Message from NAGAP President
Last week, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education. I am writing you today to let you know that, after soliciting feedback from various members of NAGAP leadership, I submitted a letter to her offering NAGAP as a resource for her and the new administration, and calling her attention to the importance of graduate education.
In the letter, I begin by introducing NAGAP and then highlight the following issues and concerns:
- Our belief in both the intrinsic and economic value of graduate education
- Our commitment to access to and funding for graduate education
- Our concern about graduate student debt levels
I close by inviting her to collaborate with us in support of graduate education now and in the future. For those interested, the complete letter is posted on the NAGAP website and you can also read it here.
As I mentioned in my message to you in December, NAGAP is committed to diversity and inclusion, as previously articulated in our diversity statement. I also emphasized our obligation to do everything possible to ensure our campuses are safe spaces for all of our community members, and that the students on our campuses are positioned to get the best education possible.
The recent executive order temporarily banning individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries has seriously impacted many of us who have colleagues and students in our communities with citizenship in these countries. The order will also significantly change the nature of our university communities if we are unable to welcome scholars, staff, and students from all parts of the globe. Not only is the executive order in conflict with NAGAP’s mission, values, and diversity statement, it will diminish our ability to recruit and educate the next generation of talent for innovation and leadership in an increasingly international world.
Though the ban has temporarily been lifted, the future is unknown. What is unwaveringly clear, however, is NAGAP’s continued commitment to diversity and inclusion, and to making graduate education accessible to all. The contributions of our international students and colleagues—regardless of country of citizenship—are both valuable and critical in enhancing our abilities to understand and appreciate different cultures and perspectives. In fact, the free exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives is essential in providing superior educational experiences and training.
We will continue to follow developments related to these restrictions and are identifying opportunities for discussion and resources to help all of us as we navigate our work. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing information about virtual opportunities and resources, as well as adjustments to the Annual Conference agenda in Salt Lake City to make space for in-person conversations about this topic.
In the meantime, reach out to and support one another. We know there is a great deal of anxiety surrounding this issue, and we want to help be a source of support and information where we can. I have all the faith in the world that the power and commitment of the full NAGAP membership will not only sustain us during times of challenge but will ultimately improve and enhance our ability to maintain professional excellence and superior support of students.