Graduate student numbers make significant gains - Wishart
The dean of graduate studies and research says the U of S has “turned an enormous corner”, with the number of graduate students increasing rapidly towards the goal set out in the University’s enrolment plan.
Tom Wishart says the number of full-time graduate students is up 24.4 per cent from five years ago, to 1,592 in 2004-05 from 1,280 in 1999-2000. The number of master’s students is up 10.3 per cent – to 1,052 today from 954 in 1999-2000. The most significant jump is in PhD students, up 65.6 per cent to 540 today from just 326 five years ago.
And Wishart says the total number of grad students, including part-timers, now sits at 1,882. He says the enrolment plan’s goal is 2,500 by the year 2010 and his current projections show that even if no changes are made to admission rates, the U of S will have 2,335 graduate students by that target year. There were only 1,508 total grad students at the University in 1999-2000.
At the Feb. 24 University Council meeting, President Peter MacKinnon noted the increased numbers and gave Wishart much of the credit. Wishart says the rapid rise in grad numbers is thanks to three important factors which have the U of S spending at least $1.8 million more on graduate students now than was done a few years ago.
He says first, faculty “must get a lot of the credit for this”, because their greatly increased success in obtaining grants from the national research funding agencies means they have more ability to support graduate students by hiring them as research assistants.
Wishart says a major boost to graduate enrolment has come in the form of a $1-million increase to the University’s Graduate Scholarship Fund, approved by the Board of Governors in 2001. And he says there is another $1 million earmarked for that fund by the University’s new Integrated Plan, with $500,000 of that to be injected into the system next year.
Finally, Wishart says there has been “a drastic reduction in unspent scholarship funds” in the accounts of a number of academic departments. The total of unspent scholarship money in 1999-2000 was more than $1 million.
The dean says three years ago the College of Graduate Studies & Research adopted a new policy to recover unspent surpluses which exceeded 10 per cent of annual allocations.
“The result has been that the unspent amount has dropped below $200,000 and no unspent funds have ever been recovered from any academic unit,” Wishart says.