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University Graduate School  
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Indiana University 
Bloomington, IN 47405 
(812) 855-8853 
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About the Graduate School

History of the Graduate School
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History of the University Graduate School

In 1908, upon the insistence of faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences, the university placed its graduate courses into a newly formed unit, the Graduate School, and named biology professor Carl Eigenmann its first dean (1908-27). Four years later, Indiana University gave its first Ph.D. degree, although Masters of Arts degrees had been conferred in cursu upon graduates of Indiana University in the 19th century. Today, the Graduate School awards approximately 300 Ph.D.ís and some 500 masterís degrees annually . In addition to the Ph.D., the Graduate School at Indiana University has sole jurisdiction over the Master of Arts, the Master of Science, the Master of Arts for Teachers, the Master of Laws, and the Master of Fine Arts degrees wherever they are offered in the university system. The professional schools have jurisdiction over other postbaccalaureate degrees and, of course, provide the instruction for Graduate School degrees in their disciplines. As a university-wide office, the Graduate School grants degrees at five of the universityís eight campuses: Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, South Bend, and Southeast.

In the Graduate Schoolís early years, during the presidency of William Lowe Bryan, the university concentrated on undergraduate instruction. When Herman Wells became president in 1938, graduate education at Indiana began to thrive under the deanship of Fernandes Payne, another biologist (1927-47). With the strong support of President Wells and under the guidance of Dean Payneís successors, English professor and folklorist Stith Thompson (1947-50) and botanist Ralph Cleland (1950-58), the Graduate School grew rapidly during the post-World War II years. Twenty-five graduate fellowships were created during the war years.

John W. Ashton, the second English professor to occupy the Graduate School deanship (1958-65), had served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences before taking over the new Graduate School offices in Kirkwood Hall. During his tenure in the college and in the Graduate School, Dean Ashton gave strong support to interdisciplinary programs and emerging disciplines such as linguistics, comparative literature, East European studies, folklore, School of Letters, and Uralic and Altaic studies. By 1960, Bernard Berelsonís book Graduate Education in the United States ranked Indiana University 12th of 92 institutions of higher education. Allan Cartterís Assessment of Quality in Graduate Education (1966) also reflected the increased stature of the universityís graduate programs. In that work, four Graduate School programs ranked among the top 10 of their kind in the nation, and 20 programs emerged among the top 20.

The appointment of Harrison Shull, a chemist (1965-72), marked an outstanding increase in the research and graduate development activities of the Graduate School. When Dean Shull left the Graduate School to become the vice chancellor for research and development, he took many of these activities with him, leaving the Graduate School to be primarily concerned with graduate education. As the university underwent reorganization under the leadership of President John W. Ryan, two temporary deans, Harry Yamaguchi, a psychologist (1972-77), and James Holland, the third biologist to head the Graduate School (1977-78), presided over an office that, without a research and development component, was able to focus its attention on the quality of graduate education.

From 1978 until 1987, the historian Leo F. Solt was dean. Under his leadership, the Graduate School became a university-wide entity, encouraging excellence in graduate education throughout the state of Indiana by systematically reviewing all existing programs and by implementing new graduate programs on the Indianapolis and South Bend campuses, as well as on the Bloomington campus. Fellowship funds were increased, and more minority students were recruited; the Graduate School was computerized to improve record keeping and monitoring of students; additional steps were taken to improve the quality of Ph.D. dissertations; and participation by graduate students in the administrative and policy-making activity of the Graduate School was encouraged.

Thomas Noblitt, a music historian, was acting dean from 1987 until 1989. During his tenure, new graduate programs were approved for the Northwest and Fort Wayne campuses, and offerings at Bloomington and Indianapolis were expanded. In August 1989, George Walker, a physicist, became associate vice president (and later vice president) for research and dean of the University Graduate School, thus reuniting two offices that had been separated for nearly 20 years. Under his direction, the University Graduate School was reorganized to allow departments and schools to assume a larger part of the responsibility for the monitoring of graduate studentsí progress toward their degrees. Increased emphasis on financial support for graduate education has led to substantial additions to the fellowship budget, new initiatives were undertaken to encourage research on all campuses of the university, and the Graduate Council was significantly expanded. Dean Walker has also established a Preparing Future Faculty program to prepare graduate students for the full range of professional responsibilities they will face.

In 1951, the faculty elected nine of their number to a Graduate Council. Today, the Graduate Council has 30 voting members elected by the University Graduate School faculty. That faculty of about 2,200 members comes from all campuses of the University. Since 1980, a University Graduate School faculty committee has selected new members of the graduate faculty upon nomination by departmental chairpersons or by professional school deans, subject to the approval of the dean of the University Graduate School and, in the case of full members, the Board of Trustees. The names of all IU faculty members who hold appointments as full or associate members of the Graduate Faculty are listed under the names of the program(s) with which they are associated. An asterisk (*) following a name indicates that the individual is an associate member of the Graduate Faculty.

Members of the University Graduate School faculty ultimately determine standards of admission, set the general requirements for degrees, pass upon the specific requirements of programs, approve courses for graduate credit, and certify candidates for degrees. These functions are executed by the Graduate Council and the dean and administrative staff. More specifically, the university Graduate School faculty serve on advisory and research committees for doctoral students, direct masterís theses and doctoral dissertations, and elect members of the Graduate Council. The Graduate Council, which represents professional as well as arts and sciences departments, meets monthly during the academic year. In addition to the functions delegated to it by the faculty of the University Graduate School, it serves as an executive advisory body to the dean and administrative staff on policy matters. It reviews the findings of the deanís staff in connection with the program reviews mandated by the Indiana Higher Education Commission; it receives the reports of the schoolís standing faculty committees (i.e. Curriculum, Awards, Graduate Faculty Membership, and Graduate Initiatives); it acts upon recommendations for changes in admission, the curriculum, degree requirements, and procedures for the administration of student programs; it receives and acts upon the recommendations of ad hoc committees appointed by the dean; it gives advice on ways to improve the quality of graduate work; and it seeks ways to coordinate the programs of the University Graduate School with other graduate programs in the university.

The Executive Committee of the Graduate Student Organization articulates graduate student reaction to possible changes in all aspects of the University Graduate School program. Appointed by the dean, its members are a subset of the larger Graduate Student Organization and represent particular constituencies that mirror those the Graduate Council members represent. It also selects two of its members to serve as nonvoting members of the Graduate Council. Executive Committee members and the dean determine the agenda for the monthly meetings. Whenever proposed changes in graduate education come before the Graduate Council, the dean seeks the advice and opinions of the Executive Committee. Members of the Executive Committee give their views on the reports of various ad hoc University Graduate School committees, including any proposed changes in the Ph.D. requirements. The heads of departmental graduate student organizations form the Executive Committeeís parent body, the Graduate Student Organization, which meets monthly with the dean to discuss any University Graduate School issue the students wish to address. Both student groups, together with the Graduate Council, the University Graduate Schoolís standing and ad hoc committees, and the Graduate Faculty assist the dean and administrative staff in maintaining the highest quality of graduate education at Indiana University.

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Last updated: 21 Aug 2001
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