Graduate Success - Investing in Graduate Students

Investing in graduate student success

IU Bloomington will invest in graduate student success by reducing barriers to earning higher level degrees.

This aligns with IU Bloomington Bicentennial Objective Four.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Goal: IU Bloomington will reinvigorate the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Update: Katie Kearns has been instated as the assistant vice provost for student development. As the new head of office, Kearns will:

  • provide professional development for graduate students, academic units, student organizations, and postdoctoral trainees,
  • foster connections with the Grad Grants Center and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs,
  • help ensure that students are aware of campus resources such as the Graduate Mentoring Center and Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, and
  • serve as a resource for IU Bloomington graduate student academic appointees and as a liaison for the IU Bloomington Graduate and Professional Student Government.

Meet Katie

Best practices in graduate advising

Goal: Adopt nationally recognized best practices in graduate advising and mentoring.

Update: The Graduate Mentoring Center has actively participated in conferences on mentoring or presented at conferences about its programs. The GMC invites participants to join the Five-Fold Path to enter the mentoring relationship open to learning about the historical, political, and cultural contexts for each person and group.

Examples of school support for graduate students:

The Maurer School of Law supports LLMs by collaborating with its international and graduate programs colleagues, contributing to their professional development series. Maurer provides feedback on cover letters and resumes, conducts mock interviews, and provides assistance with job searches, identifying resources and helping students make connections with alumni.  

The Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies is shifting toward providing 5-year competitive support packages for top-ranked Ph.D. candidates, thereby improving the admission pool and accelerating time to degree. The Hamilton Lugar School will also accelerate its calendar of external reviews, so that by 2020, each of the school's academic departments will have been reviewed in the last five years. The school will also launch an advertising campaign, including a photo-insert in Foreign Policy, aimed at recruiting professional master's students and promoting the image of the school among employers and potential research partners.

Additional Mentoring Programs:

The Trailblazers program has provided opportunities to work with scholars in residence who model mentoring differently through their fields and their lived experiences as non-white scholars. Our approach has led to long-term relationships between faculty and students and a commitment to dialogue and community building.

Working on all these practices helped us create "Let's Talk About Mentoring", a semester-long program that brought approximately 75 faculty, staff, and students together to discuss how to create a mentoring culture at IU and introduce participants to The Graduate Mentoring Center's Five-Fold Path. The approach requires an immense time commitment from all participants and has led participants to reframe how they mentor other students. This has laid the groundwork for piloting a campus-wide mentoring training and program for faculty and graduate students.

The foundation of The Graduate Mentoring Center is its mentoring cohort. In 2015-2016 the first cohort started with six members. In 2018-2019, a total of 41 members from across campus participated. In addition, the GMC finds mentors for students who do not meet the criteria to join the cohort, in some cases asking a previous mentor to mentor them. This has allowed us to provide mentoring services to a range of students, not just those identified by the President's Diversity Initiative. Members of the mentoring cohort, however, remain with the cohort until graduation, a change in direction, or until they leave the university or go on sabbatical.

The cohort selects topics to address at a monthly meeting. At the beginning- and end-of-the-year retreats (which are also open to non-cohort participants), students and faculty are introduced to different strategies and tools for mentoring, organizing, writing, and maintaining balance. To achieve this, the cohort collaborates with student yoga instructors, Writing Tutorial Services, and other campus partners. 


Path to Ph.D.

Goal: Aggressively reduce time to a Ph.D.

Update: Shortly after setting this goal, it was discovered that students who obtain a graduate degree from Indiana University Bloomington do so at the average rate across the nation, or sooner. Students who enter a Ph.D. program at IU are more likely to complete it within 7 to 10 years than students at other schools across the country.

Area of Study Ph.D.'s Awarded 2011-2016 Completion Rates
University Graduate School National Average
7-year 10-year 7-year 10-year
Business 78 77.6% 88.2% N/A N/A
Education 378 51.1% 67.8% N/A N/A
Humanities 551 22.4% 55.1% 29.3% 49.3%
Life Sciences 268 57.0% 79.6% 53.7% 62.9%
Physical/ Earth 274 43.1% 61.3% 48.2% 54.7%
Social Sciences 565 32.9% 53.1% 40.9% 55.9%
Other 388 41.5% 61.5% N/A N/A