Mission Statement

The mission of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS) is to oversee graduate (PhD)[1] and postdoctoral training in the biomedical sciences in the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM).  The Office is comprised by an Associate Dean and Administrative Director.  The Office has close ties to the Biomedical Science Program, which has a Program Director, Curriculum Director, and Academic Program Management support person, all of whom participate closely in OGPS functions.  The OGPS is dedicated to the goal of training a diverse workforce of biomedical scientists, scholars, and teachers.  This goal is realized through the support of various PhD programs and subprograms affiliated with the biomedical sciences, and the support of postdoctoral students training in laboratories of CCOM biomedical faculty.  The OGPS works closely with the Graduate College of the University of Iowa to achieve its mission.

The overarching objective of the OGPS is to support training of predoctoral PhD students and postdoctoral students from diverse backgrounds, to become national and international leaders in biomedical science research, scholarship, and education.  To that end, we have four specific goals: 

  1. To support broad training in major disciplines within biomedical science;
  2. To support in-depth training in specific biomedical research areas (including the traditions, conceptual frameworks, driving hypotheses, and techniques in those areas);
  3. To support extensive training in quantitative literacy; and
  4. To support comprehensive training in professional development skills. 

Broad-based training is mandatory, and our students, as they develop into mature scientists, are capable of relating their results to wider issues, and developing conceptual and technical fluency in the rapidly evolving fields within the biomedical sciences.  General scientific aptitude is also emphasized: students learn how to identify key scientific problems and questions, how to construct and implement effective experimental designs, and how to use statistics and analyze data quantitatively.  By the end of their training, students can critically appraise the relevant scientific literature and make scientific judgments, they are skillful in communicating research results orally and in writing, and they are able to function as independent, ethical, and creative biomedical scientists.  Our students learn to apply rigor and transparency to the design and conduct of experiments and they learn to view their work through the lens of social responsibility.  They learn to think critically and to communicate effectively, and they learn to be leaders.  They come from diverse backgrounds, including backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, and they embrace inclusivity.

The OGPS recognizes that the most critical factor in successful graduate and postdoctoral education is mentoring.  Thus, a core value of our office is effective mentoring, and we strive to support, facilitate, and incentivize effective mentoring.  We recognize also the core value of student-centric education.  For PhD students and postdoctoral students alike, the educational mission is student-centered and focused on training students to be tomorrow’s leaders in biomedical science, scholarship, and teaching.  A fundamental philosophical tenet of the OGPS is that graduate students and postdoctoral students should not be simply the biomedical workforce in CCOM laboratories; rather, they should be trainees.

Finally, OGPS is firmly committed to the core value of inclusive excellence.  We go to every length to matriculate students from diverse backgrounds into our graduate and postdoctoral programs, to provide a welcoming environment for all students, and to facilitate successful outcomes for all students.

[1] The OGPS also supports biomedical Master’s programs in the Carver College of Medicine.  Most of the current programs and subprograms, however, do not matriculate students into terminal Master’s programs, and hence, the Mission Statement will refer to PhD programs and subprograms.