Petersen Presents Workshop on Predicting Ph.D. Attainment

Sandra Petersen
Sandra Petersen

Sandra Petersen, veterinary and animal sciences and director of the Northeast Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NEAGEP), presented a workshop at the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring on Oct. 27 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The institute is the nation’s largest gathering of doctoral students from underrepresented groups and was also attended by faculty and administrators from more than 80 U.S. academic institutions.

Petersen’s workshop, “Predicting Ph.D. Attainment: The Efficacy of the GRE,” focused on results of a recent study of 2,000 STEM Ph.D. students in four NEAGEP flagship state universities that she conducted with Patricia Campbell of Campbell-Kibler Inc.

They found that GRE scores did not predict Ph.D. completion for women or underrepresented minorities in STEM and were negatively correlated with completion for men.

Petersen says, “Our results are important because previous work showing similar results were criticized for being too small to be meaningful. We were able to conduct this large study because of our leadership of the NEAGEP and the shared goal of NEAGEP institutions to increase diversity in STEM Ph.D. programs.”

The workshop engaged 70 participating faculty and administrators in identifying characteristics of successful graduate students and in developing new admission strategies based on these characteristics.