Graduate Education 2020Forward Phase I Results

Graduate Education 2020Forward Phase I Results

On this page is the draft vision, implementation strategies and metrics from the 2020Forward Phase I graduate education committee. This is the first step in Clemson’s update of its current strategic plan, the 2020 Road Map. A critical part of the development of this update is feedback from the university community. Please review this information, and then provide your thoughts using one of the options listed at the bottom of this page. Your feedback is important and will be considered before any plans are finalized.


Clemson University will be an innovative leader in high quality graduate education that offers both breadth of knowledge and depth of training in a sstudent-centered, collaborative and inclusive community of scholars who address and solve local, national, and global challenges.

Key Elements of this Vision

  • Student-Centered: A student-centered graduate experience should incorporate graduate education into the Clemson University culture, while servicing the unique needs of all graduate students, both academically and non-academically.
  • Collaboration and Inclusion: Collaborations at Clemson University should occur between graduate and undergraduate programs and among graduate disciplines. Clemson University should be inclusive and welcoming and leverage the unique perspectives of all graduate students, including students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds as well as those with disabilities. Clemson should see these perspectives as comparative advantages.
  • Community of Scholars: In order to develop a community of scholars at Clemson, we need to balance Clemson’s historic strengths in undergraduate teaching and interdisciplinary translational research/outreach with an increase in disciplinary/basic research, scholarship and creative activity at the graduate level. A community of scholars leads the discussions of contemporary issues.
  • Local, National, and Global Challenges: As a land grant institution, Clemson has a responsibility to be an advocate for underrepresented voices in the state, and to enhance the quality of life for all residents of South Carolina. By addressing local, national, and global grand challenges through research, education, and training, the Clemson graduate community uses its voice to identify disparities, create opportunities, and seek solutions to address these problems.

Implementation Strategies

Overall, the committee recommends elevating the standing of graduate education in the University so that it strengthens and is strengthened by the entire Clemson enterprise (undergraduate education, research and scholarship, outreach, and economic development). To achieve this, the following specific implementation strategies are recommended:

  1. Re-envision the Graduate School as an advocate and facilitator for innovative and high quality graduate education, informed by best structures at peer and aspirational institutions.
  2. Develop a system for vetting faculty to receive “graduate faculty status” which affords the privilege of teaching graduate courses and directing graduate research committees.
  3. Increase the quality and breadth of Ph.D. programs and students at Clemson.
  4. Expand the location, quantity, and types of support services and professional development opportunities for students and ensure that these programs are specifically targeted to address the unique needs of all graduate students at every Clemson campus.
  5. Create opportunities for all graduate students to connect with, influence, and develop the Clemson University culture beyond their academic program.
  6. Adjust graduate student stipends, fellowships, and workload to be competitive with aspirational peers.
  7. Develop a process for internally and externally evaluating departments/units to identify those that can reach levels of national or international distinction in graduate education.
  8. Develop/reinvigorate campus-level Institutes (e.g., reinvigorate Public Policy Institute, create well-funded Humanities Institute).
  9. Create an environment that appeals to the very diverse array of students seeking high quality graduate education.
  10. Remove barriers to cross-disciplinary or interdisciplinary graduate degrees or collaborative work.


  1. Track graduate student placement and career trajectory.
  2. Number of highly competitive graduate applicants choosing Clemson.
  3. Number of graduate students with corresponding measures of graduate student satisfaction (e.g., campus climate, provision of services, diversity, career preparedness, and intellectual development).