|MSU STRATEGIC INVESTMENT PROPOSAL FOR INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES|
|Title||College of Engineering Ph.D. Enhancement||Request Date||2012-12-11|
|Department||College of Engineeringfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Cross Depts||Civil Engineering Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Computer Science Electrical and Computer Engineering Chemical and Biological Engineering|
|Proposed Dates||Start: March 1, 2013||End:|
|The COE requests funds to grow enrollments in our Ph.D. programs. A 2011 self-study showed the most significant limitation to Ph.D. growth was non-competitive student support. This is directly linked to the second issue of recruiting highly qualified Ph.D. candidates. The COE has limited GTA waivers /stipend resources and no college wide program to fund first year students. This proposal creates a flexible pool for first year fellowships, GTA stipend supplements, one semester bridge funds for students who have exhausted their research grant support, and limited prospective student recruitment visits.|
|This proposal most directly targets Objective D.3: Expand the scale, breadth and quality of doctoral education. The COE has determined that there is capacity to grow our Ph.D. enrollments, particularly if quality Ph.D. candidates can be recruited to replace M.S. students currently funded on research grants. Trends toward Ph.D. students will also increase if faculty feel more comfortable in making four year commitments (as opposed to two for M.S. students) if there is supplemental funding since most research grants are for only three years. The proposal also directly relates to Objective D.1: Elevate the research excellence and recognition of MSU faculty by assisting in meeting Metric D.1.3 for more doctoral conferrals and Objective L.2: Increase graduate rates at MSU through Metric L.2.2 by increasing the number of doctoral degrees awarded. Some of our Ph.D. degree options are interdisciplinary, so this proposal also targets Objective I.2: Increase work across disciplines, particularly through Metric I.2.2.|
|COST AND REQUIREMENTS|
|Funding Type:||One-Time Only Funding||Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding|
|FY13||FY14||FY15||Base ($)||OTO Startup ($)||FTE;|
|Materials & Supplies|
|Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.||
Since the intent is to provide a flexible pool for purposes of first year fellowships, GTA stipend supplements, bridge funding and recruitment travel, the budget categories are estimates. Stipends are designated as salary and the fees and insurance are included in the ‘other’ category. Fees are based on 6 credits per semester, with the assumption that grad students carrying 6 credits will still be eligible for insurance. The COE program fee is included in the estimate. Insurance costs assume that students are 39 or younger and includes the dental fee. FTEs are not provided since the salaries are for graduate students. As described in the proposal section below, the funds will be delegated to address the most critical needs as determined by the COE’s Ph.D. Oversight Committee, Department Heads and the Dean. Need categories will likely change from year to year as will opportunities for each department and degree option.
|Describe the Proposal|
The COE has two Ph.D. programs, the Ph.D. in Computer Science and the Ph.D. in Engineering with options in Applied Mechanics, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering. The combined Ph.D. program has allowed us to implement interdisciplinary degree options (Environmental Engineering between Chemical and Biological and Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics between Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Civil Engineering) and has allowed the COE to maintain adequate Ph.D. productivity during a time when research activity has been on the upswing. The growth in research can be attributed to the successful recruitment of younger research active faculty who expect and need quality Ph.D. students.
The COE recently underwent an extensive graduate program self-study for the Provost’s Office. The Ph.D. Oversight Committee, consisting of graduate coordinators from each of the COE’s Ph.D. programs, was largely responsible for the content of the document. Baseline enrollment information described in Tables 1 and 2. Note that enrollment includes both full-time and part-time students.
Table 1. COE Ph.D. Option Enrollment
Table 2. CS Ph.D. Enrollment
Degree productivity was also tracked, and shown in Tables 3 and 4.
Table 3. COE Ph.D. Degrees Granted
Table 4. CS Ph.D. Degrees Granted
Overall enrollment numbers are low, and this is attributable to several factors. Unlike many of the science disciplines, the Ph.D. is not the ultimate professional goal. Many students are hired into high paying jobs with a B.S. or M.S. and the Ph.D. is usually sought only by those interested in academia or specific industry/government jobs. This can make recruitment difficult, especially with a lack of competitive stipends. The COE is not structured so that all Ph.D. students must participate as teaching assistants. This is because of the historical lack of GTA waiver support; the COE does not offer core classes required by other degree programs. Therefore, the COE does not have a mechanism for funding first year students while they take classes and are assigned to research projects or to ensure that all students are at least partially supported on GTA lines. Grant funding is the primary mechanism for support and research active faculty are responsible for funding students as GRAs. Without supplemental funding, faculty are less likely to commit to four year Ph.D. students over two year M.S. students. These factors have made it difficult for us to grow our Ph.D. programs with in-house resources. However, this self-study also indicated that there was room for growth and a modest influx of resources could provide substantial benefit.
The committee identified two primary limitations to increasing Ph.D. populations in the COE. The most significant is the ability to provide competitive funding. This is directly linked to the second issue of recruiting highly qualified Ph.D. candidates. The review indicated that Ph.D. enrollments would be enhanced by funding for first year fellowships, supplementing non-competitive GTA stipends, and providing one semester bridge funds for students who have exhausted their research grant support. Also desirable was the ability to bring in highly qualified Ph.D. students who request a campus visit prior to accepting an offer to join one of our degree programs. These ideas are the nucleus of this request.
The goal of the project is to grow the Ph.D. program in the College of Engineering. Objectives are to:
1. Recruit quality Ph.D. students
2. Increase enrollment
3. Increase degree production
4. Increase faculty satisfaction with their ability to efficiently recruit quality students for their research
5. Increase faculty multi-disciplinary activity
To accomplish this goal, the intent is to create a flexible pool of resources to be prioritized and distributed upon request of Ph.D. advisors and departments to the Ph.D. Oversight Committee. Decisions of the committee will be reviewed and approved by the COE Department Heads and Dean. The critical items, in no order of priority are:
*An individual student will be limited to a first year fellowship or GTA supplement, one time only.
The distribution of funds between these options would depend on evolving needs of the Ph.D. programs. Example scenarios for pool allocations may be:
It should be noted that the COE has a strong track record in retaining and graduating its Ph.D. students. Results from the self study showed that average time to graduation is four years and very few students fail their qualifiers or comprehensive exams. Similarly, there has been a strong record of retention and degree completion. This attests to the quality of mentoring and dedication the faculty have to their students. We therefore believe that this funding has the potential for recruiting top-notch Ph.D. students who will receive a quality education and graduate in a timely manner.
|Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal|
The immediate benefit of this funding would be an increase in Ph.D. enrollment in the COE. Within four years, this would also lead to more Ph.D. degrees being granted. Due to existing capacity for more Ph.D. students, the outcome would be a direct impact on MSU’s Ph.D. production and standing as a Carnegie ‘very high research activity’ institution. Because many COE faculty have interdisciplinary research interests, this funding is also likely to increase collaboration across the MSU campus via shared projects and graduate committees.
At the college level, this funding would increase the flexibility for funding our Ph.D. program and improve the ability to react to the changing needs of our departments and faculty. Having graduate program coordinators involved in the decision making process for fund allocation facilitates communication, identifies synergies and reveals common problems.
For individual faculty, this funding will contribute to greater inclusion of Ph.D. funding into proposals. At present, some faculty are reluctant to commit to Ph.D. students because grant duration is less than the anticipated four year timeframe for degree completion. The ability to be competitive for a relatively small pool of Ph.D. seeking students would improve recruitment of the caliber of student desired for our research programs.
The program would be very important for our Ph.D. students. Having competitive stipends as well as coverage of fees and insurance is an important issue for students, particularly when they are making the choice between graduate school and employment.
March 2013. Convene meeting of Ph.D. Oversight Committee to determine process for applications for funding. Discuss and determine priorities for funding distribution between categories of awards and departments/programs with department heads and committee. Distribute information on application process to faculty. Set up process in Dean’s office for tracking allocations and use. Determine best methods for collecting assessment information.
April 2013. Publicize program. Begin allocation of funds based on decisions made in March. Begin collecting data needed for assessment plan.
June 2013. Fiscal year end analysis of fund utilization.
September 2013. Begin process for year 2 allocations based on experiences gained in year 1.
The assessment will focus on accomplishment of the objectives stated above.
Recruit quality Ph.D. students: An assessment plan created as part of our self study (see below, Table 1) will be used as part of the analysis. The self study data are primarily related to the quality of the students in the program. Since these data will be collected for all students, it will be possible to compare those students recruited with the new funding to those who are currently here or are recruited conventionally. The indicator is that students recruited with the funds from this program will perform at levels equal to or above those recruited conventionally.
Increase enrollment: Data will be collected on the number of faculty seeking funding for students and the response rate generated by offers for first year funding or GTA supplements. The numbers will be related to overall Ph.D. enrollments in each option/department. The indicator is an average of three additional Ph.D. students per year for the COE, starting with the second year of funding. Students who are recruited with the funds (first year funding, GTA supplements, student travel) will be surveyed to determine if the additional resources led to their enrollment at MSU. The indicator will be that these resources led to a 75% success rate in recruitment.
Increase degree production: The enrollment figures above will translate to an equivalent number of additional graduates within five years.
Increase faculty satisfaction with their ability to efficiently recruit quality students for their research: Faculty will be surveyed to determine if the new resources have aided in their ability to attract or retain Ph.D. students and their confidence in including Ph.D. funding in their grants. The indicator will be a positive response to satisfaction in recruitment/retention and confidence in seeking grant funding for Ph.D. students.
Increase faculty multi-disciplinary activity: The number of interdisciplinary projects where Ph.D. students have committees filled by faculty from multiple departments will be tracked, with an anticipated increase in numbers each year.
Table 1. Montana State University College of Engineering
Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan
Program: College of Engineering
Degree: Ph.D. in Engineering (with options)
|If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?|
If the assessed objectives for increased Ph.D. enrollments and completion and student/faculty satisfaction are not met at the end of the fifth year, the program will be terminated. There is no prolonged sunset plan.
|Dean/Director:||Brett Gunnink (email@example.com)|
|Executive/VP:||Martha Potvin (firstname.lastname@example.org)|