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Graduate Program Metrics Are Reinvented

Next year, the University of Minnesota (UMN) will be piloting the Graduate Review and Improvement Process (GRIP) through eight different programs across the university’s colleges. The initiative was kick-started by calls for a new graduate assessment program from faculty and students alike.

Currently, key metrics for higher education programs use basic data measurements including graduation rates and completion time. The GRIP initiative is intended to change the status quo by digging deeper into the details of the success or failure of a graduate-level program.

Unlike these quantitative metrics currently used by higher education institutions, GRIP will combine both qualitative and quantitative data to help review the graduate programs registered for the pilot across UMN. It is intended for the new measurements to help the university move towards finding and implementing needed improvements in their graduate-level programs. The initiative will take into account the opinions of students and faculty in each of the eight graduate programs that are part of the pilot.

“Our current feedback system mechanisms are nonsystematic and largely anecdotal,” Srilata Zaheer, the dean of UMN’s  Carlson School of Management, told Inside Higher Ed. “The idea of GRIP, to develop the goals and their assessment internally within the program, promises to be a more useful approach.”

Beyond making improvements to the graduate programs themselves across various departments, it is expected that GRIP will also help UMN’s graduate programs achieve better recognition.