leaders. The Commission was formed in 2009 by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Educational Testing Service to study how graduate education can meet the challenges of the 21st century. Dean Wimbush was one of seven graduate school deans to serve on the Commission, which was a collaboration between the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS).
The report says that U.S. pre-eminence is threatened by growing international competition, demographic changes in the college-age population, and budget constraints. It contends that graduate education remains the engine of a highly skilled workforce, yet is vulnerable on several fronts.
The number of U.S. jobs that require a graduate degree is estimated to grow by 2.5 million by 2018, including a 17 percent increase in those requiring a doctorate and 18 percent in those requiring a master’s degree.
While underrepresented minorities are the fastest-growing segment of the population, students from these groups currently begin and complete college at far lower rates than their non-minority peers.
Internationally, the U.S. share of the global international student market has shrunk since 2000, and competition abroad is increasing. Potential international graduate students have more options today.
“IU is already working on some of the recommendations in the report, such as developing professional master’s degree programs, recruiting talented students to graduate programs and providing funding to help students complete their degrees,” Wimbush said. “But there is still much more for us to do and consider in order to be prepared for the future needs of our nation.”
The Commission on the Future of Graduate education was formed in 2009 by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Educational Testing Service to study how graduate education can meet the challenges of the 21st century.
The report can be seen online at www.fgereport.org.
Revised GRE Timeline
AUGUST – SEPTEMBER 2011
OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2011
The GRE® revised General Test will replace the current GRE General Test in August 2011.
Dean James C. Wimbush, Chair Elect of the GRE Board of Directors, said “the new tests will accurately assess the skills needed to be successful in graduate programs. The new test also provides a better testing experience for those taking the revised GRE.”
It is of utmost importance to be aware of the critical timelines and significant changes, including the introduction of the new score scale for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures. These changes will affect graduate and business school admissions processes. The University Graduate School and ETS encourage departments and admissions committees to begin to prepare now.
The first administration of the GRE revised General Test will be August 1, 2011. The revised test will incorporat changes to the test content and design.
A specialized reporting schedule that will affect the processing of applications and publishing of deadlines will be implemented:
- Score reports will be sent starting early Nov. 2011 for test takers who take the GRE revised General Test in Aug. and Sept. 2011.
- A special score reporting schedule will also be put in place for test takers who take the GRE revised General Test in Oct. and Nov.
- Score reporting will return to the regular reporting period of 10-15 days after test day in Dec.
- If applicants need to submit their GRE scores prior to Nov. 2011, they must take the current test before Aug. 1, 2011.
The score scale for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures will be changing to a new 130-170 score scale, in 1-point increments (versus 200-800 in 10-point increments on the current test). Analytical Writing scores will continue to be reported on the same 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments. Concordance information will be available and will be included on score reports starting in November 2011.
A brief summary of the changes is available on the GRE website at www.ets.org/gre/revisedtest. There are also short videos, newsletters, and other tools available at www.ets.org/gre/infocenter for those individuals who would like even more detail about the changes.
On May 26 and 27, 2010, the Indiana University Graduate School hosted the annual graduate deans meeting for Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) institutions on the Bloomington campus. The CIC member universities are the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, Indiana University, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Commission on the Future of Graduate Education report, best practices in recruitment, models for postdoc programs and issues surrounding master’s degrees were among the topics discussed by the graduate deans. Provost Karen Hanson spoke at the event, as did IU Graduate School Dean James C. Wimbush.
In the middle of June 2010, University Graduate School Dean James C. Wimbush and a delegation of a U.S. graduate deans were invited to visit a selection of German universities. The German Research Foundation (the Deutsche Forshungsgemeinschaft, or DFG) hosted and funded the visit.
The purpose was to learn more about the development of innovative graduate programs and graduate school structures in Germany and to share perspectives on similar issues in higher education facing U.S. institutions.
Their visit began in Berlin, where the U.S. delegation was provided with a comprehensive understanding of the Excellence Initiative, designed to strengthen science and research in Germany to improve competitiveness and raise the profile of its top performers in academia.
Overall the delegation visited seven universities in four days, and provided a unique opportunity for the U.S. deans to survey a wide range of structural approaches to doctoral education.
Doctoral education in Germany is changing as new, structured doctoral programs are replacing the traditional, unstructured “doktorvater” approach. The new approach emphasizes the contributions of students in the learning and research process; takes a team-oriented approach involving professors, junior faculty, researchers, and students; encourages students to take the lead in inviting speakers or organizing meetings; and provides support for students and their families to increase the number of women receiving doctorates.
The Excellence Initiative’s interdisciplinary imperative has brought about a merging of the expertise of different universities in Germany; a restructuring of universities at an administrative and curricular level to support graduate schools and graduate degree programs more similar to those found in the U.S. and Canada; and increased partnering with industry.
In terms of professional career development, much attention has been paid in Germany to “transferable skills.” One striking example was the Dahlem Research School (DRS) at the Freie Universitat Berlin, which prepares students for professionalization in academia as well as for the non-academic labor market.
One critical issue in German universities is a desire to increase the number of women earning doctorates who then continue on into the professoriate. The U.S. delegation learned several best practices including ways to enhance mentorship and provide support for families. For example, Heidelberg University provides organized childcare for infants, reimbursement for childcare costs, financial support for those with children, assistance with pregnancy and breastfeeding, and an adequate maternity leave policy.
The delegates returned with a much stronger and nuanced understanding of the substantial transformations occurring in doctoral education in Germany. The models of innovation observed during the visit provided an example of how national research leadership can stimulate radical improvements in the quality of doctoral education.