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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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Entries in grad student (36)


Getting Your Research Beyond the Ivory Tower

Credit: Naturejobs.comSo you've written your academic article (yay!), you've gone through the sometimes-grueling peer review process (thank God it's over!), and now your journal of choice is ready to publish your brilliant research (finally!). Now what?

The process of getting your research out and increasing its impact is not yet over, but the next part of the process is a lot more fun than copy-editing and reading Reviewer #2's comments. In a recent article on Naturejobs, Jack Leeming shares his tips on how to get your paper noticed.

  1. Write a clear paper. Keep your prose as light and jargon free as possible, whilst still maintaining the level of accuracy you need for a research paper.
  2. Write a lay summary and post it somewhere. Write a short summary (400-600 words), have a non-specialist read it for clarity, and then post it online in the appropriate venues (such as your department website/blog or your professional portfolio).
  3. Tell your press office about it. They can help prepare a press release based on your (hopefully) clearly written paper and your accessible lay summary close to your publication date.
  4. Prepare your social media circle. Before your paper comes out, engage with journalists, editors, and scholars via social media to help establish yourself as a contributor to conversations.
  5. Use The Conversation and sidestep all of the above. The Conversation is a news site with content coming entirely from academic researchers. An editor will help you craft a piece into something suitable for mainstream media, and then your article will be freely available for any other organization to publish.

To read Leeming's full article, click here.

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


Webinar on Dealing with Holiday Family Drama

Credit: @AcademicsSay

Does the phrase “home for the holidays” fill you with feelings of anticipation and excitement, or dread for inevitable family drama? The holidays can be a time of joy, but also a time of stress, especially if you are a first-generation graduate student of color whose family culture might not be comfortable with your ambitions and intellectual pursuits. Before you leave for the holidays, be sure to check out this webinar by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD):

Smarty Pants Comes Home for the Holidays
Monday, December 14, 2-3:30 p.m.
NCFDD Virtual Classroom
To register, click here

Many graduate students coping with difficult family dynamics find themselves frustrated because they feel devalued and disrespected. In this webinar, journalist and historian Dr. Stacey Patton uses her unique brand of candor and humor to share some lessons she has learned about being a first-generation graduate student, and she offers a practical guide that students can use to manage their feelings and expectations to achieve successful family togetherness with minimal stress.

To sign up for your free membership on NCFDD and start accessing all of the resources it has to offer, click here for more instructions.


What's Keeping You from Finishing Your Dissertation?

There are probably as many answers to that question as there are dissertation writers. But no matter the reason, one thing is likely true: there’s often a large, unspoken disconnect between faculty advisers and graduate students when it comes to writing a dissertation.

In a recent article on Inside Higher Ed, Kerry Ann Rockquemore writes, "Advisers imagine that delays are due to the content of the project, while graduate students are most often struggling with writing and resistance. Because of that disconnect, advisers’ efforts don’t meet students where they are stuck, and the students’ impostor syndrome can be so intense (and the power differential so great) that it keeps them from asking for the type of help they need."

While Rockquemore's article is targeted at faculty advisers, graduate students can glean some good advice that they can start using right away:

  1. Ask yourself, "What is a dissertation?" Let's face it, most graduate students have never written a dissertation before, and the genre is wildly different from the types of papers they've been writing (e.g. binge-and-bust seminar papers) and reading (e.g. closely critiqued seminal works in their field) thus far in grad school. Have a detailed discussion with your advisor about the scope and quality requirements of a dissertation, and ask for a rubric, guidebook, or successful sample.
  2. Get into a daily writing habit. As Rockquemore writes, "It’s well documented that the most productive academics write every day - Monday through Friday - in short periods of time. (And by “writing” I mean anything that moves a manuscript out the door.) However, that’s the opposite of how most graduate students write, or imagine they should write, their dissertations. This emerges from a combination of past binge-and-bust writing habits, the flawed assumption that nothing can get done in 30 minutes a day, and the idea that they must have everything figured out before they start writing." So, if your current strategy isn't working for you, try out a new one!
  3. Figure out what type of support you need and where you can get it. Dissertation writers thrive in a supportive community of active daily writers. This might look like an in-person writing space like the Graduate Writers' Room or an online community of peers that can provide built-in and regular accountability.

To read Rockquemore's full article, click here.

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


Webinar on Dealing with Stress and Rejection

Did you know that you have access to a ton of great resources on the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) website as part of UCSB's institutional membership? When you sign up for free, you can access both archived and upcoming webinars, such as:

Credit: Bernard GoldbachStrategies for Dealing with Stress, Rejection, and Haters in Your Midst
Thursday, November 19
, 2-3 p.m.
NCFDD Virtual Classroom
To register, click here

The webinar will cover topics like:

  • The impact that stress and negativity can have if they are not managed
  • Identify the most common areas of stress in academic life
  • Concrete strategies for managing the physical, emotional, and attitudinal effects of stress

To sign up for your free membership on NCFDD and start accessing all of the resources it has to offer, click here for more instructions.


Resources and Upcoming Events for LGBTQ Students and Allies

As the school year kicks off, there are many upcoming events and opportunities for LGBTQ, similarly identified, and supportive graduate students. The Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD) works with students, staff, and faculty to ensure that LGBTQ identities, experiences, and concerns are represented and addressed at UCSB.

The center aims to create a vibrant and engaging environment through:

  • Social and educational programming,
  • Volunteer and leadership opportunities,
  • A comfortable and welcoming social and study space, and
  • Professional and student staff members for support and advocacy.

Additionally, the RCSGD hosts regular events specifically for graduate students. Upcoming events:

LGBTQ Graduate Student Mixer
Thursday, Oct. 15, 6 p.m.
The Imperial

Meet other LGBTQ, similarly identified, and supportive graduate students. Build community, and celebrate fall! RSVP on this Facebook page.

Queer Grad Chatz: Queering Mentorship in the Academy
Thursday, Nov. 12, 12 p.m.

RCSGD Lounge (3rd floor of the Student Resource Building)
Queer Grad Chatz is an opportunity for grads to come together to discuss how queer identities impact experiences of graduate training, professionalization, and research. The installment will focus on mentorship, including strategies for working with faculty as well as how to more effectively serve as mentors to others.

Get Involved

Do you have ideas about how to increase opportunities and support for queer, transgender, and similarly identified graduate students? Are you interested in working with other graduate students to make these ideas a reality? Email Alex Kulick or stop by the RCSGD.

Stay in Touch

If you want to stay up to date on events, programs, and happenings around campus relevant to queer and transgender graduate students as well as other events by the RCSGD, join the Google Group and/or Facebook Group. You can also follow the RCSGD on Facebook and on Instagram for a full listing of all events and services.

Students in front of the RCSGD in the Student Resource Building. Photo courtesy of the RCSGD.


Lessons from the Intensive Dissertation Writing Retreat

Why are you writing a dissertation?

This was the first question that Dr. Katie Baillargeon asked participants to consider while preparing for the Intensive Dissertation Writing Retreat

Once I stopped hyperventilating, I realized what an awfully sobering, yet useful, question this is to actually force myself to answer: Why am I writing a dissertation? Being in my sixth year of graduate school and having just defended my dissertation prospectus last spring, you'd think that I would have considered this question before.

I’ll start off by saying that the Writing Retreat was not what I thought it was going to be. But I don’t say that in a negative way. I say that having emerged with a new realization from the experience: what I thought I knew about my own writing process and productivity – as well as what I am able to realistically accomplish in a week of dedicated writing time – was wrong.

In the tables below, I summarize some of the valuable lessons I learned by participating in the Writing Retreat.

I learned a lot over the course of the week, but not what I thought I would learn. I learned that my writing process works (or at least can work) really differently than I imagined it. In the low-stakes, yet intensive, environment of the Writing Retreat, I think that each of the participants came away with a toolbox of strategies, self-realizations, and support that will make us all more successful in our writing futures.

To read Writing Peer Kyle Crocco's workshop recaps from the Intensive Dissertation Writing Retreat, click below:


Free Webcast on Writing a Successful Grant Proposal

Becoming an independent researcher in academia is crucial to achieving future success. Part of that journey starts with getting your own funding.

In a live 60-minute webcast hosted by Naturejobs on September 30, four speakers will share their expertise on applying for a successful grant. Professor Susan Marriott will give advice on planning your funding applications; Dr. Peter Gorsuch will talk about shaping the content for your application to catch the reviewer’s attention; Dr. Alejandro Martin-Hobdey will share insights into getting a grant from the European Research Council; and Dr. Michael Mishkind from the National Science Foundation will talk about how to be successful in your applications.

The webcast will take place on September 30, 8-9 a.m. PST, and will feature one-on-one advising and panel discussions.

The webcast will also be made available online for six months after the live event on the Naturejobs blog.

For more information and to register for free, click here.


How to Align Your Time and Your Priorities as an Academic

Credit: Kyle SteedDid you know that you have access to a ton of great resources on the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) website as part of UCSB's institutional membership? When you sign up for free, you can opt in to receive weekly Monday Motivator e-mails, with great information on upcoming events, career advice, and strategic planning.

This week's Monday Motivator recapped a webinar from NCFDD founder Kerry Ann Rockquemore on the Sunday Meeting, which is a 30-minute weekly planning meeting you have with yourself that is designed to help you align your time and your priorities. There are five simple steps to the weekly meeting:

Step 1: Create your skeleton. The meeting starts by blocking out all of your commitments for the week (research and writing time, classes, office hours, and meetings) as well as non-work items that you are committed to a specific time and place (such as child care pickup, date night, and/or Zumba class). Your commitments form the skeleton of your week because everything else has to be fleshed out on top of them.

Step 2: Brain dump. Write out all your to-do items for the week including the short term tasks you need to get done, as well as the strategic tasks associated with your long term research agenda (these should be listed by week in your strategic plan).

The purpose of this step is to: 1) reconnect you with your strategic plan on a weekly basis, 2) get everything out of your head and onto paper, and 3) to put you in a position to control your week (instead of your week controlling you). The brain dump can cause either relief or anxiety, but no matter how you feel about it in the moment, go on to the next step.

Step 3: Introduce your tasks to your calendar. Here's where it gets ugly! Turn back to your calendar for this week and assign each of your to-do items to a specific block of time. This will require you to estimate how long your tasks will take, prioritize what’s most important, and commit to actually doing specific work at specific times this week. Inevitably, you will have the same devastating realization each week: you don't have enough time to complete all the tasks on your to-do list.

Credit: Jurgen AppeloBreathe deeply. Having more tasks than time is the perfectly normal reality of academic life. No matter how frustrating it is, it's far better to deal with that reality at the beginning of the week then to walk blindly into that realization at the end of the week.

Step 4: Decide what to do with everything that doesn’t fit. Knowing that you have more tasks than time, consciously choose how you will spend your time this week. You may need to prioritize the tasks on your list and I suggest using the criteria by which you will be evaluated for your next step (whether it's passing your qualifying exams, going on the job market, or going up for tenure).

Step 5: Commit to executing the plan. Of course, the best-laid plans can be thrown into disarray by unexpected circumstances and daily chaos. But having a clear plan and genuinely committing to its execution are essential to moving forward each week, will help you to easily say "no” to additional request during the week, and will assist you in being far more productive than you would be if operating on crisis management each day.

To sign up for your free membership on NCFDD and start accessing all of the resources it has to offer, click here for more instructions.

To watch the full webinar on the Sunday Meeting, click here.


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.


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.