Council of Graduate Schools

by Alexander Unkart

"The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of institutions of higher education in the United States, Canada, and across the globe, engaged in graduate education, research, scholarship and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The mission of CGS is to improve and advance graduate education," says Daniel Denecke, director of best practices at the CGS.


{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick - all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest} Today more than 450 graduate schools—including public and private schools both—are regular members of the CGS. The organization has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The CGS is directed by a board of directors composed of deans of member universities. It is funded by membership dues, grants and contributions from the public and private sectors, but it also generates its own income from meetings and publication sales.
The CGS was established to bring together the deans of the graduate schools and give them a platform to exchange views on all topics related to education. The main task is to foster higher education and research. Although this goal primarily relates to the United States and Canada, the CGS is also open to universities outside North America. According to Denecke, there are many benefits for foreign institutions that become members of the CGS, such as getting access to national projects and studies of key interest and benefit to graduate education. Moreover, these institutions will have the opportunity to engage in discussions with CGS strategic partners, such as the National Science Foundation.
The following is an overview of CGS activities:
  • Analyzing information on graduate education from a variety of sources—including its own members—in order to provide all members and other stakeholders with analyses and reliable national data to inform their decisions on how to organize their educational programs. This information is made available to members through annual publications, articles in the CGS Communicator and presentations at national and regional meetings.
  • Creating Best Practices Initiatives. CGS serves the graduate community by focusing on important issues affecting all aspects of graduate education and offering recommendations and tested solutions to address these issues. For example, consider the PhD Completion Project: CGS, with the support of major corporate and foundation funding, has initiated a national study on the factors that influence the successful completion of the doctoral degree.
  • Organizing meetings. CGS sponsors two meetings each year to bring together graduate deans and others to learn, share and network.
  • Representing the interests of CGS members by providing key decision-makers, e.g., the Congress, with relevant information about the needs of the educational society to secure adequate federal funding of graduate education.
  • Working together with federal departments to minimize regulatory burdens hindering educational progress.
  • Supporting actions of common interest regarding education and research, e.g., an initiative to facilitate visa procedures for foreign students and researchers.