Graduate Studies can be institution hallmark
Aguilar accepted the Office of Graduate Studies deanship six
months ago. Already shes visited with many campus units,
brought office staff together to assess effectiveness and moved
toward making graduate education a hallmark of the institution.
also making a case to change the offices name to UNM Graduate
a school, we can give more attention to critical local, regional,
national and international issues that impact graduate education.
We can also collaborate with our campus constituents to establish
a UNM vision of graduate education while expressing our mission
externally, said Aguilar.
the first few months as dean getting acquainted with key offices
with whom OGS interacts.
established the priorities for our office consistent with the
Universitys Strategic Plan, said Aguilar. I
needed to develop a sense of where we fit in the operational
scheme of things.
attended department meetings of some academic units.
want to see improvement in Graduate Studies. They have seen
the office as a bureaucratic nightmare, she said.
a staff retreat, Graduate Studies first critiqued, then streamlined
the workflow, she said. We hold regular staff meetings
where we provide announcements and direction. When I got here,
people were just keeping things going. They had no time to pull
back and reflect. Now were changing some projects from
manual to electronic formats and were looking at timeliness
and responsiveness, she said.
Studies needs additional resources to enhance the experiences,
support and professional preparation of graduate students. I
am working with the Development Office to develop fundraising
strategies in collaboration with others, she said.
a marketing task force of 20 from across campus the Teaching
Assistant Resource Center (TARC), associate deans, KNME, research
and other offices to look at ways to market, improve the visibility
and perception of graduate education and to raise money.
group is looking at ways departments and Graduate Studies can
market various graduate programs. We are looking at the
image of our graduate programs locally and nationally. We are
assessing the resource base for recruiting to our graduate programs,
plans an aggressive approach to draw graduate students to UNM.
We cant depend upon a single strategy to attract
graduate students. We cant afford a piecemeal approach
to graduate student recruitment or graduate program promotion.
We can, however, afford to educate more graduate students in
many of our programs and we need to invest strategically in
recruitment efforts that work for us, she said.
are the reason
said that she would like to link current students to awards
available through foundations and organizations.
are yearly competitions for graduate support offered by the
Ford Foundation, the AAUW and the Spencer Foundation. Our students
fit the targeted group for these programs, yet we have so few
engaged in these national competitions, she said.
4,500 graduate students and only 1,500 assistantships, we want
to be instrumental in increasing fellowships and scholarships.
We want our students to be competitive when it comes to receiving
grants and contracts, she said.
makes it clear that Graduate Studies doesnt create policy,
rather it is charged to enforce it. For example, a graduate
student must maintain a 3.0 GPA to qualify for an assistantship.
The deadline to submit paperwork for spring assistantships is
a student earns a 2.6 GPA, we wont know until January.
The policy states that the student loses the assistantship,
but that isnt practical with class scheduling. We are
proposing that the student be allowed to continue for the spring
semester but be dropped as a teaching assistant the following
semester, she said.
like to facilitate discussions about best practices
for mentoring graduate students.
would like to identify some faculty who are strongly committed
to mentoring graduate students, said Aguilar.
a model of diversity
she sees graduate education in five years, Aguilar said it will
be more visible and unapologetically diverse.
will not be odd to see women of all races in science; more men
in nursing, physical therapy and other helping professions.
Ethnic diversity will extend across the board. That will be
one of UNMs recognized strengths, she said.
classified a Hispanic Serving Institution based solely on its
our 189 doctoral students who graduated last year, only three
were Hispanics, eight or nine Native American and 33 were international
students, she said.
said that at the graduate level, UNM is not very diverse. Programmatically
we are. We have great offerings through the Latin American Studies
and other programs, but we are not personally diverse with our
graduate students. That requires changing criteria, she
Record Examination is one of the best predictors of ones
social class, she said, but it does not assess the ability
to finish a graduate program, she noted. Likewise, a students
GPA is a record of past achievement only.
If we value
diversity, then the criteria addressed in admissions needs to
be revisited, she said.
can look at a students volunteer work at a food bank,
for example, and recognize that he or she has had direct experience
with people of color and people in poverty, she said.
said that if students have had leadership roles in their volunteer
experiences in diverse settings then they would be more apt
to value diversity.
am opposed to using race as a stand-alone criterion. There are
other criteria that could result in a more diverse graduate
student body. For example, valuing bilingualism demonstrates
a value in diversity. Our criteria must reflect what we value,
to change criteria increases the likelihood of maintaining the
status quo, she said.
need to change to make the institution and its programs more
attractive to a more diverse student population. We should not
ask students to change to fit in a box, she said. Dealing
with complicated issues requires some discomfort, but we can
build a critical mass of people who want to see graduate education
with a more positive image and inclusive practices.