Friday, November 13, 2009

When meeting people for the first time, it's common to be asked, "What do you do for a living?"

We teach our graduate scholars to be prepared to give short, accurate, and compelling answers to this question. A professor of neuroscience, Daniel Tranel, expects his students to be able to deliver a one-minute "elevator speech," explaining their research in lay terms.

Of course, students work hard to engage in detailed discourse about their graduate studies. In this tough economic climate, though, it is crucial to have the skill to speak clearly and succinctly about one's work.

As dean of the Graduate College at Iowa, my answer is simply this: I serve the scholars who contribute research and creative work that make this world a better place.

It's a rewarding, humbling, and challenging job. From advanced brain research to mind-opening poetry, graduate education at Iowa is continually uncovering new views of humanity.

The Graduate College is expanding its reach this semester by offering a first-year seminar course for UI freshmen entitled "Grad School – Is It For YOU?" I am team-teaching the course with Associate Dean Dan Berkowitz. All the enrollees in this course have indicated they are strongly considering extending their academic lives beyond their undergraduate years. With this kind of interest in graduate education, the demand for high quality graduate programs will continue.

As you read this newsletter and explore our website, I hope you will find stories that pique your interest in the exciting research and creative work happening on our campus.

John C. Keller
Associate Provost for Graduate Education
Dean, Graduate College