Presidential graduate student initiative launched

President Steven Leath has launched a graduate student initiative to build the impact of Iowa State's graduate and research programs.

The three-year initiative, established through the President's Committee on Enhancing Institutional Excellence, includes:

  • A Presidential Scholars Program for new Ph.D. students
  • Matching funds to the academic colleges for graduate student recruiting
  • Bridge funding for Ph.D. students and post-docs working with faculty on research projects

"Providing a high-quality education to our graduate students is an important part of our work to enhance research and scholarship and, ultimately, build the international stature of the university," Leath said. "The future faculty members, industry and community leaders recruited through these initiatives will play an important role in expanding our service to Iowa and the world."

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert noted the initiative is beginning immediately and will supplement existing graduate education and research efforts.

"We're working with colleges and departments to increase the velocity around graduate recruiting, and securing research funding from agencies and companies," Wickert said. "We're already looking for Presidential Scholars who can begin their studies in January."

Presidential Scholars Program

The Presidential Scholars Program is a comprehensive, $400,000 effort to recruit top doctoral students in strategic program areas. Each student identified through the program will receive an academic year stipend of $20,000, plus benefits, for the first year of study. In addition, the student's college will provide a tuition scholarship, and the academic unit (program, college, department or principal investigator) will commit to providing a second year of support at the same level. Up to 20 Presidential Scholars will be recruited for FY14.

Graduate Student Recruitment Program

This two-year program will provide incentives to academic colleges to recruit and enroll additional graduate students in doctoral and research-oriented master's degree programs. The colleges will develop, fund and implement collaborative programs with departments, interdepartmental graduate programs and research centers.

Central funding will be provided to match new college investments to recruit additional graduate students beyond those who would normally be recruited. The central match will be $1 for every $2 invested by an academic college, up to a maximum match of $250,000 in central funds to a college per year for FY14 and FY15.  Central funds may be used to cover costs of graduate assistant stipends, benefits or tuition.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Bridge Funding Program

The Graduate and Postdoctoral Bridge Funding Program, a recommendation of the President's Committee on Enhancing Institutional Excellence, will help principal investigators and graduate/research programs manage projects in a complex environment for external funding.

Bridge funding may be used to provide a stipend and fringe benefit support during a delay in receiving grant renewal, to support a Ph.D. student in his or her final semester, or to bridge a gap between different funding sources. Funding normally will be limited to one semester, but could extend to a maximum of six months.