Graduate students now have a venue to share thoughts, ideas and suggestions about their graduate experience at the university.
On Sunday, Feb. 7, the Graduate School e-mailed an online "climate survey" to current graduate students, soliciting information about academic experiences, departmental climates, mental health and work-life balance.
"This survey is designed to provide a deep understanding of the graduate student experience and identify our strengths as well as areas we can improve," said Victoria Rodríguez, vice provost and dean of graduate studies.
Chandra Muller, a sociology professor at the university who is leading the Graduate Student Climate Survey team, said the survey underwent rigorous procedures to protect student confidentiality, and that it will it will be impossible for students to be linked to any of their responses.
The survey was created with input from an advisory council composed of graduate students from across campus. Muller and her team -- research assistants Anna Mueller, Caitlin Hamrock and Sarah Blanchard -- have created a survey they hope will assist the Graduate School and the university in understanding the attitudes, ideas and experiences of graduate students who are currently enrolled.
"We want to make this a study for the students to be used by the university," Muller said. "This is a setting where the graduate students are going to get some formal power. People are going to come together and have a voice about what they need."
Once the survey period has ended, Muller and her team will write a report based on the survey's findings geared toward bringing about policy changes that will help graduate students.
"Having such a large, diverse graduate student body, we really have a unique opportunity to make a contribution to policy and graduate education in the U.S.," Anna Mueller said.