Implementation Task Force for Inclusive Excellence in Graduate Education

To: UCSC Community

From: Peter Biehl, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies

I am convening a task force to develop plans for implementing the recommendations proposed in the Joint Senate-Administration Working Group on Graduate Education (JWG) report from March 2021. I am happy to share with you that a steering committee and subcommittees have been formed and will start their work in the coming weeks. I am grateful to Associate Professor Dard Neuman (chair of the Academic Senate Committee on Planning and Budget) and Don Smith, professor and associate dean of the Graduate Division, for agreeing to co-chair the task force.

We are planning to send regular updates and welcome your input at any time via email ( Today, we would like to share with you the structure, goals and timeline.  

The Implementation Task Force for Inclusive Excellence in Graduate Education will be composed of a steering committee and two subcommittees. The steering committee is co-chaired by Dard Neuman and Don Smith, who were integral to the development of the JWG recommendations. We believe their leadership in this capacity will provide important continuity as this work moves into its next phase. 

The steering committee will be rounded out by myself, the assistant dean of Grad Studies and the Grad Div’s director of diversity, equity, and inclusion; Senate chair and the chair of Graduate Council, and the analyst for the Committee on Planning and Budget and Graduate Council; the five divisional deans; the associate vice chancellor of  Budget Analysis and Planning; the interim vice chancellor for the Office of Research; the associate vice chancellor and the dean of students; and representatives from the Graduate Student Association and the Graduate Student Commons, and Postdoctoral Scholars Association. 

The steering committee will meet monthly throughout winter and spring terms of 2022 to provide guidance and direction to the subcommittees, and discuss the proposed implementation plans.

The main work will take place in the two subcommittees: (1) Graduate Education Funding and Student Financial Support and (2) Graduate Student Success, Life and Well-Being.

The Graduate Education Funding and Student Financial Support subcommittee is co-chaired by Dard Neuman, Kimberly Register, and Don Smith.

This sub-committee’s initial charge will be to:

  • Develop a 5/2 year doctoral/MFA student cohort funding model for implementation at UCSC.

  • Determine the effectiveness of the Master’s Incentive Program (MIP) in strengthening graduate education.

  • Propose incentives for including more graduate student support in extramural funding proposals and from philanthropic sources.

  • Institutionalize and regularize updating the data framework annually on revenues generated by and spent in support of graduate students, and graduate student level data on retention, time to degree, demographic information, and funding support.

The Graduate Student Success, Life and Well-Being subcommittee is co-chaired by Lissa Caldwell, Garrett Naiman, and Don Smith.

This subcommittee’s initial charge will be to:

  • Develop enhanced professionalization programming within the Graduate Division, academic divisions, and departments to better serve professional development needs of graduate students.

  • Suggest solutions around housing and cost of attendance.

  • Develop enhanced support for mental health and wellbeing.

  • Develop guidelines and best practices associated with faculty mentoring, and a mechanism through which students can seek support if the advisor/advisee relationship breaks down.

I am looking forward to working with all of you on this exciting project, and wish you a happy and healthy new year.