Graduate Community Initiative seeks integrated approach

Cornell's Graduate School has created the new position of assistant dean for graduate student life and has developed a task force to address concerns outlined in the Graduate Community Initiative.

The initiative is a vision statement and proposal presented to the Cornell Board of Trustees in March by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA). It addresses critical and constant issues in graduate and professional student life at Cornell, taking an integrated approach across schools and disciplines and examining all relevant university services and resources.

The task force is co-chaired by Graduate School Dean Alison G. Power and Vice President for Student and Academic Services Susan H. Murphy.

"Our goal [in the Graduate School] is to be proactive and anticipate the needs of students in all aspects of their time at Cornell," Power said.

The initiative encourages the university to respond with "efforts to help the students come together as a totality by forming a graduate community that would cross fields and cross programs," said Graduate School Associate Dean J. Ellen Gainor. "It's challenging for graduate students to find ways to connect with each other outside of their own units."

The Graduate Community Initiative includes three requests of the university:

Several constant, critical issues facing the graduate and professional student community are outlined in the initiative and may be resolved by an integrated approach to community. They include:

The full report is available online at

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