Portrait of Dean Solomon RACKHAM Graduate Logo

Michael J. Solomon

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

As we approach the end of 2021, the Rackham community finds itself in another moment of change and uncertainty. Over the last year and a half, we saw how nearly every facet of teaching, research, and scholarship was disrupted, along with how intense personal pressures were experienced by all members of our community. At Rackham, students needed to navigate their graduate school experience in ways they never imagined, yet guided by our Strategic Vision for Graduate Education, Rackham has remained focused on the work at hand.

Here I would like to share how Rackham has continued to explore ideas to transform graduate education and the graduate student experience in new and substantive ways.

Experiential Learning Opportunities: The Rackham Doctoral Internship Program
It has become abundantly clear that, in the 21st century, graduate training requires more than just exceptional academic preparation and research. For this reason, Rackham is pursuing a historic shift in how doctoral students are trained and prepared for their careers. Developed to embrace the changing graduate school landscape, the Rackham Doctoral Internship Program will allow doctoral candidates to pursue a fully supported internship as part of their graduate training. Internships will offer students a mentored experience in professional settings, ranging from corporate to nonprofit, that are also tailored to meet the needs of partner organizations. This initiative, which is already in a pilot phase, will provide a crucial experiential learning opportunity for students, while demonstrating the value of their training in a wide array of fields.

Investing in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Rackham’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is an important part of our history. However, the ongoing racial violence and injustice experienced by so many serves as an urgent reminder that much work remains. Since launching our strategic vision in 2019, we have embarked on the process of reevaluating how graduate education is accessed and experienced at Rackham. Key to realizing that vision is investing in inclusive and student-centered climates in which all students thrive. To this end, Rackham is conducting a holistic reevaluation of admissions among faculty; deemphasizing and considering the phase-out of measures, like the GRE, that research has shown to be ineffective in predicting success in doctoral studies; reinforcing a positive culture that supports the different facets of diversity, through efforts like our DEI Professional Development Certificate program; and offering events like this June’s inaugural Juneteenth Symposium, a campus-wide celebration of Black liberation and excellence—all in service of a graduate school environment in which students thrive.

Graduate Student Mental Health, Well-Being, and Disability Accommodations
What does student centered graduate education look like? This question guides Rackham’s efforts to foster a more inclusive, welcoming culture for all students. We recognize that mental health and well-being has direct and disparate consequences for the academic success of our graduate students,
and it therefore needs the continuous attention of Rackham, programs, staff, and faculty. It is also clear that identifying areas for improvement around academic and research-based disability accommodations must be a central part of our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals as a graduate school. Rackham is therefore striving to increase awareness among faculty and make the campus climate more welcoming for graduate students with disabilities. Additionally, Rackham is working to disseminate accommodation practices that acknowledge the unique circumstances of graduate education, through collaboration with campus partners to improve the process of obtaining and implementing disability accommodations.

Your Impact
As we navigate a constantly changing landscape, we reaffirm our commitment to educating Rackham’s students who are leaders in research and scholarship and ready to meet the challenges ahead. With a gift to the Rackham Impact Fund, you join in that commitment to our students. Through your support, you have an immediate and tangible impact on the lives of our scholars, and enable Rackam to strengthen and innovate a graduate experience that is student centered, faculty led, and Rackham supported.

Sincerely,

Mike Solomon Signature

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

P.S. Invest in the future of graduate education with a gift to the Rackham Impact fund. Thank you!

Here I would like to share how Rackham has continued to explore ideas to transform graduate education and the graduate student experience in new and substantive ways.

Experiential Learning Opportunities: The Rackham Doctoral Internship Program
It has become abundantly clear that, in the 21st century, graduate training requires more than just exceptional academic preparation and research. For this reason, Rackham is pursuing a historic shift in how doctoral students are trained and prepared for their careers. Developed to embrace the changing graduate school landscape, the Rackham Doctoral Internship Program will allow doctoral candidates to pursue a fully supported internship as part of their graduate training. Internships will offer students a mentored experience in professional settings, ranging from corporate to nonprofit, that are also tailored to meet the needs of partner organizations. This initiative, which is already in a pilot phase, will provide a crucial experiential learning opportunity for students, while demonstrating the value of their training in a wide array of fields.

Investing in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Rackham’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is an important part of our history. However, the ongoing racial violence and injustice experienced by so many serves as an urgent reminder that much work remains. Since launching our strategic vision in 2019, we have embarked on the process of reevaluating how graduate education is accessed and experienced at Rackham. Key to realizing that vision is investing in inclusive and student-centered climates in which all students thrive. To this end, Rackham is conducting a holistic reevaluation of admissions among faculty; deemphasizing and considering the phase-out of measures, like the GRE, that research has shown to be ineffective in predicting success in doctoral studies; reinforcing a positive culture that supports the different facets of diversity, through efforts like our DEI Professional Development Certificate program; and offering events like this June’s inaugural Juneteenth Symposium, a campus-wide celebration of Black liberation and excellence—all in service of a graduate school environment in which students thrive.

Graduate Student Mental Health, Well-Being, and Disability Accommodations
What does student centered graduate education look like? This question guides Rackham’s efforts to foster a more inclusive, welcoming culture for all students. We recognize that mental health and well-being has direct and disparate consequences for the academic success of our graduate students,
and it therefore needs the continuous attention of Rackham, programs, staff, and faculty. It is also clear that identifying areas for improvement around academic and research-based disability accommodations must be a central part of our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals as a graduate school. Rackham is therefore striving to increase awareness among faculty and make the campus climate more welcoming for graduate students with disabilities. Additionally, Rackham is working to disseminate accommodation practices that acknowledge the unique circumstances of graduate education, through collaboration with campus partners to improve the process of obtaining and implementing disability accommodations.

Your Impact
As we navigate a constantly changing landscape, we reaffirm our commitment to educating Rackham’s students who are leaders in research and scholarship and ready to meet the challenges ahead. With a gift to the Rackham Impact Fund, you join in that commitment to our students. Through your support, you have an immediate and tangible impact on the lives of our scholars, and enable Rackam to strengthen and innovate a graduate experience that is student centered, faculty led, and Rackham supported.

Sincerely,

Mike Solomon Signature

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

P.S. Invest in the future of graduate education with a gift to the Rackham Impact fund. Thank you!

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