Cutting Across Academic Boundaries
Doctoral student Melinda Cromie, PhD ’11, helped show muscle “sarcomeres” at work in the human body for the first time by developing a new kind of microscope system. That required a new kind of funding: the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (SIGF). Traditional fellowships usually support work in a single field of study. Her SIGF, awarded through Stanford’s Bio-X program, allowed Melinda to work between labs in engineering, physics, and biology, collaborating with orthopedic surgeons. The resulting technology enables researchers to better understand motor control diseases such as stroke and cerebral palsy.
Training Environmental Leaders
Because environmental problems are increasingly complex, their solutions cut across academic disciplines. Traditional graduate programs tend to confine students to a single discipline. The Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER), hosted by the School of Earth Sciences and engaging faculty from around the university, allows students to combine expertise from the natural and social sciences, engineering, and other fields. In addition to 30 doctoral students, E-IPER serves students pursuing joint master’s degrees in law, medicine, and business.
Knight Management Center
The new home for the Graduate School of Business supports the school’s new curriculum, deepens multidisciplinary partnerships throughout the university, and leverages the school’s collaborative culture to create transformational educational experiences. With its eight buildings and location across from the Schwab Residential Center, the Knight Management Center fosters an integrated living and learning environment; blends indoor and outdoor spaces designed for interaction; demonstrates leadership in environmental sustainability; and offers venues that engage the broader community.
Preparing International Policy Makers
In a world where problems cross international and academic borders, students need to understand the complex connections between issues such as poverty, natural resources, and interstate conflict. The Ford Dorsey International Policy Studies master’s program has expanded dramatically, from one to two years, with a revamped curriculum that better integrates study in the School of Humanities and Sciences with expertise at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, as well as the schools of law and business.
Mills Legal Clinic
The Mills Legal Clinic now offers students a choice of 10 legal practice areas—from environmental law to intellectual property, criminal defense and prosecution, business law, immigration, education, and more. Under close faculty supervision, students get hands-on litigation practice and learn skills such as drafting contracts and interviewing clients that allow them to hit the ground running after graduation. The clinic is housed in the new William H. Neukom Building.
- Cutting Across Academic BoundariesSIGF funding supports graduate students exploring multiple fields of study.
- Training Environmental LeadersE-IPER students cross academic disciplines to solve environmental problems.
- Knight Management CenterA new home for the Graduate School of Business supports the schools’ new curriculum.
- Munger Graduate ResidenceNew graduate housing attracts graduate students from different fields of study.
- Preparing International Policy MakersAn expanded master’s program and revamped curriculum better prepares future international leaders.
- Mills Legal ClinicThrough the Mills Legal Clinic, students get hands-on litigation practice.
ABOUT THE INITIATIVE
In 2007, Stanford established the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. Led by Professor of Education Patricia Gumport, the office has worked with deans and faculty throughout the university as a catalyst for innovation, promoting cross-school and interdisciplinary learning opportunities; offering leadership and professional development programs for students; supporting continued investment in students, faculty, and academic departments; and advancing graduate student diversity through programs like DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence).
Today, graduate students in each field of study are taking advantage of the breadth of Stanford’s excellence to contribute not only in their core disciplines, but also in the range of multidisciplinary efforts that have become a hallmark of the university as a whole. These include the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowships Program, which is helping the university attract and empower some of the most innovative young problem solvers in the world.