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AAU Proposes Major Initiative on Doctoral Education

AAU's PhD Education Initiative seeks to promote more student-centered doctoral education at AAU universities by making diverse PhD career pathways visible, valued, and viable. As part of this effort, the goals are to

  1. Influence the culture and behavior at the department level to provide PhD students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful in careers both within and beyond academia;
  2. Identify institutional policies and practices to make PhD program data – including data about the career pathways and employment trends of their PhD alumni – widely available; and
  3. Highlight and encourage effective university, disciplinary society and federal agency strategies and programs.

Support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and momentum generated by AAU’s Chief Academic Officers statement on doctoral education data transparency provide a starting point for the PhD Education Initiative. 

The Sloan Foundation grant provides support for AAU to collaborate with Dr. Chris Golde, Assistant Director, Career Communities – PhDs and Postdocs, BEAM, Stanford Career Education and to convene an Advisory Board to help advance the Initiative.

The Mellon Foundation grant will allow AAU to include humanities experts on the Initiative’s Advisory Board and to help ensure projects aimed at addressing critical issues in the discipline are represented.

The National Science Foundation funded a workshop on PhD Program and Career Outcome Data Transparency. The goal of this workshop was to identify areas for collaboration, potential synergies, and greater alignment between institutional and multi-institutional projects committed to documenting doctoral career outcomes.

AAU believes that collaborating with member campuses we can positively influence the culture around PhD education and career pathways.