AAU PhD Education Initiative

The Association of American Universities (AAU) launched PhD Education Initiative in 2019 with the core mission of making diverse PhD career pathways visible, valued, and viable for all students and to foster increased inclusion of students from diverse backgrounds. This mission aligns with recommendations made in the 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century. During Phase I of the initiative, the pilot group of eight member universities, representing 34 academic departments, will implement reforms within science, technology, engineering, math, social sciences, arts, and humanities PhD programs. These reforms will address the culture, behavior, policies, and practices necessary to create educational environments in which all PhD students feel a sense of belonging in their departments and have the support necessary to achieve their desired educational and professional goals.

University of Virginia's proposal to extend the PhD Plus program by integrating new kinds of career and professional development within departments was selected for the PhD Education Initiative. Over the course of the pilot project, in collaboration with PhD Plus, the departments of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, English and Religious Studies will examine current practices and launch their own programming aligned with the PhD Education Initiative’s larger goals. In the long-term, lessons and models implemented as part of AAU PhD Education project can be adapted by additional departments across the university. 

EXPAND Program: NSF Research Traineeship

University of Virginia’s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences received a $3 million National Science Foundation grant in Fall 2020, to expand research training and career development for graduate students in the University’s life sciences programs. Faculty members Laura Galloway, Deborah Roach and Edmund Brodie in Department of Biology developed a proposal, in collaboration with PhD Plus, to design a new program called EXPAND that will create a new graduate curriculum, provide career training for doctoral students interested in opportunities outside of academia and broaden the diversity of the graduate student population.