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An Outstanding Mav Grad

The Office of Graduate Studies would like to congratulate Wasiu Adedapo Lawal for winning the Science and Human Rights Coalition Student Essay Competition! The essay he wrote entitled “Water as a Friend and a Right,” won First Place in the Graduate Student competition and Wasiu was kind enough to provide us with a brief explanation about the contest and why it was important to him.

 

 

The competition was about the intersection between science and human rights and my entry had to do with the water crises in poor countries and how the scientific community needs to see water as a human right and play an active role towards helping to find lasting solutions to the problem. For me, submitting an entry was an easy decision since the narrative behind what I eventually wrote was the reason why I decided to do my PhD in the first place. Having been raised in Nigeria, the water issue was a big thing for me and I decided to gain some expertise on the issue with the hope of going back someday to help, so this essay was a great opportunity for me to provide some analysis on the issue.

                                                                                    Wasiu Adedapo Lawal, MS, AMRSC

 

 

Here’s the link to the award site. http://www.aaas.org/news/science-and-human-rights-coalition-announces-2014-student-essay-competition-winners

Wasiu is the President of the Graduate Student Senate for the 2014-2015 school year, as well as a Doctoral Student in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department.  

If you haven’t met Wasiu yet, come to a Graduate Student Senate meeting this fall and congratulate him. Click on the link to see what this organization is doing to make your graduate experience better.

http://www.uta.edu/studentgovernance/graduate-student-senate/index.php

This is just one of the many amazing ways that Mav Grads are making a difference in the world today! Have a story, let me know.

The importance of being honest…

As noted in On being a scientist: Responsible conduct of research: “The scientific enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Society trusts that scientific research results are an honest and accurate reflection of a researcher’s work. Researchers equally trust that their colleagues have gathered data carefully, have used appropriate analytic and statistical techniques, have reported their results accurately, and have treated the work of other researchers with respect. When this trust is misplaced and the professional standards of science are violated, researchers are not just personally affronted—they feel that the base of their profession has been undermined. This would impact the relationship between science and society.”

The Office of Graduate Studies in collaboration with the UTA Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Workgroup is hosting the following event:

Responsible Conduct of Research – Examining the Investigative Process
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
12:00-1:00PM
303 CPB (Planetarium Conference Building)

Reservations not required but requested as light snacks will be served. Visit the EDGE website to register or you may email Lisa Berry lberry@uta.edu.

Dr. George Kondraske recently served as the chair of a panel investigating an allegation of research misconduct. This workshop will provide a brief review of basic information regarding this recent investigation experience. This will include the type of misconduct investigated, the investigative process, and comments regarding wide-ranging impact of what may appear to some to be a simply case of “taking liberties” with the facts in the conduct of research.

RCR Website
Students who complete the General RCR Training Modules (required of most students participating in lab-based research) need only attend a few additional events to receive a RCR Certification which is noted on the student’s official university transcript. Visit the RCR Website or contact Lisa Berry to learn more about RCR Certification.


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).

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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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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Doctoral Student Progress Report Online

Please log in and complete DS PRO AS SOON AS YOU CAN!  The deadline (TBA) is fast approaching!!

Learn Why and How to Use It –>

http://grad.pci.uta.edu/resources/pdf/DSPRO_Overview.pdf

Log In and Make It Happen –>

https://grad.pci.uta.edu/programs/dspro/

Set goals for this year and make sure you are set to register for spring.  These annual goals ensure you stay on track (a “reasonable” one) and that you are setting goals that will help you graduate on time.  Further, DS PRO is a great way voice (and document) what you want personally, academically, and professionally out of a Ph.D program.  And, on that note…you sort of have to do it because it is mandatory.  So… thank you?

Yes. THANK YOU! :)

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Digital Footprints in the Real World

Many professional and academic advisers focus on the fact that digital footprints that lead to proof of “bad behavior” (such as drinking, partying, or other inappropriate language or photos)  can get students and employees into big trouble.  However, According to research from the American Life Project, most people already know that.  In a recent study of internet users:

  • 86% have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email
  • 55% have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government

Despite the assumption that food will always magically come from the grocery store and a complete lack of outdoor survival skills (for the most part), Americans try to, and are pretty good at, covering their tracks in the digital world.  However, while the masses seem to be focused on cleaning up one social media faux pas after another, real world dangers of leaving a digital trail are steadily increasing.

The American Life Project reports that out of 792 internet users, 4% have experienced online altercations that ended in real world physical violence. That is 31 people!  Although, sometimes a black eye seems better than the 17% (or 134 people) who lost money or had their identity, credit card, or social security number stolen from internet content. Both are pretty dangerous.

The lesson here: YES focus on not producing completely ridiculous social media content that can get you suspended or fired.  But, also remember not to give out personal information.  Change your passwords regularly and know that even your birthday and phone number posted on Facebook can give someone all the information needed to totally wreck your life…or at the least, find you and punch you in the face.

Because You’re Famous…

Would you want to take a class taught by a celeb?  OK – what if the celeb had no experience in academia, teaching, or higher education?  Hmmm, still yes?  OK…What if your school was paying the celeb $200,000 annually to teach ONE class. I hope the reviews are at least mixed!

The Chronicle – August 2013 has brought to my attention that David H. Petraeus is teaching a class at CUNY for ONE DOLLAR! First – because I definitely want to take class taught by a previous C.I.A. Director.  Second – said previous C.I.A. officer agreed to teach it for $1.  Third – well, now there is no third because his $200,000 annual salary has vanished.

Zweifler writes in his Chronicle article, “When word of his salary got out, it sparked outrage. CUNY professors said that Mr. Petraeus would be making far more than any of them [$200,000 annually for teaching one three-hour class]; his salary was an insult, they said, to the part-time faculty whose wages are barely sustainable.” Agreed.  However, I am not the best person to examine the ethics behind hiring celebrity adjuncts.  According to my Pinterest page, I would probably register to take a class taught by Grumpy Cat.

Zweifler writes, “Celebrity adjuncts can bring much to the table. Students can learn from the real-life experiences of top practitioners in their fields…[but it] can also be divisive.” One such “practitioner” is James Franco (who spoke at UT Arlington 2012 graduation- FYI), who worked as an adjunct at New York University and University of Southern California.  For film student, this must have been a dream.  For other professors – I bet it was really, really annoying.

Among the celeb adjuncts listed, most of them are not only famous, but notorious:

-Petraeus: involved with the biographer.

-Schwarzenegger: involved with the nanny.

-Spitzer: involved with prostitutes.

-McGreevey: involved with a male while being married, on the DL.

I see a pattern here.  What exactly are these adjuncts teaching?  However, as wrong as this seems to me on paper, I would register for a class taught by any of these guys – and probably one taught by Tiger Woods too… you know, just for kicks.

As always, please let me know your thoughts Mav Grads.  Maybe we can get a good celeb to teach at UTA – like Willie Nelson for students majoring in music… oops, I mean accounting.

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An Answer from I-Ching

Before a new semester beings, I find myself contemplating where my career is going, how my passions have developed, how I have changed, and what to do next.  What projects will inspire me to move forward, to refocus, and to recommit to forwarding my field?  Often I wonder if I keep finding my answer, or if the answer keeps finding me.

I worry about finding my true passion, my specialty, my place in the world – a place where my skills meet a need and the  betterment of society then ensues.  “Will I ever find my passion?” I asked I-Ching (OK technically I asked a questionable website).

I-Ching dutifully responded:

Your current situation can be depicted as “Deliverance” transforming into “Treading.”

So. True.

Right now – it is a time of deliverance.  Summer vacations celebrating another year over and extra time to spend writing dissertations or studying for comps (or getting a tan).  The future – it will soon be a time of treading, or of continuing to conduct myself in my normal manner.  The celebration will be over.  The wise will return to their studies, to achieve a great deal more than they have already achieved because for the wise, this is their norm.  I am reminded that I am, at heart, a life-long learner.  Perhaps my passion, my purpose, is returning to the grindstone with my life’s work never really being complete.  I just thought I would share.

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