Recruiting season is upon us. In the Ph.D. program, this is the time of year when we are dealing with both ends of the recruiting spectrum. The deadline for applications for admittance to the Ph.D. program for fall 2019 is January 10. We bring in 10–20 new students across our seven programs in a typical year. Admission decisions are critical, and the process is challenging. Every accepted offer represents more than a $70,000 commitment on our part over the ensuing half-decade, so we need to make great choices. We’re trying to attract the very best students we can, but competition from other universities is fierce. Thanks to Dean Hunter’s commitment, last spring we were able to raise stipend levels and offer summer research awards, which helped us have a higher than usual “hit rate” (percentage of students that actually enrolled after receiving an offer of admission). We employ several recruiting tools to attract great students, and we are continuing to develop more. The WSU Graduate School has produced a very attractive video that certainly presents the University in a great light.
The Ph.D. program is also heavily involved with the other end of “recruiting” this time of year. Many of our fourth-and fifth-year students are entering the job market to become college professors. Fortunately, our disciplines have very well-defined “markets,” which all follow a similar path. Universities post jobs, students apply, interviews are held at international conferences or via Skype, 2–3 candidates are brought to campus for presentations and full-day interviews, and offers are made. This year we are working on strategies to increase the research publications of current students so they will be even more attractive in these academic job markets. Once a student lands that great academic job, all the years of struggles finally seem worth it.
Ph.D. Program Director