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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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IHC Invites Applications for 2015 UC Student Veteran Summer Writing Workshop

The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at UCSB is now accepting applications for its 2015 UC Student Veteran Summer Writing Workshop from June 20-25. The deadline to apply is Monday, March 16. Space is limited, so it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible.

Program Description: The UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop will provide UC student veterans with the opportunity to compose personal narratives about their military experiences. In an informal setting, and guided by experienced facilitators, participants will write, share and discuss their work. To become familiar with different writing techniques, participants will also read short texts by veterans. Participants will meet in small group workshops for three hours daily. Afternoons will be spent working individually on writing. The schedule includes time for fitness and recreation. Evening activities will include film screenings, authors’ readings and social events.

Who Should Apply: Undergraduate and graduate UC student veterans interested in writing narratives about their military experiences in a workshop composed of student veterans from across the UC system. Applicants need not have any experience with creative writing.

Cost: The UC Veterans Summer Writing Workshop is FREE of charge for all participants. Travel reimbursement, lodging and meals will be provided.

"Creative writing offers veterans a way to integrate their military experiences into their larger life narratives. When veterans write and share their stories, they build bridges to the civilian community, and they strengthen their ties to other veterans." - Susan Derwin, Director, UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop


Text and Academic Authors Association Offers Virtual Dissertation Boot Camp Jan 17-18

The Text and Academic Authors Association will be hosting a virtual dissertation writing boot camp January 17-18, which will offer resources, accountability check-ins, and support and encouragement for those working on their dissertations. The boot camp also includes a mini-webinar on translating statistical writing in academic work. The registration deadline is Monday, January 12. Boot camps are offered on a monthly basis; the dates for the spring series are February 15, March 15, April 19, and May 17. (Note: these dates have changed since this article was originally posted and currently reflect the most up-to-date information.)

Participation in the boot camp requires a one-time registration fee ($15 for graduate students), which grants students one year of access to members-only resources on the TAA website, including podcasts, a variety of mentoring and networking opportunities available through the online member community, and a professional directory. Some website material may also be accessed for free, including a blog of news and how-to articles as well as grants for offsetting expenses incurred during the publishing process.



Library Closings and Limited Access to Electronic Resources over Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend


Davidson Library will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday from Wednesday, November 26, at 5 p.m. until noon on Saturday, November 29. Note that the library will be closed for more hours on Saturday, November 29, than previously posted due to a campus-wide power outage. The reopening of the library on Saturday is subject to restoration of campus power. It is recommended that you call (805) 893-2477 on Saturday to confirm that the library is open. A complete listing of library hours over the Thanksgiving holiday can be found here.


There will be no off-campus access to UCSB library databases and electronic resources on Friday, November 28, from 6 to 10 p.m. due to a recently announced ETS (Enterprise Technology Services) outage of all Identity and Collaboration services. This affects access through both the proxy server and the VPN (virtual private network). The library recommends that you plan your access to electronic resource materials around this outage.


'Orange Is the New Black' Selected as UCSB Reads Book for 2015

UCSB Reads, currently in its ninth year of existence through the Davidson Library and the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, has announced its book selection for the 2015 program: Piper Kerman’s best-selling memoir "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison."

In the book, Kerman chronicles the 13 months she spent at a federal women’s minimum-security prison in Connecticut for laundering drug money. Blond and blue-eyed, with a supportive family, a good lawyer, a college education, and a job waiting for her, Kerman realized she was more fortunate than many of her prison peers. Still, prisoner No. 11187-424 endured the humiliation of “squat and cough” searches, moldy showers, and abuse or indifference from staff. Kerman was surprised, however, to also find friendship, generosity, wisdom and acceptance in relationships she developed with fellow inmates.

UCSB Reads attempts to bring the university and the community of Santa Barbara together through a common reading experience. The program kicks off at the start of the winter quarter with Chancellor Yang giving away free books to UCSB students in the library. A variety of UCSB Reads events (book clubs, film screenings, exhibitions, and faculty panel discussions) exploring the book and its themes are held between January and April. The program culminates with a live appearance by the author. Previous book selections have included “The Big Burn,”  "Moonwalking With Einstein," and "Moby Duck." 

For more information on the UCSB Reads 2015 selection, read the Office of Public Affairs and Communications news release.

The Davidson Library is currently welcoming ideas and participation from students for the 2015 program. If you have suggestions for events, or if you would like to co-sponsor an event, please contact Rebecca Metzger, the Assistant University Librarian for Outreach and Academic Collaboration, at


Want to Win a Gift Card? Complete Library's Survey

Are you interested in spending more money than you have on UCSB hats, T-shirts, hoodies, and more?  If so, then you may be interested in winning a $50 gift card to the UCSB Bookstore

The Davidson Library is looking to renovate its web page, and wants to hear about the changes students would like to see. Those interested should check out the library's webpage and take an anonymous survey by October 31. Two gift cards will be drawn: one for students, one for staff.



UCSB Library Seeks Volunteers for Website User Testing

The UCSB Library is currently conducting a review of its website as a precursor to redesigning the site. This review will collect various types of feedback from website users in order to identify functional improvements that benefit the entire campus. During August and September, graduate students are being asked to volunteer for 15-20 minute user testing sessions. During these sessions, you will be asked to accomplish some tasks on the library website, and the steps that you take to accomplish these tasks will be recorded. The test is simply a test of the website, not of the users. If you are willing to devote 15-20 minutes of your summer to helping the library capture data on the usage of its site, please contact:

Rebecca Metzger, Assistant University Librarian for Outreach & Academic Collaboration
Phone: 805-893-2674

She will follow up directly with you to set up a convenient time for the test.


Feedly Under Attack

If you are an avid blog reader, you may have some different ways of combing through all of the new information that goes up on a daily basis. My preference is Feedly, a website that lets me organize all of my favorite blogs into categories in one place. Instead of hopping around from site to site, I can just go to Feedly and check out the new stuff. If you are looking for a place to organize the blogs you read, I recommend Feedly.

That said, however, you may want to drag your feet signing up for it: The site is currently under a denial of service attack. According to the Feedly blog, the attack hit shortly after 2 a.m. yesterday, and a follow-up attack hit around 7:30 a.m. The attackers are trying to extort money from the makers of Feedly in order to go away. All data is currently safe, the Feedly blog notes, as they "working in parallel with other victims of the same group and law enforcement."  

If you are, for some reason, in a particular hurry to organize your blogs, feel free to check out some other options around the web, the top ten of which are promoted on Gizmodo.


Considering Your Writing Environment

Writing DeskIn one of my posts earlier this year, I took up the issue of writing environments. The place that you choose to write in - and how you make use of such a place - is extremely important for engaging in high-quality writing. Nate Kreuter has a recent post at Inside Higher Ed that takes the issue of writing environments from a fresh perspective. If you are looking to reorganize your writing life and would like to start with the environment within which your writing happens, consider giving this article a shot.


Don't Fear the Open Access ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation)

Gail McMillan. Credit: Virginia Tech University LibraryIf worries about publishing your electronic thesis or dissertation in an open access environment were causing you sleepless nights, fear not and get some sleep, or so was the message given at the well attended talk, "Publishers’ Views on Electronic Theses & Dissertations," by Gail McMillan, Director of the Digital Library and Archives of Virginia Tech University.

For years, there has been a nasty rumor that making your electronic thesis or dissertation (ETD) open and available for all the world to read would prevent your work from being published by your academic peers.

Not so fast, said McMillan. Where's the evidence? She and her fellow researchers set forth to find the TRUTH. They surveyed 161 publishers of journals and university presses about their views of publishing material previously published as an open access ETD.

So what was the truth? McMillan and her fellow researchers discovered that open access was not the sucker punch to your dissertation publishing hopes as previously suggested. Overall, 45 percent of publishers and journals were always open to publishing material from ETDs, 27 percent on a case-by-case basis, 13.5 percent if the content and conclusions were substantially different, and only 4.5 percent said they would not consider your master work at all.

However, there was a difference between journals and university presses. Journals were more welcoming at 65.7 percent, while university presses were more selective and inclined to publish on a case-by-case basis (43.9 percent) or if the findings were substantially different (26.8 percent).

According to McMillan, quality was a publisher's main concern, not if your ETD was open access. Furthermore, any material you published with them would be different because it had been adapted to a new readership and  peer reviewed in radically different manner than your thesis committee.

The moral of the story here: Don't fear the open access ETDs. Let the world see your research as academia intended. However, always research your publisher to see what their policy is before making your final decision.

McMillan and her fellow researchers published their findings in this article: "Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities? Findings from a 2011 Survey of Academic Publishers."


Using Twitter to Connect and Learn at Conferences

Twitter logos

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Twitter. It's so simple, and yet it can be so overwhelming. However, Twitter has become an important tool in the field of education. So, I gave in to the peer pressure and joined Twitter.

I recently survived the academic conference season and I felt that using Twitter at conferences took learning and connecting with others to a whole new level. In order to prepare for the Digital Media and Learning Conference, I downloaded the Twitter app to my iPhone and searched for the conference hashtag (#DML2014). As soon as the opening keynote began, people started tweeting quotes, photos, questions, and comments. The tweeting didn't stop until long after the conference because people who weren't able to attend followed the #DML2014 hashtag to stay updated on the conference proceedings.

Interestingly, following the conference hashtag and participating in conversations with others via Twitter made me feel like I was part of a community. This was a pleasant change from my previous conference experiences where I felt like I was being lectured at for hours on end.

I also found Twitter to be a useful tool for presenting. After blazing through my entire dissertation in 20 minutes, it was hard to tell what the audience members thought about it. But, when I logged into Twitter after the session, I saw that many of the audience members tweeted about my presentation (and these tweets were retweeted by the conference organizers and other individuals who did not attend). I was able to connect with the audience via Twitter to solicit feedback and engage in conversations well after my presentation ended. 

Twitter feed screenshot

I highly recommend using Twitter at your next conference. But, don't just take my word for it. Read Menachem Wecker's article, "Conference Season is Here. Don't Stink at Twitter," for more information about using Twitter to backchannel and network at conferences.