Graduate Student News

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 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

·       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 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 | | 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:
  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:

  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,, 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,, 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:

Ana Colón:


For assistance with finding verified scores in your applications in Slate, please contact or For grad payroll overrides, please reach out to 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)

Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and Conference Participation Awards

Sent on behalf of Kent Holsinger, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School, to Directors of Graduate Studies and Department Admins.



At this time of year, The Graduate School typically shares information about how to apply for doctoral travel funds and the doctoral dissertation fellowship. I am writing to let you know that the timing of the application cycles for both of these awards has changed.


Conference Participation Award (formerly the Doctoral Student Travel Award)

The Graduate School is committed to helping graduate students achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals during their time at the University of Connecticut. In support of this goal, The Graduate School offers a $750 Conference Participation Award to support students’ ability to present their research at national or international meetings and conferences, including both in-person and virtual events. Applications will be accepted from June 1-June 30, 2021 and, if awarded, the funds will be paid through the student’s Fall 2021 fee bill. The eligibility criteria for this award can be found here.


Summer Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is transitioning from a bi-annual award to a summer fellowship. The Summer Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is a one-time $2,000 fellowship and is intended to support the successful completion of the dissertation. Applications for this award will be accepted in February 2022.

As part of this transition, a limited submission cycle will occur in July 2021. This application period will only be open to applicants who will graduate by May 2022. The eligibility criteria for this award can be found here.


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

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 or

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


Graduate School News from UConn Today

Community, Collaboration, and Preparation

The Graduate School is dedicated to the welfare and progress of its students. We strive to strengthen this through a commitment to the ideas of creating community, promoting collaboration, and addressing your academic, professional, and career preparation. UConn is committed to fostering a diverse and dynamic culture that prepares you to meet the challenges of a changing global society.

The Graduate School leads and coordinates a variety of activities and resources to navigate your pathway through graduate school and to enrich the overall personal and professional experience of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.  Our vision for training of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars rests on three pillars as outlined in our academic plan.

Community: The Graduate School will enhance the quality of life for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars by nurturing an engaged community of scholars that includes all disciplines and all campuses.

Collaboration: The Graduate School will foster 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 and postdoctoral education.

Preparation: The Graduate School will enhance career and professional development of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars through programs designed to enhance discipline-independent, transferable skills. We utilize a framework of three categories to help students and scholars prioritize their activity: Professional Engagement, Career Development, Personal Growth.

By The Numbers

Student Life Edition


Graduate and Post-doctoral Students


Tenured & Tenure-track Faculty


Schools & Colleges


Fields of Study


Students awarded graduate Assistantships, Fall 2016