Academic Tuesdays: Feb. 14, 2023

Richard Collins, director of the UAF Graduate School
UAF photo by JR Ancheta
Richard Collins, director of the UAF Graduate School

UAF Graduate School

— by Richard Collins, director of the UAF Graduate School

What does the graduate school do?
The Graduate School supports the creativity and productivity of our roughly 900 graduate students as they pursue their discoveries here at UAF. We work with the Faculty Senate and oversee graduate programs, academic processes and policies at UAF. We support grad students and their progress through professional development and training programs, orientation programs, social and wellness events, and scholarships and fellowships. We work closely with departments and programs and their graduate coordinators. Our Graduate School Student Advisory Board brings a comprehensive student voice to our work. GSSAB meets with campus leadership, participates in orientation, and hosts campus town halls. We encourage students to contact their board members. Look for details about the next GSSAB town hall meeting in early April.

Council of Graduate Schools Consultation
Three graduate deans (James Ahern, University of Wyoming; William Graves, Iowa State University; Sheryl Tucker, Oklahoma State University) visited the Troth Yeddha’ campus in spring 2022 and met with approximately 100 students, staff and faculty. Their visit was a consultation that UAF invited from the Council of Graduate Schools to advise us on general best practices and review graduate school operations, policies and practices. The consultation is part of UAF’s strategic enrollment planning process. The graduate school is working to implement their recommendations, which include: communicating graduate students’ accomplishments, managing data to better inform decisions, and modernizing our graduate student experience. You can meet our graduate students, most recently Nicole Jacobs from CNSM, from across our university in our student spotlights.

Three Minute Thesis competition
This year we held our second Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT). This fall, in front of a live audience of about 60 people in Schaible auditorium with roughly 40 people online, four students competed in our finals to represent UAF at regional competitions. John Pennington, Emily Stidham, Aaron Salzmann, and Victor Devaux-Chupin shared their scholarship and celebrated the breadth of graduate studies at UAF. In three minutes each, they shared their scholarship and research exploring government tribal relations in Alaska; the role plankton play in the oceanic carbon pump; how literature records the human experience and northern experience contributes to our wisdom and understanding; and how the past is a window to the future in the study of glaciers and climate, respectively. Salzmann took first prize and will represent UAF at the regional competition with the Western Association of Graduate Schools in Portland in March.

The New PhD and author visit

We are excited to host visiting author Len Cassuto to the Troth Yeddha' campus March 6-8 2023. Cassuto has been a longtime observer and commentator of graduate studies and recently co-authored the book "The New PhD: How to build a better graduate education" with Robert Weisbuch. Cassuto argues for changes in graduate programs that better prepare graduate students both practically and intellectually to make contributions to society and a broad choice of careers. Cassuto will give two talks on campus on Tuesday, March 7, "Graduate School and Beyond: the Academy and Society” in the Schaible auditorium at 3 p.m., and “A Cultural History of Toughness” in the Murie auditorium at 7 p.m. Faculty and students will also have the opportunity to meet with Cassuto in small group settings. You can read a recent article and a recent radio interview that highlight the questions raised in “The New PhD.”

Graduate Student Fellowships in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
UAF’s Center for Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship (Center-ICE) is launching a new fellowship program for graduate students to broaden their innovation and entrepreneurship skill sets. Fellows will have time and support to pursue their own entrepreneurial journey and build the new skills and capacity they need to be the resilient innovators of tomorrow. For more information please contact Peter Webley with the subject: I&E Graduate Research Fellowship 2023.

Other announcements
In other news, UAF instructors who teach online will have access to Honorlock, a remote proctoring tool for student assessments. Honorlock provides a seamless integration with Canvas LMS so no additional logins are required, 60 percent lower proctoring costs to students, and pop in proctoring options to assist students in the process (short overview video). Faculty will be pleased with the "Search and Destroy" feature where Honorlock searches the internet to identify exam questions that have been shared online. For more information you can contact UAF Testing.

The graduate school staff, Alyssa Enriquez and Mandi Gifford, and I look forward to hearing from you – what’s working, what isn’t? We are excited to work with you to support our graduate students and develop our graduate programs.