Announcement: Task Force on Doctoral Education

September 29, 2021

Members of the Brown Community,

Attracting, training, and mentoring the very best graduate students is critical to the University’s mission and ambitions. With these goals in mind, we are writing to share that we have formed a Task Force on Doctoral Education.  

Over the past decade, Brown’s doctoral programs have recruited an increasingly diverse student body even as the career paths that await them have changed in significant ways, in large part due to the world’s many new and evolving challenges. In addition, advances in research and pedagogy underscore the need to re-examine our curricula. 

The Task Force on Doctoral Education is charged with developing recommendations for promoting outstanding, innovative graduate education that supports the University’s excellence in research and teaching while also preparing graduates for desired career outcomes. The Task Force will make its recommendations by the end of the 2021-22 academic year, with recommendations falling within three key areas: Elements of Excellence, Institutional Structures and Accountability. You can read the full charge here.  

In recent years, the University has substantially increased doctoral student stipends, summer support and emergency funding. It has also expanded staff and programming for diversity and inclusion, student support resources for graduate students, support for student parents and additional community building initiatives. In focusing on program excellence and the best way to organize the relationship between the Graduate School and individual graduate programs, the Task Force will build on these commitments. To support graduate programs and initiatives that are forward-looking, the task force will begin by examining the broader landscape of graduate education today and likely scenarios for the near future. This context will inform thorough consideration of data on Brown’s programs and identification of distinctive opportunities to enhance excellence.

Thomas A. Lewis, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Religious Studies, will chair this task force, which will be staffed by Elizabeth M. Doherty, Deputy Provost for Academic Affairs. The task force will be composed of the following faculty, graduate students and administrators:

  • Amanda S. Anderson, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities and English, Director of the Cogut Institute for the Humanities

  • Ugur Cetintemel, Professor of Computer Science, Chair of Computer Science

  • Nitsan Chorev, Harmon Family Professor of Sociology, Director of the Graduate Program in Development, Professor of International and Public Affairs

  • Theresa M. Desrochers, Rosenberg Family Assistant Professor of Brain Science, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

  • Rachel E. Kalisher, PhD Student in Archaeology and the Ancient World

  • Sagen Y. Kidane, PhD Student in Sociology

  • Savvas M. Koushiappas, Associate Professor of Physics

  • Lawrence E. Larson, Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering, Professor of Engineering

  • Brian W. Meeks, Professor of Africana Studies

  • Carolina Mejia Peña, PhD Student in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry

  • Alycia Mosley Austin, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion

  • Kimberly L. Mowry, Robin Chemers Neustein Professor of Biomedicine, Chair of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry

  • Emily F. Oster, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor of Economics, Professor of International and Public Affairs

  • Joel W. Revill, Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Provost for Special Projects, Interim Chair of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

  • James M. Russell, Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Chair of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences

  • Robert O. Self, Mary Ann Lippitt Professor of American History

  • Amal N. Trivedi, Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, Professor of Medicine

  • Audra van Wart, Director of University Postdoctoral Affairs, Associate Dean for Training and Program Development Division of Biology and Medicine and Director, University Postdoctoral Affairs, Assistant Professor of Medical Science


Richard M. Locke
Schreiber Family Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs
Brown University