Grad student leaders to meet here Oct. 10-12

Graduate student leaders from across the country will gather at the University Oct. 10-12 to exchange ideas about what they think are the key issues in graduate education in the 21st century.

The National Conference on Graduate Student Leadership, part of the University’s 150th anniversary celebration, will bring to campus 42 graduate student delegates from the 14 universities in the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s “Responsive Ph.D.” program.

The conference will feature six panel discussions Oct. 11.

“The theme for each panel was chosen by the delegates themselves, and they include such important issues as graduate students building a sense of community within their schools, mentoring and interdisciplinary training, and the social responsibility of scholars to the world outside of academe,” said Robert E. Thach, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the conference convener.

The panel discussions, which are free and open to University graduate and professional students, will be held from 9 a.m.-5:15 p.m. in the auditorium of Uncas A. Whitaker Hall for Biomedical Engineering. A breakfast before and a reception after the panel sessions will provide graduate-professional students and administrators from their schools an opportunity for informal discussions with the delegates, including three from Washington University.

“This is a unique opportunity to hear what graduate and professional student leaders think are the perplexing challenges and promising practices in graduate education in the 21st century,” said Elaine P. Berland, Ph.D., associate dean in the graduate school and co-conference director with Nancy P. Pope, Ph.D., assistant dean in the school.

Berland said the conference builds on the University’s tradition of encouraging graduate-student leadership and shared governance.

“The graduate student community here is fortunate that the University values shared governance — where graduate students actively participate in the administrative activities of the University and have the opportunity not only to contribute, but also to gain the experience that these leadership opportunities provide,” said Christina Linsenmeyer, a doctoral student in music in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, who will serve as the student editor of the printed conference proceedings.

Robert Weisbuch, Ph.D., president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, agreed. The foundation, which is providing support for the conference, selected Washington University in 2001 as one of three universities to inaugurate its “Responsive Ph.D.” initiative aimed at improving doctoral education in the United States.

“Washington University, with its graduate Dean Bob Thach, has taken a national leadership role in improving doctoral education,” Weisbuch said. “This conference for student leadership is crucial, for it engages the next generation of intellectual leaders in the challenge. These are the individuals who will determine the nature of academia and its power to improve the human condition beyond academia.”

Both Weisbuch and Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton will speak at the conference.

The three student delegates representing Washington University at the conference are Aline Boos, a doctoral student in biology and biomedical sciences; Julie H. Gabel, a third-year law student; and Scott A. Hendrickson, a doctoral student in political science in Arts & Sciences.

For more information, call 935-7355.