Posts Tagged research

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.


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 to get on the events listserv.

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

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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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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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Ph.D. Graduation Policies that Make or Break!!

Are you ABD about to morph into PhD?  Now there is a 3 hour dissertation course available for you to take your last semester!   This course number was created to keep students from needing to register for 9 credit hours in their final semester!  That kind of money can really add up if something prevents you from graduating in your intended semester – like the mice in the lab next to yours escape and break into your lab and devour all of your African Clawed Frogs or the computer that stores 2 years of research data spontaneously explodes…

Hopefully, nothing will prevent you from completing your degree as you intend.  When it’s time for you  to select your final semester enrollment (YEA!), keep the following in mind.

Review the following and speak to your graduate advisor before you make your final decision.

  1. You must have 9 cumulative dissertation credit hours to graduate.
  2. You need a “P” or an “R” in all 9 hours.
  3. You may need more dissertation credits as required by your department, but no less.
  4. You MUST enroll in a dissertation course and receive a P in your final semester.
  5. Dissertation courses include 6399, 6699, 6999, and 7399. You CANNOT graduate if you enroll in 6399.
  6. You CAN graduate if you enroll in 7399.
  7. You can enroll in 7399 ONE TIME ONLY!!!!
  8. If you do not graduate while enrolled in 7399:
    • You MUST take a minimum of 6 dissertation credit hours during your final semester (6699 or 6999)
    • You must receive a “P.”
    • You must meet all other graduation requirements.
    • If not, then you must enroll again in 6 hours of dissertation.
    • If there is a chance that you may not graduate in the semester you first apply, do NOT enroll in 7399.
    • If you enroll in 7399 twice, the second course will NOT count towards your graduation. DON’T DO IT!

Hopefully, when you are pretty darn certain you are going to graduate, this class will save you some money and some time!  Then you can enjoy your last semester spent locked in the lab finishing up your dissertation, with no social life what so ever, and Siri as your best friend.   YAY!

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RCR Workshop – Last One of the Academic Year!

Monday, May 13th 2013: RCR Workshop – Moral Dilemmas in Research
12:00 pm–1:30 pm
Room 303 Chem & Physics Bldg.

Find out more about the conceptual frameworks used to examine moral dilemmas in the design and completion of research projects. Hear Dr. Maria Martinez-Cosio, Dr. Alexa Smith-Osborne, Dr. Ken Williford, and Dr. Tim Henry speak about their experiences with morality in past research. Then, join in on the discussion, share your opinion, and learn where your peers stand on issues regarding responsible research.

Find out more about UTA’s Responsible Conduct of Research Certification.

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Info meeting Tuesday March 19th -

Graduate students interested in the I-Engage Mentoring program should attend this workshop. The information session provides graduate and undergraduate students an opportunity to learn more about the program, meet potential mentors and mentees, and get tips on writing a competitive application. Register online through EDGE.

Find out more information on the I-Engage program and see if it is a good fit for you this summer!

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Career Research – How & Why

The “why” portion of this post: Warning! Blanket statement to follow: Research is important because knowledge is power.  If you are considering a job outside of academia, research is essential.

Tips for the “how” portion of this post: Jobs on Toast has a great post about researching jobs in your industry.  However, you need industries of interest in mind before starting.  Good thing there is a post for that too.

Some suggestions:

  • Read books, newspapers and magazines in your chosen industries.
  • Read blogs and listen to pod casts – there is a wealth of information that didn’t make it into the top journals.
  • Network, both in-person and online.  Email HR Reps, create a database of contacts you meet at events, and keep in touch with those people!

There is also an interesting post on creating a Career Roadmap that is broken into four steps: discovering potential, finding a niche, marketing yourself, and getting an offer.  Check it out.

On an unrelated note – LOOK!  It’s Steve Jobs on a piece of toast! Get it? Jobs on Toast? Like, Steve JOBS on Toast?

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Handling Rejection When It Hurts the Most

Graduate students typically spend vast amounts of time focusing on a single aspect in their chosen field, researching and writing for professors, writing a thesis, and then completing a dissertation.  These efforts will hopefully be published in journals around the world, making a huge splash and creating discussions in classrooms everywhere.

Then that first letter arrives in the mail.Opening it with anticipation of  fame, the first line reads “We regret to inform you…” and emotions emerge like tidal waves.  Here is some SHOCKING news (and it was also very shocking to me; I had not a clue about these statistics):

“The top research journals reject fully 9 out of 10 of the papers they receive.” Douglas T. Kenrick, Ph.D. (Psychology Today, Jan 2013)

What comes to mind? Hmmm… Is this a joke?  Seriously? Nope, no joke.  Apparently we are all looking at nine straight-up “No” responses before there is even a “Maybe” letter (which also bluntly documents the editors liberal application of red ink all over our wonderful research papers). AGHHH!

I quote an interesting story from Dr. Kenrick:

“Many years back, when I was still a young professor, I recall a conversation between two of the most successful people in the field. These were two prominent professors (Charles S. Carver and David Kenny), whose articles had appeared in all the major journals, and gone on to have immense scientific impact (as judged by thousands of citations by other scientific researchers). But rather than basking in their great success, these two super-stars were discussing their strategies for coping with rejection letters. It quickly became clear that both of them had seen many, many rejection letters.  This was especially useful for me to hear at the time, because I had just received several rejection letters in a row, and I was beginning to wonder whether I should consider a different career, perhaps returning to New York City to drive a cab, or taking a 9-to-5 job with a more readily achievable job description,” (Psychology Today, Jan 2013).

Oh rejection – you can get me down, but you can’t keep me there!  And remember, the OGS  is only one email/call/short walk/facebook post/tweet away.

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Get on Board with NASA

NASA wants you! Log on to the “One Stop Shop” to apply for fellowships that include 12 months of funding and 10 weeks of research at one of NASA’s HQ locations.  Get a proposal together and have a professor review it to get the EDGE on your competition.

The application deadline is March 16, 2012.

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Paid Summer Research Experiences

Join our free webinar: Tips on Finding and Applying to Programs

When: Wednesday November 28th at 7 p.m. Eastern time (6 p.m. central  for UT Arlington peeps)

What: Short presentation + Q&A

Why: Learn how to search for and apply to paid summer research experiences, hear from recent summer research participants about their experience and advice.

Where: Register and receive log in info at

**Brought to you by  The Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP)**

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