In pursuit of Ph.Ds

Much has changed at WSU since 1990, including impressive new buildings for teaching and research, burgeoning centers for collaborative research, a new president and provost, and an ambitious strategic plan for the future.

But one thing hasn’t changed: WSU produces about the same number of Ph.Ds today as it did 15 years ago, about 160 each year.

Total enrollment at WSU has increased more than 25 percent in the past 15 years, but the percentage of graduate students to undergraduates has shrunk to about 11 percent, putting WSU dead last among its peer institutions.

Creating critical mass
While quantity doesn’t always equal quality, there is a critical mass necessary for offering vibrant, innovative, interdisciplinary graduate programs. And WSU isn’t there, according to the faculty authors of the spring 2006 Graduate Education Commission Report.

Noting that “roughly half (!) of the faculty are not engaged at all” in graduate education, the report is a “call to arms” to articulate a new identity for graduate education at WSU. According to the commission — co-chaired by Richard Shumway, professor in the School of Economic Sciences, and Orlando Taylor, dean of the Graduate School at Howard University — graduate education, which draws together research and teaching, is the central mission of a research university.

Double the doctorates
Among the 13 recommendations of the Graduate Education Commission Report, one recommendation is to nearly double the number of doctorates granted each year (to about 300) and increase the campuswide graduate student enrollment to 17 percent of the student population by 2015.

Graduate Education Commission Report is available online at

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