To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, and Graduate Students
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Subject: Update on Graduate Education Initiatives
Date: June 2, 2022
I write to update you on our ongoing efforts to improve the graduate student experience at the University of Chicago. Below are updates that have occurred since the progress report I shared in December, along with information about some ongoing supportive resources.
Student Life
  • Graduate housing support: In response to the recommendation of the Graduate Housing and Transportation Committee, UChicagoGRAD is piloting a new roommate matching platform for incoming graduate students and plans to expand the tool next year. Students with questions can email or visit the graduate housing website.   

  • Graduate student representation: I am grateful for the leadership of Graduate Council and its help in identifying graduate student representatives to serve on the recently announced Council on UChicago/Community Relations: Historical, Contemporary, and Future and the Public Safety Advisory Council. These are two key ways in which graduate students play a role in guiding decisions about safety, security, and the University’s relationship with the surrounding South Side community.

  • Diversity: Due to overwhelming interest in Maroon Mates, the Diversity Advisory Board’s student-led peer mentorship program, Graduate Council and UChicagoGRAD will expand the initiative to include a larger mentor cohort than ever before. The success of Maroon Mates is also being replicated by a parallel program for international students under the leadership of the International Graduate Student Advisory Board. Applications for both programs will open at the beginning of the Autumn Quarter.

  • Graduate student space: The Graduate Student Lounge, located on the fourth floor of the University Bookstore, will remain open throughout the summer. This is a great space for graduate students to study, relax, and socialize with one another.

Academic and Career Resources
  • Fellowships: UChicagoGRAD advisors help students from all academic disciplines identify and apply for many external competitive fellowships to facilitate research, travel, and other scholarly opportunities. Students can schedule a meeting with a fellowship advisor, search an online database of fellowship opportunities, and sign up for a periodic fellowship newsletter here.

  • Career services: Summer is an excellent time to think about professional development. Students can schedule individual appointments with UChicagoGRAD advisors to explore career options, prepare application materials, and build a professional network. Students can also register for UChicagoGRAD’s upcoming summer camps about careers in consulting (June 6–10) and the academic job market (July 18–22).

  • Fieldwork safety: In response to concerns raised by graduate students in the Biological Sciences Division, we have formed a Fieldwork Safety Working Group to review existing safety protocols, polices, and resources to support research conducted off campus. University leaders have met with graduate students across campus to learn more about their experiences in the field and document safety concerns. I look forward to sharing updates on the project in the future and am grateful to the students who initially brought forward their concerns, and the students who have met with the working group and contributed to this project.

Administrative Improvements
  • Student payments and financial wellness: UChicagoGRAD continues enhancing financial wellness support and offered a variety of resources this past tax season based on suggestions from students, including improved and expanded tax information workshops, tax Q&A sessions, and individual advising. Contact at any time with questions about student payments or finances.

  • Grievance policies and procedures: A new Associate Director for Graduate Student Affairs, Amanda Young (, is leading the implementation of the recommendations of the Graduate Student Grievance Committee. Amanda will work closely with all graduate units to ensure grievance policies align with committee recommendations, create new programming supporting improvements to graduate student mentorship, and develop annual reporting on grievances and climate. Amanda is also available to meet individually with graduate students seeking support in addressing concerns.

Many of these initiatives were developed in response to the recommendations of the Committee on Graduate Education. I welcome continued feedback from graduate students and other members of the University community to identify areas of improvement and am grateful to the many individuals across campus who are committed to enhancing graduate education at the University, which remains an institutional priority. I look forward to sharing information about additional improvements in the future.
Graduate Education