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Fact Sheet

Facts about Vanderbilt's emphasis on graduate education first

The following represent a partial list of the efforts Vanderbilt University has made to improve the quality and life and educational opportunities for our graduate students since 2013 and associated with the launch of the Academic Strategic Plan. We place great emphasis on training our students for careers in and beyond the university, and our stated mission is to train the next generation of leaders. These points show just a few of the tangible efforts we have made (and continue to make) in this arena.

  • Increased fellowship stipend levels in nearly all doctoral programs
  • Increased the number of competitive fellowships available to doctoral students
  • Provided “platinum” level health care coverage for our graduate students
  • Continued to provide full tuition remission for all PhD students, an investment in each student’s education that is worth in excess of $130,000
  • Worked to reduce parking rates and allow for parking payments on a monthly basis
  • Provided significant support for student research travel – an important element of graduate student professional development
  • Made Alumni Hall a focal point for graduate student life on campus, including creating space for the Graduate Student Council
  • Completed the planning process for new graduate student housing on campus, with first phase scheduled to open Fall 2021
  • Enhanced support for student health and well-being, including the identification of dedicated staff in the UCC
  • Added a Graduate Life Coach to support students through both individual appointments and programming
  • Instituted a new Dean’s Graduate Student Readings program focused on building community and discussing implicit and unconscious bias
  • Added support for the Office of Diversity within the Graduate School, and increased programming as it relates to recruitment and retention
  • Added support for career development through both the Offices of Career Development within the Graduate School and the Biomedical Research, Education and Training (BRET) Office
  • Added programming related to career and professional development, with a total of over 50 events a year dedicated to these activities
  • Held numerous forums and opportunities for graduate students to provide input into areas for new investments in graduate education and research
  • Forged stronger relationships with the office of International Student and Scholar Services in order to better serve international students
  • Created the Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Development Institute
    • Provides students with leadership skills training through community projects
    • Offers new travel grant and dissertation enhancement grants
    • Workshops and programming relating to leadership and management skills
  • In the College of Arts & Science, the following specific actions have been implemented:
    • Converted all college graduate fellowships to 12-month fellowships 
    • Removed any College requirement that students teach or perform other service during semesters they are supported by College fellowships
    • Increased the number of one-year lecturer appointments available to our doctoral graduates
    • Allow students to "bank" fellowship support so that if they receive competitive fellowships, internal or external, the additional fellowship becomes a sixth year of funding
    • Added competitive funding for language training for doctoral students