The Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) Symposium is a university-wide symposium that showcases the best of UTA’s undergraduate and graduate students’ research and creativity. The ACES Steering Committee invites you to attend this year’s Celebration.

ACES provides an opportunity for the university to shine a spotlight on intellectual curiosity, rigorous inquiry and the pursuit of excellence that make up the lifeblood of our university. Together they are the driving forces behind original research and creative projects and this event demonstrates what these forces can accomplish. During ACES, students present their original work in oral or poster presentations and discuss it with the audience. Alumni, faculty and other members of our community will judge these presentations and provide feedback that helps participants grow as scholars and communicators. Attendees will find the hard work, skill and knowledge displayed by our students both exciting and compelling.
For more information about this year’s ACES event or to read about past ACES events and winners, please visit our website at www.uta.edu/aces

Wednesday, March 26, 2014.
Oral and poster presentations take place throughout the day from 8:00-5:00pm

Dissertation Fellowships available for Summer 2014

Doctoral students in the writing stage of their dissertations are eligible for summer dissertation fellowships. Interested students must apply through their College or School.

Conditions:
1. Dissertation Fellowships will be awarded for and paid in Summer 2014. There will be no renewals or extensions.
2. Fellowship nominees must be currently enrolled students in good academic standing.
3. Nominees must have completed all formal course requirements.
4. Nominees must have an approved dissertation proposal or prospectus.
5. Nominees should have completed all or most of the research required for the dissertation and should focus their efforts on writing while holding the Dissertation Fellowship.
6. Applicants must present a feasible plan or completion schedule demonstrating that they can complete their dissertation and defend it no later than August 2015.
7. Students may not hold other forms of paid employment while holding a Dissertation Fellowship.
8. Nominees must be enrolled in at least 3-hrs of 6X99 or in 7399 in Summer 2014. They may not be enrolled in any other courses.

Application Process:
Fellowship nominees must submit a complete nomination packet to the selection committee in their college or school. The packet must include:
1. Nomination Form
2. Copy of dissertation proposal
3. Memo of support from Supervising Professor
4. Schedule for completing all phases of the dissertation process and anticipated date of graduation with signed approval by advisor.
5. Additional materials may be required by the College/School selection committee. Students should contact their Graduate Advisor for additional requirements deadlines.

Nomination Form:
In nominating a student, the nominee, Supervising Professor, and Graduate Advisor indicate that they believe the nominee meets all requirements and agree that the proposed completion timeline is sensible and feasible. The Supervising Professor also agrees to carefully monitor the nominee’s progress with the intent of assuring that the nominee will be making appropriate progress toward completing the degree by the anticipated graduation date. The form and all required nomination materials must be sent to college or school selection committees.
Dissertation Proposal: Prospective Fellowship nominees must submit a copy of their dissertation proposal as it was approved by their supervising committee.

Completion Schedule: Prospective Fellowship nominees must submit a timeline for completing their dissertation, showing estimated dates by which sub-tasks will be completed and the planned date of graduation. This timeline must be reviewed and approved in writing by the Supervising Professor.
Memo from their Supervising Professor: A memo from the nominee’s Supervising Professor, describing the merits of the proposal, listing the names of all committee members and attesting that the proposal has been approved by a properly-constituted dissertation committee is required. The memo should include the supervising professor’s assessment of the following:
• The quality of the student’s scholarship
• The quality of the student’s writing skills
• The ability of the student to manage time effectively and work independently to meet
deadlines
• Any other appropriate factors that denote excellence and likelihood of completing the dissertation within the proposed completion timeline
• The importance/impact of the subject of the dissertation

Selection of Fellows by Colleges and Schools:
1. The college or school selection committee will evaluate all nomination materials and select nominees and alternates as indicated on the current call for nominations. These nominees must be ranked according to their relative strengths and the likelihood that they will graduate no later than one year after the award is received. The Office of Graduate Studies will review nominees submitted by the College or School selection committees and make the final funding decision. Higher ranked nominees will receive first consideration.
2. The College or School selection committee will submit PDF copies of their nominees’ forms and other supporting materials to Lisa Berry (lberry@uta.edu).

New Year’s In the U.S.A.

Lets set some resolutions shall we?  I read a GREAT comment posted below an article about the first year of grad school.  After all the advice and the references to citation software, getting “involved” in a program, knowing your advisors and their expectations, BLAH BLAH, there is a comment.  This comment rises high above the rest, described by its author (Packard27) as an overarching suggestion for people rowing the boat that is graduate school.

“You can print [this] out and stick it on both your morning mirror and  your PC/Laptop/etc once you begin to write your dissertation: ‘YOUR SINGULAR & ONLY MISSION IS TO GRADUATE.’”

To all the MavGrads out there, this is an easy New Year’s resolution.  It should take only a few moments of your time, a little tape, and some self-control (i.e. when you get your first draft back, don’t go ripping these notes into tiny little pieces, laughing hysterically, terrifying your five cats).

1. Print out several signs with the language indicated above.
2. Tape them all around the house (Yes, on your gaming console’s CONTROLLER)
3. Sit back and let your plea to the universe be heard.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!  Keep your eye on the prize and get that diploma!  One day you’ll be freeeeeeee!

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Get Down to Business About Your Career

One of my hands is hot and the other is cold.  The reason I notice this is because I have decided the put my hands up to my chin like Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch, not Downey Jr.).  I can’t think.  Sadly, the hand-to-chin-thing is useless for me.  The holidays are around the corner and my head is spinning.  New Year’s Eve is so close and another year is almost gone.

Times like these are GREAT times for career reflections.  As much as personal reflections and road maps to happiness, weight loss, and world travel, are created with intense desire most naturally these times of year, career development seems to take up only the smallest moment in time.  Believe it or not, it is probably easier to move forward career-wise than it is to lose 20 lbs. or plan a trip around the world (cough, money, cough).

I typically stick to academic-type career sources in this blog, but today I want to mention Bold Career’s Holiday Post.  First – the name of this Career Development firm is BOLD CAREER.  It is great!  The author of the post and firm’s fearless leader, Ian Christie, was the former Senior Director at Monster.com.  So – yes – it is a business-esque article with some very business-ish suggestions that you can probably ignore.  But, overall this article is a New-Year-Get-Motivated-You-Can-Do-It-Waahoooo-Go-Get-’em Career Guide, neatly sectioned in phases, numbered, and sub-headed with letters (Social, Reflective, and New Beginnings).  While the photo of the board room makes me feel physically ill, the content is WORTH IT.

Oh how this article dragged me out of a deep, dark hole.  I have been here before folks and I am sure that I will be here again (next year and the year after).  It is nice to have something tangible to help you get down to it; to help you roll your sleeves up (old sweat shirt, robe, adult onesie, ANY type of sleeves will do) and just challenge that part of your brain that likes to watch television until 3 a.m. and procrastinate on comps.  This corporate guy has a lot to offer advice-wise, and I think even The Dude would approve.

My favorite quote by Christie is when he discusses removing roadblocks. He writes, “Let’s face it. We can have a lot of baggage.” Haaaa.  I have baggage that is for sure.  I also have a Netflix account so there is like, a third of my life gone.  I am really looking forward to working through these phases over the winter break and I hope you are too!  Let me know  how it works out – or if you want to discuss, I am available.  Just email ashleyh@uta.edu.  Spend some time this holiday getting down to business about your career and get competitive in the market place.  It is a rough world out there.  Even Santa knows he needs to corner the market if he wants to stay relevant! (Just kidding, Santa would never do that to the Easter Bunny – not even a Milka Chocolate Santa).

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ON-TRAC Prepares Grads to Teach

In a recent commentary in The Chronicle (Nov. 2013), Derek Bok opines that a “most glaring defect of our graduate programs…is how little they do to prepare their students to teach.”  Bok throws out scary numbers; 40% of doctorates fail to earn degrees in TEN YEARS and states that some advisors go as far as to tell a graduate student NOT to focus on teaching duties less it take away from research.

SCOFF!

UT Arlington is a member of the CIRTL Network – a network that spans the country and involves over 20 schools’ resources to improve STEM teaching skills in graduate students.  The program at UT Arlington is appropriately named “Organizational Network for Teaching as Research Advancement and Collaboration,” but fondly called ON-TRAC (so we at least avoid people referring to it as that teaching thing).ON-TRAC now hosts bi-weekly, community meetings and online seminars.  It is a great time to get involved.  Download an informational CIRTL ON-TRAC Flyer and find out more! Contact LBerry@uta.edu to get on the events listserv.

Teaching-as-research can take your academic career to a competitive level.

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International Education Week!

It is that time of year again!  Get the schedule and register for World Trivia by November 8th to play!!  Only 12 teams are allowed in the year so get your applications in early.  “GO! FIGHT! WIN!” Grad Mavs (and yes, that cheer IS entirely appropriate for academic sports such as math team, chess, and World Trivia)!!!!  Woot!!!

Gotta check out the international food fair on Nov. 19th @ 11 a.m. in the UC Mall.  On an educational note – if you are thinking about studying abroad but are on the fence, attend a Q&A session and definitely check out the photos from student trips.  You can view these works of art until Nov. 26th in the UC Art Gallery.

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Faculty Focus: A Teaching Resource

If you are a Graduate Student 1.) teaching classes 2.) planning on a future professorship 3.) Mentoring other students 4.) Wanting to know more about teaching in general – Faculty Focus should be on your radar!

Faculty Focus is an easy-to-read, daily, free newsletter about teaching (aghhh, every day!?!?!?). Don’t worry – you don’t have to sign up and receive a billion emails. I do recommend, however, frequenting the site to learn from those who have been in the field, fighting the good fight.

Posts are searchable by topic.  A single post is made available each day by a different educator or related professional so the perspectives on teaching and education one can gain from a quick read of this site are delightfully diverse.  Recent posts include topics like, “Motivating Students with Teaching Techniques that Establish Relevance, Promote Autonomy,” and, “Tips for Humanizing Your Online Course,” (although I do have an affinity for robots). Check it out!

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Government Shutdown May Mean Postponing Your Degree

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Government Shutdown is getting out of control.

In the words of a new UT Arlington Office of Graduate Studies intern, “Usually it is all talk, but it actually happened; the government shut down.”

In a recent article, Field, Thomason, and Howard indicated that, “Research projects have been interrupted, academic meetings have been postponed or canceled, and some students are being urged to put off their educations until the federal-budget impasse ends.”

The Chronicle documents issues that continue to worsen as the government remains closed for business, including:

  • Veteran’s GI Bill is only funded through October
  • Federal Financial aid is only funded through June
  • Peer-review panels have stopped convening, resulting in delays in the reviews of new grant proposals
  • Grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services may not be dispensed (sorry humanities)
  • Public, primary resources such as the Library of Congress are offline

Ellis writes, “Richard A. Williams, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, told students to light a candle in the university’s grotto.” “University of North Carolina students studying unexamined parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s history…[no longer] have access to the documents, like maps and letters, that they need to do their work.”

You know it is getting pretty bad when the candles come out.  Some advice from professors- use BOOKS!

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A Foolproof Grant Template

In Dr. Karen Kelsky’s Foolproof Grant Template from The Professor Is In (a great blog so check it out!), the outline is as straight forward as you are going to get.  I have read several of the instruction manuals for applying to NSF along with humanities grants, and while very VERY helpful, they are also very VERY long.  Not exactly documents you can start with at the beginning of your brainstorming session.

In additional posts, Dr. Kelsky also addresses several common errors including using the words “I need to…” as in “I need to fill this research gap” rather than describing in plain, formal language how you can (and will!) fill the gap.  Also, do NOT sign the document like a letter – it isn’t a letter!

Be sure to emphasize why you are applying in the first place.  Some helpful language:

“However, none of these works have addressed the central question of ___________.”

“This should be YOUR view of what is most essential to an accurate understanding of the big topic, but which  has never to date been studied by anyone else.”

If you are going to be asking for the big bucks, be sure to address the point of it all, the reason you should get the money, and why this research needs to be done.  Some more helpful language:

“I expect this research to contribute to debates on _______ and play an important role in________.”

Check out the post on the template from The Professor Is In.  Perhaps you can get a grant – and you should at least give the application process a try if the opportunity and funds are available.

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No you did NOT just read that book!

STOP THAT.  YES YOU.

DO NOT READ ANOTHER PAGE.

Look at you.  You’re a mess.  Academia everywhere, more than one coffee pot brewing – frankly I’m surprised one pair of glasses per year cuts it these days.  Those tired, tired eyes… there is no WAY 1-800 Contacts can have YOUR BRAND of magical graduate school super readers with vision enhancements for the 2 a.m. must-ingest-knowledge-but-don’t-know-why attack of the crazies.

I am here to help.  Well, this article on how to read while not actually reading is here to help.  Read that book in ONE HOUR.

According to Larry Cebula, here is how you do it in ten little tips (so if it ruins your grades and life’s work – you can blame him):

1. Create a clean space–a table, the book, paper and a writing utensil, and nothing else.

2. Read two academic reviews of the book you photocopied beforehand.  Allow five minutes for this.

3. Read the introduction, CAREFULLY and take good notes (with a bibliographic citation at the top of the page.) Allow twenty minutes here.

4. Now turn directly to the conclusion and read that. The conclusion will reinforce the thesis and have some more quotable material. In your notes write down 1-2 direct quotes suitable for using in a review or literature review, should you later be assigned to write such a beast. Ten to fifteen minutes.

5. Turn to the table of contents and think about what each chapter likely contains.  Five minutes.

6. (Optional) Skim 1-2 of what seem to be the key chapters. Look for something clever the author has done with her or his evidence, memorable phrases, glaring weaknesses–stuff you can mention and sound thoughtful. Ten minutes, max.

7. Put the notes and photocopied review in a file folder. These folders will serve as fodder for future assignments, reviews of similar books, lectures, grant applications, etc.

8. Miller time. Meet some friends and tell them the interesting things you just learned (driving it deeper it your memory).

9. If a book is considered especially important, or if it falls squarely within your research area, you should give it more time.

10. Don’t tell your professor you read the book in an hour or he or she will most likely flunk you.

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