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Conference of Southern Graduate Schools returns to Chattanooga

Building Bridges to the Ne(x)t Generation is the theme of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS), which will bring nearly 200 deans, associate deans, and leaders of graduate schools to Chattanooga. The conference will be held February 23-27.

Dr. Deborah E. Arfken, Dean of the Graduate School at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, serves a president of the organization. This meeting will be held concurrently with the Conference of Historically Black Graduate Schools.

“I am delighted that this conference has come back to Tennessee, and particularly, Chattanooga,” Arfken said. “It will draw a diverse group with representatives from small and large, public and private institutions, all actively engaged in graduate education, from masters to research doctoral degree programs. The excitement of graduate education is shared by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, as he proclaims April 2-6, 2007 ‘Graduate Education Week in Tennessee,’” Arfken said.

Topics to be discussed at the conference include training the ne(x)t generation; scholarship in the next generation; town and gown partnerships; the role of and importance of regional accreditation; and interdisciplinary studies at the graduate level.

U.S. Census Bureau data recently revealed that adults 18 and over with a bachelor's degree earned an average of $51,554 in 2004, compared to $28,645 for those with only a high school diploma. Those with graduate degrees took home an average of $78,093 a year.

Increasingly, graduate education is becoming a necessity for career advancement. Based on 2006 average salary survey data, people with a masters degree were offered positions with salary ranges of $37,000 for elementary education; $42,000 social sciences; MBA $47,000; accounting $47,000; civil engineering $50,000; computer sciences $71,000. All of these programs are offered at UTC and other graduate schools in the state.

The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools is a non-profit organization with more than 200 member institutions in over 200 graduate schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its purpose is to consider topics relating to graduate study and research which are of mutual interest and concern to the member institutions. In addition, dissemination of information, promotion of standards, encouragement of research and assistance to institutions starting graduate programs are important functions of the organization. And the Conference serves as a liaison with other national and regional educational bodies on behalf of the institutional members.

While CSGS has had an official existence for over thirty years, a prior organization, the Conference of Deans of Southern Graduate Schools (CDSGS) was officially established in 1927.

February 23, 2007