June 16, 2022
Dear IU Bloomington Faculty, Staff and Student Academic Appointees,
We continue to make important progress in supporting our graduate students and I am writing to update our campus community on a few of these items.
First, the Task Force on Graduate Education is making good progress.
- The working group on Financial Support will hold its first meeting next Wednesday, June 22. This first working group includes 14 total members, four of which are graduate students.
- The Task Force anticipates finalizing the membership of our second working group on Health & Wellness within the next week – with its first meeting taking place soon thereafter.
- We are fortunate to have dozens of faculty and students who have expressed interest in joining the working groups. As we move into the fall semester and finalize membership of several other working groups, each is likely to have approximately 12-15 members with representation from both faculty and graduate students.
I’m encouraged by and thankful for the participation of students and faculty from across disciplines and programs. Their leadership will be crucial to the development of lasting solutions to the concerns raised by our SAAs and faculty.
Second, I want to thank student representatives from groups, including the Latiné Graduate & Professional Student Union at Indiana University, the leadership of the IU Student Government Association, the School of Optometry Vision Science Program, and the Latinx Law Student Association, for productive meetings this week with James Wimbush, Dean of the University Graduate School, and David Daleke, Associate Dean of the University Graduate School. While representatives of the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition (IGWC) declined to accept Dean Wimbush’s invitation to this first meeting, we will continue to invite them to forthcoming meetings.
In conversations that took place both yesterday and today, Dean Wimbush and Associate Dean Daleke heard a range of themes in comments from student leaders, including the importance of transparency about graduate student costs, the competitiveness of IU’s graduate student stipends in comparison to other institutions, and the need for ongoing communication to students (graduate and undergraduate) about efforts to improve the graduate student experience.
These comments outlined substantive concerns and proposed meaningful pathways to solutions, all of which will be shared directly with leadership of our working groups ahead of their first meetings to help provide important context for their work.
Finally, it is important that this dialogue continue in the weeks ahead, with input flowing to our working groups on an ongoing basis. To that end, Dean Wimbush and Associate Dean Daleke plan for additional meetings in July to update student leaders on progress and to hear additional input and feedback.
I hope to see even greater participation at the next round of meetings in July so we continue to hear a broad range of perspectives as we work together to develop meaningful solutions. This includes representatives of the IGWC and other graduate student groups.
There is much more to do, but I am deeply appreciative of the engagement from our campus community and am hopeful for meaningful progress in the weeks to come.
Indiana University Bloomington