Midwest Regional Meeting on Graduate Education

University of Michigan
May 11-12, 2020


This meeting will focus on updating graduate programs in mathematics to better serve students, both enriching their experience in graduate school and preparing them more effectively for diverse careers. Participants will be encouraged to think strategically about ways to address this challenge, which emerged as a priority area during TPSE’s first gathering devoted to graduate education.

Working Agenda (annotated)

Monday, May 11
12:00-1:00: Informal/optional Lunch

1:00-1:15: Welcome and Introductions

1:15-1:30: Strategic Context: Presentation by representatives of the National Science Foundation

Big Ideas: Reimagining the Math Graduate Program from the Ground Up

1:30-2:45: Panel Discussion: Priorities for Improving Graduate Education in Mathematics

  • Academics (e.g. coursework; research; disciplinary skills; academic mentoring; increasing diversity and inclusion)
  • Structure (e.g. admission requirements; preliminary/qualifying exams; support structures to facilitate student success; training to teach; internships; masters-PhD bridges; departmental governance; reward structures)
  • Culture (e.g. social support; professional skills including coding, communications, negotiation, leadership; non-academic mentoring including being mentored and learning to be a mentor; mental health; bringing alumni back; peer interactions; community building; changing faculty attitudes; diversity and inclusion; fostering collaboration within and outside of the discipline)

2:45-3:15: Moderated Discussion (audience joins discussion initiated by panelists)

3:45-4:45: Working Groups (small groups discuss priorities for improving graduate education in math in terms of Academics, Structure and Culture)

4:45-5:30: Report-backs and Discussion

6:00: Reception & Dinner

Tuesday, May 12
9:00-9:30: NSF Funding Priorities and Opportunities 
(desired outcomes: partnerships among meeting participants for joint NSF proposals; plans for pilots or tests of grad ed improvements that are in line with NSF priorities)

Updating Graduate Programs

9:30-10:00: Charge to Working Groups
Working groups are encouraged to focus on concrete outcomes for updating graduate programs, in the form of (for example):

  • recommendations to the community
  • commitment to initiate change in their own departments
  • proposals to implement/test/scale innovations
  • guidance to TPSE about how it can serve as a resource

10:15-11:45: Working Groups

  • Preparing Students for Careers (Academic/Structure/Culture)
  • Diversity and Broadening Participation (Academic/Structure/Culture)
  • Student Well-being (Academic/Structure/Culture)

11:45-12:30: Report-backs and Discussion

12:30-1:30: Lunch

1:30-2:45: NSF Workshop on Available Data
(and how to access and utilize it to answer strategic questions about improving graduate education)

2:45-3:30: Conclusions and Next Steps

Organizing Committee
Stephen Cantrell, University of Miami & TPSE MAG
Eric Friedlander, University of Southern California & TPSE Board
Mark Green, UCLA & TPSE Board
Tara Holm, Cornell University & TPSE Board
Michael O'Sullivan, San Diego State University & TPSE MAG
Karen Smith, University of Michigan