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Table of ContentsGRADUATE STUDENT SUCCESS FOR FACULTY EXCELLENCE (GSS) TASKFORCE REPORT . 1Table of Contents . 2List of Task Force Team Members . 3Introduction . 5Charge . 5Background . 5Task Force Process . 8Recommendations . funding packages . 8Recruitment and Admissions . 12Graduate Assistants . 14Graduate Programs, Processes, and Faculty. 15Value Added Programming. 17Postdoctoral Training . 20Summary . 21Appendices . 22A. Graduate Student Survey .22B. Faculty and Staff Survey .47C. Methods.51D. Business PhD Compensation .56E. Computer Science Self-Review.59Graduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report2

List of Task Force Team Members Ambika Mathur, The Graduate School (Chair)Bernard Arulanandam, VPREDKECourtney Balderas, Educational Leadership (Student, Graduate StudentAssociation)Lynn Barnes, Administration Strategic EnrollmentJenell Bramlage, OIT Information TechnologyJoAnne Browning, Civil EngineeringJanis Bush, Environmental ScienceGuadalupe Carmona, Interdisciplinary Learning and TeachingBrian Cordeau, Institutional IntelligenceMargo DelliCarpini, College of Education and Human DevelopmentSuzana Diaz-Rosencrans, Academic InnovationSedef Doganer, ArchitectureSylvia Enriquez, Human Resource ServicesSandra Garcia, VPREDKEHeather Green, Alumni ProgramsShannon Heuberger, Academic InitiativesShelley Howell, Teaching & LearningKendra Ketchum, OIT Information TechnologyMark Leung, Management Science & StatisticsLaurie Lewis, Faculty SuccessChad Mahood, Communications (Chair, Faculty Senate)David Matiella, ArchitectureDenise Moore, Human Resource ServicesAnne Peters, President’s OfficeMegan Piel, Social Work (Graduate Council)Sushil Prasad, Computer ScienceJeff Prevost, Electrical EngineeringJeff Ragsdale, Educational Leadership (Alumnus)Libby Rowe, Art and Art History (Graduate Council)Juan Manuel Sanchez, AccountingAngela Speck, Physics & AstronomyJohnelle Sparks, Demography (Chair, Department Chair’s Council)Rosanne McSweeney, University PoliceRob Tillyer, Criminal JusticeArnoldo Trejo, Financial Aid and ScholarshipsJose Trevino, Biomedical Engineering (Student)Mario Vela, Career CenterSonia Valencia, English (Student)Karina Vielma, College of Engineering (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)Tyler Werland, Management Science & Statistics (Student, Graduate Council)Rebecca Weston, Graduate SchoolJason Yaeger, AnthropologyGraduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report3

Tuition and Fee Student Focus Group: Francisca Acosta, Biomedical EngineeringCourtney Balderas, Educational LeadershipAyetullah Biten, Electrical EngineeringJohn Cise, Business AdministrationSam Garlett, AccountingAlexandra Holdbrook, AnthropologyMuntasir Masum, DemographyVedhaprakash Rajagopala, Electrical EngineeringAlejandro (Alex) Rangel, Business AdministrationJose Trevino, Biomedical EngineeringSonia Valencia, EnglishLeander Valenzuela, SociologyGraduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report4

IntroductionGraduate education plays a critical role in achieving the highly prestigious CarnegieResearch 1 and National Research University Fund (NRUF) designations at TheUniversity of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Graduate students are essential insupporting faculty in UTSA’s dual mission of advancing excellence in research (asGraduate Research Assistants, GRAs) and undergraduate teaching (as GraduateTeaching Assistants, GTAs). Strong graduate programs are also a key element torecruiting and retaining the best scholars for a strong research-oriented faculty.Excellence in graduate education results in attracting competitive students, outstandingpedagogy and scholarly activities, and is therefore key to the UTSA’s mission. Thisexcellence begins with understanding and identifying the gaps that currently exist, andthen closing these gaps through the implementation of policies and processes that willensure the success of graduate students and programs. For this purpose, PresidentEighmy and Provost Espy launched the Graduate Student Success for FacultyExcellence (GSS) Task Force, chaired by Vice Provost and Dean of the GraduateSchool Ambika Mathur, in October 2019.ChargeThe Task Force was charged by Provost Espy to review all UTSA’s graduateeducation processes to determine whether they are optimally aligned, and to usedata-driven evidence to inform ensuing recommendations for improving thebroad graduate education landscape. At the inaugural meeting it was agreed thatthe Task Force would focus on doctoral education at this time.BackgroundIn Fall 2019, of the approximately 33,000 students enrolled at UTSA, about 4,100were graduate students (3,200 masters and 900 doctoral students roughly).Graduate students thus represent just 12.5% of the total student population atUTSA, a percentage far lower compared to the 20-28% enrollment at other UTSystem research and emerging research universities. Hispanic doctoral studentenrollment is around 25% compared to the undergraduate Hispanic studentenrollment of about 55%. Doctoral student enrollment represents just 2.7% of thetotal enrollment and has remained relatively flat over the last five Fall semesters,reaching a high of 900 in Fall 2019, which is 300 below our target of at least1,200 to reach R1 status (Figure 1). A large number of UTSA’s doctoral studentsare enrolled part time; a research intensive institution must have a much higherproportion of full-time doctoral students. Additionally, UTSA’s 40% attrition rateat the doctoral level is much higher than the rate at research-intensiveinstitutions.Graduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report5

Figure 1: Doctoral Enrollment at UTSAIn the same five year period referenced above for doctoral enrollment, UTSAawarded an average of 120 doctoral degrees in 25 programs across sixacademic colleges (Figure 2). The number of doctoral degrees remained fairlyconstant over the 5 year period and falls far short of the desired number of 200degrees awarded per year, a number consistent to achieve and maintain NRUFstatus; Carnegie R1 institutions average 360 doctorates awarded annually.Graduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report6

Figure 2: Doctoral Degrees awarded at UTSAThe challenges of enrollment and degrees awarded at UTSA have been ascribedto lack of funding, inability to provide competitive funding packages, highopportunity costs, lackluster recruitment efforts, clunky admission processes,lack of subsidized health care, lack of dedicated graduate housing, inconsistentappointment processes and policies, lack of innovative doctoral programs androbust numbers of research faculty, insufficient attention to issues around healthand well-being, and a lack of professional development opportunities for doctoralstudents. Lack of visibility of graduate education at UTSA is also viewed as asignificant barrier where graduate students feel “invisible”. While there are anumber of issues, the primary challenge is that of funding packages whencompared to our peer and aspirant institutions.As a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), UTSA has a special responsibility toincrease participation and success of Hispanic students in graduate programs,especially at the doctoral level. As noted above, the percentage of Hispanicstudents enrolled at the doctoral level at UTSA is almost half that at theundergraduate level. This will increase the diversity of our nation’s faculty andleadership positions and enhance an inclusive workforce to better serve ourstudents and communities. UTSA should be a destination of choice for HispanicGraduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report7

students. Our non-competitive funding packages, however, disadvantage us fromachieving this goal.Master’s enrollment is similarly challenged, again primarily due to quality ofprograms and recruitment efforts. This also needs to be examined since master’sprograms serve as a pipeline to doctoral programs, and the tuition revenuegenerated by master’s programs fuels doctoral funding. However, this TaskForce report focuses on doctoral education, and master’s education will beaddressed in subsequent initiatives.Task Force ProcessTask Force Chair, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School AmbikaMathur used a multi-pronged approach towards this effort. First, a broadlyrepresentative task force of graduate students, graduate faculty, representativesof the Faculty Senate, Department Chairs Council, and Graduate Council, as wellas other stakeholders across the university was assembled (listed above).Second, two surveys approved by the task force and by UTSA’s IRB, and led byGraduate School Associate Dean Rebecca Weston were used to assess theclimate around graduate education: the first was administered to graduatestudents (Appendix A) and the second to faculty and staff involved with graduateeducation (Appendix B). Participants in both surveys are described in AppendixC. Third, as a component of the 2019 Tuition and Fee process, Drs. Mathur andWeston met with a focus group of graduate students representing race, ethnic,gender, and discipline diversity from all colleges (listed above); their valuableinput was incorporated in the recommendations. Input was also sought from andprovided by the Graduate Council, Faculty Senate, Chairs’ Council, as well asDeans and Associate Deans for Graduate Studies of academic colleges. Datawere provided by Institutional Research (IR) as requested to each group.Recommendations of the Task Force and other groups are summarized below.Recommendations1. Institutional funding packagesOf the current 900 Fall 2019 enrolled doctoral students, 500 areconsidered full-time and 400 part-time, as defined by number of creditsenrolled. Full-time enrollment tuition and fee cost averages 11,000 perstudent at in-state rates, although there is variability by college (Table 1).Graduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report8

Table 1: 2019-20 in-state graduate tuition and fee rate for full-timeenrollment by collegeCollegeCollege of BusinessCollege of Education and Human DevelopmentCollege of EngineeringCollege of Liberal and Fine ArtsCollege of Health, Community, and PolicyCollege of SciencesTuition 12,743 10,034 11,189 10,034 10,034 11,084At UTSA, funding for graduate students is derived primarily from threesources: 1) institutional general funds budgeted in individual colleges( 5.2M), 2) funds from the Graduate School ( 1.2M), and 3) furthersupplements by funding from external sources including faculty researchgrants, fundraising and endowments. As is evident, this funding is woefullyinadequate to support our 900 doctoral students. Inconsistent with R1institutions as well as most of our peer and inspirational institutions, weare therefore unable to provide competitive funding packages that includestipends, tuition reimbursement, and health care to our doctoral students.Such low funding levels place our PhD programs at a significantdisadvantage and severely limits the ability to attract high caliber students.Under UTSA’s IRM budgetary model, the 5.2M graduate student fundingis allocated directly to academic colleges. Colleges typically fund studentsas GRAs or GTAs or a combination thereof using these funds and othercollege/department/faculty funds. The process of appointments andfunding amounts of assistantship packages are highly variable across theinstitution and is consequently confusing to students and faculty. The firstorder of business is therefore to establish uniform definitions, appointmentprocesses, eligibility requirements, and minimum funding packages thatare consistent across UTSA. The Graduate School is tasked to work withHR to establish such a scaffolding. Because most doctoral students havefamilies and reside in Bexar County, minimum stipend levels should betied to Bexar County’s hourly living wage at 15.20, per MIT guidelines.With doctoral students compensated for 20 hours a week for 52 weeks ayear, this then calculates to an approximate annual stipend of 16,000.This should be supplemented by full tuition and healthcare subsidy(example, 2,000 towards UT System’s Student Health Insurance Plan).These packages can be supplemented by colleges based on disciplinarybenchmarking but may not exceed a set maximum determined by eachcollege, with funds derived from increased revenue generation by collegesin the areas of Development, Online Programs, Student Credit Hours, andResearch. These funds should also be used to increase the numbers ofdoctoral students as UTSA drives towards R1 status. We understand thatGraduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report9

colleges may not be able to achieve this funding level immediately andtherefore propose that funding packages be adjusted in a step-wisemanner over a three-year period, with minimum levels set at 14,000 inYear 1 (covering at least tuition, fees, and healthcare, paid directly byUTSA), 22,000 in Year 2 (tuition, fees, healthcare and ½ year stipend),and 30,000 in Year 3 (tuition, fees, healthcare, and stipend).It is also expected that in STEM disciplines, and in other disciplines wherepossible, faculty will appoint students to their research grants wherepermitted and will request appropriate levels of funding for a GRApackage in their grant proposal, if GRAs are appointed to work on facultygrant projects for their dissertation research. Research Service Center(RSC) and Business Service Center (BSC) staff must work with faculty todesignate minimum levels of requested GRA funds in the proposal stage,and GRA compensation in the award stage.Strategic use of graduate funds: Funding should be strategically allocatedto fund graduate programs that are aligned with UTSA’s strategic missionof high growth and impact research areas, as well as with KeyPerformance Indicators. Fellowships/assistantships should be prioritizedto attract, retain, and graduate a high caliber of diverse students that willbe rigorously trained to meet the needs of the national and regionalworkforce. College graduate funding plans must align with the overallinstitutional plan to be developed by the colleges in partnership with theGraduate School. The funds available to the Graduate School will be usedstrategically to grow new interdisciplinary and niche programs and toassist in recruitment, retention and completion of the highest achievingstudents.Housing: A large number of graduate students come from outside the SanAntonio area and require housing. Unfortunately, UTSA does not havededicated graduate student housing. Since one of UTSA’s missions is torecruit and retain Hispanic students from outside of San Antonio, it isimportant to provide university housing that is dedicated to graduatestudents. It is even more important for access to subsidized Universityhousing since a number of students in this age group also have families,and need affordable and safe housing options.NRUF funds: UTSA is working towards attaining NRUF status. PresidentEighmy has earmarked potential NRUF funds to be set aside for doctoralfunding packages. Following achievement of NRUF status anddisbursement of the approximately 7M annually to UTSA, werecommend that the majority of those funds be used to increase thenumbers of doctoral students as well as to increase the minimum fundingpackages awarded to doctoral students. Using these funds accordingly willhelp us get closer to achieving a minimal enrollment of 1,200 doctoralGraduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report10

students and an expected 200 PhDs awarded each year. In addition,about 20% of the funds should be allocated to the Graduate School forcompetitive fellowships which should be prioritized to attract top students,needs for bridge funding, and to fund exceptional students who, by stayingan additional year, can improve their placement, and to encourageprogression towards graduation. This will better permit UTSA to becompetitive towards achieving our goal to recruit, retain, and graduateHispanic students with these funding packages.Expand funding sources: As we grow our doctoral numbers, currentinstitutional funding will not be sufficient for recruiting and successfullygraduating our best students. Academic colleges and the Graduate Schoolshould partner and raise funds from training grants, corporatepartnerships, faculty research grants, endowments and philanthropy. Indisciplines where external graduate fellowships are available, programsshould make it mandatory for students to apply for these prestigiousawards and training should be provided by the Colleges to improve thequality and chances of funding. Where appropriate, an approvedfellowship application should be used as a substitute for a written researchprospectus in order to make this process more relevant.Graduate Student Success for Faculty Excellence (GSS) Task Force Report11

2. Recruitment and AdmissionsDoctoral recruitment and enrollment at UTSA have not kept pace with theneeds of an institution aspiring to Carnegie R1 and NRUF designations,and neither has the commitment to diversity at the doctoral level befittingour status as an HSI. It is incumbent upon us to increase our doctoralenrollment of Hispanic students from our current 25% to around 50%.UTSA must become the powerhouse that graduates the highest number ofHispanic PhD awardees. We must recruit nationally and from our owndomestic pool of Hispanic and other URM students. To achieve this,aggressive and innovative recruitment and retention strategies arerequired, inclu

Table of Contents GRADUATE STUDENT SUCCESS FOR FACULTY EXCELLENCE (GSS) TASK . supporting faculty in UTSA’s dual mission of advancing excellence in research (as Graduate Research Assistants, GRAs) and undergraduate teaching (as Graduate Teaching Assistants, GTAs). Strong graduate programs are also a key element to

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