Story Contact(s):
Brian Consiglio, consigliob@missouri.edu, 573-882-9144

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Association of American Universities has selected the University of Missouri to participate in the AAU Ph.D. Education Initiative, which aims to change the culture surrounding doctoral education by diversifying career pathways. As one of only eight universities selected for the project, MU leaders will examine recent initiatives that have improved the graduate student experience and explore areas for growth that foster career success.

“The departments of chemistry, English and communication have committed to create a departmental culture where diverse career paths for Ph.D. graduates are visible, viable and valued,” said Jeni Hart, dean of the MU Graduate School and vice provost for Graduate Studies. “This rare combination of STEM, humanities and social science departments will bring new perspectives to making a culture change in graduate education.”

The project will build on and establish new initiatives that may include bringing recent doctoral graduates back to campus to talk with students about their career paths, reviewing current programs to prepare graduate students for job opportunities, and studying the effects of the program on helping graduate students achieve their educational and professional goals. Currently, there are 190 graduate students in the departments included in the pilot program but organizers said the initiative could grow to include all graduate students.

“The Ph.D. Education Initiative will help prepare doctoral students for careers both within and beyond academia,” MU Provost Latha Ramchand said. “In keeping with our strategic goals that emphasize research and student success, our work as university leaders is not complete unless we do everything we can to give students the tools they need to be successful in their future careers.”

MU joins Boston University, Duke University, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Iowa, University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia as the Association of American Universities member campuses selected for the Ph.D. Education Initiative.

Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of America’s leading research universities. The association’s mission is to transform lives through education, research and innovation. Member universities earn funding for research that improves public health, seeks to address national challenges, and contributes to economic strength.