GAPSA discusses attracting graduate students to U

The group also focused on increasing public engagement at the University.

JP Leider

Civic engagement has been on University President Bob Bruininks’ mind for some time.

In 2000, then-Executive Vice President and Provost Bruininks helped to shape a task force addressing civic engagement; a process which eventually led to last year’s creation of the Office of Public Engagement, headed by Victor Bloomfield.

During Wednesday’s Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting, Bloomfield discussed the University’s moves toward more active public engagement by members of the University community.

In addition, he questioned representatives about how to better attract graduate and professional students.

In the past, he said, graduate schools tended to select people who liked to be alone.

“That’s not so true anymore,” he said.

Bloomfield said community-based research, participation in committees and extracurricular student projects are ways graduate and professional students might contribute to the University community.

Some GAPSA representatives spoke to Bloomfield of a supposed disconnect between graduate school and the real world.

“Sometimes when you’re in academia, you’re in academia,” said GAPSA representative Tim Cernohous. “It’s not necessarily what you do in the real world.”

More corporate partnerships in areas outside research could increase graduate participation, Cernohous said.

GAPSA Vice President for Finance Abu Jalal said communication with students is an issue.

“The (students) who know they should be involved already are,” he said.

Jalal also serves on the metrics and measurements steering group, the task force of which will determine the University’s progress toward becoming a top research institution.

He said the metrics and measurement task force still is in the process of figuring out how to measure the level of civic engagement in the University.

Classes with service-learning components, studying abroad and participation in leadership classes are all items being considered.

The University wants students who are well-trained, Jalal said, and education is only part of it.

Bloomfield said the issue of public engagement need not be separated into graduate, professional and undergraduate students, because it’s a common interest.

He cited creating spaces for child care on campus as an example of how public engagement might better the University community.