To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, and Graduate Students
From: Provost Katherine Baicker
Subject: Update on Graduate Education Initiatives
Date: April 27, 2023

Graduate students are integral members of our community, and the University of Chicago has regularly provided information about ongoing improvements to graduate education since the release of the Committee on Graduate Education’s report in 2019. I want to continue that tradition by sharing some recent updates on student resources and initiatives. I also want to let you know that we are preparing to begin bargaining in the coming weeks with Graduate Students United - United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, which is now the certified bargaining agent for certain graduate students engaged in teaching and research activities at UChicago. I look forward to engaging with students, faculty, and staff from across the University as we work together to improve the graduate student experience.

Academic and Career Resources

  • Mentorship Support: Since UChicagoGRAD introduced new individual advising appointments about mentorship last quarter, there has been high demand from students across the University in PhD, master’s, and professional programs. These appointments are an opportunity to discuss strategies for identifying mentors and building effective mentoring relationships, ask questions about the graduate school experience, and develop strategies for handling difficult conversations and situations.

  • English as an Additional Language: Based on student feedback and in partnership with the English Language Institute, UChicagoGRAD now offers one-on-one writing tutoring for graduate students who speak English as an additional language. Students are encouraged to consult with tutors on current writing projects to enhance their understanding of writing norms in academic English. Appointments can be scheduled via GRAD Gargoyle.

  • Career Resources: UChicagoGRAD is offering several upcoming career events and resources. Consulting Spring Training will run from May 8 to 12 and is designed to help graduate students prepare for careers in consulting. The Pathways to College Teaching Careers mini-conference on May 24 will help graduate students explore what it means to pursue a faculty career at a teaching-focused institution. PhD students are also invited to enter this year’s Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on May 19 to hone their public speaking skills and earn up to $1,000 in cash prizes. Sign up to participate in the competition by May 3. Students can register for all events in GRAD Gargoyle.

  • Expanded Open Access Support: Graduate students and other UChicago authors can publish their research as open-access journal articles at no cost to them in an expanded range of journals thanks to new Library agreements with publishers. A new tool is available to help authors identify whether specific journals are covered by these Library-funded agreements. Contact adrianho@uchicago.eduu with questions. 

Student Life

  • Graduate Student Representation: The Diversity Advisory Board is hosting its fifth annual Transcending Boundaries Symposium on April 29 featuring presentations from graduate students and postdoctoral researchers on the topics of truth, transformation, and healing. The International Graduate Student Advisory Board is preparing its annual spring survey of the international graduate student experience and expects to send it by early May.

  • Graduate Student Lounge: UChicagoGRAD is piloting extended hours for the Graduate Student Lounge on Thursdays during Spring Quarter, when the lounge is open until 11 p.m. The lounge is located on the fourth floor of the University Bookstore and available to all graduate students for studying, socializing, and collaborating.

  • Graduate Student Celebration Week: Co-hosted by UChicagoGRAD and Graduate Council, Graduate Student Celebration Week will run May 1 to 5 and feature a range of activities, including a Paint Your Thesis event, the annual Fellowships Fête, and special programming at UChicagoGRAD headquarters and in the Graduate Student Lounge.

Administrative Improvements

  • Financial Wellness and Student Payments: In Summer Quarter, the next phase of improvements to student payments processes will be implemented. Based on student feedback and recommendations, this standardization of PhD primary funding aims to minimize confusion and financial hardship by annualizing primary funding into 12 payments per year. Students will receive ongoing communications from their dean of students about how these changes may affect them in Summer and Autumn Quarters. Students can contact their dean of students or with payments questions.

Additional information on resources for graduate students is available at Thank you for your ongoing commitment to graduate education at UChicago.


Graduate Education