By Lin Moody


The results of the 2016 Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) are in.

Close to one half of Carleton graduate students filled in the survey that asked several questions about their student experience.

The survey is conducted every three years. Carleton University improved its performance substantially for master’s and PhD students in many areas, including academic experience, program satisfaction and student life when compared with 2013 results. At the master’s level, for instance. there was a notable increase of 11 per cent in the area of student experience.

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The survey asks a large number of questions about student satisfaction. In almost every instance where a difference in satisfaction was found between 2013 and 2016, Carleton’s results were significantly higher. As well, in almost every instance where there were differences between the satisfaction of Carleton students and the rest of Ontario, Carleton’s results were significantly higher.

Carleton exceeds or matches the rest of Ontario in questions related to overall experience and program satisfaction at both the master’s and PhD levels. Overall satisfaction results improved over time predominantly due to the increase in those rating their experiences as “excellent.”

“The results demonstrate the high quality of academic experience that graduate students have at Carleton University,” says Peter Ricketts, provost and vice-president (Academic).

“The survey shows significant improvement from the previous two surveys in 2010 and 2013 as we now exceed the provincial average in many areas. This reflects the increased investment that Carleton has made in recent years into the expansion of graduate programs and improved space, services and supports for our graduate students.”

Results Reflect Increased Investment in Student Experience

The comparison done by the Comprehensive Universities Benchmarking Consortium (CUBC) also highlights a positive trend for Carleton versus other comprehensive universities in Canada. In terms of satisfaction with students’ overall experience at the PhD level, Carleton is seven points higher in the excellent and very good categories when compared with other Canadian universities. At the master’s level, Carleton leads by five percentage points.

“The university is proud to have implemented several initiatives over the past years to improve the student satisfaction level,” notes Matthias Neufang, dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (FGPA).

PhD student Jason Crann & Dean Matthias Neufang

Jason Crann, the first cotutelle student to graduate from Carleton &
Matthias Neufang, dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (FGPA)

“These range from additional space for graduate students to the creation and expansion of academic programs and student services at several levels.”

A new position, Coordinator of Graduate Professional Development, was created. This led to the development of Grad Navigate, an online hub for professional development opportunities. FGPA worked with service groups, organizations and departments on campus to ensure that dozens of workshops specifically targeted at graduate students are offered each term.

FGPA expanded the cotutelle program that provides a unique, international academic experience to PhD students. Currently, 22 PhD students are participating, while two have graduated with doctoral degrees from both Carleton and a partner institution abroad.

Communicating with
Graduate Students

TheGraduate@Carleton newsletter was created after extensive feedback from graduate students. It is distributed 22 times a year to keep students up to date and share news about exciting research on campus conducted by fellow graduate students.

The current graduate student website was redesigned to ensure that it is user-friendly, relevant and topical.

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A Twitter channel keeps more than 1,800 followers informed while more than 150 videos have been added to FGPA’s YouTube channel.

To help graduate students showcase their research, they have been captured on videotape. As well, more than 150 stories have been written about graduate student researchers and award winners at Carleton. Most of these have been featured on the university home page, and some have garnered media attention.

graduate_student_experience_300w_1FGPA created Grad Research Link, an online hub for graduate student research activities across campus (conferences, calls for papers, speakers, etc.).

In conjunction with Co-op and Career Services, FGPA organized a workshop and panel discussion on Working Outside Academia With a Graduate Degree.

Graduate students are invited to attend media training workshops and training sessions for the Three Minute Thesis and Storyteller competitions.

To further the discourse about the value of a PhD in the Humanities, Carleton hosted a national conference on the topic which was attended by 150 participants from more than 30 universities and related institutions across Canada.

For full details about the 2016 CGPSS results, please click here.