Debra W. Stewart

Vice Chancellor and Dean
North Carolina State University
incoming President of the Council of Graduate Schools

From a presentation on February 20, 2000
at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools in Nashville, Tennessee

"The second major question that graduate deans must answer is what will we do with students while they are enrolled in our graduate schools? Again, the major themes that will dominate the first decades of the 21st century were telegraphed at the end of the 20th century. Opportunities to work and learn at the interface of disciplines, attention to breadth as well as depth of disciplines, and attention to the ethical underpinning of one will increase in importance as we go forward. Furthermore, the growing need to prepare students for non-academic as well as academic careers challenges us to help graduate students hone such skills as team building, leadership, and communication. And finally, the growth in knowledge about how people learn and about the technology of learning requires universities to exploit the possibilities of changes in delivery and pedagogy; to provide education that is interactive, collaborative, learner-centered, and often distance-based and asynchronous. Here again, in response to these challenges, graduate deans are building relationships that will transform the student experience. One illustration here is the Graduate Professional Development program at the University of Texas at Austin, where a partnership among the Office of Graduate Studies, the Provost's Office and the Center for Teaching Effectiveness has led to the creation of at least 12 courses coordinated by the graduate school on topics ranging from academic writing to professional ethics to entrepreneurship to teaching with technology."