As part of the Graduate School’s ongoing efforts to support the University’s graduate student population, the charge of this task force is to examine all aspects of the current climate and conditions related to graduate assistants across the University. The Graduate School’s Strategic Plan specifically identifies the priority goal of Advancing Strategies in Support of Graduate Education Quality, which includes improving graduate student support and conducting regular graduate program reviews.
The Task Force was jointly appointed by Dr. Nicholas Jones, executive vice president and provost, and Dr. Regina Vasilatos-Younken, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School, to examine all aspects and conditions related to graduate assistants across the University. As stated by Provost Jones, “While considerable progress has already been made to advance the goals of improving graduate student support, it is important to take the next step and explore student-centered factors that impact graduate program quality. In particular, the current environment within which graduate students fulfill their assistantship responsibilities, and how these responsibilities interact with their academic requirements and relationship with their advisers, should be examined, as well as their impact on graduate students’ welfare and professional development.”
The charge of the Task Force is to examine these and related issues across the institution to determine whether there are additional initiatives or policies that need to be implemented or modified, or best practices that should be promulgated to ensure that all graduate assistants are able to pursue their education and scholarship within environments that are supportive, professional, inclusive, and respectful.
The Task Force is chaired by Suzanne Adair, assistant dean for graduate student affairs in the Graduate School. Recommendations from the Task Force will be submitted to Provost Jones and Dean Vasilatos-Younken for consideration.
The Task Force kicked off before the winter break and is comprised of graduate students, faculty, and academic administrators committed to graduate education at Penn State. Graduate assistants and representatives from the Graduate Council and the Graduate and Professional Student Association have been invited to join the Task Force, along with representatives from across all graduate program broad disciplinary domains and cultures, from both University Park (UP) and non-UP campus locations with significant numbers of graduate assistants, to reflect the full diversity of the graduate education community at Penn State. The Task Force will be using multiple means to obtain representative and robust data and input to assure the validity of its conclusions and support its recommendations.
As the Task Force’s work progresses, further information about the Task Force, its recommendations, and the University’s responses, etc., will be made available at gradtaskforce.psu.edu.
Questions about the Task Force may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.