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Michael J. Solomon

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

Seeing our campus alive once again with the activity of a new academic year is both welcome and energizing. It also reminds me of how much Rackham students have overcome during the disruption of the past few years, and how through it all they have remained passionately committed to their research and scholarship.

As you know, our students tackle big problems every day. To meet those challenges, they require more than exceptional academic preparation. Anchored by our values of intellectual exchange, inclusive excellence, and innovation, Rackham is advancing new directions in the changing landscape of graduate education.

Here, I would like to share more of how Rackham Graduate School continues to innovate as a leader in that sphere.

Expanding Holistic Admissions

Over the last year, Rackham has made significant strides toward a more holistic admissions process to advance graduate education. Starting with this year’s admissions cycle, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are no longer utilized in Ph.D. admissions. This change was motivated by Rackham’s ongoing commitment to recruit, admit, and foster the success of the best students in Ph.D. programs at U-M. By leaving these scores behind, the rich information of the doctoral application can be reviewed in ways that are truly holistic and responsive to the broad demographics of our applicants. To better reflect applicants’ academic backgrounds, prospective students who attended Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) are now able to report this information by choosing from an extended number of options that are aligned with federal MSI definitions. This change allows reviewers more information about an applicant’s previous institution of study. The decision was also made to revise the Rackham application to allow prospective graduate students to provide their pronouns, select from an expanded list of gender identities, and submit the preferred name that they would like to be used when being addressed.

Mentoring for All Students

Rackham has continued to encourage innovation in mentoring and other academic support practices that recognize student well-being, including mental health, as key to academic and research success. Growing out of the work of our Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-Being Committee, our current focus is to facilitate the expectation that all students and faculty will have discussions that lead to written mentoring plans. As of last fall, we are engaging with graduate programs on this topic on a rolling basis through our annual Rackham Program Review conversations.

Innovating with Doctoral Intern Fellowships

As a national leader in graduate education, Rackham is pursuing a historic shift in how doctoral students are trained and prepared for their careers. For decades, students have acquired professional experience as research assistants and teaching assistants. The Rackham Doctoral Intern Fellowship Program introduces a third approach by giving students the chance to translate their research expertise into practice with internships during the academic year as well as the summer in a manner that is more integrated with their broader training.

Your Pledge

As we move forward together, we reaffirm our commitment to preparing Rackham students to be leaders in research and scholarship who are ready to meet the challenges ahead. With a gift to the Rackham Student Support Fund, you pledge your commitment to that goal. You have an important and lifelong impact on our scholars, and enable Rackham 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 what matters to you with a gift to the Rackham Student Support fund. Thank you!

As you know, our students tackle big problems every day. To meet those challenges, they require more than exceptional academic preparation. Anchored by our values of intellectual exchange, inclusive excellence, and innovation, Rackham is advancing new directions in the changing landscape of graduate education.

Here, I would like to share more of how Rackham Graduate School continues to innovate as a leader in that sphere.

Expanding Holistic Admissions

Over the last year, Rackham has made significant strides toward a more holistic admissions process to advance graduate education. Starting with this year’s admissions cycle, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are no longer utilized in Ph.D. admissions. This change was motivated by Rackham’s ongoing commitment to recruit, admit, and foster the success of the best students in Ph.D. programs at U-M. By leaving these scores behind, the rich information of the doctoral application can be reviewed in ways that are truly holistic and responsive to the broad demographics of our applicants. To better reflect applicants’ academic backgrounds, prospective students who attended Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) are now able to report this information by choosing from an extended number of options that are aligned with federal MSI definitions. This change allows reviewers more information about an applicant’s previous institution of study. The decision was also made to revise the Rackham application to allow prospective graduate students to provide their pronouns, select from an expanded list of gender identities, and submit the preferred name that they would like to be used when being addressed.

Mentoring for All Students

Rackham has continued to encourage innovation in mentoring and other academic support practices that recognize student well-being, including mental health, as key to academic and research success. Growing out of the work of our Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-Being Committee, our current focus is to facilitate the expectation that all students and faculty will have discussions that lead to written mentoring plans. As of last fall, we are engaging with graduate programs on this topic on a rolling basis through our annual Rackham Program Review conversations.

Innovating with Doctoral Intern Fellowships

As a national leader in graduate education, Rackham is pursuing a historic shift in how doctoral students are trained and prepared for their careers. For decades, students have acquired professional experience as research assistants and teaching assistants. The Rackham Doctoral Intern Fellowship Program introduces a third approach by giving students the chance to translate their research expertise into practice with internships during the academic year as well as the summer in a manner that is more integrated with their broader training.

Your Pledge

As we move forward together, we reaffirm our commitment to preparing Rackham students to be leaders in research and scholarship who are ready to meet the challenges ahead. With a gift to the Rackham Student Support Fund, you pledge your commitment to that goal. You have an important and lifelong impact on our scholars, and enable Rackham 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 what matters to you with a gift to the Rackham Student Support fund. Thank you!

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