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June 22, 2007

UMBC Receives Grant From Council of Graduate Schools to Help Students Complete Doctorates

Mike Lurie

Office: 410-455-6380
Cellphone: 443-695-0262

June 22, 2007

BALTIMORE – The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is one of 22 select institutions, including Yale, Cornell and Duke, to receive a three-year grant from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) to support increased completion rates in doctoral programs. Today, nearly one out of every two doctoral students never finishes the degree.

This major initiative in graduate education, known as the Ph.D. Completion Project, is designed to help graduate students complete their doctorates in the sciences, engineering and mathematics and the humanities and social sciences. Participating institutions, or Research Partners, are developing strategies to reduce attrition and increase completion rates.

UMBC, which has received a $50,000 grant, will use the grant to collect and submit data on doctoral completion and attrition, implement such support strategies as mentoring and financial assistance and develop rigorous assessment tools to measure the impact of these efforts.

The Research Partners, which also include Purdue, UCLA and Brown, were selected by an external committee of leaders from academia, industry and research programs on minority graduate education.

“This award reflects the confidence nationally recognized experts have in UMBC's comprehensive approach to supporting doctoral students,” said Scott Bass, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School and vice president of research.

“UMBC’s approach builds on the successful efforts that underlie the university’s undergraduate scholars programs, including student study groups and a spirit of cooperative learning. This process is designed to ensure that talented students achieve at the highest levels in a timely manner. It has the potential to be a model for other research universities around the country,” Bass said.

“The attrition of Ph.D. students from doctoral programs in the United States has reached a level where approximately one out of every two students never finishes the degree. The UMBC approach is one that seeks to significantly increase Ph.D. completion.”

Funding for the initiative comes from Pfizer Inc. and the Ford Foundation. The Council of Graduate Schools, which recognized UMBC in December 2002 with the Peterson’s Award for Building an Inclusive Graduate Community, is an organization of over 480 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. CGS member institutions award more than 90% of the doctoral degrees and over 75% of the master’s degrees in the U.S.

Posted by mlurie at June 22, 2007 5:09 PM