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Office of the Provost, Division of Academic Affairs, University of Maryland


A Note to Graduate Students

December 12, 2023

Dear Graduate Students,

As we approach the end of the semester, we want to congratulate you on all of your hard work and accomplishments this fall. We'd also like to thank those of you who participated in our graduate student open forums over the past month. The insight and feedback we received is invaluable as we continue our work to improve the graduate student experience at UMD.

Our work ahead

We heard your concerns and questions clearly, and we are committed to taking action and continuing to make progress in areas important to you. At the forums, we presented an overview of some of the current initiatives underway, including:

  • Continuing to seek out opportunities to increase GA stipends;
  • Investing in additional graduate student housing;
  • Exploring revisions to our grievance policy and parental accommodation policy;
  • Expanding career and professional development opportunities;
  • Strengthening the use of uniform GA appointment letters;
  • Supporting and meeting the needs of our international students;
  • Developing mental health improvement recommendations via the campus Mental Health Task Force; and
  • Working with academic leaders across campus to support high-quality mentoring.

In addition to these ongoing activities, based on direct feedback from graduate students who attended the forums, we've begun work on:

  • Reducing the burden on students for travel reimbursement costs;
  • Identifying ways to improve the GA to Fellowship transition;
  • Moving to multi-year GA appointments where possible;
  • Meeting with the graduate student disability advocacy group;
  • Exploring health insurance challenges;
  • Working with academic departments to better understand how GA hours are tracked and monitored;
  • Enhancing and broadening our communication efforts; and
  • Exploring non-enrolled renters and waitlist processes at existing graduate housing facilities.

We also recognize that many students are following the state legislature's consideration of graduate student collective bargaining. Regardless of the process that we move forward with, our goal does not change: we are committed to giving our graduate students the best possible experience.

Graduate student resources

The Graduate School's graduate student webpage provides links to deadlines, funding possibilities, academic policies and procedures, and a variety of other resources for graduate students. Resources include:

More ways to engage

The Graduate School calendar includes many opportunities for engagement, including the "Coffee with the Dean" series, which will resume in the spring. Also keep an eye out for additional Graduate School open forums in the future related to specific areas of interest. Our Graduate School Academic Counselor offers a variety of programs and services, including Graduate Student Circles; the Eat, Grow, and Learn Series; and Mental Health Tips.

Enhancing communications

Finally, we'd like to continue to build effective ways to communicate with graduate students, and want to hear from you about how best to do that. Please take a few minutes to take this four-question survey to help us better understand your communications preferences.

We wholeheartedly believe that our graduate students are central to the University of Maryland's mission and success, and wish you the very best as we finish out this semester.


Jennifer King Rice
Senior Vice President and Provost

Stephen Roth
Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School