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The Graduate School

      Minds. The Newsletter for Students, Faculty, Friends and Alumni of the Graduate 
Sally Francis.

Dean’s Note:

Thanks to the warm response to our premiere issue of Open Minds, we’re back with more stories about the people and programs of OSU’s Graduate School. We were delighted to hear from many readers that our new on-line newsletter helped them appreciate the dynamic nature of OSU graduate programs, and the caliber of faculty and students we attract. The success stories just keep coming, and we look forward to sharing them in many future editions of Open Minds.

We received quite a few comments on what you liked, didn’t like, and would enjoy reading in upcoming issues. Right up front, you’ve probably noticed that your feedback encouraged us make a big change in the format of our newsletter. Instead of a downloadable PDF, Open Minds is now in a menu-driven format, so you can move faster to the articles you most want to read.

You told us you enjoyed the showcase of award-winning students, and we’ve brought you three more of these inspiring profiles. You also asked for background on how we measure graduate programs, to make sure they’re keeping step with the highest rated programs in the country. In response, we’ve included an article on the Graduate School’s program review process, which combines departments’ self-evaluations with the recommendations of outside experts. You’ll see how this process has forced both large and small problems into the open, where they can be discussed and resolved.

The other articles in this issue describe, from a variety of standpoints, how the nationwide movement toward interdisciplinary studies is being reflected in OSU graduate programs. We’re preparing our students for a world whose increasingly complex challenges often demand a multi-discipline approach. As traditional programs flex to encourage more integration and interdisciplinary cooperation, universities are grappling with the philosophical and practical management questions that arise. We saw evidence of this at the recent Council of Graduate Schools conference in San Francisco, where attendance for a panel presentation on interdisciplinary studies overflowed into the hallway.

So you can imagine how excited we are to be introducing Ann Schauber as our new Director of Interdisciplinary Programs. Ann brings the perfect combination of skills to lead the campus in the discussion of building and supporting a more interdisciplinary approach to graduate education.

We’re also introducing three new graduate programs that link coursework and research across colleges. The Master of Business and Engineering in Construction Engineering Management brings together the resources of the Construction Engineering Management program and the College of Business. The construction industry is a significant contributor to Oregon’s economy, and business leaders are looking to this program to support growth through the northwest. The new Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Natural Resources is also designed to promote cross-discipline thinking and problem solving. This intensive 14-week program merges forestry and agricultural coursework with concepts from anthropology, economics, philosophy, and sociology. A third new program, the PhD in Applied Anthropology, was developed to help students apply anthropological techniques to complex situations in a wide variety of cultural, business, health, and natural resource domains.

Leading research agencies are among the forces driving the move toward interdisciplinary studies. To see how, read the article on OSU’s two new Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) projects, funded by The National Science Foundation as part of its efforts to “catalyze a cultural change in graduate education.” IGERT funding is awarded to the nation’s most innovative models of collaborative research, and we are extremely proud of these two initiatives.

Our greatest point of pride will always be our students. We’d love to tell you about every one of them, but short of that, we’ll introduce a couple of organizations that represent this academic elite: the Graduate Affairs Task Force of ASOSU, which gave students the opportunity to present their work, in its vast diversity, at the Graduate Student Conference in May, and honor society Phi Kappa Phi, which introduced 14 new graduate student members this year.

Thank you for taking this opportunity to learn more about what OSU graduate programs have to offer. And please pass Open Minds along to friends and colleagues, and let them know that if they send us their email addresses, we’ll include them on our distribution list for future issues. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please drop us a line at:

Sally Francis, PhD
Dean, OSU Graduate School