Graduate Schools are finding innovative ways to handle theses and dissertations. Using the advanced review tools in Digital Commons, Graduate Schools can manage the ETD deposit process from start to finish. At the University of Connecticut, Graduate School administrators love the ability to communicate necessary revisions with students online, and it has become easy to track every version of a given ETD.
When management in the Graduate School went looking for solutions to cumbersome, paper-based workflows for theses and dissertations, Michael Bennett, the IR Coordinator at the time, pointed out that the Digital Commons platform “could do the same things [as competing ETD services]…except that [the University of Connecticut] wouldn’t be beholden to a vendor for our…institution-produced content.” The Library and Graduate School planned a pilot year managing Master’s theses through DigitalCommons@UConn, and in 2011 the Graduate Faculty Council and Graduate Student Senate passed a mandate for electronic submission of dissertations.
How do students feel about the transition? Luba Bugbee, Administrative Services Specialist and PhD degree auditor in Graduate Records, finds that “both students and faculty consider [the initiative] a green move…students are glad that they do not have to spend more money on special bond paper… for publishing and copyright fees.” And Kristin Eshelman, who now runs DigitalCommons@UConn as Curator for Multimedia Collections, said the new workflow is “much more convenient for the reviewers, too, as they can use the email capabilities of the system to communicate.”
Check out this presentation that Michael Bennett made to get a better idea of how he rallied support from stakeholders in the Graduate School.