Vision and Mission

Doctoral program graduates at the Ph.D. hooding ceremony

Our Vision

The Graduate School enables diverse graduate and professional students and graduate faculty to thrive intellectually and professionally and achieve academic success.

Our Mission

The Graduate School enhances the intellectual life of the university by enabling graduate and professional students to undertake scholarly study and advanced research and prepare for professional work. The Graduate School focuses on the following strategic areas to fulfill our mission:

  • Student Experience: Through programming and infrastructure, the Graduate School supports the student experience including academic success and personal, professional, and career development. Our goals reflect the national conversation regarding the need to improve graduate education to be student-focused, supporting the whole graduate student experience, particularly professional development and transferable skills and improving mentor/mentee relationships, including individual student case management as needed.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: The Graduate School strives to foster the academic, professional, and personal success of a diverse graduate student community, including attention to equity, access, inclusion, engagement, and achievement. Efforts address the entire lifecycle of the graduate student experience including: holistic recruitment and admissions processes; fellowship programs supporting access to graduate education; signature initiatives supporting student engagement in academic, community, and professional development activities; support for graduate student organizations that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA); awards recognizing exemplary DEIA leadership and service; and faculty resources addressing academic climate, inclusive mentoring, and student well-being. 
  • Continual Improvement through Assessment: To promote excellence in learning, the Graduate School coordinates the university’s graduate assessment initiatives and pursues partnerships and external funding opportunities to develop innovative structures in support of students’ scholarly, professional, and personal development. Systematic data collection, reporting, and accessible dashboards about all aspects of graduate education are able to inform decision making in graduate fields and by the Graduate School, and via public data, by prospective and current students.
  • Field, Faculty, and Staff Support: By coordinating the graduate field structure and administering 13 types of degrees and nearly 100 graduate fields, a primary function of the Graduate School is to deliver seamless, efficient, and aligned services that enable fields to devote their efforts and resources to research, scholarship, instruction, and professional development for their students. The explicit philosophy of the Graduate School is to work collegially and productively in partnership with graduate fields to support graduate education at Cornell. Graduate School staff support graduate fields in admissions, student services, financial aid through fellowships and external award top-offs, travel grants, student grievances, academic integrity cases, policies and procedures, and enrolling students and maintaining student records. The Graduate School provides detailed and ongoing training to staff Graduate Field Assistants (GFA) and orientation, twice-yearly trainings, and policy discussions for faculty Directors of Graduate Studies (DGS).
  • Visibility: Through internal and external communications, the Graduate School promotes the talent, research, scholarship, and leadership of our students and faculty and the Cornell system of graduate education, and informs our constituent audiences about important trends and initiatives in higher education. Internally, the Graduate School advocates for the importance of graduate education and graduate students at Cornell. Externally, the Graduate School represents graduate and postdoctoral programs and their best practices beyond the university, and helps to drive the national landscape for improving the quality of graduate and postdoctoral programs.