Whether you are new to Rackham or a student continuing on your path to degree, I would like to extend my welcome and to share my excitement for the promise of a new academic year at the graduate school. In my roles as the Rackham dean, I have the opportunity to see first-hand the innovation and impact of the important work you do, and I am continually awed by the breadth of research and scholarship of Rackham students, who are more than 8,000 strong.
Rackham’s more than 100 graduate programs cover every aspect of scholarship across the humanities, the social sciences, engineering, and the physical, biological, and health sciences. Just as impressive are the distances you travel to come here from across the country and around the world. Your array of perspectives and interests are essential aspects of the diversity that makes Rackham great.
I’m proud of how graduate faculty, students, and staff continue to be deeply engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion at Rackham, and I want you to know that in the coming weeks we will be sharing details of our updated strategic plan for DEI as it enters its third year. As part of that work, we will be hosting events this year to hear more about the experience of international students at Rackham, as well as working with students, student organizations, and other stakeholders to receive feedback about Rackham programs and their strategic direction through the creation of the Rackham Diversity Advisory Committee. We will also be building on the success of our Professional Development DEI Certificate Program, which was introduced last year. Applications for the 2018—19 program are open now and close on September 21.
In addition to highlighting these efforts, I would also like to encourage each of you to take advantage of the various Rackham programs and resources available to you, encompassing everything from events to travel grants. New offerings for this year include Rackham North, which has just been launched to better connect those of you on North Campus—both master’s and doctoral students—with the community, services, and workshops of Rackham. A grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has led to the creation of a pilot Summer Program in Public Engagement and the Humanities, to launch in summer 2019, which will create opportunities for humanities faculty and graduate students to collaboratively explore, learn, and practice skills to present their research to general audiences. Over the summer, we collaborated with the University Career Center to establish a new position focused on doctoral-student career advancement, and we will soon be sharing information on expanded internship opportunities in the biosciences. Next week, we will launch a new website for the school that has been designed with a goal of better serving our student population.
We are always committed to finding new ways to enhance student success, improve graduate education, and catalyze new research in the field of graduate education. As part of this effort, we survey different groups of Rackham students to learn more about your experiences. It is important that we hear from students from all backgrounds and programs. Therefore, if you receive a survey invitation from us, I hope you will participate so that all of us at Rackham—and those who follow us—can benefit. These research surveys dovetail with the planning and outreach we are doing with faculty and student organizations to develop long-term strategies for your benefit.
I look forward to your accomplishments in the year ahead; all of us at Rackham will strive to be a valuable resource for helping you to achieve them.
Dean and Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs – Graduate Studies