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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2016
Peer Advisor Availability

Writing Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tue: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Funding Peer
Stephanie Griffin
Mon: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: noon-2 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Ana Romero

Mon: noon-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.


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Tips for New Teaching Assistants

Credit: cybrarian77As a graduate student, you will most likely be called upon to be a Teaching Assistant or an Instructor of Record during your time at UC Santa Barbara. In a recent article on Inside Higher Ed, Julie Dodd gives some advice to graduate students who will be teaching for the first time this year.

  • Convey enthusiasm for what you are teaching. Sometimes teaching assistants and new faculty are assigned to entry-level courses or courses that fulfill general education requirements. TAs may consider such teaching assignments not interesting or important. But these courses are mostly taken by freshmen and sophomores, and their experience in them can often determine if they continue in college and even what major they choose.
  • Create a syllabus that provides policies and deadlines. Beginning teachers sometimes think the syllabus is a formality, or even a constraint, on the spontaneity of their teaching. But a well-constructed syllabus can be helpful both to the students and to the instructor. Creating a syllabus makes you consider what is most important for your students to learn during the course. The syllabus also is where you explain the policies for attendance, making up missed work, use of technology, and eating or drinking in class. Then, when a student turns in a late assignment or is using a cell phone during class, you can address that as a course policy issue and not just an “I don’t like you doing that” situation.
  • Connect with your students, but not on too personal a level. College students want teachers who are approachable and responsive, but you need to establish boundaries. That’s especially true for teaching assistants, who typically are close in age to the undergraduate students. New faculty members and TAs should talk with faculty and experienced teaching assistants to seek guidance.

Read the full article on Inside Higher Ed's website here.

Also check out the teaching resources on the UCSB Instructional Development website and be sure to attend New TA Orientation on Tuesday, September22.

To get regular updates from Inside Higher Ed, sign up for the newsletter, or connect via Facebook or Twitter.


Stay Organized and on Track With Your Dissertation

Writing Tip LogoLook at any dissertation work area and it’s bound to resemble a federal disaster zone. Staying organized is the key to keeping on track. Here are a few articles from former Writing Peer Ryan Dippre on how to stay on top.

Plan your dissertation: Use outlines to put your ideas in order.

File organization: Establish a system to keep your multiple drafts manageable.

Keep your dissertation on track: Ten tips from writing every weekday to knowing when to research and when to write.

For more help with writing, all graduate students are encouraged to book an appointment with the Graduate Division's new writing peer, Kyle Crocco. Kyle can be reached at:

Writing Peer Kyle Crocco. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Utilize the A.S. Media Center's Free Video Cameras and Gear

The Associated Students Media Center can be an excellent resource for creative graduate students. 

Have you ever pondered making a documentary or short film highlighting your research? The A.S. Media Center has the essential tools for your creative process, including still and video cameras, computers, software editing bays, and a space to meet and to view your finished work. Equipment may be checked out for three days at a time.

Details: Students should make sure to reserve the equipment in advance, because demand is high. To reserve, students can stop in or call the Center at 805-893-5422.

Where: The Media Center is located in the Associated Students Annex in Building 434. 

Some available equipment:

Cameras and Lenses

  • 2 Canon 70Ds, each with an 18-135mm IS telephoto lens
  • Canon 60D kit with 18-135mm IS telephoto lens
  • Canon 7D kit with 28-135mm telephoto lens
  • Canon 650 Rebel T4i with 18-135mm telephoto lens
  • Canon 35-300 telephoto lens
  • GoPro Silver camera and GoPro Boom
  • Canon Vixia HD HF20 Camcorder (also available at A.S. Admin)

Sound Recording

  • Zoom H6 Recorder with auxiliary microphones
  • 2 Audio Technica Wireless Lavalier Mics


  • 4 Macs


  • Adobe Creative Suite 6, including PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat Pro, Adobe Bridge, and Adobe Premiere
  • Final Cut Pro 7.0.3

The complete gear list may be found here.

The Media Center also holds workshops throughout the year. For more information, check out the Media Center's website, or connect via Facebook. The Center is fully funded by UCSB students, and graduate students are welcome to offer workshops as part of the Media Center's programming. 


Five Tips on Writing for a Non-Academic Audience

Writing Tip LogoAre you planning to write for a non-academic audience? Here are five tips to get you focused. The advice comes from the Chronicle Vitae article "5 Lessons on Writing for the Public," by Anne Trubek.

  1. Join an ongoing conversation: Find a topic people are already talking about and add your new perspective.
  2. Learn the field: If you want to write for a particular magazine, read that magazine to know what the audience expects.
  3. Don't brag about your degree: Editors care less about your degree and more about having an article that is well-written.
  4. Do not research everything: Instead, only read the top books and interview the key players in the field.
  5. Use active verbs: Avoid poor Ph.D. prose and use active verbs and sentence variety.

Advance Your Research with ResearchGate

Research Gate logoThere's a new tool in town for graduate students to connect with their fellow researchers: ResearchGate.

The basics: It's free to join and easy to use. It works a little like LinkedIn, but instead of networking for jobs you're networking for knowledge. Not to say that there aren't jobs on the site.

How it works: After taking a couple of minutes to create your profile, you are free to roam the site. You can share your publications, gets statistics about downloads and citations of your own work, connect with colleagues, ask open questions to the community, or even look for jobs.

Other details: Founded in 2008 by physicians Dr. Ijad Madisch and Dr. Sören Hofmayer, and computer scientist Horst Fickenscher, ResearchGate today has more than 7 million members. The site hopes to connect researchers and make progress happen faster.

Want more information? Read here.


Do You Suffer from Poor Ph.D. Prose?

Sam WineburgSam Wineburg. Credit: Stanford UniversityIn a sharp interview with Stanford professor Sam Wineburg on the ills of scholarly writing, Wineburg revealed the classic symptoms of poor Ph.D. prose and suggested some cures for your writing woes.

Here's the quick gist of the article:

Is my writing bad? If you or someone you love answers "yes" to either question below, seek immediate assistance now.

  • Are you topic sentences 45 words long?
  • Do you often use words like "posits," "delineates," and "mediates" and you're not mocking someone at the time?

How can I fix my writing?

  • Drop the jargon: write using words that the average person on the street would understand.
  • Read your writing out loud: if you or someone cannot easily understand the content when it's read aloud, then you need to revise. 

Want to learn more? Read the Chronicle of Higher Education article here.

Want help with your writing? Contact the Writing Peer Kyle Crocco at


Motivate Yourself to Write

Now that you’ve found a time to write and a place to write, how do you get started and stay motivated when writing? Here are a few tips from former Writing Peer Ryan Dippre to get your writing mojo working. Click on the links for more advice.

Convince yourself to write: Celebrate small accomplishments and use periodic reflection to help you stay on track.

Get in the writing zone: Make a plan and write on a daily basis to get in the zone.

Your writing process: Analyze your writing process to help you maximize your results.

No-fail secret to writing a dissertation: Spoiler alert: it's daily writing at a set time.

Fresh approaches to writing: Wake up earlier and use other methods than just a keyboard.

For more help with writing, all graduate students are encouraged to book an appointment with the Graduate Division's new writing peer, Kyle Crocco. Kyle can be reached at:

Writing Peer Kyle Crocco. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Finding a Place to Write

Credit: Carrie BaughcumFinding a comfortable place to write is just as important as having the time to write. Hemingway spoke of a clean, "well-lighted" space.

For some, that place might be the Dissertation Writing Room in the Student Resource Building, for others it might be a café or a study carrel in the library.

Here are a few things to consider when creating your writing environment, courtesy of former Writing Peer Ryan Dippre.

Building your writing environment: Tips on how to build a writing environment.

Consider your writing environment: Different writing environments for different stages of writing.

Writing in different places: Choose different locations for different writing tasks.

For more help with writing, all graduate students are encouraged to book an appointment with the Graduate Division's new writing peer, Kyle Crocco. Kyle can be reached at:

Writing Peer Kyle Crocco. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Ryan's Writing Tools

NotebooksAll writers need a few good tools.

Here are a few of the best that former Writing Peer Ryan Dippre has researched over the past two years to help you organize your ideas, take notes, and share your research with an outside audience.

Ideas: Tools and tips for working out your ideas.

Notes: From old-fashioned paper to phone apps: ways to get your thoughts down.

Screencasting: Are you visual? Use screencasting tools to get your ideas across.

Voice tools: Like to talk it out? Here's a few tools to use voice to help your writing.

Writing outlets: Find places to write your thoughts and research online.


Why Science Communication Matters

Credit: Naturejobs

Like many academic disciplines, the sciences face the often difficult task of communicating about the importance of their research. Not surprisingly, this imperative has spurred a renewed focus on - and in fact the development of the entire field devoted to - science communication. In a series of blog posts on Naturejobs, Julie Gould takes a newcomer's approach to the topic and immerses herself in this developing enterprise.

Part 1: A beginner's journey. Why both scientists and the public need science communication.

Part 2: Science in the media. The top five lessons from a media training workshop.

Part 3: A new generation of communicators. How the field of science communication is gaining momentum.

Part 4: Keep it simple. The importance of understanding your audience.

To get regular updates from Naturejobs, like it on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.