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Graduate School Emphasizes Role as Service Provider

May 24, 2005

"I am thinking about writing a paper with a former graduate school colleague who is now employed in industry. Should my colleague let his boss know about the paper? Should he include his boss as an author? Should I include my advisor's name as an author? I am confused about this; my friend said it's appropriate that only the two of us are the authors. I am afraid of being sued. Thank you for your help!"

This question — and a thorough response — appears at the Academic Ethicist web site, the Graduate School's new resource for students in need of guidance regarding ethical issues. Spearheaded by Jan Allen, associate dean, the online column is written by graduate deans, faculty and students. It explores resolutions to problems in research, teaching and conduct and augments existing face-to-face advising.

However, it also reflects a broad, new emphasis on service initiated by Andrew Wachtel, who took over as dean of the Graduate School last September.

“We are basically a service organization,” says Simon Greenwold, associate dean for operations and planning. “Our job is to help graduate students, and community building and quality of life are two important aspects of this objective."

Toward this end, Graduate School divisions with the most direct contact with current students have been restructured for greater efficiency and accessibility to students. In January, the Current Student Division and the Office of Minority Affairs were reformulated as the Office of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Student Services. The two offices work together as a resource for all doctoral and many master's students while providing responses to queries within 24 hours.

Office of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs

Expanding on her work on minority affairs, Penny Warren, now assistant dean of student life and multicultural affairs, is charged with building community among all graduate students — paying particular attention to underserved groups such as students with children — and working with the Graduate Leadership Council to give them more of a voice.

Warren oversees the work of Cheryl Judice, assistant director of the program to increase minority student enrollment in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This program is funded by a five-year, $7.6 million National Science Foundation grant to Northwestern, Purdue University and Indiana University.

Mario Craigen, coordinator of multicultural affairs, assists Warren in campus-wide community building and student outreach. He also works with the Summer Research Opportunity Program, which provides undergraduate students — particularly those typically underrepresented in graduate schools — opportunities for hands-on research experience.

Office of Student Services

Larry Henschen, associate dean of student services, works closely with student life and multicultural affairs to improve the school's visibility as a resource, as with the Academic Ethicist web site, and also to foster connections among students.

“We hope to act as a bridge, informing graduate students about connections and opportunities available across departments and schools, throughout the University,” says William Jones, who, as associate director of student services, manages the service provided to students on both campuses and spearheads the administration of orientation and commencement activities.

After a year of significant change, and as the school seeks new ways to make students' lives easier, it will launch a new web site in the fall built on the service theme. Proposed changes will encourage users to do more business with the school electronically.

For more information on the STEM program, go to http://www.northwestern.edu/univ-relations/media_relations/releases/2004/12/minorities.html.

Questions to the Academic Ethicist, which will be kept anonymous, should be directed to <AcademicEthics@northwestern.edu>. Responses are posted at <http://www.northwestern.edu/graduate/current/ethicist/current.html>.

Topics: University News