To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, and Graduate Students
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Subject: Update on Graduate Education Initiatives
Date: November 15, 2022
As the institution has done periodically since the Committee on Graduate Education issued its report in 2019, I write to share information about our ongoing efforts to enhance graduate education at the University of Chicago. Below are updates on key initiatives, along with information about ongoing resources and support.
Academic and Career Resources
  • Travel and fieldwork safety: In response to concerns raised by graduate students, the Office of Research Safety is building new mechanisms to track and provide risk assessments of proposed field research activities along with appropriate trainings and safety support. UChicagoGRAD is working with graduate units to provide targeted trainings, communications, and individual support to graduate students traveling and conducting research off campus.

  • Open Access: The Library recently entered into agreements with publishers that enable UChicago researchers (including students, faculty, and staff) to publish their research as open access journal articles for free, often amplifying the impact and citation of published research. Contact with questions.

  • Fellowships: UChicagoGRAD advisors help students from all academic disciplines identify and apply for competitive fellowships to facilitate research, travel, and other scholarly activities. Students interested in learning more about fellowships can schedule a meeting with a fellowship advisor, submit application drafts for written feedback, search for fellowship opportunities, and join our fellowships course page on Canvas.

  • Career services: UChicagoGRAD’s career team provides comprehensive support for students launching careers in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government. Students can schedule individual appointments with UChicagoGRAD advisors to explore career options, prepare application materials, and build a professional network. Students can also join weekly Career30 sessions that teach career fundamentals such as interviewing and negotiation in just 30 minutes.

Student Life
  • Transportation: In Winter Quarter 2023, the University will introduce a downtown connector shuttle to provide free transportation between our Hyde Park campus, the Gleacher Center, downtown UChicago Medical Center clinics, and the Roosevelt CTA station. Students are also eligible for one 10-ride Metra Electric pass per year and 10 discounted Lyft rides per month through Lyft Ride Smart. For more information on transportation options, please visit or watch the new Guide to UChicago Transportation video.

  • Graduate student representation: The 2022–23 Graduate Council is focused on strengthening students’ sense of affiliation with the campus-wide graduate student community. Students can stay up to date on Graduate Council events and initiatives through Grad Council Corner, a new section of the GRAD Guide Weekly newsletter. I appreciate the partnership of the International Graduate Student Advisory Board, Diversity Advisory Board, and Graduate Council, and encourage students to reach out to representatives with thoughts on how the University can continue to enhance the graduate student experience.

Administrative Improvements
  • Financial wellness and student payments: In Summer 2023, we will move forward with the final phase of standardization related to PhD student research, teaching, and fellowships funding. I am grateful that students identified problems and raised them with the administration to inform internal improvements and to ensure that the student experience is not negatively affected by administrative issues. Because current practices vary by academic division/school, your deans of students will communicate the specifics for PhD primary funding in each unit in the coming weeks.

  • Grievance policies and procedures: The University instituted a new University Grievance Policy for Graduate Students in Autumn 2022. The policy aligns with recommendations of the Graduate Grievance Policies and Process Committee, and all graduate divisions and schools will implement new grievance policies by the end of this quarter. Students can learn more about the grievance policy and resources to support navigating conflict and addressing concerns on the UChicagoGRAD website.

Many of these improvements have been developed in response to the recommendations of the Committee on Graduate Education. The staff at UChicagoGRAD, the deans of students, and I are committed to ensuring graduate students have the support they need. Additional information on resources for graduate students, such as the Graduate Student Lounge, can be found at I appreciate the dedicated effort of faculty, students, and staff to the institutional priority of enhancing graduate education, and I look forward to sharing additional updates in the future.
Graduate Education