FROM THE CHANCELLOR
A Time for Appreciating Graduate Students
The Graduate School has declared April 19-23 "Graduate Student Appreciation Week." Working with the United Government of Graduate Students and Career Services, we have put together a week-long series of events designed to recognize and celebrate the wonderful work being done on this campus by our graduate students.
We invite all CU-Boulder community members to participate in whatever ways seem most fitting. If you have a chance, please pass on some appreciation to a graduate student.
By statute, the University of Colorado at Boulder is "a comprehensive graduate research university," and so graduate education is built deeply into the core identity of this campus, and graduate students contribute substantially and fundamentally to the high quality teaching and the research that take place here every day. Graduate students are the intellectual leaders of tomorrow, and their talent, combined with the training they receive here, will provide the ideas, the learning, and the creativity that are essential to the future of this state and nation, and indeed, the entire world. Our Flagship 2030 strategic plan rightly places the importance of graduate education at the very center of its vision for our future.
Currently, CU-Boulder has about 5,000 graduate students enrolled in over 100 separate masters and doctoral degree programs. Those programs exemplify what it means to be a “comprehensive” graduate research university. We offer degrees in a staggering variety of humanities, arts, social science, natural science, engineering, and professional disciplines and fields. Adding to this feast of intellectual opportunity are our many interdisciplinary graduate degree and certificate programs, in such new and emerging fields of inquiry as environmental studies, cognitive science, and renewable energy.
Graduate students provide an essential resource for undergraduate teaching on campus, serving as both teaching assistants and graduate instructors, working to lead discussion sections in large lecture classes, providing indispensable guidance in our laboratories, and in many departments, teaching their own classes. Such work multiplies many times the Boulder campus’s ability to provide the best education possible for its students, and our graduate students include many of the most creative and dedicated teachers we have.
Graduate education is also essential to our mission and identity as a research university. Graduate student contributions to CU-Boulder’s extraordinary success in research, scholarship, and creative work are visible everywhere: in the research teams of our prize-winning scientists and engineers, in groundbreaking original scholarship in the humanities, in pioneering discoveries about human behavior across the social sciences, and in the remarkable work—both individual and collective—being done here in the fine and performing arts. The renowned achievements of our faculty would be impossible without the presence of the fine minds and talents of our graduate student community.
However, graduate students are not always appreciated to the true extent of their value. They are too often taken for granted, their contributions assumed, their work invisible. Therefore, it is time—and we plan to make time for this annually—to step back and say to this essential part of our campus community, not just "thank you," but also "we celebrate you: for your gifts, for your importance to the future, and for all that you contribute to CU-Boulder right now."
Please join me in this celebration. And remember, as Voltaire said:
Note: The Graduate School has begun receiving some wonderful statements of appreciation that we will display on our website during the appreciation week and beyond, since we appreciate graduate students all year round. Here are a few excerpts:
"The current and former graduate students in my lab are transforming how we view the microbes that make up 90 percent of the cells in 'our' bodies and that influence our health and perhaps even our behavior…." – Rob Knight, HHMI and Departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Computer Science
"The graduate students in the English department deserve many shouts of praise. They are dedicated, smart, generous with their time, and have a great sense of humor…." – Sam Urdang, Graduate Director, Department of English
“Grad school, finally!
"The work of graduate students contributes directly to our sustained economic growth and prosperity…. Graduate education prepares the knowledge creators and innovators of tomorrow with the skills, expertise, and cultural awareness needed to compete effectively in the knowledge-based global economy." – Council of Graduate Schools Advisory Committee on Graduate Education and American Competitiveness
Share your appreciation as well. Statements of appreciation for graduate students and/or graduate education are being gathered to display on the Graduate School website. The site is also maintaining a full roster of events for the week.
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