Current Status Report - September 2011
Text in red denotes new activity since previous status report.

Improve the quality and impact of the Ph.D. programs of the Graduate School through targeted investments and carefully focused expansion

Action Taken

  • Increased base stipends for University fellowships from $12,800 in 2001–02 to $19,500 in 2010-11 to be more competitive
  • Conducted, through the Working Group for Graduate Education, an exhaustive, data-intensive review and evaluation of each of Brown’s 66 advanced-degree programs
  • Surveyed each of our doctoral programs to determine the scale and pace of desired growth as part of the Working Group’s review
  • Launched new four-part training series for directors of graduate study in doctoral programs to assist them with issues around recruiting, advising, and ensuring their students' timely and successful completion
  • Developed first phase of a new online system for tracking the academic progress and financial support of all graduate students. Additional phases include fully automating application and student appointment processes
  • Assessed English-language competency training needs for incoming students across all programs and coordinated with the International Teaching Assistants program on strategies for improving and expanding their offerings. Created means to track language competency levels in Banner
  • Worked with English for International Teaching Assistants (ITA) program to revise the minimum-score standards for the TOEFL and IELTS to make them more reflective of the standards for our peers
  • Instituted GRE minimum-score standards for applicants to doctoral programs
  • Revised and will continue to revise and republish online version of Graduate Handbook
  • Launched new metrics for annual reviews of graduate programs
  • As part of initiative for full automation of application process, created and used electronic notification of admission decisions
  • Launched three new doctoral programs, anchored at the Center for Computational Molecular Biology, and gained approval for the Africana Studies program
  • Created Dean’s Advisory Group on Graduate Student Life and convened twice to examine and address opportunities and challenges identified in the NEASC report
  • Refined communications tools to better target messaging to students by program type and stage of advancement
  • Designed new website based on faculty, student, and staff needs and input
  • Implemented new Graduate School website in August 2010, featuring user-based navigation, web-friendly content, multimedia features, and social media
  • Developed the second phase of the online system to make the student appointment process electronic
  • Worked with a vendor to expand the online application system to include full automation of the admission process, with plans to be paperless by Fall 2011

Action Needed

  • Work to implement the findings of the Working Group on Graduate Education as feasible. Issues addressed by the Working Group include:
    • Growth: The Working Group recommends in the strongest terms the need for growth of the Graduate School
    • Funding: An increase in summer and conference travel support for students
    • Early start: The creation of an Early Start Program for incoming graduate students, especially for international graduate students
  • Coordinate initiatives for internationalization to offer feedback and guidance on new agreements that may affect graduate students at Brown and at new partner institutions
  • Work with CIS and potential third party vendor(s) to expand the new online system to include full automation of the admission process
  • Continue to implement recommendations from Working Group on Graduate Education
  • Respond to recommendations from NEASC report
  • Continue the growth of the Graduate School in targeted areas
  • Continue to develop the competitiveness of our financial packages
  • Develop an Open Graduate Curriculum pilot project to enable high performing PhD candidates to undertake a secondary master’s program in another field
  • Expand opportunities for programs to offer recruiting incentives through the Graduate School's Financial Plan
  • Improve ability to monitor admission process and the emerging cohort of new admits through an updated application system
  • Develop an e-appointment process
  • Expand access to summer acculturation and language training programs
  • Develop mechanism for the certification of international Teaching Assistants
  • Align capacity and services in student life, career development, academic events, and other areas with growth in the graduate population
  • Improve mechanism of matching TA resources to needs
  • Expand use of social media in promoting graduate programs and attracting talented students


  • Provost
  • Dean of the Graduate School

Return to [Phase II - Enhance Academic Excellence at Brown by Increasing the level and quality of support for key Academic Departments and Programs]