Report from the dean
Investing in the social sciences.
Over the past several years, the University of Chicago has increased its financial commitment to doctoral education in the social sciences. The new financial investment has invited reflections on the nature and importance of graduate education, and I would like to share my reflections with you. "The Chicago department was the cutting edge of development of the field," Herman Pritchett, PhD'37, remembered of his time as a student in the Department of Political Science. "The students who were graduate students when I was became the leaders of the profession." His comment can be multiplied many times over, in every program in the Social Sciences Division and in every era of its history. Pritchett's comment, and the many others like it, underscores the power of graduate education at the University of Chicago for the students who experience it. The comment also neatly summarizes the place of graduate education in the life of the Social Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. For the University of Chicago is dedicated first to scholarship, and our students are not the passive receptacles of the faculty's learning but rather our colleagues and partners in the development and testing of ideas at the "cutting edge of development of the field." Our students come to Chicago from all over the world and from every different circumstance. They enrich our debates with their fresh perspectives on the faculty's ideas and the contributions of their own. And our students depart from Chicago for the front ranks of academia, government, business, and service throughout the world. The ideas that they learn, develop, and refine in their studies at the University of Chicago enable them to be "the leaders of the profession." In that sense, the contributions of our students to the intellectual life of the Social Sciences Division never end. Their ideas become our ideas and ours, theirs, and we are rewarded with the true teacher's satisfaction in the accomplishment of a student who takes knowledge forward, even further than we did ourselves. John Mark Hansen, dean