A comprehensive strategic vision supports solid enrollment
In 2009, the University launched a major initiative addressing graduate studies. The goal was to enhance quality and provide a more supportive, rigorous environment across the institution’s 120-plus autonomous graduate programs.
To advance that vision, the Office of Graduate Studies, led by Associate Provost Barbara Wilcots, has worked steadily, streamlining and standardizing processes, improving services and helping programs innovate.
Among recent accomplishments, all graduate applications are now completed and submitted online, the University’s policies are more seamlessly integrated into every program to ensure consistent quality and rigor, and three new positions have allowed enhanced support in the areas of student services, enrollment management and career services.
In addition, Wilcots said, many of the graduate and professional schools have established new academic programs aligned with the University’s commitment to serving the public good. “We are creating consistent graduate programs that are responsive to the world and the communities in which we live,” she said.
For example, the Sturm College of Law has introduced centers of excellence that build on its strengths in areas such as environmental and natural resources law, international and comparative law, and constitutional rights and remedies. The Daniels College of Business has partnered with the Morgridge College of Education to offer an MBA with a concentration in school leadership to prepare future school administrators to meet the challenges facing education. Meanwhile, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies initiated the SIÉ CHÉOU-KANG Center’s Sié Fellows program to prepare students for careers in international security or diplomacy.
These efforts resulted in solid enrollments across the programs in 2010. In addition, graduate enrollment figures remained strong in fall 2011, with some programs, such as the Sturm College of Law, intentionally cutting enrollments in a bid to enhance selectivity and in response to a post-recession decrease in the demand for graduates.
In addition to supporting graduate programs, the Office of Graduate Studies also launched a graduate student professional development fund. The $25,000 fund supports graduate student research and conference participation.
“We really are an institution that cares about the public good,” Wilcots explained, noting that her staff “is committed to supporting all of DU’s graduate programs as they strive to deliver exceptional academic programs that meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.”