Timely Topics Series

Information you need, presented right when you need it.

About Timely Topics

Timely Topics is a series of opportunities to engage with subject matter experts on topics relevant to those who support and advise graduate students and programs.

Every session is available to all UConn faculty and staff and provides information and tools that will help you best support your students and program.

If you have any questions or topic suggestions for the Timely Topics Series, please contact Megan Petsa (megan.petsa@uconn.edu).

Upcoming Sessions

Thursday, January 26 at 11am - Setting Up for Success: Recruitment, Offer Letters, and Hiring of GAs

Thursday, February 2 at 1pm - Advising and Mentoring Historically Excluded or Racially Oppressed Graduate Students

Thursday, February 16 at 11am - Community Engaged Scholarship

Thursday, February 23 at 11am - Graduate Students and Special Payroll

View the full Spring 2023 schedule

Register for a Session

Resources from Previous Sessions

Advising and Mentoring

Advising International Students

Slides

International graduate students can face significant challenges on their transition to new social and academic climates at UConn and are impacted by various policies and laws that differ from their domestic colleagues. This session discussed the logistical challenges specific to advising international graduate students.

Fall 2020

Career Outcomes for PhDs and Implications for PhD Training

Slides | Video | Additional Resources

Learn more about the career outcomes for PhDs and implications for doctoral students. The slides supplement the recorded presentation and discussion led by Dean Kent Holsinger and Kay Gruder from the Center for Career Development.

Fall 2021

Digital Dissertations: How to Embark on Digital Scholarship at the Graduate Level

Slides | Video

Learn more about digital dissertation formats and how to start out with born-digital scholarship. While digital dissertations have been around for decades, questions and confusion remain about where to begin, how to approach tech issues, getting your advisory team on board, meeting institutional parameters, and learning how digital scholarship can boost skill sets and career options. 

Spring 2022

From Expectations to Evaluations: The Importance of Timely Feedback with Provost Lejeuz

Slides | Video

The slides and video provide key features of feedback, the process of timely feedback, and the issues that impact providing timely feedback.

Fall 2021

“How Are You Doing?”…and Other Scary Questions

Slides

These slides will help advisors respond to a student they believe may be struggling and discuss campus services and helpful resources and approaches.

Fall 2020

Information for New Graduate Faculty Advisors

Slides | Video

The slides and video outline the key roles and responsibilities for advisors while providing helpful resources, tips and important information to keep in mind.

Spring 2022

Provost Lejuez on Graduate Student Mental Health and the Role of the Advisor

SlidesVideo 

This video and slides set contains information regarding effective practices and responsibilities of advisors in recognizing mental health and emotional wellness issues in graduate students.

Spring 2021

Supporting Graduate Students with Disabilities

Slides | Video

The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) is vested by the University with the authority to engage in an interactive process with each student and determine appropriate accommodations on an individualized, case-by-case, class-by-class basis. Information regarding how to support your students with disabilities can be found here.

Fall 2021

Understanding Employment Rules and Opportunities for International Students: CPT, OPT and On Campus Employment

SlidesVideo

Employment for international students during and after graduate school can be complicated. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) discusses the nuances of CPT and internships, the differences between post-completion, thesis-pending, and STEM extension OPT and how each type may affect both on campus and post-graduation employment, and the regulations around on campus employment.

Spring 2022

Using Annual Reviews to Help Graduate Students Succeed

Slides | Video | Additional Resources

Providing feedback to graduate students is a vital part of ensuring their success. As part of our ongoing effort to foster good graduate student mentoring and facilitate communication between graduate advisors and advisees, The Graduate School has developed resources to help departments and advisors use annual reviews for doctoral and MFA students. The resources include a template that programs can use as a guide and modify to meet their specific needs. This Timely Topics session discusses why annual reviews are important to graduate student success, reviews The Graduate School Annual Review template, and provides guidance on conducting annual reviews.

Fall 2021

Using IDPs (Individual Development Plans) & Career Exploration Tools with Doctoral Students

Slides

Learn about IDP and Career Exploration Tools of value to doctoral students, including MyIDP, ImaginePhD, and InterSECT Job Simulations, as they explore career diversity and seek faculty guidance and support as they navigate desired educational and professional goals.

Fall 2020

What Does Talking About Career in the Classroom Have to do with Equity?

Video

Learn about career inequity, the implications for marginalized and first-generation students, and how to help by incorporating career development instruction via assignments and through course conversation. 

Fall 2022

When the Plan Isn’t Solely to Pursue An Academic Job: Nurturing Career Conversations with Your Advisee

Slides

These slides provide useful information regarding how advisors can direct positive impactful career conversations with students can be found here. These conversations can  be supportive of each students’ pursuits, yet also informational.

Spring 2021

Writing Effective Reference Letters for NSF GRFP Applicants

Slides | Video

The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) is vested by the University with the authority to engage in an interactive process with each student and determine appropriate accommodations on an individualized, case-by-case, class-by-class basis. Information regarding how to support your students with disabilities can be found here.

Fall 2021

Graduate Assistants (GAs, TAs, RAs)

GA Leave, Academic Leave, or Time Off?

Slides | Video

Learn about the differences between GA leave (including medical), academic leave of absence, and GA time off requests and which is the most appropriate for different circumstances. We will discuss policies and procedures, contractual obligations, and supervisor obligation in determining approvals.

Fall 2021

Grads on Special Payroll

Slides

HR’s Special Payroll Team discusses processing deadlines, appointment titles, and related policies for hiring Graduates on Special Payroll for Summer 2021.

Spring 2021

Graduate Assistant Payroll Processes

Slides, Video

An overview of how to successfully add your GAs to payroll for the 2022/23 academic year, including SmartHR templates, payroll overrides, tuition waiver issues, and supplemental employment.

Spring 2022

International Teaching Assistants

Slides

This session focused on International Teaching Assistants, including the English proficiency policy and how it intersects with hiring TAs, who needs to provide proof of English proficiency (and when!), ITA orientation, and the microteaching test.

Spring 2021

Setting Up for Success: Recruitment, Offer Letters, and Hiring of GAs

Slides

Everything you need to know as you recruit incoming GAs and prepare to reappoint continuing GAs, including identifying eligible grads, how to determine stipend level, what information needs to be in the offer letter (and what shouldn’t be in there), and more. We also went over the recent revisions to the offer letter templates and how the English Proficiency Policy for TAs intersects with payroll so that departments can communicate with their GAs and plan accordingly.

Spring 2023

Supervising Graduate Assistants

 Resource List

This session featured a facilitated dialogue around Graduate Assistant supervision and discussed the intersection of the employee role and the academic role, approaches to address employee performance and misconduct, and ways to connect a struggling GA with assistance and support.

Spring 2021

Updates to the GEU Contract

Slides, Video

This session from The Graduate School and Labor Relations shared updates to the Graduate Employee Union (GEU) contract effective 7/1/2022. 

Spring 2022

Admissions and Recruitment

Fellowships Processes and Updates

 SlidesVideo

An overview of the nomination, review, and award process for TGS’s internal fellowships (Harriott, Crandall, and Jorgenson). 

Fall 2022

Graduate Admissions: Program Application Processing in Slate

Slides | Video

An overview of the process The Graduate School uses before programs see their applications (Initial Grad Audit bin) and what programs should be looking for in their program review process (Program Audit bin). This session also covered the difference in accessing graduate admissions requirements versus program requirements, how to upload recommendations, and checking materials on the checklist.

Fall 2022

Graduate Admissions: Reading and Reviewing Applications in the Slate Reader

Slides | Video

A guide to review applications in the Slate reader, includinb best practices for application review, how to fill out reader review forms, queue applications to others, and enter final program admission decisions. This session also covered timelines for application review and official admission decisions.

Fall 2022

Graduate Admissions 2021-2022 Cycle Debrief

Slides

A debrief of the year’s admissions cycle and updates for next year.

Spring 2022

Holistic Admissions and Diversity Recruitment

Slides | Video

Holistic admissions review is a more equitable, inclusive approach to considering applications for admission and evaluates applicants using a variety of metrics. This session will discuss best practices for using information from a variety of sources to get the fullest picture of each applicant's potential and how The Graduate School can support your department’s efforts to recruit a diverse applicant pool.

Fall 2022

The Graduate School’s New Student Orientation: An In-Depth Look

Learn more about TGS’s experiences in building and implementing our orientation program, the philosophy that guides our planning and implementation, and our transition to an online orientation format. The information in this session may be helpful to you as you prepare and implement your department orientation.

Spring 2021

Managing Your Graduate Program

All About Grad Enrollment

Slides.pdf

This materials from this session will help you utilize the graduate enrollment tools available to you most effectively and cover resources The Graduate School provides to departments, where to find specific information (or who to ask), and enrollment processes managed by the TGS, such as degree time limits and extensions, voluntary separations, and reinstatement.

Fall 2020

Fellowships and Awards with the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships

The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF) advises and mentors students at the University of Connecticut who are competing for prestigious, nationally-competitive scholarships and fellowships.

Spring 2021

Updating Your Catalog Copy and Using the GPAR System

Slides | Video

A review of the process and deadlines for making changes to the Graduate Catalog through the online GPAR system and demonstration of how the GPAR system can be used for other program changes, including approvals of new programs and other program modification.  

Fall 2021