November 8, 2010

Big boost for KSAS grad stipends

The School of Arts and Sciences will receive more than $5 million from the President’s Office over the next five years to fund graduate stipends. President Ronald J. Daniels made the announcement at the Oct. 23 rededication ceremony of the newly renovated Gilman Hall, the school’s flagship building.

The investment, Daniels said, would allow the Krieger School departments to significantly augment the number and term length of graduate stipends, which support the students’ training as scholars and compensate them for their teaching contributions.
Kellee Tsai, vice dean for humanities, social sciences and graduate programs, said that the “generous contribution” will help the school recruit and retain the very best of the next generation of scholars.

“The addition of $5 million toward graduate stipends is a testament to the value that President Daniels, Provost [Lloyd] Minor and Dean [Katherine] Newman place on the founding principle of Johns Hopkins as a research university,” Tsai said.

The extra funds will specifically increase the competitiveness of the school’s George E. Owen Fellowships, which the university awards to exceptionally qualified students, said Newman, the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School. “The presidential contribution is a very substantial addition for which we are immensely grateful,” Newman said. “It will help us make our Owen fellowships on par with the awards offered by our toughest competitors.”

In addition to the funds from the President’s Office, Krieger School funds will be used to enhance a plan already in effect to increase the stipends provided to current students, Newman said, whether Owen fellows or not.

“All of our doctoral students are outstanding and deserving of our support,” she said. “These colleagues represent the future of the academy and many professions, and it takes years of hard work and devotion to be able to do high-quality independent scholarship.”

Newman said that she, the vice deans and the department chairs will think through the most useful ways to craft the school’s graduate funding “packages,” a process that will take at least a month.

The extra stipend funds will be available soon, Newman said, so that their impact can be immediate and have a positive impact on the upcoming recruitment season. They will be distributed by the Dean’s Office to the Krieger School departments, which decide on the awardees.
The School of Arts and Sciences currently enrolls 987 graduate students (not counting those enrolled in Advanced Academic Programs).

Newman said that it is exceedingly difficult to find sources of philanthropic support for doctoral students, with some notable exceptions, including Johns Hopkins alumni and institutions such as the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Soros Foundation for New Americans, the National Institutes of Health and a set of foundations that provide research funding for dissertations. The lion’s share of responsibility for graduate support, she said, comes from within the university for the humanities and social sciences, as well as from research grants, primarily in the natural and social sciences.