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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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Discover Valuable - and Free - Webinars, Resources, and Readings

Credit: Tim LewisAdd this to your summer to-do list: check out all of the free professional development resources available to graduate students and postdocs through the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). UCSB recently became an institutional member of the center, giving you access to a hoard of resources including webinars, readings, and discussion forums.

To take advantage of your membership, follow the instructions here and get started exploring!


Beyond the Paradigms: Teaching Through Narratives

Credit: Yau Hoong TangIn a recent article on Vitae, David Gooblar explains that there are two modes of thinking. The first, “paradigmatic,” is the mode of science, of logically describing and explaining the world. It categorizes and conceptualizes, arranges in systems, and tests for empirical truth. The second is the “narrative” mode. By contrast, it makes sense of the world through stories, through the pursuit of meaning and the particular experience of human existence lived over time. A paradigmatic explanation proves; a narrative explanation illustrates.

All of us use both paradigmatic and narrative modes of thought all the time. As teachers, we’re very good at using the paradigmatic mode. In teaching important concepts to our students, we lay out our case and show how ideas are related to one another. We distinguish between concepts that are similar but different in significant ways. The paradigmatic mode is an essential one for the classroom, an arena where misconceptions are corrected, where clarity is pursued, and where we strive to leave our students with an organized understanding of complex subjects.

However, in our fervor to explain, we often neglect the narrative approach. It’s important to remember that the two modes of thought complement one another, and work well in tandem. Of course, the easiest way to bring narrative into the classroom is to tell stories. Stories are great attention-getters, and very effective at drawing students into a subject. Even personal stories can have powerful rhetorical effects for instructors, making students more likely to take an active role in the classroom.

Read the full article on Vitae's website here.

To get regular updates from Vitae, sign up for their e-mail digest, or connect via Facebook or Twitter.


The Secrets to Finding Time to Write


Want to learn the secrets to finding time to write? Check out the wisdom of former Writing Peer Ryan Dippre. He coveres developing a motivating schedule to using twenty or thirty minutes a day to make progress.

20 minutes: Get work done by writing and revising in small bursts.

30 minutes: Schedule thirty minutes a day when you can get words down.

Finding time to write: How to balance writing with a heavy teaching load.

Motivating schedule: Learn how to craft a schedule that motivates you to complete tasks. 


The Two Big Lies of Graduate School

Credit: "Defehrt epinglier pl2," designed by Goussier, engraved by Defehrt. Diderot's Encyclopédie (1762)There are two big lies in graduate school:

  • Big Lie Number 1: A Ph.D. prepares you only for an academic career.
  • Big Lie Number 2: A Ph.D. prepares you for any career.

According to a recent article by Elizabeth Kennan on Vitae, Ph.D.s do have transferable skills — even desirable ones! — beyond teaching and thinking deeply about one topic for an extended period of time. The first step to a successful move outside of academia is identifying your transferable skills. The second, more difficult task is figuring out how you might use those skills in a future career — one that you might actually enjoy. And the third, probably hardest, step is making those skills obvious to those who might hire you.

In the first of this three-part series, Keenan discusses the difference between skills and jobs, how to look beyond the obvious, and how to be patient in the process.

Read the full article on Vitae's website here.

To get regular updates from Vitae, sign up for their e-mail digest, or connect via Facebook or Twitter.


The Importance of Writing - And Writing Well - In All Fields

Credit: Nic McPheeWhile you may think that extensive writing skills are the purview of Humanities and Social Science fields, a recent article on Vitae argues that STEM scholars should also practice and hone writing skills. Theresa MacPhail draws on her own experience as an assistant professor, as well as interviews with three high-profile technology professionals, to convince STEM students that writing skills matter for any career path. Read the full article here.

In related news, the Dissertation Writer's Room will resume a relatively normal schedule starting in August. Hosted in the Student Resource Building (Room 1103), the Writer's Room is open four days a week during the following times:

Mondays and Wednesdays: 1-4 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9 a.m.-noon

The only exceptions to this regular schedule are Tuesday, August 4 (when it will be open 1-4 p.m.) and Thursday, August 20 (when it will be hosted in SRB 2154). Come join your fellow scholars from across disciplines to exercise your writing muscles! Click here for the full summer schedule.


Do Secure Survey Research with Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey logoLooking for a secure way to do survey research? Then try out Survey Monkey. They offer four different plans that can meet your budget and survey needs.

Their Basic Service is similar to Google Forms (read more about that here), but they also include SSL/TLS encryption and password protection: two essential features for human subjects research.

On the other hand, their Basic service only allows 10 questions. So if you need to do a more robust survey, try their Select Service.

Select Service

Cost: $26/month (with no obligation to continue).


  • Unlimited questions
  • 1000 responses
  • Skip question logic
  • Download information as a PPT, CVS, XLS, or PDF

If you need more advanced features, such as downloading results directly to SPSS, having multiple users, or including HIPAA-compliant features, Survey Monkey also offers a Gold Service ($300/year) and a Platinum Service ($780/year). 


These Are the Two Most Important Soft Skills for Academics

Credit: PhotoDisc/ Getty Images Brad GoodellAccording to a recent article by Elizabeth Silva in Naturejobs, teamwork and good communication skills are the two most valuable soft skills an academic can develop. However, many graduate students don't recognize the importance of cultivating these skills, and the isolation of grad school may prevent grad students from seeking out or taking advantage of opportunities to develop their teamwork and communication skills. Silva offers some advice:

  • Practice communication through poster presentations, journal clubs, and seminars.
  • Participate in community outreach programs that connect students and postdocs with various sectors of the public.
  • Work frequently with colleagues in collaborative ways.
  • Recognize that success in any field requires recognition that each person’s style, experience, and background (including yours!) has its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Participate in a self-assessment workshop that relates to communication styles, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
  • Practice these soft skills every day, and remember that in any non-academic environment it is more important to solve a problem faster by working as a team than to demonstrate that you can do it on your own.

Read the full article on Naturejob's website here.

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


How to Salvage Your Summer Writing

Credit: Rennett StoweIn a recent article on Inside Higher Ed, Kerry Ann Rockquemore responds to a reader who is concerned that it's already mid-July and the writer hasn't made a dent in big writing projects. Her tips included:

  1. Get real about why you have not been writing.
  2. Create a 30-day writing plan.
  3. Write every day.
  4. Join a supportive community of daily writers. (We suggest such communities as the Intensive Dissertation Writer's Retreat and the Dissertation Writer's Room here at UCSB!)

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

To get regular updates from Inside Higher Ed, sign up for the newsletter, like it on Facebook, and follow it on Twitter.


Resume Resources for Non-Academic Job Seekers

Photo courtesy of Humanists@Work

If you are considering a career alongside or outside of academia, be sure to check out the resume resources in Professional Development Peer Shawn Warner-Garcia's recap of the Humanists@Work conference. You'll find general advice, a step-by-step guide for conducting a job description analysis, and a sample resume.

Also, keep an eye out for an in-depth article on resume design by Shawn later this summer. For one-on-one resume consultations, you can set up a meeting by emailing Shawn or John Coate, Assistant Director/Coordinator of Graduate Student Services.


Google Scholar Makes Your Research Life Easier

Google Scholar LogoAre you still using library databases to do your research? Shame on you. Make your research life easier and move on to Google Scholar.

Google Scholar is a one-stop research shop for all your citation needs. You can ...

  • Search all scholarly literature from one convenient place 
  • Explore related works, citations, authors, and publications
  • Get a link to a PDF document through the UCSB library or on the web
  • Check who's citing your publications and create a public author profile
  • Export citations in APA, MLA, or Chicago format to a bibliography manager 
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