Helping a student build their professional development toolkit and to cultivate scholarly communication skills motivates GradFund’s work. Securing extramural funding is a critical goal but it isn’t the only goal. We encourage graduate students to engage in the process of develop competitive fellowship and grant applications in order to secure valuable research support and to bring prestige to their early scholarly careers but most importantly to learn how to communicate their scholarly ideas to a variety of audiences.
GradFund offers more than critical writing advice and guidance. We work on a peer mentoring model that trains graduate students to read across disciplinary lines and to offer critical feedback to peers and graduate student mentees benefit from insightful feedback and offers a perspective that takes the student beyond their disciplinary silo. GradFund advising informed by best practices in fellowship advising, peer mentoring, and grantsmanship which includes a robust knowledgebase and deep intelligence on funding trends in graduate education and detailed profiles of specific fellowship and grant competitions.
Our praxis takes a dual approach, first centered on the graduate student and their ownership of their graduate career and the decisions they make about their scholarly development and second rooted in engagement on the graduate program level. Engagement on the graduate program level reflects the GradFund philosophy that our advice and guidance should complement the work that a student does with their faculty mentors and our goal to encourage graduate students, their faculty mentors and graduate program leadership to take a holistic view and encourage students to integrate the practice of applying for funding into their graduate career.
Our work is regularly assessed and evaluated. We actively seek student centered feedback to guide and shape our service offerings. Student and community feedback is considered in conversation with quantitative data that includes service statistics, funding trends and competition outcomes.