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Ross Doctoral Program Ranks Among Best on Campus

3/12/2008 --

Rackham Graduate review gives Ross Ph.D. high marks.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Doctoral Studies Program at the Ross School of Business gets top marks on many fronts among graduate programs at the University of Michigan, according to a review by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Most notably, the Ross School has the highest rate of academic placement for new Ph.D.s among the University's doctoral programs.

In the past five years, Ross has placed 92 percent of its graduates in tenure-track faculty positions in universities in the United States and abroad. These include such top schools as Harvard University, University of Chicago and Georgetown University.

"Rackham's report on the Ph.D. program is overwhelmingly positive. It confirms what those of us who work with the program already know," says Chris Gale, assistant director of the Doctoral Studies Program. "We admit students of the highest caliber. We train them well, and when they complete the program they go on to take tenure-track positions at institutions where they can shape the course of business education in the U.S. and around the world."

The Rackham Graduate School review was released in February 2008. Several aspects of the Ross Doctoral Studies Program were explored, including student body diversity, Ph.D. completion rate, and graduate placement. As part of the review process, current and past students of the program were surveyed.

"The Rackham report is a very strong signal to potential students, who may not be very well equipped to assess a doctoral program's strengths, about the quality of the Ross Ph.D. program," says Kathleen Sutcliffe, associate dean for faculty development and research at the Ross School.

Results show the Ross doctoral program is highly selective, with only seven percent of applicants admitted over the past five years. The program is also diverse. In the past five years, more than half of the students have been international, while over a third have been women. Of domestic students, nine percent have come from underrepresented minority groups.

Also recognized was the Ross Ph.D. program's active engagement of students in research during their tenure at the school. More than half of the students surveyed in the past 10 years had at least one paper accepted for publication while in the program. Many students also reported making conference presentations based on research done at the Ross School.

In addition to developing intellectual capital at the Ph.D. level, Ross offers an "outstanding teacher development program," according to the Rackham review. Future instructors experience excellent training, a strong sense of community, and an intellectually stimulating environment, the review notes.

Ross' doctoral program has an above-average completion rate, placing in the top 25 percent of the 120 Rackham-affiliated Ph.D.-granting programs at the University. The Rackham review applauded the fact that men and women, domestic and international, and majority and minority students all completed at the same rate.

"There are many things to applaud about [the Ross] doctoral program," stated Janet Weiss, dean of the Rackham Graduate School and dean and vice provost for academic affairs, and Associate Dean Toni Antonucci in a letter to Ross School Dean Bob Dolan and Associate Dean Sutcliffe. "The Ph.D. program in business administration is very strong and reflects the diversity of intellectual areas within the Ross School."

Going forward, Sutcliffe says the Ross doctoral program will build on its strengths while honing mechanisms for feedback and review of Ph.D. candidates. The program also will continue to expedite students' timely completion of degree requirements, she says.

"I think all of those practices contribute to a process whereby students have their eye on the ball," says Sutcliffe, "and the more milestones you have and the more people who are paying attention to the milestones, the more likely it is that students are going to finish on time."

The Rackham review validates the impressive contribution the Ross Ph.D. program brings to the intellectual life of the school, Sutcliffe says. "It's what gives faculty members a lot of excitement because students come in with new ideas and take us in new directions. It's critical in terms of keeping us on our cutting edge."

Written by Leah Sipher-Mann

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847, bernied@umich.edu