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

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).

Guidance for departments concerning GAs abroad in Fall 2021

Colleagues,

I am writing to provide some guidance concerning GA appointments for Fall 2021. You may recall that our contract with graduate assistants require that incoming students be notified of appointments by April 1st and that continuing students be notified by June 15th. The contract includes a provision recognizing that in “exceptional circumstances” notification may come later than these dates. In making decisions about GA offers for next fall, please keep in mind that the University made a one-time exception to allow a limited number of GAs to work from outside the US 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. Please keep this in mind when making GA appointments for Fall 2021.

Kent Holsinger  

BIPOC Student Support Report Seeking Public Comment

Hello graduate faculty and staff,

Following the national incidents of racism and racial injustice in Summer 2020, The Graduate School has been reflecting, researching, and discussing how we can better serve our Black, Indigenous, and/or Person of Color (BIPOC) graduate students at the University of Connecticut. This process, undertaken with the assistance of our partners, graduate faculty and staff, graduate student organizations, and graduate students, has resulted in a report. The report outlines our process, our findings, and, most importantly, our priorities we will be working to address with the purpose of improving the experiences of BIPOC graduate students at UConn. 

To ensure these priorities represent the needs and desires of the graduate community at UConn, we are asking for feedback from our community members. Our report and feedback form will be available on our webpage until Friday, March 26th. We will then adjust our priorities based upon the feedback we receive and communicate the final priorities with the graduate community. We welcome feedback from all graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, staff, and alumni regardless of racial identity. 

grad.uconn.edu/bipoc_report_feedback/

If you have any questions, please reach out to Shay Hopley at shalyn.hopley@uconn.edu

Sincerely,

The Graduate School Team

Grad Conversations: July

Last month, The Graduate School and the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) held our first Grad Conversations event. These events highlight the collaborative and deliberative efforts between the University and graduate student leaders to address topics and questions voiced by the graduate student body.

We invite UConn grad students join us for our second joint event being held virtually on Tuesday, July 21 from 4:00-5:00 pm EST. This question and answer session brings together panelists to discuss topics pertaining to the graduate student experience, based on questions and concerns received from graduate students. Join us as we take your questions and discuss topics including: the Fall 2020 opening, international student issues, financial concerns, effects on research, and resources from CETL for teaching assistants. 

Update: July 23, 2020: Watch a recording of this event.

Grad Conversations: June

The Graduate Student Senate (GSS) and The Graduate School, invite UConn grad students to join us for this joint event to discuss topics and questions pertaining to the graduate student experience.

The current pandemic has affected graduate students in unique ways, and we understand that in a changing landscape, the path in front of us all may be unclear. This event will bring together panelists to help guide you during this time and highlight the collaborative and deliberative efforts between the University and graduate student leaders over the last few weeks.

The conversation will include the following topics: financial concerns, international student issues, effects on research, academics, and Fall 2020. Graduate student leaders will also share their experience during this crisis and what they have been doing to help keep grad student voices heard.

For more information, visit our event page.

June 17 Update:
View a recording of this event.

Response to Concerns

Last week President Katsouleas, Interim Provost Elliot, and Dean Holsinger received an email from a group of graduate students with a link to an open letter created by UConn graduate students calling for additional responses to the COVID-19 crises. More than 400 members of the UConn community (graduate students, undergraduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff) signed the letter.

It has been a challenging time for the University and all its members, and graduate students have played a critical role in supporting the key mission elements, including successfully transitioning to online classes, supporting faculty, and students and carrying out critical research. President Katsouleas, Interim Provost Elliott, and Dean Holsinger directly responded to students who raised concerns in the open letter. You can read the response at grad.uconn.edu/coronavirus/response-to-concerns.

Town Hall Recording

Last week, The Graduate School held an online Q&A session. With 7 panelists and over 300 folks joining us from across the University, we discussed a variety of topics including the suspension of on-campus research; graduation / commencement ceremonies, submitting signatures and paperwork electronically, pass/fail for graduate students, working remotely with a GAship, international students returning in the fall, and many other topics. The video is closed captioned and a transcript is also viewable beneath the video.

View Graduate School Townhall Recording (April 9, 2020)

Note that in the Townhall, Dean Holsinger refers to an upcoming discussion of pass/fail grading. Since the Townhall, the Graduate Faculty Council voted to approve a measure which is detailed in our April 14, 2020 announcement available below.

Announcement Regarding Options for Course Conversions by Graduate Students

In an effort to address concerns that have been raised regarding the challenges faced by graduate students during the pandemic, the Graduate Faculty Council recently approved a motion to temporarily allow any graduate student to convert a course taken in Spring 2020 from “graded” to either “pass/fail” or “withdraw-audit”, with approval of the student’s major advisor and/or program director.  This option is available to all graduate students in a degree or certificate program under the jurisdiction of The Graduate School. The deadline for conversion of courses is May 22, 2020.  Students can, but need not, wait until after receiving their grade to decide whether to seek a conversion. However, once a course is converted, it cannot be converted back to a letter-graded course.

For graduate students, a passing grade in a course converted to P/F is defined as an overall grade of C- or higher.  A course for which the student has a P grade can, with approval of the major advisor (or, if appropriate, the program director), be included on the student’s graduate Plan of Study or Advisement Report.  Courses that have been converted to Audit will appear on the student’s transcript as “WAU”.  A course that has been converted to Audit cannot be used on a graduate Plan of Study or Advisement Report.

Any student wishing to convert a class to P/F or Audit  should email their major advisor and/or program director requesting the conversion, indicating in the email the course number (including subject area), their Peoplesoft ID, and the requested conversion.  If the major advisor and/or program director approves, they should forward the student’s request, indicating approval of the request, to the Registrar’s Office (registrar@uconn.edu) and copy the student on the approval email.  The request should be sent by the student to the major advisor and/or program director no later than Monday, May 18, 2020. The approval email must then be sent from the major advisor’s and/or program director’s UConn email address to the Registrar’s Office by Friday, May 22, 2020.  Extensions of the deadline (due to extenuating circumstances) will be allowed only with the approval of The Graduate School.

Updates Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Colleagues,

The ongoing COVID-19 epidemic is accompanied by extraordinary measures attempting to contain it. First and foremost, The Graduate School is concerned for the safety, health, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff of the University of Connecticut and the communities in which they live. Please heed the advice of public health experts to protect yourself and those around you. 

Governor Lamont signed an executive order on March 20 directing all non-essential functions in Connecticut to suspend operations beginning Monday, March 23 at 8:00pm. As a result, the President, Provost, and Vice President for Research have determined that all on-campus research at all campuses must stop and all labs close at the same time. The suspension of activity will last through at least April 22. The University will allow only critical research support functions to continue. Critical functions are those that are necessary to allow research to resume after this suspension (e.g., care of research animals or plants, maintenance of cell lines, maintenance of research equipment). Please refer to the Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory for more information. In addition, all University-sponsored travel out-of-state has been suspended, except in very limited circumstances. Please refer to the COVID-19 Travel Advisory and Guidelines for more information.  

Graduate students and their advisory committees should immediately develop plans for thesis and dissertation research that take into account these restrictions. We know that Governor Lamont’s restrictions to non-essential functions are now in place through at least April 22, but it is prudent to plan for the possibility that they will last substantially longer. Graduate students and their advisory committees should plan for the possibility that research involving on-campus facilities or out-of-state travel will continue to be limited through the entire summer, possibly even longer. The appropriate modifications to research plans will differ dramatically from discipline to discipline. They are likely to differ from student to student within disciplines. The Graduate School has developed a set of guidelines and questions for graduate students and faculty to consider as they adapt to these challenges. Please consult them carefully, and contact The Graduate School at gradschool@uconn.edu if you have any questions. Given the unchartered territory, we also welcome your ideas that might be useful to other graduate students and faculty. We will update the guidelines periodically as new information and advice becomes available. 

Please take care of yourself and everyone around you. 

Kent Holsinger 

Office Closing Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

To our UConn Community,

Due to concern about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) contagion, The Graduate School office will be closed from March 16th until further notice.  Our staff will primarily be working remotely during this time and the best way to reach us will be through email.  We will respond as quickly as possible and may be able to schedule phone and/or video meetings as needed. As always, feel free to email gradschool@uconn.edu with any concern, and we will get your e-mail to the right person and respond as quickly as possible.

During these extraordinary times, please be assured that The Graduate School continues to consider how the pandemic is and could affect academic work.  The leadership of The Graduate School is well placed on the working groups that are meeting regularly to anticipate and ameliorate issues, while making plans to ensure that the business of the university moves forward.  We have been impressed by how thoughtful our administration has been, though it is true that we cannot think of everything.  It is our goal that you feel supported. If you have a question for which you do not know the answer or concern that does not seem to have been addressed, please let us know.  We will either direct you toward the solution or work with you to create one.   

The COVID-19 situation continues to change very quickly. The health, safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority and continually guides our preparation, thinking, and actions. 

To address specific questions for graduate education audiences, please refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” links in the side navigation of this web page.

More information about COVID-19 is available at this website: https://uconn.edu/public-notification/coronavirus

Thank you,

The Graduate School