Thanks to a high level of interest from the University community, the Office of Alumni Engagement has extended the deadline to sign up for Orange Central homecoming and reunion weekend, being held Oct. 28-31. Everyone who signs up by Sunday,…
Graduate School Providing One-Time Funding to Support Grad Students Facing COVID-Related Delays
The COVID-19 pandemic has created obstacles for many Ph.D. students working to complete their degrees before their available funding runs out. Graduate students must conduct independent research, and much of that research was disrupted.
Labs were closed for some of the pandemic and their capacity was limited. Research involving human subjects was also delayed or faced logistical obstacles. With schools and childcare centers closed much of the 2020-2021 academic year, some graduate students found that their time to write became scarce. Some students expecting to travel to other countries to examine archives or work with collaborators found themselves stymied by travel bans, onerous testing and quarantine requirements or visa issues, among other challenges.
Recognizing these impacts, Syracuse University is providing $1.5 million in additional funding for graduate students whose work has been directly impacted by the pandemic. The funding takes several different forms, according to Peter Vanable, dean of the Graduate School.
“In talking to faculty members on the Graduate Faculty Council and through consultation with student leaders from the Graduate Student Organization, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. We developed a small number of options that should help a good number of graduate students whose degree completion has been delayed by the pandemic,” says Vanable.
This fall, the Graduate School provided full funding in the form of dissertation completion fellowships to 15 students for the 2021-22 academic year. Fellowships support doctoral students who have reached the limit of their guaranteed funding and, through no fault of their own, have been unable to complete and defend their dissertations.
“Degree completion at the Ph.D. level is a strategic priority for Syracuse University. By supporting outstanding graduate students who were impacted by the pandemic, we hope that they will defend their dissertations, graduate and go on to successful careers. I want to thank Chancellor Kent Syverud for his support of this important program,” says John Liu, interim provost.
Additional funding for Ph.D. students under this program will be announced soon, including small grants to offset dissertation-related expenses that can’t be covered by the student’s home college. Examples include travel or small equipment needed to complete dissertation research.
The summer dissertation fellowship program, normally awarded to 30 students who are close to completing their dissertation, will be doubled to include 60 awards in summer 2022. “We hope that more awards will help graduate students to get their dissertations over the finish line next summer,” Vanable adds.
In addition, supplemental funding will be soon made available to select faculty who funded students on grants during a time when the students couldn’t be fully engaged in research because of COVID. The funds will go to support graduate student research assistantships for the current academic year.
“For faculty who want to retain an experienced graduate student on a project that was delayed by COVID-19, this is an excellent option that helps both the student and the overall research program,” says Ramesh Raina, interim vice president for research.