Faculty News

The Graduate School fosters the development of inter-, cross-, multi-, and trans-disciplinary research and teaching programs by removing barriers to cross-departmental, cross-program, and cross-campus graduate postdoctoral education. Toward this end, we are dedicated to our support for our graduate faculty.

Latest Faculty News

The Graduate School’s BIPOC Graduate Student Support Report

Following the national incidents of racism and racial injustice in Summer 2020, The Graduate School began to reflect, study, and discuss how we can better serve Black, Indigenous, and/or Person of Color (BIPOC) graduate students at the University of Connecticut. This process involved many campus partners, including graduate faculty, staff, cultural centers and other University offices, graduate student organizations, and graduate students, and it produced the following report, which is also available on The Graduate School’s website.

The report outlines our process, our findings, and, most importantly, our priorities. We will use these priorities to guide our work in 2021-2022 and beyond with the goal of improving the experiences of BIPOC graduate students at UConn.

While the written report is final, our work to support BIPOC graduate students is never done, and our approaches will evolve as we learn more from our attempts to improve the experience of BIPOC graduate students. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions, and we look forward to making a UConn a welcoming and inclusive place for all of our students.

Kent

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

The Graduate School’s Strategic Plan

I write today to share the final version of The Graduate School’s strategic plan outlining our vision for the future of The Graduate School. An earlier draft of this plan was greatly improved by feedback from the Executive Committee of The Graduate School and from a variety of campus partners, faculty, and staff.

The final version of our strategic plan introduces the vision to which The Graduate School aspires, and it describes our mission as a set of activities grouped within three broad themes—innovation, community, and service—that will guide our work through 2026.

Kent

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

Graduate Faculty Resources

Sent on behalf of Kent Holsinger, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School

***

Colleagues,

 

I am writing to let you know about the expanded resources that The Graduate School is offering to graduate faculty, staff, and faculty who hold an administrative role, such as Departments Heads or Directors of Graduate Studies.

 

Timely Topics

 

The Graduate School’s Timely Topics Series is an opportunity to engage with subject matter experts on important topics related to graduate education. We hope that those who support or advise graduate students and those who administer graduate programs will find them useful. We offer two “tracks”—one specifically tailored to the interests of graduate faculty and one designed both for faculty who hold an administrative role and for staff. This fall, the faculty track will feature sessions such as:

  • Career Outcomes for PhDs and Implications for PhD Training
  • NSF Letter Writing Workshop
  • Supporting Graduate Students with Disabilities
  • From Expectations to Evaluations: The Importance of Timely Feedback with Provost Carl Lejuez

 

You can find detailed information about the sessions being offered, as well as links to sign up, in the attached flyer and on the Timely Topics webpage. I’m writing to encourage you to attend the sessions listed on the faculty track, all of which will be offered via WebEx this semester. If you are also interested in attending the more staff- and administrator-oriented sessions, we’d be delighted to have you.

 

GradSlate

 

The Graduate School also has a wealth of resources supporting the online application and CRM system (GradSlate), including documentation and presentations. Our GradSlate Training Sessions offer a deep dive into various aspects of using Slate for application review and recruitment. You can find these resources and upcoming events within the GradSlate User Portal. If you need access to the system, please fill out this form for GradSlate Access.

 

Website Resources

 

The Graduate School’s website serves many audiences, including prospective students, current students, faculty and staff. We are always looking for better ways to serve visitors to our website. Recently, we expanded The Graduate School resources and consolidated university resources into a reconfigured Faculty & Staff area of our website that we hope you will find useful. Please let us know if there’s a resource you’d like to have that we haven’t provided a link to. We welcome any suggestions you have.

 

Kent

 

Kent E. Holsinger

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

Vice Provost for Graduate Education

and Dean of The Graduate School

University of Connecticut

www.grad.uconn.edu

UConn’s PostDoc Seed Award Winners 2021

The Graduate School is delighted to announce this year’s Postdoc Seed Award Recipients.

Dr. Maria Rodgers, from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has been funded for the following project:

“I am isolating and examining various immune cells from a small fish species called the threespine stickleback. While I recently completed a project that determined what types of cells are present in various tissues of this fish species, still lacking in the field is knowledge of how specific cells are different between populations. For example, a specific cell type in one population might highly express gene x, but those same cells in another population do not express gene x. The more that we understand these nuances, the more we can 1. Understand evolutionary processes, and 2. Use cells as treatments/therapies.”

Dr. Matthew Sasaki, from Marine Sciences, has been funded for the following project:

“Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events. As we saw during the recent heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, these events can be fatal for animals, which in turn has detrimental effects on ecosystem health and human activities. To better understand how extreme heat events may affect recreational and commercial fisheries around Connecticut, I am proposing to measure lethal thermal limits (the highest temperature an individual can survive) for copepods. These are abundant crustaceans that are an important source of food for many fish species.”

Dr. Heather A Kittredge, from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has been funded for the following project:

“Evolution is often a slow process, but it can happen incredibly fast. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is one mechanism of evolution that is increasingly thought to drive rapid adaptation. HGT allows microbes to steal DNA from neighboring cells, making it a powerful evolutionary force. However, acquiring foreign DNA can also be lethal if it disrupts finely tuned cellular processes. Despite potential risks, computational models indicate that high rates of HGT facilitate microbial invasion. Here, I apply experimental evolution and genetics to understand if HGT helps microbes invade extreme environments, revolutionizing the contemporary idea that evolution is too slow to alter ecological processes like invasion success.”

UConn’s 3MT Winners 2021

The Graduate School is delighted to announce this year’s 3MT winners.

In 1st place, Shipra Malik (Pharmaceutical Sciences) with her presentation “Precise and Safe Genome Engineering.” View her winning presentation here:


In 2nd place, Tommy Lee (Psychological Sciences) with his presentation “How the Brain Turns New Experiences into Memories.” View his presentation here:

In 3rd place, Corrin Laposki (Anthropology) with her presentation “Burning Questions: Oxygen Isotopes as Biomarkers of Air Pollution in Archaeological Bone.” View her presentation here:

Come and join us for UConn’s 3MT competition final this Thursday evening

After a year hiatus due to Covid, UConn’s 3MT competition is back, bigger and better than before.

We cordially invite you to join us this Thursday at 6-7pm EDT where 11 graduate student finalists will compete for the opportunity to represent UConn on the global stage. Please feel free to forward the following link (which contains the info to join the event) to your undergraduate and graduate student populations as well as interested staff and faculty. Come and cheer on the finalists! https://mailchi.mp/uconn.edu/youre-invited-to-support-uconns-3mt-finalists.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Onwards!

Stuart P. Duncan PhD DMA

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 (kathleen.segerson@uconn.edu) 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.

Important Information for Graduate Students Studying Outside the U.S.

We are aware that travel to the US from some parts of the world is still difficult and that some of our international students may be considering whether to enroll in courses from their home country this fall. If the student will be engaged in research, their work may be subject to export control laws, which are federal regulations governing the sharing and use of certain information, technologies, and commodities overseas. I am writing to let you know that graduate students, whether domestic or international, who will be outside of the US for most or all of the semester and who anticipate enrolling in a course that is outside of the standard education abroad program content (e.g., GRAD 5950/6950/5999/6999, an independent study, or a departmental research course) should obtain approval before finalizing their fall enrollment. In some cases, export control review will be required for enrollment in these courses. Export control review can take several weeks—we advise that students plan with this timeline in mind. If a student proceeds without prior approval and export control review reveals a significant concern, they may need to withdraw from the course in question. If they are required to withdraw, there could be financial implications, including only a partial return of tuition according to the university refund schedule, a requirement to return a portion of any financial aid they received, or both.

To obtain approval, the student should contact graduatedean@uconn.edu with the following information:

  • Field of study
  • Proposed course enrollment (catalog number and course name)
  • Brief (one-two sentences only) summary of research topic
  • Country of citizenship
  • Country where courses will be taken/research conducted abroad
  • List of any special equipment/computer hardware/software that is not commercially available to be used while abroad

Remote Work for GAs and Tuition Remission

Colleagues,

I am writing with guidance about graduate assistants working while outside the U.S.

Remote Work

GAs provide vital teaching and research service to the University, and some of this work might be possible remotely. GAs who are here in the U.S. are able to work remotely, provided they have supervisor approval and that the responsibilities of the position can be completed from the remote location. Last year, the University made a one-time exception to allow a limited number of GAs to work from outside the U.S. during 2020/2021 because of the exceptional hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. I anticipate that the University will require all GAs to be in the United States to hold an appointment in Fall 2021 and beyond.

The employment, labor, and tax obligations to which GAs are subject when outside of the U.S. are those of the country from which they are working, even if they are working on behalf of an employer like UConn that is located in the U.S. In some cases, accepting a paycheck from UConn could expose an individual to personal liability and potentially significant consequences in the country where they reside. As a result, the University has determined that graduate students must be here in the U.S. in order to work as a GA and are expected to remain in the U.S. for the duration of their appointment. (Please remember that GAs have a right to 10 days off for a 1-semester appointment or 20 days off for an academic year appointment. With the approval of their GA supervisor, a GA could leave the country before the end of their Fall appointment and return after the beginning of their Spring appointment, treating the days outside the U.S. as time off.)

Deferring Admission

Incoming graduate students to whom departments offered a graduate assistantship in Fall 2021 and who are unlikely to be able to arrive by the start date of their appointment are strongly encouraged to defer admission to a later date or to take advantage of the tuition remission option described below. Students may request a deferral through the Accounts & Forms area of their Application Status page. The request will then be routed to the program for review and approval. Please consult The Graduate School (gradadmissions@uconn.edu) with any questions regarding the deferral process.

 

Tuition Remission

The University will allow any graduate students that would be graduate assistants in Fall 2021 and are unable to arrive in the U.S. to enroll in courses without a tuition charge. Students who received tuition remission last year will be eligible for tuition remission again. Departments who want to offer this option must make it available to all GAs who would have held an assistantship in Fall 2021 and are unable to come to the U.S., and they should provide The Graduate School with a list of those students (name and 7-digit Student ID) and a copy of the student’s GA offer letter at graduatedean@uconn.edu by August 15th. Students receiving tuition remission are still personally responsible for remitting their student fees according to the deadlines published by the Office of the Bursar.

If you have any questions, please send them to graduatedean@uconn.edu, and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Kent Holsinger

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