Career pathways for graduate students

Patrick S. Osmer — September 28, 2011

Pat Osmer

I'm pleased to report that the Council of Graduate Schools and ETS have convened a commission to study career pathways for graduate students. The commission will also recommend ways to help graduate students move from graduate degree programs into careers. This new study dovetails with the discussions we have been having here at Ohio State with the graduate faculty and graduate programs about the future of doctoral education, new developments in professionally oriented master's programs, and the need for us to examine how and for what outcomes we train doctoral students.

I am chairing the Commission on Pathways through Graduate Schools and into Careers, which will report its findings and recommendations in late spring 2012.  I look forward to reporting more about this in the months ahead.

The commission is an important follow-on to The Path Forward report, which said that graduate education was essential for the United States to retain its competitive edge. That report also made clear that many of the career options for Ph.D. and master's degree holders will be outside of the academy.

Graduate student career preparation is of interest to many. Since the CGS/ETS announcement was made, I have spoken with reporters from Nature, Science, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. In those interviews, I made the point that we have to develop some new approaches to meet national needs. If we just stick to our traditional views, we are missing many opportunities.

Multiple career pathways are, of course, also of great interest to many of our graduate students. One indicator is the number of Ohio State graduate community visitors to The Versatile Ph.D. We announced the Graduate School's subscription to this on-line alternative career resource earlier this month, and since then, Ohio State graduate faculty, graduate students, and students have visited that site over 1,000 times.

On October 14, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School are co-sponsoring an alternative career day for arts and humanities graduate students. On that day, the founder of The Versatile Ph.D., Dr. Paula Chambers, will make a presentation. Paula is an alum of Ohio State, having earned her Ph.D. in English. In addition, a panel of Ohio State Ph.D. alums who have successfully navigated the transition to careers outside the academy will share their experiences.

If you have similar efforts underway in your graduate programs, please share them here. I'm also interested in hearing from graduate faculty, staff, and graduate students about career pathways for graduate degree holders.

 

Patrick S. Osmer is vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the Graduate School at Ohio State. He is also currently serving as chair of the board of directors for the Council of Graduate Schools. Osmer was chair of the Ohio State astronomy department from 1993-2006.

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