Portrait of Dean Solomon RACKHAM Graduate Logo

Mike Solomon

Dean and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs—Graduate Studies
Rackham Graduate School

2020 has been a year like no other in the more than 200-year history of the University of Michigan. Our students have faced challenges as scholars, instructors, and researchers. Our campus experienced turmoil, including strikes, creating fissures in our community. Guided by our Strategic Vision for Graduate Education, which is student centered, faculty led, and Rackham supported, we are positioned to both heal our community and reimagine how we engage in research, scholarship, and teaching to advance our mission, protect health and safety, and support student success and well-being, even in this uncertain time. 

Throughout this period, Rackham has leveraged its campus partnerships to provide cutting-edge graduate education to more than 8,500 students. I’d like to share how Rackham has responded to the issues we face. While there is much more to do, I hope these details paint a picture of how our students, faculty, and staff have responded to the challenges before us. 

Mental Health and Well-Being: Critical Support to an Advanced Degree

We know graduate students experience pressure in their education, research, and teaching. The pandemic has only added to this. Students were challenged with being graduate student instructors, finding new ways to conduct experiments or research, and managing the needs of their children. For me, it’s critical that Rackham promote public health while supporting the many roles our students play at U-M, and at home. Rackham has changed deadlines and modified grading policies. We expanded eligibility criteria for the Graduate Student Emergency Fund and supported changes to the university Child Care Subsidy. These moves, and the work of Rackham’s Graduate Student Mental Health Task Force, assist students whenever and however they need it. 

Planning for Extended Time to Degree Completion

Our doctoral students have faced disruptions in research and scholarship that affect their progress. How can you stay on track when you can’t go to the lab, meet with human subjects, or travel for field research? Responding to the widespread need to give doctoral students more time and funding to finish their degrees, we led an effort for each graduate program to create policies so that faculty, student, and program work together to get the additional stipend, tuition, and benefits they need for completion.

Addressing Racism and Inequity

Rackham has long invested in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Anti-Black violence and racial injustice causes us to reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to this work. The graduate school revised the fall 2021 admissions application to promote access for prospective students who may have been impacted by the criminal justice system. We are reviewing our admissions practices to explore eliminating the use of the GRE. Rackham has invested more in our diversity and inclusion programs, like DEI Professional Development Certificate and the Leading Equity and Diversity—or LEAD—seminars which have reached thousands in our community. 

How Your Support Helps

Your support can help us expand and sustain efforts like these, expedite the launch of new initiatives, and ultimately bring our vision to reality. With a gift to the Rackham Impact Fund, you not only show your understanding of the unusual challenges we face today, but you also further our ability to help students meet them. This year, more than ever, we must rise to meet changing student needs in this extraordinary time. 

I realize this continues to be a difficult time; if you are able, your giving is deeply appreciated. I don’t doubt that we will continue to work together, to innovate, and to lead the changes necessary to overcome the challenges we face. 

Thank you, and I wish you health and well-being as we see this through.

Sincerely,

Mike Solomon Signature

Mike Solomon
Dean and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs—Graduate Studies

Throughout this period, Rackham has leveraged its campus partnerships to provide cutting-edge graduate education to more than 8,500 students. I’d like to share how Rackham has responded to the issues we face. While there is much more to do, I hope these details paint a picture of how our students, faculty, and staff have responded to the challenges before us. 

Mental Health and Well-Being: Critical Support to an Advanced Degree

We know graduate students experience pressure in their education, research, and teaching. The pandemic has only added to this. Students were challenged with being graduate student instructors, finding new ways to conduct experiments or research, and managing the needs of their children. For me, it’s critical that Rackham promote public health while supporting the many roles our students play at U-M, and at home. Rackham has changed deadlines and modified grading policies. We expanded eligibility criteria for the Graduate Student Emergency Fund and supported changes to the university Child Care Subsidy. These moves, and the work of Rackham’s Graduate Student Mental Health Task Force, assist students whenever and however they need it. 

Planning for Extended Time to Degree Completion

Our doctoral students have faced disruptions in research and scholarship that affect their progress. How can you stay on track when you can’t go to the lab, meet with human subjects, or travel for field research? Responding to the widespread need to give doctoral students more time and funding to finish their degrees, we led an effort for each graduate program to create policies so that faculty, student, and program work together to get the additional stipend, tuition, and benefits they need for completion.

Addressing Racism and Inequity

Rackham has long invested in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Anti-Black violence and racial injustice causes us to reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to this work. The graduate school revised the fall 2021 admissions application to promote access for prospective students who may have been impacted by the criminal justice system. We are reviewing our admissions practices to explore eliminating the use of the GRE. Rackham has invested more in our diversity and inclusion programs, like DEI Professional Development Certificate and the Leading Equity and Diversity—or LEAD—seminars which have reached thousands in our community. 

How Your Support Helps

Your support can help us expand and sustain efforts like these, expedite the launch of new initiatives, and ultimately bring our vision to reality. With a gift to the Rackham Impact Fund, you not only show your understanding of the unusual challenges we face today, but you also further our ability to help students meet them. This year, more than ever, we must rise to meet changing student needs in this extraordinary time. 

I realize this continues to be a difficult time; if you are able, your giving is deeply appreciated. I don’t doubt that we will continue to work together, to innovate, and to lead the changes necessary to overcome the challenges we face. 

Thank you, and I wish you health and well-being as we see this through.

Sincerely,

Mike Solomon Signature

Mike Solomon
Dean and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs—Graduate Studies

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