Graduate student program focuses on student needs

Sept. 23, 2013

Attiana Collins
[email protected]

Graduate programs play an important role in broadening the scope of those that may choose to attend the university and a new student association hopes to make that a reality at UCCS.

After graduate student enrollment increased 7 percent on campus this semester, graduate student Sarah Mayer assisted in founding the Graduate Student Association to help graduate students with their needs.

“The graduate student body has kind of been ignored; there is no single organization, club or anything for the students,” said Mayer. “A lot of that is a lack of programming, a lack of initiative and students staying involved.”

GSA was founded by Kelli Klebe, psychology professor and dean of the graduate school, and student services. “We wanted to develop a graduate student culture on campus and to offer support to students,” Klebe said.

Taryn Bailey, the graduate school recruitment and retention specialist, looked into what other schools were doing for graduate student outreach, according to Klebe.

She then worked with Professor Sylvia Martinez’s class in the Master’s Leadership: Student Affairs in Higher Education program to develop a plan for GSA.

“I am personally interested in the GSA providing me insight into the concerns of graduate students and to get their ideas on what types of professional development activities they may want that the graduate school can help provide,” Klebe said.

Mayer believes having a doctorate program that provides its students with the resources they need will bring more students to campus.

“People are coming [to UCCS], but what will greatly increase the reputation of the school is the doctorate program,” Mayer explained.

“The school will be able to say, ‘We don’t just have undergraduates, we have people at the graduate level doing research.’ In this economy, people with bachelor degrees are struggling to find jobs and are going back to school to get their master degrees and Ph.D.s.”

Mayer indicated that due to a lack of graduate-level resources, UCCS may be losing students to other CU campuses.

The biggest need of graduate students, according to Mayer, who is pursuing a master’s degree in leadership of higher learning, is professional development in career enhancement.

“I’ve been contacting all different departments and programs to try and provide resources,” said Mayer. “There are a lot of services that provide help for undergraduates. The expectations are very high for graduate students, but we have nothing for them. ”

GSA will be hosting various seminars for graduate students this semester, including Thesis and Dissertation as well as Grant Writing.

“We have a lot of potential here. It’s just a matter of maximizing that and receiving funding,” Mayer said.