The University of New Mexico's Graduate Studies hosts its annual Shared Knowledge Conference Thursday, Nov. 7, when graduate students highlight their outstanding research and scholarship. But this year, the event is extra special, as Graduate Studies will celebrate its 100th anniversary. The Graduate School was formed in 1919.

David S. Hill, a professor of Education from the University of Illinois, who became UNM’s sixth president, proclaimed at the start of his first semester, “Free, public education must be made available to all persons capable of receiving it, regardless of race, sex, age, or occupation” (ABQ Journal, Oct 10, 1919), and launched a dedicated research arm of the university, the Graduate School, which offered a master’s degree.

“At times during our history, we've been called the Graduate College. Whether Graduate Studies or a Graduate College or Graduate School, we have broad purview of almost all of the graduate programs on campus,” graduate dean Julie Coonrod explained. “We oversee all degrees with theses and dissertations, ensuring that graduate committees and graduate exams are in line with the graduate catalog and that theses and dissertations are properly published in the UNM Digital Repository. We also process all the graduate teaching and research assistantships. Graduate students on assistantship receive a stipend as part of an educational relationship making their situation unique compared to other employment opportunities on campus.

“Graduate and professional programs at UNM define our university in many ways. Faculty work with graduate students in the lab, in the field, and in the classroom to further discovery and knowledge every day. Often, the graduate students are also mentoring and teaching undergraduate students and involving them in research and scholarship opportunities that are only available at Carnegie R1 universities,” she added.

In her message to incoming students to Graduate Studies, Coonrod says, “Whether you’re solving social, technological, or environmental problems, you must learn to think big. You are the ones that will be tackling the world’s great challenges. See, appreciate, and understand both the forest and the trees. Continually learn and work with others. Finally, you came to graduate school with a very specific goal in mind – finish a degree. We are here to make sure you achieve that goal. But I encourage you to enjoy the journey, take it all in along the way.”

Shared Knowledge Conference Nov. 7

2019 Conference Schedule:

Poster session at Hodgin Hall: 2-3:45 p.m.

LoboBITES finale at Centennial Engineering Center auditorium: 4-5 p.m.

Conference reception: Immediately following the LoboBITES finale

The high point of the year is the Shared Knowledge Conference, which showcases the work of graduate and professional students. This year, the event will be held Thursday, Nov. 7, starting with posters on display throughout Hodgin Hall from 2 to 3:45 p.m. During the poster showcase, students will present their research and explain their projects to attendees.

Following the poster showcase, the LoboBITES competition will be held in the Centennial Engineering Center auditorium at 4 pm. LoboBITES are soundbites of a student's research or scholarship, essentially a three-minute thesis competition, Coonrod explained. “The finalists will be selected from preliminary heats on October 30. We expect to have eight to 12 finalists competing on November 7. We will have community judges. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to represent UNM in the regional competition at the Western Association of Graduate Schools Conference in March. These events are open to the public.”

At a reception following the LoboBITES competition, the department will celebrate its centenary and awards presented to the poster and LoboBITES competition winners. Coonrod has been collecting photos from the university’s history to display at the reception and will have an editorial featured in the Albuquerque Journal noting the occasion.

“This anniversary is a big occasion for Graduate Studies. One hundred years later, UNM’s graduate mission continues to thrive. We enroll over 6,000 graduate and professional students each year, and we annually confer over 1,700 graduate and professional degrees. We have also grown into 120 graduate and professional programs and 25 of them are ranked in the top 100 in the nation,” Coonrod said.