The fall semester has been a busy one for the Graduate and Professional Student Council. First, the fun stuff: our Basketball Campout went very well. We had over 2,500 students participate and more than 1,200 complete the entire event; we had no major complications, and fun was had by all. Our Student Life crew has been busy holding a number of events as well: baseball games, pre-football tailgates, happy hours, speed dating, state fair tickets, and more. I have heard time and again that these events provide a great opportunity for students to relax and take a break from their busy schedules—we are so glad that we can contribute to increasing the quality of life on campus!
In other news, we have continued working on communication across the schools and disciplines. Beyond broad representation in the GPSC General Assembly, this semester I have convened for the first time in recent years as a committee the presidents of all the graduate & professional schools’ student councils, both as an opportunity to shrink the distance between student leaders and as a way to develop leadership skills. We are also going to be focusing on leadership skills at our GPSC retreat in January, and are looking for interested alumni to come share their experiences. GPSC is also reinvestigating its own funding models, to make sure that funds can be provided for events that seek to draw together students from all across the University.
One of the most interesting issues that GPSC has been participating in is professional development for graduate students. With increased scrutiny on time to degree and the value of the liberal arts going on in the United States, we need to be forward looking in how graduate curricula are preparing our Cameron Crazies for life outside the classroom. This issue of the Graduate School newsletter, for instance, highlights some inventive students reflecting on the quality of the Ph.D. in this same vein. We are also actively supporting student organizations looking at non-traditional Ph.D. career paths and inviting students to small group discussions with administrators to discuss University administrative careers. In addition, GPSC is actively looking at ways to improve career services, alumni relations, and professional development activities—we definitely are looking for your help!
In sum, it has been a busy and productive year, but we are continuing to look forward and improve graduate student life at Duke. Alternative transportation, maternity/paternity concerns, health insurance, general healthy well-being—these are all issues that GPSC has and will continue to advocate in the upcoming year. We hope all have a happy holiday, and go Duke!