Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Department of Mathematics is a partner department in the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate. The initiative is a multi-year research and action project aimed at improving doctoral education at American universities. The project is funded by the Carnegie Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies. The goal, as stated by the Carnegie Foundation, is to make doctoral education more purposeful and adapted to the demands and needs of the 21st century.

Title of UNL Project

Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate

Length of Project


Project Directors

Jim Lewis, Professor, Department of Mathematics; Roger Wiegand, Professor and Chairman, Mathematics Graduate Program.

Results of our Participation

Partner Institutions

UNL, Duke University, Ohio State University, State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan and University of Southern California. Allied Departments: Howard University, Kent State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Utah.

Why UNL?

UNL was chosen because of its leadership in national mathematics education initiatives and record of success in attracting women to its graduate programs (1998 Presidental Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring).

Project Goals as Identified by Carnegie Foundation

To support and study experiments in doctoral education with leading graduate programs, to document and analyze the character of those initiatives and, working with these innovative departments, to help the disciplinary community create models ane evidence of success to inform others in the field.

Elements of the Initiative

Conceptual analysis of doctoral education, departmental experiments in program change and research and dissemination of findings.

Conceptual Analysis Element (first step)

Among the issues upon which the department will focus during its conceptual analysis are:

  • how to position the Ph.D. program;
  • should the curriculum be broad based or more narrowly specialized;
  • what curricular revisions might be needed;
  • how to best prepare Ph.D.s for realistic jobs;
  • how to prepare Ph.D.s for future academic challenges;
  • how to increase the number of Ph.D.s winning tenure-track placements in research and doctoral departments;
  • how to prepare Ph.D.s to be leaders in the profession; and
  • how to increase recruitment and retention of under-represented minorities.

About the Foundations

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a primary mission to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of the teacher. The foundation, located in Menlo Park, California, fulfills this mission through its contributions to improvements in education policy and practice.

Atlantic Philanthropies identify and support leaders, institutions and organizations dedicated to learning, knowledge-building and solving pressing social problems.