With the new organization of the Graduate School, there are ongoing initiatives to build important new graduate degree programs, spanning disciplines and motivated by the important world problems that governments, NGO’s, the private sector, and academia are tackling. We’re adding graduate students to the Hilltop.

This increase fits into a larger strategy of continued improvement at Georgetown. First, we have recommitted to the formation of young minds as a key component to our mission; we’ve concluded that for the 21st century formation, we need to enrich the possibilities of learning through original research. We’re getting repeated input that students more effectively acquire life-long learning skills when they learn material through the rigor of original research. Through the Designing the Future(s) Initiative, we’re trying to invent new ways to create project-based and research-based learning opportunities.

Second, we realize that we need more research activities at Georgetown in order to provide the opportunities for large numbers of students to engage in those experiences. Our goal is that every undergraduate have exposure to alternative ways of scholarship and research before they exit. To increase the volume, more graduate programs are necessary in order to increase the potential linkages between graduate and undergraduate students in the same research activities.

Third, many Georgetown students are supplementing the traditional liberal arts undergraduate degree with Master’s and/or professional graduate degrees, to acquire occupationally relevant knowledge and skills. We want to create new forms of graduate education, more fully integrated with undergraduate experiences.

These moves have focused attention on life as a graduate student at Georgetown. What’s is like to be a graduate student at Georgetown? We’ve learned a lot from the strong leadership of the Graduate Student Organization (GSO). In addition to informal talks and presence of graduate students on the Provost Student Advisory Committee, we’re helping the GSO mount a survey of graduate students to learn more about joys and pains of being a Georgetown graduate student.

One weakness of Georgetown is that we have no graduate living arrangements on the Hilltop. This weakness is especially telling for students who come to our graduate programs from outside the U.S., but it also means that we have no residential space that might foster a stronger graduate student community.

We’ve had a breakthrough over the past few days, thanks the diligence of our facilities and student affairs staff, with an agreement reached with an apartment building in Rosslyn, just across the Key Bridge, to offer a set of apartments for Georgetown graduate students. The units are a mix of studios and one bedroom apartments, fully furnished. A minimum rental volume is backed by financial guarantee from the university. The building is walking-distance from the Rosslyn Metro, and we assessing the possibility of a GU bus stop at the building for convenient transportation to the campus.

If the units prove popular we have the option of expanding the number available to graduate students. As we expand our graduate program offerings, this might indeed become important.

The leadership of the new Georgetown Graduate School is working diligently to construct an environment attractive to the best graduate students in the world. This is built first on strong graduate programs led by the most productive faculty. But it also needs to include all the extracurricular enhancements that will make Georgetown the best place to do one’s post-baccalaureate education.

We have more work to do in this domain, but we’re making progress.

POSTED ON MARCH 4, 2015 BY ROBERT GROVES on The Provost's Blog