Strengthening graduate education within academic departments and degree programs is crucial for ensuring our students have the best possible educational experiences.
Dynamic changes within universities and disciplines, as well as broader contexts, make thoughtful reconsideration of our approaches to graduate education a top priority. The VPGE’s SCORE (Strengthening the Core) Academic Innovation Funds are available for faculty to scrutinize long-existing practices and test new approaches for graduate education, within a department or across several academic programs.
When reflecting on graduate programs, faculty have been deliberating about fundamental expectations for advanced study and skill development within their specialized fields as well as identifying opportunities for innovative approaches. Faculty have also been interested in exploring how to prepare graduate students for work and life so they contribute meaningfully for decades to come. We are fortunate that Stanford has outstanding resources for professional development and career exploration that complement what faculty offer locally in departments.
During VPGE’s tenth year, 2016-17, we had a “What’s possible?” web portal, asking students, faculty, and staff what they value about graduate education at Stanford and what could be done to enhance the quality of graduate education and graduate students’ experiences at Stanford. Several themes emerged in response to the second question:
We encourage you to apply for SCORE Academic Innovation Funds for pilot projects of up to one year to address these and other issues that are salient within your department or program. We are particularly interested in supporting innovative ideas that emerge locally, so encourage you to seek ideas from your community of faculty, students, and staff.
Recent SCORE projects include:
1) A brief project description that answers the following questions:
2) A brief budget request. Requests of up to $15,000 will be considered. Funds may be used for meeting or event expenses, graduate research assistants or teaching assistants, outside consultants, including focus group facilitators, and other reasonable costs. Requests for expenses that would typically be covered by departmental funds, such as faculty salaries, are rarely covered and should be clearly justified. Applicants are encouraged to pursue cost-sharing opportunities, such as School or department funds, when possible.
3) A brief endorsement from the Director of Graduate Studies, Department Chair, or IDP Program Director (email is sufficient).
Awards are made on a competitive basis by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. Proposal budgets and scope of activities may be refined and negotiated. A brief summary (via email) at the end of the project should reflect on how well objectives were met and lessons learned for the future, and list how funds were expended.