April 2003

The Problem

Members of the Commission on Women and Gender Equity have learned from current and prospective graduate students and from faculty members that information about available funding for graduate students at Colorado State is difficult to locate and sometimes inaccessible.  Jobs are filled before some eligible applicants know there is a position available.  The problem results from decentralized advertising practices, particularly for information related to research assistantships and grant-funded support.

Recommendation
  1. Colorado State should create a centralized website where all graduate employment opportunities are advertised before positions are filled.  Perhaps the site could be modeled on the excellent web resource at the University of California/Davis.
  2. Hiring units and individuals would be responsible for posting notices of available positions.  Announcements should be brief, standardized, and simple to post.  Each announcement should provide a contact person for applicants seeking more detailed information.
  3. Once the website is in place, no graduate student may be hired until position announcements have been available at least 10 days.
  4. The website would be located in the Graduate School, with easily accessible links to Student Financial Services and departments.  The Graduate School will have responsibility for design, implementation, maintenance, and enforcement.
  5. The Council of Research Deans will prepare a list of position categories that are exempt from this requirement analogous to the currently available listing for post-doctoral positions.
  6. The website should be made available within one year of the adoption of these recommendations by the Graduate Dean and the Provost.
Rational
  • Everyone benefits when all eligible prospects for positions have timely notice that positions are available.  Hiring units gain a larger pool to choose from and prospective employees have an opportunity to apply.
  • Centralized posting of available positions provides greater equity of opportunity among graduate students seeking funding and/or professional experience.
  • A detailed listing of available graduate student employment opportunities provides a strong recruitment tool for graduate programs.
  • These recommendations are timely, since the Graduate School is moving to the Provost’s Office and redesigning its current website.
Case Study of UCDavis’ Central Graduate Funding System

The following information was provided through phone interviews on March 27, 2003 with Alison Kent, web designer and Eric Blaine of the Office of Graduate Studies at UCDavis.

Core Elements of the System

The UCDavis centralized graduate funding system is maintained as a website that is housed by the Office of Graduate Studies.  The system, which has been in existence for three to four years, is based on a simple table format in which positions are posted with the following information: Type of Job, Hours per Week, Department, Course #, Course Name or Grant Name, Instructor, and Contact Name.

Procedure

When a position becomes available the faculty or staff member who is hiring submits a paper form (which is available for download from the website) to the web designer of the Office of Graduate Studies.  The form may be sent as an attachment to an email.  It may be faxed, or it may be delivered.  The web designer is responsible for posting positions and also removing them once the closing date has past.  Positions are generally posted for two to three weeks.

UCDavis is currently seeking funding to transition the paper form to an online form to eliminate paperwork and to free the web designer from entering information by hand.  The online system would feature an interactive online form that could be filled out by the faculty or staff member posting a position.  When the online form is submitted, the position would automatically be posted to the Website.

Software

The current system utilizes Dreamweaver software in a simple table format.  Because graphics are minimally used, and positions are removed frequently, the system requires very little server space.

Cost

The current system was set up with existing information technology resources and required no new staff.  The Office of Graduate Studies’ web designer maintains the site in addition to other job assignments.

The new online system that is being considered would be contracted out to an outside firm and is estimated to cost at least $50,000 for initial set-up.

Assessment

At this time UCDavis utilizes no specific assessment tools.

Enforcement

The Office of Graduate Studies enforces the system.  Currently, the system is optional, but widely used.  Mandatory participation has been discussed.

At this time the internal funding opportunities and the external funding opportunities are treated as two separate systems.