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Source: Carol Shanklin, 785-532-7927,
News release prepared by: Greg Tammen, 785-532-2535,

Friday, Oct. 8, 2010


MANHATTAN -- Data has been released to Kansas State University from a national doctoral programs study.

The study is conducted about once every decade by the National Research Council, a part of the National Academies. It is intended to provide a comprehensive assessment of each participating university's doctoral program in selected disciplines. As such, it serves as a way for universities to benchmark their programs with other doctoral programs in the same broad discipline.

The data in the current release does not rank universities' doctoral programs against each other, but provides a range that allows programs to determine how they compare with their peers on the characteristics for which data was collected.

According to Carol Shanklin, dean of the K-State Graduate School, the statistical data will be reviewed by K-State deans, department heads and graduate program directors with the goal of strengthening some of the doctoral programs for current and future students.

"The data will be useful as we prepare to move to the goal of being one of the top research universities by 2025, since the quality of our graduate programs -- especially our doctoral programs -- is an essential component of a highly ranked research university," Shanklin said. "The data will provide a framework for continuous quality improvement of our doctoral programs."

The council began analyzing data from 212 national universities, including K-State, in 2005 for the Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs. The council collected information from more than 5,000 doctoral programs in 62 fields.

Although the data collected in 2005 gives an idea of the performance of each university's doctoral programs on the measured variables at that point in time, Shanklin said it does not reflect changes in faculty and program improvements that have been implemented since 2005, while the data was being analyzed by the council.

"Many of the characteristics included in the study are included in our internal program review and assessment of student learning," Shanklin said.

To gather the information for the council, faculty and doctoral students were surveyed from each participating university. Information on each program was then divided into 20 characteristics, including the number of publications per allocated faculty member; the percentage of faculty with grants; the percentage of faculty within interdisciplinary studies; the percentage of first-year students with external funding; the percentage of international students; the average number of doctorates awarded between 2002-2006; the time it takes to earn a degree; and the number of student activities offered, among other characteristics.

"Analysis of data that has been done by the NRC is important," said April Mason, K-State provost and senior vice president. "We routinely collected this data to internally assure quality and competitiveness of our graduate programs."

Statistical data will soon be presented and discussed among K-State department heads and graduate program directors whose programs were included in the study.

By internally discussing the data, Shanklin and Mason said the university will move one step closer to goals proposed in the 2025 initiative, as well as benefit current and future K-State students with strengthened disciplines.