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

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


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

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!



Stuart P. Duncan PhD DMA

Director of Fellowships, Outreach, and Programming

The Graduate School, University of Connecticut

Pronouns (He/Him & They/Them)

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 graduatedean@uconn.edu 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 graduatedean@uconn.edu:

·       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 graduatedean@uconn.edu 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 | www.grad.uconn.edu | 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: https://connect.grad.uconn.edu/manage/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: https://connect.grad.uconn.edu/manage/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, www.ita.uconn.edu, 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, www.ita.uconn.edu, 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: Jeannie.Slayton@uconn.edu

Ana Colón: ana.s.colon@uconn.edu


For assistance with finding verified scores in your applications in Slate, please contact gradadmissions@uconn.edu or meg.drakos@uconn.edu. For grad payroll overrides, please reach out to megan.petsa@uconn.edu. 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


PostDoc SEED Award 2021 Announcement

Dear Postdoc community and faculty/staff who work with Postdocs,

The Graduate School is delighted to announce this year’s Seed Award Competition. All details can be found in the attached PDF. The deadline is June 14th 2021. One big change to this year’s process is that instead of funding one project at $2000 and two at $1000, we will be funding three projects at $2000.

Please feel free to forward this message to faculty that work with postdocs. This competition is a great opportunity for P.I’s to support postdocs in furthering their grant writing and research communication skills.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions,


Stuart P. Duncan PhD DMA
Director of Fellowships, Outreach, and Programming
The Graduate School, University of Connecticut
Pronouns (He/Him & They/Them)

Template for Annual Reviews for Doctoral Students

As part of an ongoing effort to foster good graduate student mentoring and facilitate communication between graduate advisors and advisees, The Graduate School has developed a template for annual reviews for doctoral (and potentially other) students.  The purpose is to provide a tool that programs can use to: (1) allow students to report and reflect on their progress and accomplishments during the previous year and plan their activities and efforts for the coming year, and (2) aid major advisors in providing their graduate students with feedback on their progress to date and plans.   The template is attached, along with examples of similar forms currently being used by some departments (English, Marine Sciences, and Psychology).  The template draws from examples such as these, and incorporates feedback received from the Graduate Faculty Council and the Executive Committee.

Importantly, the template is designed to be customizable.  We anticipate that programs will modify it — adding, changing, or deleting items – to suit the specific needs of their programs.  Although use of this or any form is purely voluntary (i.e., there is no Graduate School requirement that annual reviews of this sort be conducted), we strongly urge programs to institute a process based on some version of a tool like this.

We are distributing this template now so that programs that want to do so can use it this academic year.  However, we view this as a “living document” that we will be revising as we receive feedback on it.  In addition, we will be developing guidance/tips on implementations suggestions and strategies that we will be posting on the TGS website, along with the template itself, over the coming months.

Download Template

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the template itself or its use, please reach out to us at kent.holsinger@uconn.edu or Kathleen.segerson@uconn.edu.

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

Kathleen Segerson
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor
Associate Dean of The Graduate School


Strategic Plan Seeking Public Comment

Research, scholarship, and creative activity are vitally important to the University of Connecticut, and excellence in these areas rests on a foundation of excellence in graduate and postdoctoral education. As the home for graduate and postdoctoral education at UConn, The Graduate School supports a thriving community of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars and oversees graduate programs in every academic discipline.

Over the past eight months staff of The Graduate School have developed a strategic plan that outlines our vision for the future of The Graduate School. The Executive Committee of The Graduate School, which consists of nine members of the graduate faculty, provided extensive comments on the plan as it was being developed.

We invite comments from all members of the UConn community on the draft of the strategic plan you find here. Comments received before 10 May will play a vital role in making final revisions before we adopt the plan in June.

Thank you for taking the time to share your insights.


Crystal Park Receives Marth Mentorship Award

It is our pleasure to announce the recipient of this year’s Edward C. Marth Mentorship Award. This award recognizes a faculty member for outstanding leadership and dedication to excellence in mentoring graduate students. It was established by the UConn AAUP to honor Edward Marth, former Executive Director of the UConn AAUP Chapter.

Crystal Park from the Clinical Psychology program in the Department of Psychological Sciences.
Crystal Park from the Clinical Psychology program in the Department of Psychological Sciences.

This year’s recipient of the Marth Award is Professor Crystal Park from the Clinical Psychology program in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Professor Park has been an outstanding mentor and contributor to graduate education at UConn. To date, she Park has mentored 12 Ph.D. students and currently has six additional students in her lab (in addition to a number of undergraduates). It is clear from testimonials that Professor Park has had a profound impact on the lives of many of her students. From the minute they arrive on campus (and sometimes before), she builds a close working and personal relationship with them that in many cases extends well beyond graduation. She encourages her students to collaborate with other scientists at UConn and in the broader research community and helps them build their networks and develop relationships with other researchers. She encourages students to identify “big questions” of interest to them and to keep those questions in mind as they develop their research ideas. She clearly makes an enormous investment in her students and works hard to facilitate their success in graduate school and in their careers.

Professor Park is also a prolific researcher. She has published over 300 articles and book chapters, many of them co-authored with current or former graduate students. She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the American Psychological Association (Divisions 36 and 38), and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

In honor of her contributions, Professor Park will be giving an address that will be included in The Graduate School online commencement ceremonies.

Past recipients of the Marth Award include Preston Britner (2020), Sandra Chafouleas (2019), Maria-Luz Fernandez (2018), Elizabeth Jockusch (2015-2016), Shareen Hertel (2014-2015), John Mathieu (2013-2014), JC Beall (2012-2013) and Dipak Dey (2011-2012).