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Spring 2024: Last day of work for GAs holding F-1 and J-1 visas

The following information was shared with international GAs by ISSS.

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 2024 and if your degree is conferred in May, you will no longer be pursuing your degree after May 5, 2024.

If you hold an Academic Year 2023/2024 or Spring 2024 appointment at Storrs or a regional campus (excepting UConn Health), the final date of your appointment is May 21, 2024. 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 4, 2024 through May 21, 2024 should be treated as time off. Please work with your supervisor to ensure you finish the duties associated with your assistantship before May 4, 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 4, 2024 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 5, 2024. 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

Spring 2024 Registration Information 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 2024. 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 16.

*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 review and clear any holds before classes fill up or enrollment deadlines approach.

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
Students should consult with their advisor regarding when it is appropriate to enroll in research credits for their course of study. 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.
Graduate Internship Courses

Students who will be engaging in an internship for which they plan to earn academic credit can find information about course options and how to enroll on The Graduate School’s Graduate Internship Courses page.

Cancelling Enrollment/Leave of Absence
Continuing students who wish to cancel enrollment prior to the start of the semester or any student who attends class and then decides 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’s Full Withdrawal Tuition and Fee Adjustment 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. Visit The Graduate School’s webpage to learn more about voluntary separation, including the academic leave of absence process.

Deferral of Admission
If you are an incoming student for the spring semester and wish to request a deferral of your application/admission to a future semester, more information on that process is available on The Graduate School’s admissions FAQ and questions can be directed to gradadmissions@uconn.edu.

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 7, 2024). 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.

Students should consult with their advisor regarding when it is appropriate to enroll in research credits for their course of study. 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 create duplicate fee charges or prevent the tuition waiver from populating if it is the only course the GA is registered for.

GAs employed at Storrs and regional campuses who fall under the Graduate Employee 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 log in to the Student Administration System.

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

New Assistant UConn Ombuds, Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars

Dear Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars:

As of this fall semester, Cinnamon Adams has joined me in the UConn Ombuds office as Assistant UConn Ombuds.  Cinnamon’s work will focus on serving the UConn graduate student and Postdoctoral populations initially but will also be available to assist faculty and staff as we move through the academic year and beyond.  Many of you know Cinnamon from her work in The Graduate School as Director of Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Support since 2016.  Indeed, Cinnamon’s expanding problem-solving work with graduate students over this time, along with her unique skills and training, was a major reason for this change to the Ombuds Office.  As Assistant Ombuds, Cinnamon will adhere to the confidential, informal, independent, and impartial principles of the UConn Ombuds Office as outlined in the Office Charter.

She has worked at UConn since 2002 in various positions including Residence Hall Director, Assistant Director of Community Standards and more recently the Director of Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Support. In each of her university positions, Cinnamon has supported students as they navigated various issues through conflict resolution, mediation, coaching, and advising.

Cinnamon’s preparation for this role includes completing the professional mediation program from Quinnipiac Law’s Center for Dispute Resolution, and training in Communication, Restorative Practices, and multiple courses with the International Ombuds Association. Cinnamon received a BA in Psychology from Western New England University and a MS in College Student Personnel from Miami University (of Ohio).

The UConn Ombuds Office was established in 2013 through the cooperative work of the University Senate, UCPEA, AAUP and the President’s Office to informally assist graduate students, faculty, and staff to address issues, enhance communication, and find agreeable solutions to problems whenever possible.  In doing our work, Cinnamon and I focus on the needs and interests of the people directly involved and, depending on our visitors’ consent, may gather information, clarify issues, expedite solutions, or facilitate conversations when appropriate. We encourage you to consider the Ombuds Office as an early step in addressing problems when they arise.

Over the next few months, Cinnamon will be attending campus events and reaching out to graduate student organizations and groups to provide information about the Ombuds Office. She can be reached by email (cinnamon.adams@uconn.edu) or telephone (860-486-1954) and she is ready to meet with graduate students now, answer your questions, and work with you to find solutions to any issues you may be experiencing.

Sincerely,
Jim Wohl
Director, UConn Ombuds Office

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.

2022 PostDoc Seed Award

The Graduate School is excited to announce the call for applications for 2022’s PostDoc Seed Award. These grants provide funds to support UConn postdoctoral research associates as they develop new research projects. This year, we are increasing the number of recipients of these awards to 4. We will also be dividing the awards into two separate pools to create more diversity in the fields awarded. If you’d like to know more, reserve next Thursday, May 5th, 12-1 EST, for our virtual info session. Also, check out last year’s awardees at: https://grad.uconn.edu/postdocs/

For further information on the application process, requirements, funding, eligibility, and other criteria, refer to your UConn email or contact Stuart Duncan at stuart.duncan@uconn.edu

KEY DATES 

  • “Preparing Your Application” – Virtual Info & Q&A Session
    • Thursday, May 5th | 12:00 – 1:00 PM (EST)
    • For information on joining the info session, refer to your email.
  • Application Deadline: June 26th, 2022
    • No late applications will be accepted. 
  • Applicants are notified of the award decision by the end of July
  • Award period: September 1st 2022 – August 31, 2023 

3MT Competition 2021

The Graduate School is excited to announce this year’s 3MT competition, to be held virtually on Thursday 12 August, 6-7pm (EDT) with a submission deadline of Friday July 30.

As you will note from the email below, we are offering graduate students the opportunity to attend short training sessions over the summer, to prepare for the competition; however, this year we are also adding an option for departments to have a custom virtual session specifically designed for your students. We would set up a time that would work for you and your interested graduate students and then tailor the content to your field / subject area.

If you are interested, please send me an email by the end of May so we can start working out specifics.

Please feel free to forward the information below to your graduate students or staff/faculty that might be interested in being a part of UConn’s competition!

Onwards!

Stuart

Stuart P. Duncan PhD DMA

Director of Fellowships, Outreach, and Programming

The Graduate School, University of Connecticut

Pronouns (He/Him & They/Them)