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Students spearhead group to enhance the graduate experience

School of Engineering advisory group proposes a new leadership curriculum and stronger student-advisor relationships.

What do graduate students in engineering want?

This was the question before a new advisory group launched by the MIT School of Engineering in late 2017 — the school’s first comprised entirely of graduate students. This fall the group is rolling out its inaugural initiatives: a graduate-level leadership minor or certificate and a set of recommendations intended to improve advisor-advisee relations.

GradSAGE (short for Graduate Student Advisory Group for Engineering) was established by Anantha Chandrakasan just months after he became dean of the MIT School of Engineering.

“I thought it would be great to get student engagement as we shaped new initiatives, and to learn their perspectives on important issues and challenges they face,” says Chandrakasan. “In a sense, we are listening to our customers.”

The dean already counted department heads and other school stakeholders among his advisors. But Chandrakasan, the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, felt he was missing the voice of students.

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