Over the past year, SMU has continued working on its Operational Excellence for the 2nd Century (OE2C) initiative to increase savings and streamline operations throughout SMU’s campus. SMU announced Thursday that it will use some of these savings to increase the number of Ph.D. students on campus with what the OE2C website calls “a University-wide Fellowship program.”
“The new graduate fellowships will be awarded this spring to 15 high-achieving Ph.D. students in a variety of SMU’s 22 doctoral programs,” the OE2C website announced.
Faculty graduate advisors were each invited to submit up to two nominees for the fellowship. Nominations were reviewed by the SMU University Research Council, which consists of faculty members from various schools at SMU.
The choice to increase SMU’s doctoral programs was encouraged by the SMU Faculty Senate, who believes that the university’s doctoral students play a crucial role in engaging with undergraduate students and incoming classes.
The Faculty Senate passed a resolution April 2, 2014 requesting that the SMU administration devote a substantial portion of savings or revenue from OE2C toward “recruitment and retention of high- quality faculty; investment in research infrastructure, university libraries and doctoral programs; increasing the number of laboratory and teaching assistants to improve the quality of undergraduate education; and University-wide fellowships to attract high-quality graduate students.”
SMU expects the University-wide Fellowship program to grow over time. It will start its first year with $150,000. The inaugural Fellows will each receive up to $10,000 in addition to teaching or research help offered by their department, according to the OE2C website.
James Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies, believes that outstanding grad students will add to the undergraduate educational experience and improve faculty members’ ability to teach when they function as teaching assistants.
“The new University-wide Fellowship program will enrich an outstanding Ph.D. program, and outstanding students coming to SMU enriches the atmosphere,” Quick said to the OE2C initiative.
According to Quick, the first award recipients will be announced after April 15.