Graduate students: National doctoral program survey

AAllan at AOL.COM AAllan at AOL.COM
Mon Jan 10 14:28:32 UTC 2000

If you're in a doctoral program, or were in one within the past 5 years,
please note . . .


Dear Dr. Metcalf:

The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) has
recently received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to conduct a
survey of doctoral students on their graduate school experiences.  The
survey will be completed on the Web <> by current
and recent doctoral students from January - May 2000, and the results made
publicly available on the Web on a department specific basis in September.

This effort is a follow-up to a more limited survey which occurred this
past spring, which was aimed at science and engineering doctoral students.
The aggregate results from that survey are available at

The survey we are conducting is unique in at least two important ways: it
collects information on a department-specific basis, not only averaged
over entire institutions or disciplines (though discipline-level results
will also be available).  So it will be possible to look at, for instance,
responses from individual linguistics programs, or to rank chemistry
departments based on faculty mentoring.  And it makes this data publicly
available on the Internet in Fall 2000.  So we'll be opening the door
about the situation in individual departments for wider viewing by
graduate students, prospective students, faculty, administrators, etc.

The survey is based upon best practices and covers issues in a number of
areas, including information for prospective students, curriculum breadth
and flexibility, career guidance and placement services, faculty
mentoring, time to degree, department climate, teaching, professionalism,
and overall satisfaction.  In other words, the sort of best practices and
concerns outside of the reputation.  The NAGPS survey itself will run from
January 18-May 1, 2000, and will be available on the Web at
<> (which already has a number of resources).

For this survey to be useful, it is vital that we reach as many current
and recent doctoral students (anyone who has been enrolled for at least
one semester in the past five years) as possible.  We are hoping that we
can encourage a significant percentage of students to respond so that the
results will represent a broad range of experiences and a realistic
picture of department and institutional practices.

In order to realize this level of participation, getting the word out is
obviously very important.  One of the publicity strategies we're employing
is trying to reach current and recent doctoral students through the major
professional societies and organizations, such as the ADS.  (Other
strategies include messages to relevant e-mail listservs, coverage in
campus and national media, and working through graduate student
organizations, department chairs and graduate deans, other organizations,

Since the ADS reaches so many current and recent doctoral students, it is
certainly one of the organizations of prime importance for getting the
word out.  We have thought of a few strategies for spreading the word
among your membership (and would welcome additional ideas and
suggestions):  (1) distribution on e-mail listservs that reach a high
number of graduate students and recent graduates, those who have left
their programs, etc.; (2) notice in newsletters and other publications
that current and former students might see; and (3) publicity at meetings
and conferences.  We are happy to provide whatever resources and materials
that would facilitate distribution (e.g., flyers, letters, posters, etc.).
We would certainly appreciate any insight you have on publicity within
(and outside of) the ADS.

As a bit of background on our organization, NAGPS represents nearly
900,000 graduate and professional students on 150 member campuses and is
dedicated to improving the quality of graduate and professional student
life and education by actively promoting the interests and welfare of
graduate- and professional-degree-seeking students.

Of course, I'd be happy to answer any questions or provide any more info.
Thanks for your assistance in this important effort!

--Adam Fagen

Adam Fagen, Chair
Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty-Student Relations
National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS)

NAGPS Web:                   
The National Doctoral Program Survey:

Adam Fagen                   \                   afagen at
Molecular Biology/Education  /
Harvard University GSAS      \  

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