Author: Petsa, Megan

Spring 2023: Last day of work for GAs holding F-1 and J-1 visas

The following information was shared with international GAs on 1/19/2023.

Colleagues,

Federal government regulations allow graduate students on F-1 and J-1 visas to hold on-campus employment while they are pursuing their degree. If you complete your degree requirements during Spring 2023 and if your degree is conferred in May, you will no longer be pursuing your degree after May 7, 2023.

If you hold an Academic Year 2022/2023 or Spring 2023 appointment at Storrs or a regional campus (excepting UConn Health), the final date of your appointment is May 22, 2023. If your degree is conferred in May and you hold an F-1 or J-1 visa and your assistantship appointment is covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the Graduate Employee Union (GEU), the time from May 7, 2023 through May 22, 2023 should be treated as time off. Please work with your supervisor to ensure that you finish the duties associated with your assistantship before May 7, 2023. You will still receive your full Spring 2023 GA stipend.

In addition, ISSS will be updating your I-20 or DS-2019 program end date to May 7, 2023 if you are graduating in May and hold a GAship this term. This means your grace period to depart the U.S., or your first eligible date to begin post-completion practical training will begin May 8, 2023. Please plan for this accordingly. ISSS will adjust your I-20 or DS-2019 end date automatically based on notification that you have applied for graduation, or at the time you apply for post-completion OPT (F-1 students) or Academic Training (J-1 students), whichever comes first. ISSS will notify you when your adjusted I-20 or DS-2019 is ready to download from your ISSS portal account.

Please reach out to ISSS at international@uconn.edu if you have any questions about this change as it relates to your visa status, I-20, grace period, or practical training timeline.

Kent Holsinger
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Biology
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
and Dean of The Graduate School

Arthur Galinat
Director, International Student and Scholar Services

Upcoming GA Registration Deadline

As a reminder, all students employed as Graduate Assistants are required to maintain full-time student status (6 or more credits), as noted in their offer letter and The Graduate Catalog. Employment as a GA is a result of student status, therefore GAs are expected to be registered for a minimum of 6 credits before the start date of their employment (the deadline is January 6, 2023 for grads who have been appointed as GAs for Spring 2023). Please be aware that if you do not enroll in the minimum 6 credits required to maintain full-time student status, the University cannot employ you as a GA.

To register now, log into Student Admin. You can also find helpful information, resources, and to-do items specific to your role as a GA, including information about GA health insurance and deadlines for enrolling in GA payroll deductions to pay our fee bill, at the Graduate Assistant Onboarding page.

If you have any questions about this requirement or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to megan.petsa@uconn.edu.

Important Registration Info for Graduate Students

Dear Graduate Students,

The message below includes information relevant to both new incoming graduate students and those who will be continuing on as students in Spring 2023. Please review the information below carefully and reach out with any questions you may have. If you have not done so already, please be sure to enroll in classes prior to the start of the semester*, which begins January 17.

*Students who are using an employee tuition waiver should follow the timeline associated with their waiver.

Information for New Students

Departments and programs may have more specific guidance for new students on what courses they should be enrolling in. Students should reach out to the program or their academic advisor for guidance on which courses they should enroll in during their first semester. (This information may also be available on the program’s website.)

If a student has holds on their account that prevent enrollment, such as the Student Financial Responsibility Statement or an immunization hold, they will not be able to register for classes until those holds have been cleared. We advise students to try to register early so that there is plenty of time to clear any holds before classes fill up or enrollment deadlines approach. Step by step instructions on how to check for holds can be found here.

The Office of the Registrar’s website provides an overview of useful registration tools available in Student Admin along with registration-related forms. UConn’s Knowledge Base provides step-by-step instructions on how to manage your enrollment through the Student Administration system. If you have difficulty registering, please reach out to registrar@uconn.edu (or registrar@uchc.edu for UCH grads) for assistance. Please note, permission numbers for courses are typically managed by the course instructor.

Continuous Enrollment Requirement

Continuous enrollment is a requirement of all graduate programs. Students who will not be registering in coursework or research credits must register for a zero credit continuous registration course to maintain their active student status. Continuous registration courses include GRAD 5997, GRAD 5998, and GRAD 6998, as well as GRAD 5999 (Thesis Preparation) and GRAD 6999 (Dissertation Preparation). Enrollment in these courses should be determined before the first day of classes. There are financial implications when changing from being enrolled in credits to no credits as of the first day of classes.  Changes from credits to a zero-credit placeholder cannot be made after the first day of classes.  

Research Credits

The decision to enroll in research credits in a given semester should be made in conjunction with the student’s advisor. Doctoral students should register for GRAD 6950. Plan A Master’s students should register for GRAD 5950. Each section number corresponds to the number of credits you will earn (e.g., GRAD 6950-001 will earn one credit, GRAD 6950-002 will earn two credits, etc.). All sections will show “Staff” (or similar) as the instructor. Through an automatic process later in the semester, students will be moved to a grade roster associated with their major advisor. Permission numbers are not needed for students to register for these research courses. If you attempt to register and receive an error, contact registrar@uconn.edu for assistance. Be sure to include your 7-digit student ID in all correspondence.

Cancelling Enrollment/Leave of Absence

Students who wish to cancel enrollment prior to the start of the semester or who attend class and then decide to withdraw from all their courses should notify The Graduate School (TGS) by completing an online Voluntary Separation Notification Form as soon as possible. The add/drop period that extends through the 10th day of classes is only available to students who plan to be enrolled in credited coursework throughout the semester. A student who wishes to go down to zero credits or withdraw from their program completely will need assistance from The Graduate School and will be subject to the university refund schedule which will apply based on the date the student notifies TGS of the intent to withdraw via the online Voluntary Separation Notification process, not when they last attended classes.

Day 10 Automatic Separation

Students who do not register for classes by the 10th day are automatically discontinued from their program. If the student then wishes to be enrolled after Day 10, the student will need to request reinstatement to their program, which is not guaranteed and incurs a $65 fee. Students should also be aware that classes with insufficient enrollment will be cancelled and will then be unavailable even if the student is reinstated.

Additional Registration Information for Graduate Assistants

Graduate Assistants (GAs) are required to be enrolled as full-time students (6 or more credits), as noted in their offer letter and The Graduate Catalog. Employment as a GA is a result of student status, therefore GAs are expected to be registered for a minimum of 6 credits before the start date of their spring semester employment (January 5, 2023). GAs who have not completed their registration for a minimum of six credits by their start date are not fulfilling one of the contingencies of employment and may be subject to termination from their assistantship. (GAs employed solely at UConn Health should follow the registration deadlines set by UCH.)

Please note, the tuition waiver will not post to a GA’s fee bill until the GA is registered for at least 6 credits. Therefore, if a student is not fully registered in a timely fashion, this can result in a Bursar hold on the student’s account that blocks enrollment and other services, as well as incurs late fees.

The decision to enroll in research credits in a given semester should be made in conjunction with the student’s advisor. Doctoral students should register for GRAD 6950. Plan A Master’s students should register for GRAD 5950. GAs should NOT register for GRAD 6960 (Full-Time Doctoral Research) or GRAD 5960 (Full-Time Master’s Research). GRAD 6960 and 5960 are only 3 credits and will prevent the tuition waiver from populating if it is the only course the GA is registered for, as well as create duplicate fee charges.

GAs employed at Storrs and regional campuses who fall under the Graduate Employees Union (GEU) are encouraged to visit the Graduate Assistant Onboarding webpage. This page provides information, resources, and to-do items specific to being a GA that helps GAs successfully transition into their assistantship.

If you are experiencing difficulty registering, or have any questions, please feel free to reach out for assistance. Please include your 7-digit student ID number in all correspondence.

To register now, please click here.

Sincerely,

Megan Petsa, M.A.
Director of Graduate Student Administration

The Graduate School
University of Connecticut
The Whetten Graduate Center, Second Floor
438 Whitney Road Extension, Unit 1152 | Storrs, CT  06269-1152
860.486.0977 | www.grad.uconn.edu | Pronouns: she/her

Federal Student Debt Relief Application Open

The Federal Student Debt Relief Application is now available.

Eligibility information is available on the Student Aid website and the application deadline is December 31, 2023.

Note: The Student Aid website is the only website a student should use to apply. The U.S. Department of Education has provided no other website, nor should a student be required to pay to submit the application.

Call for Nominations for the Edward C. Marth Mentorship Award

The AAUP UConn Chapter established the Edward C. Marth Mentorship Award to recognize the leadership and dedication of Edward Marth, former Executive Director of the AAUP UConn Chapter, to both encourage and reward outstanding mentoring of graduate students by UConn Graduate Faculty members. Recipients of the award have had direct and significant impact and involvement with graduate students, outstanding commitment and effectiveness as a mentor of graduate students at UConn, and have demonstrated unusual effort to provide consistent mentoring of graduate students during the course of their careers. Recipients will be Graduate Faculty members who have extraordinary records of excellence and effectiveness in activities such as facilitating smooth transitions for both entering and exiting graduate students; showing sensitivity to students’ academic, personal, and professional goals and needs; being accessible to students; playing an active role in coaching graduate students through the graduate school experience and connecting them to appropriate intellectual and professional networks; and, guiding graduate students toward intellectual and professional independence.

Faculty at any University of Connecticut campus may be nominated for the Edward C. Marth Mentorship Award. To be eligible for the award nominees must: (a) be current members of the Graduate Faculty of the University of Connecticut, (b) have served as a member of the Graduate Faculty for at least 10 years, and (c) be current members of the AAUP UConn Chapter. Prior recipients of the award are not eligible.

Nominations should be submitted electronically by 21 November 2022 to Martha Marroni (martha.marroni@uconn.edu) with the subject line “Nomination for Marth Award.” Nominations should be submitted as a single PDF document and contain the following elements:

  1. A nominating letter that is no longer than three typed pages. This may be from   a director of graduate studies, Department Head, College/School Dean, administrator, or former graduate student.
  2. A minimum of two (and a maximum of four) letters of support written by former and/or current graduate advisees.
  3. No more than three letters from other UConn Graduate Faculty colleagues. If the Department Head is not a signatory on the nominating letter, then one of these letters should be from the current (or recent) Department Head.
  4. A 1–2 page statement from the nominee on his/her philosophy of working with and mentoring graduate students.
  5. A list of supervised theses and dissertations.
  6. The nominee’s CV

Awardees will be selected by a committee composed of graduate faculty (appointed by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School) and at least one graduate student (appointed by the Graduate Student Senate). The award is accompanied by a monetary prize and an invitation to speak at the doctoral Commencement ceremony.

2022-2023 Mandatory Compliance Training for Graduate Assistants

The University of Connecticut is committed to assuring the highest standard of integrity in all aspects of University life and in all University and University-sponsored activities.  As a result, all graduate assistants are required to take the three trainings detailed below. 

ANNUAL COMPLIANCE TRAINING 

The Office of University Compliance is required to provide annual compliance training on the elements of the University’s compliance program; the University’s expectations that all will act in accordance with applicable laws, policies and standards; and obligations under the University Guide to the State Code of Ethics. This training, developed by the Office of University Compliance, provides realistic scenarios and examples of how issues of ethics and compliance may arise in your work as a Graduate Assistant. Through the application of learning demonstrated in the Apply Your Knowledge sections, you can gain a deeper understanding of addressing potential compliance and ethics concerns.

                                  
All Graduate Assistants are required to complete annual compliance training.  

The compliance training for Graduate Assistants is available through an online module found at Learning@Work.  A link will be emailed to each Graduate Assistant allowing access to the module. The training should take approximately 55 minutes to complete.      

Training content:  

  • The Code of Conduct 
  • University’s Guide to the State Code of Ethics  
  • Overview of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 

Additional information can be found on the following site: https://grad.uconn.edu/assistantships/training/ 

Please note that consistent with Article 13 of the Graduate Employee Union contract, this training is considered part of the workload of graduate assistants.  

New and continuing UConn graduate assistants who have not yet taken this academic year’s annual compliance training may complete their training at the Learning@Work website. Learners can access the training under My Learning. 

More detailed Learning@Work information, including FAQs, is available. If you have difficulty in registering for training or have any other related questions, please contact Human Resources at learningatwork@uconn.edu. 

If you need an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation to be able to participate in this training, please contact HR’s ADA Case Manager, Ryan Bangham at 860-486-2036 or ryan.bangham@uconn.edu prior to the training. 

 

Kent Holsinger    
Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School  

Kimberly Fearney                    
 Associate Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer, Office of University Compliance 

 

Fall 2022: Last day of work for GAs holding F-1 and J-1 visas

The following information was shared with international GAs on 9/6/2022.

Colleagues,

Federal government regulations allow graduate students on F-1 and J-1 visas to hold on-campus employment while they are pursuing their degree. If you complete your degree requirements during Fall 2022 and if your degree is conferred in December, you will no longer be pursuing your degree after December 18, 2022.

If you hold a Fall 2022 appointment at Storrs or a regional campus (excepting UConn Health), the final date of your appointment is January 5, 2023. If your degree is conferred in December and you hold an F-1 or J-1 visa and your assistantship appointment is covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the Graduate Employee Union (GEU), the time from December 18, 2022 through January 5, 2023 should be treated as time off. Please work with your supervisor to ensure that you finish the duties associated with your assistantship before December 18, 2022. You will still receive your full Fall 2022 GA stipend.

In addition, ISSS will be updating your I-20 or DS-2019 program end date to December 18, 2022 if you are graduating in December and hold a GAship this term. This means your grace period to depart the U.S., or your first eligible date to begin post-completion practical training will begin December 18, 2022. Please plan for this accordingly. ISSS will adjust your I-20 or DS-2019 end date automatically based on notification that you have applied for graduation, or at the time you apply for post-completion OPT (F-1 students) or Academic Training (J-1 students), whichever comes first. ISSS will notify you when your adjusted I-20 or DS-2019 is ready to download from your ISSS portal account.

Please reach out to ISSS at international@uconn.edu if you have any questions about this change as it relates to your visa status, I-20, grace period, or practical training timeline.

 

Kent Holsinger

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Biology

Vice Provost for Graduate Education

and Dean of The Graduate School

Arthur Galinat

Director, International Student and Scholar Services

Revised Graduate School By-Laws Approved

The Graduate Faculty Council has recently approved revisions to the By-laws of The Graduate School.  The newly revised by-laws can be viewed here. Major changes include:

  • New Pass/Fail Option for graduate students
  • New rules regarding the resignation of major advisors and the role of the department in identifying a new advisor
  • Clarification on the minimum GPA requirement for admission
  • Limit on transfer credits for a “masters-along-the-way”
  • More specific language regarding faculty advisors who retire or leave the University continuing to serve as major advisor

The 2022-2023 Graduate Catalog is now available. The new catalog includes the updates approved by the Graduate Faculty Council last year. As a reminder, all changes to program requirements and other language in the graduate catalog must be processed through the GPAR system. Proposed changes need to be submitted well before the Registrar’s deadline (March 1, 2023) to allow sufficient time for needed approvals. The GPAR webpage provides detailed information about the system, when a GPAR is needed, and what information will be required for the request.

For a more detailed summary and any questions regarding the new by-laws or GPAR, contact Professor Mary Bernstein, Associate Dean of The Graduate School, at mary.bernstein@uconn.edu.

Upcoming GA Registration Deadline

As a reminder, all students employed as Graduate Assistants are required to maintain full-time student status (6 or more credits), as noted in their offer letter and The Graduate Catalog. Employment as a GA is a result of student status, therefore GAs are expected to be registered for a minimum of 6 credits before the start date of their employment (August 23, 2022). Please be aware that if you do not enroll in the minimum 6 credits required to maintain full-time student status, the University cannot employ you as a GA.

To register now, log into Student Admin. You can also find helpful information, resources, and to-do items specific to your role as a GA, including information about GA health insurance and deadlines for enrolling in GA payroll deductions to pay our fee bill, at the Graduate Assistant Onboarding page.

If you have any questions about this requirement or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to megan.petsa@uconn.edu.

Faculty Affiliates for Inclusive Excellence

Colleagues,

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that we will host two Faculty Affiliates for Inclusive Excellence each academic year beginning in Fall 2022. One affiliate will focus on improving support for students from minoritized communities. The other will focus on improving faculty mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars with a particular focus on improving mentoring for those from minoritized groups. For both affiliates the goal in 2022/2023 is to develop resources and establish programs that future faculty affiliates can sustain with support from The Graduate School staff. The affiliates will work very closely with one another in addition to working with The Graduate School staff and with relevant faculty and staff throughout the University.

We anticipate that each affiliate will devote an average of 3-4 hours per week to their service for which they will receive a modest stipend. There will also be some funds available to support initiatives that the affiliates develop.

We invite both applications and nominations for the affiliate positions. Please contact Kent Holsinger (kent.holsinger@uconn.edu) if you would like more information about becoming an affiliate program or if you would like to nominate someone for one of the positions. To apply, email graduatedean@uconn.edu identifying which of the two affiliate positions you are interested in and including a brief statement (no more than 1-2 pages) describing why you are interested in the position, the experience you have that makes you a good candidate for the position, and an initial idea or two about what you would plan to accomplish if you were selected as an affiliate. We will begin considering applications and nominations on 8 August, and the review will continue until affiliates have been selected.

Affiliate for improving support

The affiliate who focuses on improving support for graduate students will develop and execute a program that contributes to an equitable and supportive educational environment and that fosters a sense of community. The program should include a particular focus on providing support for graduate students and postdocs from minoritized groups. We anticipate that this affiliate will collaborate extensively with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, including the cultural centers on the Storrs campus.

Affiliate for improving mentoring

The affiliate who focuses on improving mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars will design and develop a program to provide mentorship training for faculty. The program will place special emphasis on helping faculty understand the challenges faced by graduate students and postdocs from minoritized groups.  We anticipate that this affiliate will draw on resources provided through the Center for Improvement of Mentored Experience in Research (CIMER – University of Wisconsin) as well as other resources. This affiliate may also participate in a “train the trainer” workshop at CIMER.

Kent Holsinger

 

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Kent E. HolsingerBoard of Trustees Distinguished ProfessorVice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School