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July 2, 2018

Thomas Jeitschko: The impact of a graduate education

July 3, 2018

Thomas Jeitschko is a professor of economics who serves as the associate provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School.

Advanced degrees are a key driver for innovation in a wide variety of fields — providing not only a well-trained workforce but also a fresh perspective and enthusiasm. It is the graduate students of today who will be the researchers of tomorrow, and who will solve what until now have proven to be intractable problems in need of new thinking and approaches.

The world's prosperity is tied to our ability to be innovative and creative, and to translate good ideas into solutions that build our economy, strengthen our communities and improve the quality of life for individuals.

The collaborative environment at MSU, where graduate students are shaped into emerging scholars and put to the test by experienced faculty, is perhaps our greatest asset when it comes to generating new ideas and innovation. As graduate and professional students complete their training, they also provide critical support for faculty in their ongoing research efforts. Our ability to attract and retain top faculty who build dynamic research programs is directly related to their having great students to work with.

Many undergraduate students find success because a graduate teaching assistant provided the boost they needed to cross the finish line of that dreaded required economics, or psych, or math class. Graduate students are some of the most innovative and enterprising instructors in the classroom — and because our graduate student population is very diverse, they frequently become key mentors who are able to connect with students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Graduate students will touch the lives of thousands of undergradate students during their training and in their future careers.