Posts Tagged writing

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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Revise and Resubmit – When Editors aren’t Helpful

Thinking of submitting to a journal?  Just received feedback on an article submission that was completely USELESS?  You aren’t the only one!

In the The Chronicle – July, 2013, Erik Schneiderhan gets courageous and shares feedback he received from a well-known journal: “None of the reviewer’s comments were helpful in guiding me on how to make the article better. And there was a snarky undercurrent in the review’s tone that just made me feel bad.”

We need this to change!  How? Professors with students (maybe some crying) who have received nasty reviews – write a letter to the journal, be an advocate for change and let the editors know.

Students – you too can help make reviews better!  Remember the feeling of rejection without guidance (which I’m assuming you have had at least once) when you go to review a paper.  Are your comments helpful?  Are they constructive?  Or, are you writing something so vague that the author receiving the review is left in the dark wondering what exactly “passable prose” means? 

You can also ask your professors to bring you in on their reviews. Watch how they work, notice what they write, and make suggestions so the author on the receiving end is getting quality information.

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Two Workshops Next Week!!

writing photo

Curriculum Vitae & Resume Critiques

Wednesday, June 26th 2013, 12:00pm–2:30pm

Chemistry and Physics Building, Room 303

Bring your CV or Resume and have a professional take a look! Get immediate feedback on existing job application materials, such as CVs, resumes, cover letters, and statements of purpose. Or, bring your laptop computer and work one-on-one with editors throughout the session. You can arrive with a blank page, start from scratch, and leave with a CV that is application-ready. SNACKS PROVIDED!

Dissertation Writing Group

Thursday, June 27th 2013, 9:00am–12:00pm

Email for location

Do you have trouble locating a quiet place to write? Would you like to discuss your writing or organization with a trained tutor? Sign up now to work in a quiet, supportive environment that allows for intense, focused, and productive writing. A writing tutor will be available for consultation, but the purpose of this event is focused writing. No content will be presented. After registering to attend the event, email Lisa Berry ( for location information. If you do not own a laptop computer, one can be provided for you. Include this information in your email.

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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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Word for Dissertation and Theses

New template?  No problem!  The Library is hosting a “Word for Dissertations and Theses” workshop.

When? Oct. 30 6-8pm, Central Library Room 315A

Don’t let Microsoft Word make writing your dissertation more difficult than it already is!  Learn advanced features in Word 2010 that make formatting your paper to meet Graduate School requirements a breeze.

Register NOW!!

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Getting Through the Dissertation Doldrums

No!  Not the “D” word!!!!  As a graduate student, it is easy to get into the grind, keeping your nose to the book (or eye to the microscope), especially with a dissertation looming eerily overhead.  Ooooooo, Ahhhhhhh, Eeeeeeee!  How appropriate with Halloween approaching. 

UT Arlington is where you spend the majority of your time and energy.  Everyday, the same people and places – also the same resources.  Advice from these familiar locations begins to blur together in a sea of blue and orange jibber jabber.

  • A great way to regain strength is to get a new perspective. 
  • A new perspective requires new information. 
  • New (and reliable) information is available online; yes, you CAN stay in your mad scientist cave and still get a new perspective, so no excuses! (Upon reflection, disorienting fevers above 101 degrees and no less than two broken arms, preventing the use of a mouse will be allowed.) 

One great place to start is at UT Austin’s Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium and List serve.  While every aspect of the site may not be available to you – some fresh advice from Professors in your discipline IS available to you.  Tips from Faculty along with sample proposals from students at a different university are at your fingertips.  I’m not sending you elsewhere for kicks and giggles (is kicks the right word?). This info can give you a new perspective.  It can also help you get an idea of the performance standard in your area of expertise across institutions.  

More knowledge = Less anxiety = not avoiding your dissertation = you graduating! 


Still afraid of the “D” word?  

…….Well, now I have to assume you mean the DARK! And that’s a totally realistic fear, so who am I to judge?  Maybe after you visit the web page I suggested you can leave your computer screen on as a night light.


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