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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Graduate Education 2.0

Graduate Education 2.0

In the College of Natural Sciences’ student community, about one in every 10 learners is here to pursue a graduate degree.

b2ap3_thumbnail_dogc.jpgGraduate students fill many roles as:

  • the people who perform the bulk of the day-to-day research with faculty,
  • teachers and mentors to countless undergraduates across campus, and
  • important leaders in vital academic programs like the Freshman Research Initiative and outreach programs like the Physics Circus.

Graduate students are often called the lifeblood of the College because without them much of what happens at a place like UT Austin—from breakthrough discoveries that impact society to building the STEM workforce of the future—would grind to a halt.

Recognizing their central role in the life of the college, Dean Linda Hicke appointed Dan Knopf, a professor of mathematics, to be the college's first associate dean for graduate education in the fall. Now Knopf is focusing on how to create a vision and strategic direction for all graduate education across the college. Fostering dialogue between and among graduate students—as well as among faculty members—is an essential part of the effort.

"What we have now is version 1.0," he says. "Let's start to have a conversation about what graduate education would look like in an ideal world. I'm fully aware of all the obstacles to getting there, but as happens in improv comedy, I want people to respond to each other with a 'Yes, and …' rather than a 'Yes, but …'."

Knopf recently formed the Dean's Office Graduate Council, made up of student representatives from each of the college's 15 graduate programs. The council acts as a liaison between the full graduate student body, faculty and administrators. The emergence of the Council is one element in a series of initiatives aimed at both promoting current graduate students’ success and helping the College attract the best and brightest future graduate students.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin is home to 12 top-ten graduate programs. However, this competitive advantage is only part of what draws graduate students to a campus like this. Support for graduate students – including competitive fellowships – can make a real difference.

“Graduate students play a crucial role in the ecosystem of the college,” Dean Hicke said at a recent College of Natural Sciences road show event in San Antonio. Because the road shows are all about connecting with alumni and friends and getting them in the loop about exciting, groundbreaking news of the College, staff and faculty at the events find themselves talking a lot about graduate students.

If you're in the New York City area on April 29, be sure and join us for our alumni & friends road show (more details). Have a complimentary lunch with Dean Hicke, learn about ways to connect with the college and also hear about some exciting recent discoveries.

Also watch our new video to see more of our all-important graduate students in action:



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Friday, 27 January 2023

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