Message from the Dean
Welcome to the University of Minnesota! It's an honor to be entrusted with the leadership of graduate education at one of the nation's leading public research universities.
We are in a period of change unlike anything we've seen since graduate education emerged in U.S. universities a century ago. Graduate schools throughout the country are challenged by dramatically shifting demographics, the need to prepare graduate and professional students for roles in new and emerging areas of inquiry and practice, and the global marketplace in which we recruit.
Other countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are reforming their educational systems and building new graduate schools and international programs from scratch. This opens up new opportunities for collaboration and exchange that will benefit our students. At the same time we have to pay attention that we remain attractive to students inside and outside the United States, and to students with a diversity of views and experiences, despite the ongoing financial constraints and the high costs of graduate study. We have to work hard to remain the go-to country for graduate education.
We recognize that we need to change processes, become more flexible, and respond to the explosion of knowledge around us by adapting existing programs or creating new courses and research opportunities faster and more efficiently than ever before. I am excited and optimistic about the University’s commitment to refocus and renew our success in graduate and professional education. Already, a new university-wide governance system for graduate education has been created that allows for more decision-making at the collegiate level and timely implementation of program changes. New graduate education policies improve the balance among coursework, research training, and independent scholarly work – resulting in greater curricular flexibility and earlier opportunities for students to engage in research and scholarly activities.
Throughout this transition, our priority is to improve every aspect of graduate students’ educational experience. What is the greatest challenge for a graduate student? There are many, but I think it is particularly hard to make the transition from being a student who absorbs knowledge to someone who creates new knowledge. Graduate students become knowledge generators and producers by learning how to conduct original research and, above all, by doing original research. They have to emerge as independent critical thinkers with moral responsibility—autonomous, yet able to work in a team.
This requires a delicate balance of intense mentoring and coursework, on the one hand, as well as providing room for individual growth, new ideas, and the freedom to take risks. We in the Graduate School will work with everyone on campus to create an environment for graduate students in which they can thrive, mature, and reach their educational goals.
The changes that we’ve implemented – and those still to come – position us at the forefront, nationally and internationally, of developing new ways to deliver, administer, and continuously improve graduate education. I welcome your input and I look forward to a continued dialogue in the years to come. I hope you will join us for the exciting initiatives ahead.
Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education