Dr. Nora Reilly, Interim Dean
College of Graduate and
In our knowledge driven economy, the demand for highly trained professionals in every field increases. More and more students are choosing to pursue a master’s level degree. This degree, once considered primarily a stepping stone toward a doctorate, is becoming, for many, a terminal degree. However, in some professions such as nursing and physical therapy, the professionally qualifying degree is now the doctorate.
Radford is small enough to allow each graduate student opportunities for interaction with fellow students and faculty members, yet large enough to provide challenging and diverse areas of study. To better serve graduate students, the university schedules classes at times designed to meet the scheduling needs of part-time as well as full-time students.
Many fields that once employed graduates with bachelor’s degrees now prefer to hire those with master’s degrees. Radford University is meeting the challenge of educating men and women in a wide variety of fields including business administration, nursing, music, art, English, criminal justice, communication, social work, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, communication disorders and a variety of areas within the field of professional education. The dean of the Graduate College is responsible for administering all post-baccalaureate programs at Radford University leading to Educational Specialist, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts, Master of Occupational Therapy, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Social Work, Master of Science, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Psychology degrees. The college also offers graduate-level courses and Post-Baccalaureate Certificates for teachers seeking recertification and for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree but who are not seeking a further degree.
Graduate studies at Radford University are designed to give the student advanced knowledge in a special field of study, higher levels of professional competence, an understanding of and respect for scholarly research and a sophisticated knowledge of the techniques of continued, lifelong intellectual growth. These goals are achieved through coherent orderly programs of study, investigation and supervised practical experiences that are carefully planned by each individual student in consultation with a graduate faculty advisor and a graduate advisory committee. Each student’s progress through the program is monitored by the graduate faculty advisor and by the Graduate College office through the various stages of admission to the Graduate College, progression through a program of study, formulation and completion of a thesis or dissertation (if one is to be written), administration of a comprehensive examination and finally, application for graduation.
The Graduate College functions as the Office of Admissions for graduate students, consulting with each department or program office on each application for admission before making final decisions. The Graduate College consists of the dean, college staff, the Office of Sponsored Programs and Grants Management, and the graduate faculty in various departments of the university. A Graduate Affairs Council, made up of representatives from the graduate programs and a student representative chosen by the Graduate Student Council, advises the dean on the administration of graduate studies and makes recommendations to the provost concerning graduate courses, curricula, academic standards and policies.
Graduate College Mission
Within the mission of the university, the mission of the Graduate College is to provide high quality graduate programs in selected areas of study in order to meet the needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation and the international community with education beyond the level of the baccalaureate.
Graduate College Goals
- To provide high quality graduate degree programs in fields in which:
- there are needs for people with such qualifications;
- prospective students seek such advanced qualifications; and
- the university can devote the requisite human and material resources;
- To provide advanced educational opportunities beyond the baccalaureate for professionals and others who are:
- not seeking a graduate degree;
- already have a graduate degree but who need to develop new knowledge and skills to meet changing conditions; and
- seek to continue to keep current with advancing knowledge in their specialties;
- To enhance the academic environment of the university by:
- attracting qualified students;
- giving faculty the opportunity to teach their specialties at an advanced level; and
- fostering research and creative activity among graduate students and faculty;
- To assure that the graduate student’s experience in RU’s programs is a coherent experience of intellectual growth, enabling each student to meet reasonable academic, intellectual and professional goals.
Graduate College Objectives
- To maintain admission standards and procedures that admit applicants who have a high likelihood of: a) profiting from the experience of graduate study at Radford University; and b) successfully completing their programs of study and achieving their educational goals;
- To recruit qualified graduate students, with particular attention to under-represented groups, to all graduate programs;
- To seek, generate and when appropriate, administer programs of financial and other types of assistance for graduate students;
- To provide effective advising systems both through individual faculty advisors assigned by the programs and through a series of Graduate College checkpoints;
- To maintain established standards of quality for graduate programs;
- To uphold quality standards for members of the graduate faculty;
- To work closely with individual programs and colleges to: a) ensure that graduate programs continue to meet current needs; b) revise or recommend removal of those that do not; and c) develop new programs as needs are perceived and resources are available;
- To assure that the Graduate Affairs Council is well informed of opportunities and challenges at the graduate level as it establishes academic policies and procedures and approves curricular changes;
- To work with the staff in the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning in the Roanoke Higher Education Center, the Southwestern Virginia Higher Education Center, and other off-campus entities to make high quality graduate education available, particularly in western Virginia, to students who cannot readily study on campus;
- To be responsive to graduate students’ needs and concerns through regular communication with the Graduate Student Council, the Division of Student Affairs and other relevant offices and groups;
- To evaluate how graduate programs utilize information related to student outcomes and student/alumni satisfaction in order to improve graduate curricula, facilities and services; and
- To promote and coordinate the solicitation and administration of grants, contracts and cooperative agreements with the university through the Office of Sponsored Programs by assisting faculty and staff in identifying potential sponsors, providing faculty/staff development services, negotiating awards and developing policies and procedures relating to such efforts.