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Spouses and Partners of Doctoral Students Community


The Spouses and Partners of Doctoral Students (also known as “SPARTNERS”) Community was created by the Graduate School in Fall 2015 as a retention initiative to advance and support the needs of spouses and partners of doctoral students and their families and children.

It began in one room with just an orientation.  As a retention initiative, we knew it had to grow beyond just an orientation.  Slowly, we began developing events and activities that would not only keep doctoral students enrolled and motivated to finish their degrees in a timely manner, but also help spouses and partners understand the process of doctoral study, the different stages of doctoral study, and the different relationships doctoral students develop in the process—among each other, their faculty, mentors, and advisors—to successfully complete their degrees.

In other words, we knew that in order for doctoral students to be successful, we also needed to extend our support to their spouses and partners.


Doctoral degrees transform lives, and earning one is an intense and lengthy process that challenges and rewards not only the doctoral candidate, but also the candidate’s spouse or partner (and their families).

The Graduate School’s mission in creating the Spouses and Partners of Doctoral Students Community is:

1) to provide support through different and evolving types of programming throughout the year,

2) to direct “spartners,” and by extention any doctoral student's support network, to on and off campus resources,


3) to get feedback on how The Graduate School can assist in developing on-going and sustainable initiatives that support the needs of “Spartners” and graduate students.

Each year it has grown with new members as new doctoral students enroll and begin their journey through their doctoral stages.

Past Events


  • Annual Spartners Orientation - August
  • Spartners of Doctoral Students Community Networking Reception - Fall
  • Annual Summer Potluck for Spartners with Family and Friends - Summer


  • Self-Care Wellness from Dr. Carlton Green of the UMD Counseling Center
  • Navigating Work, Life & Family: A Reception, Discussion & Dinner
  • Testimonial Panels by Current Graduate Students with their Spartners

Feedback Sessions/Feedback Evaluations & Surveys

  • Graduate School Semester Feedback Sessions
  • Email Satisfaction & Feedback Surveys

(ABOVE: Dr. Carlton Green discussing Self-Care and Wellness during the doctoral process and how that translates to spouses and partners and families.)

(ABOVE: Spartners networking reception, dinner, and discussion with Assistant Dean of The Graduate School, Jeffrey Franke.) 

Annual Events Hosted by The Graduate School - With the objective to stay connected with Spartners and keep the momentum going.

  • August Spartners Orientation
  • October Mid-Fall Event
  • December Social
  • April Spring Event
  • July Summer Potluck

Everyone is notified by email or Graduate School Calendar:

How To Get Involved

  • Attend Graduate School Events Designed for SPARTNERS
  • Join the Facebook Group Page: UMD Spartners
  • Develop Different Meet-up Groups or Join Community Socials initiated by Spartners
  • Volunteer Your Service to Support The Graduate School’s Spartners Community
  • Participate in Campus Events (Resources)


  • Sustainability and growth among members each year (indicators of need and service)
  • Spouses and Partners led (The Graduate School is here to lend support and facilitate service)
  • Multiple ways to get involved


Christopher Pérez, Director, The Graduate School, Office of Graduate Diversity and Inclusion (#OGDI)

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