Committee on Doctoral Education

  • Peter Weber, Chair, Dean of the Graduate School
  • Bernard Reginster, Co-Chair, Professor of Philosophy
  • Andrew Campbell, Associate Professor, Molecular, Microbiology, Immunology
  • Karen Fischer, Professor, Geological Sciences
  • Francoise Hamlin, Assistant Professor, Africana Studies
  • Beth Harrington, Associate Dean, BioMed Grad & Post-doc Studies
  • Matteo Riondato, Graduate Student, Computer Science
  • John Steele, Professor, Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies
  • Ira Wilson, Professor, Public Health – Health Services, Policy & Practices
  • Crystal Ngo, Graduate Student, American Studies 

To contact the committee chairs, send email to

Doctoral Education is of central importance to all aspects of the academic mission at Brown University. Graduate Ph.D. students learn pedagogic skills by partnering with faculty in the delivery of the undergraduate curriculum. As research assistants and fellows they learn skills as they perform their own scholarship as well as contribute to faculty research as partners in the discovery and preservation of knowledge. Graduate student publications and presentations at conferences reflect and amplify the research productivity and reputation of our programs. And the careers of our graduates in esteemed positions worldwide contribute to the reputation of our university. In short, Brown’s reputation as a global research university is closely tied to the excellence of our graduate programs.

The charge of the committee is to consider the future of doctoral education at Brown from the dual perspectives of educational innovation and financial investment. Do we support the appropriate number of graduate students for a University of Brown’s size and scholarly aspirations, or are there missed opportunities that ought to be addressed? Is the distribution of this support amongst our many programs done in a thoughtful fashion? Do we provide the right levels and duration of support, including summer support? Do our doctoral students apportion their time appropriately between fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships and proctorships? Do we do enough to help our programs attract and recruit the very best diverse and talented students to Brown? How should we be evaluating the quality and standing of our many graduate programs? Brown’s Open Curriculum is a distinguishing characteristic of our undergraduate program that has contributed to the university’s success. From a curricular perspective, are there things we can do to distinguish graduate education at Brown from that at our many excellent competitors?

Given the distinctive nature of issues associated with master’s education at Brown, this committee is to focus exclusively on doctoral (Ph.D.) education. A subsequent group to be launched later in the year will consider Brown’s master’s programs.

In exploring these questions, the committee will work closely with the Graduate Council and will reach out to the Graduate Student Council as well as the community of faculty and students at large. The committee will discuss its preliminary findings, analyses, and ideas with the President and Provost by early December. A final report and prioritized recommendations will be anticipated by the end of the Spring semester.