Strategy 2-A

Develop sustainable funding for doctoral education


Purpose behind creating a Work Group on Doctoral Funding

Doctoral programs at a public research university such as KU are integral to both our teaching and our research missions. Doctoral education factors into our national rankings (US News & World Report, National Research Council, etc.), and affects our standing in the AAU. Attracting top-notch doctoral students to our programs requires that we have excellent faculty and excellent programs, and that we have adequate funding to attract the best doctoral students.

Funding levels for doctoral programs vary considerably across campus, and many programs are underfunded. In addition, possible changes to how we provide general education to our undergraduates may affect doctoral programs due to shifts in GTA-taught or GTA-assisted courses.

Goal 2, Strategy A of Bold Aspirations focuses on developing sustainable funding for doctoral education. A work group with wide faculty representation has been formed to consider a range of different mechanisms for funding doctoral education at KU.

The purpose of this work group is to:

  • determine what the current model(s) for funding doctoral education at KU is or are, and to identify strengths and weaknesses of the current approach;
  • research different models that other institutions employ for funding doctoral programs, focusing in particular on peer and aspirational peer institutions; and
  • propose a funding model or models for doctoral education that would be most successful at KU.

This is not intended to be business as usual. The proposed model(s) should

  • be something that KU can reasonably accomplish;
  • take into account the relationship between graduate student numbers and the ability of programs to mentor students appropriately, reach appropriate target completion and time to degree goals, and place graduates in appropriate positions upon completion; and
  • not be burdened by the current funding model(s).

As the KU Core curriculum is developed, this group will work with the transition committee for the KU core to predict the effect on graduate funding and build a funding model that best responds to the effect of the new KU Core curriculum on GTA assignments.

Follow the progress of the Doctoral Education Work Group through the meeting minutes below.


Doctoral Education Work Group Roster – Faculty

  • Danny Anderson (chair) – College Dean's Office
  • Mary Banwart – Communication Studies
  • Monica Biernat – Psychology
  • Byron Caminero-Santangelo – English
  • Leisha Dehart Davis – Public Affairs & Administration
  • Michael Detamore – Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
  • David Fowle – Geology
  • Laci Gerhart – Graduate Student in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Jim Guthrie – Business
  • Marsha Haufler – College Dean's Office
  • Jim Orr – Molecular Biosciences
  • Chris Petr – Social Welfare
  • Nathan Presnell – Graduate Student in Spanish & Portuguese
  • Robert Rohrschneider – Political Science
  • John Rury – Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
  • Emily Scott – Medicinal Chemistry
  • Leslie Tuttle – History

Doctoral Education Work Group Roster – Staff Support

  • John Augusto – Graduate Studies
  • Heather Eastlund – Provost's Office
  • Sandra Hannon – Office of Institutional Research & Planning
  • Jenny Mehmedovic – Change Facilitator
  • Kathy Pryor – Change Facilitator
Bold Aspirations

Bold Aspirations is the strategic plan for KU, comprising individual plans for the following:

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Jaclyn Carpenter, a junior studying American Studies, took a moment after finishing her finals to wander around Marvin Grove — know the feeling? But Jaclyn told us her semester was a good one. Her favorite class this year? Jewish American Literature, "because professor Cheryl Lester really knows how to engage with her classes." This made us want to know: What was your favorite class and why? Jaclyn added some advice: “You're only on this campus for four years, so take any free time you have to explore all the unique wonders it has." We love that idea, Jaclyn. #exploreKU

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