THE FIRST CHAPTER of this volume lays out the origins of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Graduate Education Initiative (GEI): how it came into being and then evolved over the next decade. Many of the problems that prompted it—the long and far-from-predictable time it took for graduate students in the humanities to earn their degrees, the costs incurred by both students and institutions, and the concerns of faculty members about the process—remain in place. Indeed these are perhaps more urgent now as the economic difficulties universities face introduce new constraints on graduate education and limit opportunities for new PhDs as they begin their careers.
This book is the product of efforts by many individuals beyond the four authors. We were very fortunate to have the help of superbly competent graduate students at Cornell and Columbia universities, who worked hard on various aspects of the project. At Cornell, Joseph Price contributed to the research reported in Chapters 7, 9, and 10; Eric So, to Chapter 6; and Joshua Price, to Chapters 9 and 10. Scott Condie and Albert Liu assisted in the development of the ever-expanding database and helped with the research reported in Chapters 4 and 8, respectively. Elizabeth Needham Waddell found time while doing her dissertation at Columbia to work on the design of the questionnaire for the Graduate Education Survey and to shepherd it though its preparation for online and paper administration in conjunction with the staff at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
Our project director and a senior survey researcher at Mathematica, Laura Kalb, helped polish the questionnaire and dealt with the complex problems of locating respondents, getting the survey into the field, and keeping track of returns. She also helped achieve the very high response rate that gives us confidence that the data are in fact representative. Geraldine M. Mooney, vice president of Mathematica as well as managing director of methodology and development in its Surveys and Information Services Division, gave us the benefit of her long experience in mounting surveys in the field of higher education.
We are greatly indebted to the provosts, deans, and faculty members in the 54 departments (or programs) in the 10 universities that were part of the GEI. They planned in detail how it would be organized in each department and guided its realization. They reported each year to the Foundation, often diplomatically, about the ups and downs of the Initiative in their institutions. Some generously participated in various conferences on the GEI and helped us understand how it worked out on the ground.