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Graduate School's Meet the Deans

This is the official chat transcript from November 30, 2010. It reads top-to-bottom.

Courtney George asks:Please describe your educational background and experiences that have led to your current positions at K-State.

Kevin Lease I would have to say that my experience as Graduate Program Director in my home department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering sparked my interest in pursuing an administrative position in the Graduate School.

Carol Shanklin Good evening. We are pleased that you have joined us for this chat. The graduate administrators look forward to interacting with you.

Megan Miller Good evening, on behalf of the Graduate Student Council, I would like to thank Dean Shanklin, Associate Dean Lease, and Associate Dean Guikema for attending this evening’s online chat. This chat is reserved for graduate students to ask questions about graduate student issues, concerns or needs. Tonight's moderators are Kara Ross, Graduate Student Council Professional Development Chair; Courtney George, Graduate Student Senator; and myself, Megan Miller, Graduate Student Council President. Please submit your questions using the form in the sidebar.

Courtney George asks:Please describe your educational background and experiences that have led to your current positions at K-State.

James Guikema I have a PhD in biology from the University of Michigan, and joined K-State in 1981. Working with graduate students in Biology was probably the best experience.

Courtney George asks:What is your favorite thing about working with graduate students?

James Guikema It is different now as a dean that it was while an advisor in Biology. One-on-one interactions doing scholarly activity and seeing professional growth was the most interesting back then. Now, it is working with graduate student groups on projects such as grant proposal writing workshops, etc.

Courtney George asks:Please describe your educational background and experiences that have led to your current positions at K-State.

Carol Shanklin I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and began my academic career at Texas Tech University. After two years I joined the faculty at Texas Woman's University where I was promoted from Assistant to Professor. My last five years at TWU I was department head. Then I moved to KSU. I have been involved in graduate education throughout my academic career. As an assistant professor I began mentoring master’s students on their thesis. A few years later I began mentoring doctoral students. When I moved to Kansas State University in 1990, I began serving as graduate program director. About ten years ago I began working in Graduate School. Two years ago began as Dean.

Shannon Fox asks:Do you anticipate any tuition support for graduate research assistants (GRAs) in the near future?

James Guikema The message to the University community today from President Schulz and Vice President Trewyn stated strongly that this is a University priority for the next few years. This message was in response to the Research Infrastructure Task Force report.

Shannon Fox asks:What do you see as the primary assets and challenges for graduate education at K-State?

Carol Shanklin The primary assets include faculty mentors who take time to challenge graduate student to achieve their potential while providing the resources. We also have a current administration that is interested in advancing graduate education at KSU. Many of our programs have good laboratory facilities. The library resources currently offered to graduate students. Some of our greatest challenges are sufficient financial resources to increase graduate students' stipends, enhancing resources for the infrastructure, and tutition for graduate research assistantships.

Courtney George asks:What is your favorite thing about working with graduate students?

Carol Shanklin As a mentor of graduate students I enjoy watching their knowledge and competencies in research increase. After they complete their degree I like to follow their careers. As dean of the graduate school, I try to facilitate student's success in their academic programs. The Graduate School strives to provide professional development opportunities to broaden the students' experiences.

Shannon Fox asks:What do you see as the primary assets and challenges for graduate education at K-State?

James Guikema Assets -- the strengths of the graduate faculty colleagues. Challenges -- not becoming lax about quality of our graduate education as we become increasingly busy. So keeping our graduate faculty focused on graduate education should be the job of each graduate student.

Shannon Fox asks:What do you see as the primary assets and challenges for graduate education at K-State?

Kevin Lease I see our dedicated graduate faculty and faculty mentors and graduate students as are main assets; I see the need to increase overall support for our graduate students as one of the major challenges.

Courtney George asks:What is your favorite thing about working with graduate students?

Kevin Lease In my role as a research professor and also as an Associate Dean of the Graduate School, I find the intertaction with graduate students from a wide variety of diverse backgrouds so stimulating. By nature, graduate students are motivated and intense about learning and knowledge - that is so stimulating to me.

Shannon Fox asks:What do you see as the primary assets and challenges for graduate education at K-State?

Carol Shanklin Current issues include level of support for graduate students, responsible conduct of research, professional development programs for doctoral students and post-docs, and funding for graduate education.

Courtney George asks:What should a graduate student expect from his/her advisor?

Kevin Lease I believe that a graduate student should expect guidance, communication, and clear expectations from their advisor. However, I believe that these things should also be looked at as a shared responsibility between the student and the advisor.

Shannon Fox asks:Do you anticipate any tuition support for graduate research assistants (GRAs) in the near future?

Carol Shanklin I know that President Schulz and Provost Mason are supportive of providing tuition for GRAs. The key will be finding the resources to support this high priority of administration and graduate faculty.

Courtney George asks:What should a graduate student expect from his/her advisor?

Carol Shanklin A graduate student should be able to expect their advisor/major professor to be familiar with the graduate program requirements and Graduate School policies and procedure. The advisor/major professor should learn about the professional goals and aspirations and provide opportunity to assist the student in achieving these. The major professor should also challenge the student to achieve their potential.

Courtney George asks:What should a graduate student expect from his/her advisor?

James Guikema Communication is key -- communicating and setting expectations early in the advisor/advisee relationship are critical components of a successful graduate career.

Shannon Fox asks:Do you anticipate any tuition support for graduate research assistants (GRAs) in the near future?

Kevin Lease I definitely hope so. I know that this is a primary goal in the president's 2025 vision. As with all things, though, the key is finding the resources.

Courtney George asks:What are some of the current issues and trends affecting graduate education?

James Guikema Time to degree is a major concern in many programs.

Courtney George asks:What are some of the current issues and trends affecting graduate education?

Carol Shanklin Trends include professional masters degree, more emphasis on student assessment, and distance education offerings.

Megan Miller That’s all of our time this evening. Thanks again to Dean Shanklin, Associate Dean Lease, and Associate Dean Guikema for answering questions. If you have any other comments or questions please e-mail the Graduate Student Council at egsc@k-state.edu.

Courtney George asks:What are some of the current issues and trends affecting graduate education?

Kevin Lease Some of the main trends are the recent development of the Professional Science Master's degrees and the expaning availability of on-line graduate coures and entire degree programs.

Carol Shanklin Thanks you for joining us this evening.