Author: Petsa, Megan

Faculty Affiliates for Inclusive Excellence


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 ( 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 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



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

Fall 2022 Conference Participation Award Applications Open

The Graduate School is now accepting applications for the Conference Participation Award for a Fall 2022 Semester Award. The application period will be open from June 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022. Late applications will not be considered.

Review eligibility criteria, details, and the application form.

For questions, contact The Graduate School at


New Graduate Catalog, GFC Updates, and Online Final Exam form

The 2021-2022 Graduate Catalog is now available. The new catalog includes the updates approved by the Graduate Faculty Council last year. A copy of the updates approved by the GFC and incorporated into this year’s catalog is attached for your reference, and the new catalog can be found here.

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, 2022) to allow sufficient time for needed approvals. The GPAR webpage can be found here, and Associate Dean Kathy Segerson ( can be contacted with questions about changes.

We’re excited to share that an online Report on the Final Exam for Plan B master’s, DNP, and Sixth Year students is now available. This has replaced the previous PDF form and the need for “wet” signatures or emailed approvals. As a reminder, the online Defense and Final Thesis/Dissertation Approval form introduced last year eliminated the need to submit a paper Report on the Final Exam form for doctoral and Plan A thesis master’s students. At this point, both the PhD general exam and proposal defense forms still need to be submitted in paper form, although we are working on developing electronic workflows for those as well. Please contact Jenn Horan (doctoral), Sandra Cyr (master’s, Sixth Year), or the Degree Audit Office with any questions about these workflows.

International TA Orientation – registration open

Good afternoon,

Registration for UCAELI’s online International TA Orientation on August 9th is now open. Please see the below message from UCAELI for more details and share with your grads as appropriate.

The deadline to register for the August microteaching test is July 27th. More information about testing and the testing schedule can be found here.

Who needs to attend ITA Orientation on Monday, August 9?
ITA Orientation is intended for international TAs who have never taught in the United States. International TAs with teaching experience from another university in the United States are welcome to attend, but their attendance is not required. Students who have been screened for TA via the microteaching test, waiver interview, or UCAELI proficiency assessment are strongly advised to attend. Students who have not been screened for TA but planning to are also invited to attend.

Please visit the ITA website, for more information.

If you have any questions, please email Ana Colón at

Graduate Dismissal Process

At the end of May, the Department Head, Director of Graduate Studies, and faculty advisors will receive a list of students in their program who have failed to maintain the required minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and/or who have received a grade of “D+,” “D,” “D-,” “F,” or “U” in any course. We will assume that the advisor’s intention is to continue the student unless the advisor or department specifies that the student should be dismissed. If the student should be dismissed on the basis of failing grades or low GPA, the dismissal recommendation should be submitted to no later than June 16, 2021. If the student will be continuing graduate study, the advisor should work directly with the student to create a mitigation plan for their academic performance.

If there is a student who is subject to dismissal based on other dismissal criteria (the full list can be found herein The Graduate Catalog), the department must notify The Graduate School that the student should be included in the formal dismissal process for Spring 2021. To do so, the advisor should email the following information to

·       the student’s name

·       student ID

·       rationale for dismissal

·       the advisor’s understanding of the student’s academic plans (e.g., Will the student be exiting the university? Does the student plan to discontinue their current program and enroll in another UConn program?)

Please note, The Graduate School only notifies students that they have been dismissed—we do not notify students that they are subject to dismissal. Students notified of dismissal will have ten business days from the date The Graduate School sends them a formal dismissal letter to submit an appeal of the dismissal.

As a reminder, graduate students do not have the option to place courses on Pass/Fail or Pass/W-Audit for Spring 2021. All recommendations for dismissal should be submitted to by June 16, 2021.


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 | | Pronouns: she/hers

TAs – English Proficiency Policy

The Graduate School and UCAELI have collaborated to provide you the following information that will help you ensure your TAs are ready and able to begin teaching in Fall 2021.


First, please be aware that TGS and UCAELI do not reach out to TAs directly with information about International TA Orientation or guidance on how to provide proof of English proficiency in order to hold a TA. The reason for that is we don’t know which students fall into the category of international TAs who will have instructional contact duties—only the hiring departments have that information, which means we rely on you to share this information with your students. Below, please find information to help you determine which of your TAs may need to take additional steps in order to teach this Fall along with some language you can share with them. We hope providing this summary for you makes this process easier for you this year!


Who needs to provide proof of English proficiency to be a TA?

Prospective Teaching Assistants for whom English is not a primary language must pass an oral English proficiency test regardless of citizenship or visa status. A primary language is defined as a language used to communicate since childhood. Even if English proficiency was waived for purposes of admission, TAs must still provide proof of English proficiency. Information on UConn’s English Proficiency Policy for TA’s and Testing Procedures can be found here.


How can I tell if a graduate student to whom we plan to give instructional contact TA duties needs to provide proof of English proficiency? Where can I find an applicant’s official test of English scores?

  1. Log into the Slate reader:
  2. Click on “Applications”
  3. Click on “Search” and type in the applicant’s name, click on the “Display Copy” icon.
  4. Once the application is open, click on the “Test Score” tab to display test results.

Please note: Only review test scores that are “Verified” and not “Self-Reported”. “Self-Reported” are not considered official scores.

  1. For current students, please check the GA Hire Level Report. Students with an approval flag “C” need to provide proof of English proficiency to have instructional contact duties.


How can I tell if a graduate student to whom we plan to give instructional contact TA duties received a waiver for their Test of English in their Graduate Application?

Log into the Slate reader:

  1. Click on “Applications”
  2. Click on “Search” and type in the applicant’s name, click on the “Display Copy” icon.
  3. Once the application is open, click on the “Reader Review” tab and review the “Initial Graduate Audit” form. If the applicant has received a waiver, the waiver reason will be provided.


How can I tell if a graduate student to whom we plan to give instructional contact TA duties who received a waiver for their Test of English needs additional testing/review with the ITA office?

  1. You can check in “Student Groups” in Student Admin. If the student has a student group called “ENGL” with a comment that they are cleared to teach, then the student is all set. If you don’t see the “ENGL” student group there, then you should contact UCAELI and the student to let them know that the student needs a Waiver Interview. Waiver Interviews are scheduled once a month and the registration can be found on the ITA website. The student and/or the department must complete the Waiver Interview registration form in order for the Waiver Interview to be scheduled. Results are usually available within 1-2 days following the interview.
  2. You can check the GA Hire Level Report. Students with an approval flag “C” do not have the “ENGL” student group described above on their record.


How can a TA provide proof of English proficiency? 

There are three main ways:

  1. With a passing TOEFL or IELTS Speaking score
  2. With “passing” or “conditionally passing” the Waiver Interview or UCAELI Proficiency Assessment
  3. By “passing” or “conditionally passing” the Microteaching Test (offered June, August, and January for first time test takers and in November and April for students who have been screened at least once by UCAELI).


Students who receive a “pass” or “conditional pass” for any of these screenings are cleared to teach and may be offered a teaching assignment. UCAELI will add the ENGL student group to their record in Student Admin with a comment indicating the student has been cleared to teach and the date they were cleared. Students with a conditional pass have reached the English Proficiency requirements for teaching at UConn. However, they must successfully complete the recommended language support course during the semester immediately following the test. If a department knows and has confirmed that a student’s primary language is English and believes the student does not need to be screened, the department should contact UCAELI. If a student has experience providing instructional contact TA duties at a higher education institution they attended previously, the department should contact UCAELI.


Who needs to attend ITA Orientation? 

ITA Orientation is intended for international TAs who have never taught in the United States. International TAs with teaching experience from another university in the United States are welcome to attend, but their attendance is not required. ITA Orientation for Fall 2021 will take place on Monday, August 9. Registration will be available one month prior to orientation. Please check the ITA website,, for more information.


What should I communicate to my incoming TAs? 

The International Teaching Assistant (ITA) services, under the direction of UCAELI, are designed to support students in English language learning for their role as a classroom or laboratory instructor at UConn. All ITAs must meet UConn’s English Language Proficiency Requirement before they begin their teaching assignments. The ITA website,, contains important information about UConn’s English Proficiency Policy, registration for language screenings, and ITA Orientation. You should make sure that you have registered for the ITA Orientation and have taken all of the necessary steps to be cleared to teach at UConn. The next deadline to register for proficiency screenings/testing is May 31, 2021.


If you have any questions, please contact us using the email addresses below:

Jeannie Slayton:

Ana Colón:


For assistance with finding verified scores in your applications in Slate, please contact or For grad payroll overrides, please reach out to To learn more about this, consider attending the Timely Topics session, Graduate Payroll Processes, on May 26 (register here).


As a reminder, there are several different orientations offered by UConn that graduate students may want or be required to attend and more information can be found here.




Ana Colón, UCAELI

Meg Drakos, The Graduate School

Megan Petsa, The Graduate School

Jeannie Slayton, Global Affairs


Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and Conference Participation Awards

Sent on behalf of Kent Holsinger, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School, to Directors of Graduate Studies and Department Admins.



At this time of year, The Graduate School typically shares information about how to apply for doctoral travel funds and the doctoral dissertation fellowship. I am writing to let you know that the timing of the application cycles for both of these awards has changed.


Conference Participation Award (formerly the Doctoral Student Travel Award)

The Graduate School is committed to helping graduate students achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals during their time at the University of Connecticut. In support of this goal, The Graduate School offers a $750 Conference Participation Award to support students’ ability to present their research at national or international meetings and conferences, including both in-person and virtual events. Applications will be accepted from June 1-June 30, 2021 and, if awarded, the funds will be paid through the student’s Fall 2021 fee bill. The eligibility criteria for this award can be found here.


Summer Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is transitioning from a bi-annual award to a summer fellowship. The Summer Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is a one-time $2,000 fellowship and is intended to support the successful completion of the dissertation. Applications for this award will be accepted in February 2022.

As part of this transition, a limited submission cycle will occur in July 2021. This application period will only be open to applicants who will graduate by May 2022. The eligibility criteria for this award can be found here.


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

Coronavirus Relief Emergency Funding for Students

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) was approved by Congress and includes support for higher education, including emergency grants for students facing expenses due to COVID-19.

The grants must be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care.

The funds are available to both U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens. To confirm eligibility, students will have to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to UConn.

The emergency funding will be awarded through financial aid and disbursing directly to students via their student account.  The grant will be passed through PeopleSoft and will not be applied to or used to offset any charge, debt, tuition, fees, or other balance in a student account, nor will it be encumbered in any manner by UConn.

For students enrolled in direct deposit, they will have access to the funds in approximately three business days from the date of disbursement. For those not enrolled in direct deposit, the Office of the Bursar will issue a check.

The application is available at the Office of Financial Aid’s website. Learn more about the CRRSAA Emergency funding and apply. If you have additional concerns or needs, let us know at the or meet with members of our Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Affairs team.

Apply for Graduation

Greetings Graduate Students,

Are you graduating this semester?  Did you know you must apply for graduation online via your Student Administration account?  Did you know the deadline was by the end of the 4th week of the semester?

If you missed the deadline, please apply ASAP in order to not impact the conferral of your degree.  Summer candidates are asked to apply no later than March 25th to ensure their information makes the Commencement publication.

Click the following link for more information about Commencement.

Additional important dates and deadlines can be viewed on the Academic Calendar page.  Friday, April 23rd is the last day to submit paperwork for a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation to qualify for a Spring 2021 conferral date.

Visit Degree Audit’s website for directions and more information about applying for graduation, submitting required paperwork, and uploading your thesis or dissertation.  Consult your major advisor about what documentation needs to be submitted to The Registrar’s Office as a requirement for your degree.

All students are advised to review their transcript to ensure that it coincides with their plan of study. Any missing grades, documents, or discrepancies between a student’s plan of study and transcript can result in a delay of degree conferral or cancellation of degree candidacy.

UConn Health Graduate students can get information at the following link – UConn Health Commencement

Feel free to contact The Degree Audit office at if you have additional questions.

Important Information: Spring 2021 Enrollment

As the Spring semester gets closer, we wanted to provide some context on enrollment. The information below is relevant to both new and returning students. Please review 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 19.

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). Full descriptions of the continuous registration courses can be found here. Enrollment in these sections 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.

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 (February 1, 2021) 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. More information on voluntary separation can be found here.

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.

Fee bills for graduate students are due January 15, 2021. Information about the UConn Payment Plan can be found here and information on Graduate Assistant Payroll Deductions can be found here.

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. 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 for assistance. Be sure to include your 7-digit student ID in all correspondence.

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 7, 2021). 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 incur 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.

Additional Registration Information for Provost’s Professional Interns:
Students who are employed as Provost’s Professional Interns are required to be enrolled in six or more credits, as noted in their offer letter. Employment as a Provost’s Professional Intern is a result of student status, therefore Provost’s Professional Interns are expected to be registered for a minimum of 6 credits before the start date of their spring semester employment (January 7, 2021). Provost’s Professional Interns receive a tuition scholarship for the duration of their appointment. Registration prior to the deadline allows The Graduate School to accurately process this tuition scholarship in a timely manner, avoiding late fees and holds on the student’s account that block enrollment and other services.

While Provost’s Professional Interns are eligible for a tuition scholarship upon meeting the six credit registration threshold, in order to be reported as a full-time student, Provost’s Professional Interns must be registered for nine credits. This may be an important consideration for international students or those with student loans in deferment.

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

To register now, please click here.