GSA Student Services & Program Support
Graduate Student Affairs (GSA) develops, supports, and enhances its student services and programs through four program support elements:
- Student Group Support
- Program Evaluation.
These elements ensure that GSA develops its programs and resources in such a way that they are accessible, inviting, and responsive to the needs of all segments of the graduate community.
Graduate Student Affairs makes every attempt to assess and respond to the concerns of Duke graduate students. One prime example of GSA’s advocacy role is the collaborative work done with the Office for Institutional Equity in coordinating services for students with disabilities. The Child Care Subsidy and initiatives to recognize and promote best practices in graduate student mentoring also arose from GSA’s response to students’ expressed needs and concerns. In many instances, GSA is the initial point of contact for graduate students, offering informal counseling and advising.
Furthermore, GSA acts as the liaison between the Graduate School and the Career Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office for Institutional Equity, the central university Office of Student Affairs, and other campus offices. The Office of Graduate Student Affairs works to create linkages with Duke’s graduate departments and the university administration. In addition, GSA representatives are members of national committees, graduate consortia, and professional associations concerned with issues related to graduate student life.
GSA works to enhance communication within the graduate community. GSA staff members serve on a variety of committees that explore and evaluate new models of communication with students. Targeted e-mail announcements keep students informed about GSA events and other university programs. Duke Grad Student Instructional Technology Training, Duke Graduate Career Services, and Duke Postdocs are a few other Google calendars relevant to the graduate community. Additionally, the repository of helpful resources under Graduate Student Affairs Publications and Media continues to grow. Among these resources are the Graduate School Newsletter, an online publication that highlights student resources, accomplishments, and events.
Student Group Support
GSA provides continuing support for graduate student groups. Staff members advise and assist several graduate student organizations, including the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA), the Bouchet Society, Duke Chinese Students and Scholars Association (DCSSA), DukeOUT, the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC), Graduate and Professional Parents (GAPP), the Graduate and Professional Women’s Network (GPWN), the Native American Student Alliance (NASA), the Society of Duke Fellows (SDF), and Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE). These group help GSA to invest a portion of its time and resources in programming that addresses the specific needs of many important segments of the graduate community that don’t get addressed when looking only at needs based on academic discipline.
Developing formal and informal mechanisms for program evaluation is crucial in assessing the effectiveness of GSA services and in instituting new programs. Formal evaluation of GSA’s programs is carried out through surveys of major activities, followed by analysis and progress reports. Our ability to track students throughout the admissions process and to prepare retention data continues to be important in the assessment of GSA’s effectiveness. Informal evaluations of GSA events are conducted with individual students, student groups, and graduate faculty. Additionally, GSA regularly seeks feedback from its Graduate Student Affairs Advisory Committee. Composed of faculty, students, and staff representing each broad disciplinary area in the Graduate School, the Graduate Student Affairs Advisory Committee’s role is to serve as an evaluative resource in program development and to help in adopting specific strategies to meet program goals.