Graduate Education

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Objective: Strengthen the quality and distinctiveness of our graduate programs to transform our students into accomplished scholars and professionals who contribute to the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world through their research and discovery, creative endeavors, teaching, and service.

We recognize that the scope of professional opportunities for our graduate students is changing in fundamental ways. So, too, is our approach to graduate education, with a close examination of course offerings, as well as graduate students’ teaching and research responsibilities throughout their degree programs. In addition, we are targeting financial support for graduate education in ways that will increase selectivity and expand and enhance programs that leverage UK’s existing and emerging areas of strength in research and creative work.


Strategic Initiatives and Action Steps

Strategic Initiative 1: Recruit and retain outstanding graduate students from all backgrounds.

Action Step 1: Establish competitive compensation and financial aid packages for recruiting graduate students from the United States and abroad.

Action Step 2: Develop and implement a plan to improve climate, inclusion, and diversity in graduate education, in coordination with institutional diversity and inclusivity efforts.

Action Step 3: Implement a comprehensive marketing and communication plan that emphasizes UK’s distinctive strengths, to compete successfully for high-performing domestic and international students from diverse backgrounds.


Strategic Initiative 2: Invest in graduate programs that have distinctive synergy with UK’s research priorities and/or whose graduate students demonstrate excellence at the national or global levels.

Action Step 1: Allocate centrally funded fellowships, assistantships, and tuition scholarships to enhance the recruitment success of high-performing programs.

Action Step 2: Create financial incentives and streamline mechanisms to create and grow graduate programs in UK’s areas of distinction that address Kentucky’s and the world’s greatest challenges.

Action Step 3: Track the long-term success and contributions of graduates, and use this information to assist in evaluating programs and prioritizing resource allocations.

Action Step 4: Implement a model to guide graduate program growth relative to undergraduate enrollment, market demand, and external research funding as well as program quality.


Strategic Initiative 3: Elevate the quality and richness of the graduate student experience and increase the national competitiveness of UK’s graduate programs.

Action Step 1: Enhance the professional development of graduate students through curricular and co-curricular enrichment, mentoring, and programming to improve their leadership, management, and communication skills.

Action Step 2: Provide graduate students with the appropriate balance of research, teaching, engagement, and/or experience in creative activity that will enhance timely degree completion and long-term career success.

Action Step 3: Provide comprehensive career planning and placement services to graduate students choosing career paths in academics, industry, government, non-profit organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).