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The View from Kern - July 2016

The View from Kern - July 2016

A Message from Dr. Regina Vasilatos-Younken
Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School

Welcome to the second volume of the Graduate School's Alumni Newsletter. This issue includes information about a unique fellowship opportunity for recent Graduate School alumni and two excellent alumni profile stories. Additionally, there is a special message from the Graduate School Alumni Society regarding nominations for it's alumni awards.  I also wish to personally thank all of our alumni who submitted Class Notes. I encourage you to read their updates and submit your own for future issues of the Newsletter. 

But first, it is with great pride that I share a recent blog post penned by Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas Jones, highlighting how “Graduate Education is a Pillar of Penn State,” which appeared on President Barron’s blog, “Digging Deeper”.  In the blog, Provost Jones expands on the significance of studying at a research university and the contributions of graduate students, who are an invaluable part of Penn State’s teaching, research, and outreach missions. 

President Barron and Provost Jones both understand the critical role graduate students fill at the University, and recognize the impact graduate students have in particular on the University’s research and education missions. Below is a portion of the blog, along with a link to the full post.

Graduate Education is a Pillar of Penn State

originally published on

With a research expenditure budget of over $800 million for the last fiscal year, Penn State is one of the top 20 research universities in the U.S. I reported this, along with many highlights and successes of research and graduate education at the University, to the Board of Trustees in January 2015. With the news of the commitment to a 3 percent stipend increase, I am pleased to see the progress the University is making as part of its continued support of graduate education. Graduate education is a pillar of Penn State’s research enterprise.

Researchers at Penn State are working to solve serious societal problems, and graduate students are an important part of that innovation and discovery. Training Ph.D. students is a core function of any research university. Top-caliber research universities like Penn State equip graduate students to address complex problems, and those students go on to make important research discoveries, become industry leaders and join the professorate at other research institutions.

When one considers the number of research doctorates conferred each year, Penn State consistently ranks in the top 15 of institutions nationally. According to the most recent release of the Survey of Earned Doctorates by the National Science Foundation (December 2014), Penn State places 12th overall in the number of Ph.D. recipients, 6th in the physical sciences, 9th in education, 13th in engineering, and 15th in both life sciences and social sciences. Beyond simply the number of degrees reported, as just one example, Penn State’s Smeal College of Business Ph.D. program enjoyed a 100 percent placement rate this year, with all 11 Smeal graduates finding employment at research. Continue to the full blog post

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