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Graduate Coordinator Network

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Graduate Coordinator Network (GCN)

Graduate Coordinator Network Minutes
June 26, 2012, SAC 2.302
from 9-10:30 a.m.
Melanie Gulick, Recorder

1. GCN President Chaz Nailor opened the meeting.

2. Vilma Santos, Human Resources Services Coordinator, Human Resource Services

  1. Fellowship students’ insurance ended on 5/31/12 if the students’ fellowship payments ended in Spring 2012.
  2. These fellows will be new students as far as insurance is concerned in Fall 2012 if their fellowship resumes.
  3. Fellows who become GRAs, AIs, TAs etc. in Fall 2012 will have to submit insurance forms because they will have more health insurance choices as an employee.
  4. Current students who have fellowships or who are employed as GRAs, AIs, or TAs etc. should have received annual enrollment information or the upcoming 2012-13 Academic Year.  They can enroll online through My Insurance Benefits [My Insurance Benefits (EID required)] or by paper.  The enrollment period is July 15, 2012 through July 31, 2012.
  5. NEW: Smokers will have to declare their status as a smoker when they enroll for benefits.  There are additional, new options for vision and dental coverage.
  6. Students who aren’t sure if they will return in Fall 2012 as a GRA, AI, TA etc. should still make annual enrollment selections.  The selections will cancel if the students don’t get the job after all.
  7. Fellows will be sent emails about health insurance.
  8. July 19, 2012: Annual Insurance Expo takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Gregory Gym.  One-on-one interactions concerning insurance and retirement (TRS, SSA, retirement providers) will be available.  The TRS presentations start at 8 a.m.

3. Jane Shaughness, Training Coordinator from University Compliance

  1. Final presentation of the Employee Engagement Series this year: “Managing Change at Work: Strategies for Responding to Organizational Change” presented by Dr. Michael G. Hasler on Monday, 7/23/2012 in ACEs Avaya Auditorium from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
  2. You can sign up through TXClass: CW414.
  3. The subsequent brown bag discussion, CW 415 —an opportunity to discuss and apply the concepts introduced in the Managing Change presentation— will be held on Thursday, 7/26/12 from 12 Noon to 1 p.m. in SAC 2.120.
  4. You can get Career Smart credit for the Employee Engagement Series’ courses.  See 
    Sign up through TXClass for PN 625 - Introduction to CareerSmart on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 Noon.
  5. You can watch presentations from the Employee Engagement Series that you missed here:

4. Amy Greenspan, Student Employment Advisor, Human Resource

  1. Insurance providers and other health and wellness representatives will be part of the July 19th Health & Lifestyle Expo.
  2. The next Student Employment Forum will be on August 15, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in NOA 1.124

5. Angela Branigan, Assistant Director, ISSS (International Office)

  1. Liz Smith is the new Coordinator of Sponsored Student Programs in ISSS.
  2. Darcy McGillicuddy has been promoted.  She is now the Director of External Relations in the International Office.
  3. The insurance provider for international students is changing from United HealthCare to Academic Health Plans, which is affiliated with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.   BCBS is offering a better policy, including dental and vision coverage.  The waiver requirements may change.  The ISSS is trying to keep similar rates.
  4. Tricia Marrapese is working hard the documentation for new students.
    Please push the August calendar to new students:
  5. International students will now be charged the support services fee of $100 each semester instead of just one time for orientation at the start of the academic year.  It will cover all services and help the International Office automate processes and support a new advisor position.

6. There were no announcements from the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA).
(Note: On August 27, 2012 from 11 a.m. to 12 Noon, the GSA will host a panel at the Graduate School’s Graduate Student Orientation in the AT&T Center:
The room number has not been announced yet.  “Students talking to students about UT Austin and Living in the City of Austin”)

7. Pat Ellison, Associate Director of Admissions and Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, GIAC

  1. Students who are offered admission are required to submit official transcripts BEFORE they will be allowed to enroll. Official transcripts bear the facsimile signature of the registrar and seal of the issuing institution.
  2. Not having to evaluate official transcripts for all applicants has made it much easier to process applications on schedule

8. New Graduate Coordinators:  Welcome to Katielea Conwell, the new Graduate Admissions Coordinator in the School of Architecture.

9. Panel about Orientation for New Graduate Students

  1. Four GCs participated in a panel about orientation for new graduate students: Jessica Smith (EER: Energy and Earth Resources, Jackson School of Geosciences), Ramon Gomez (Social Work), Kimberly Terry (Institute of Latin American Studies) and kt shorb (Art and Art History). They began by describing the orientations in their own departments and then answered questions after all four had talked.
  2. In the Q & A session after the presentations, GCs said, yes, they try to work around the Graduate School’s orientation (August 27 and 28, 2012) in terms of scheduling.  One GC said faculty participation is hard to arrange.  Ramon said in the School of Social Work, the Dean invites the faculty.  It was noted by a GC that the first day of Fall registration for new graduate students has been changed to Friday, August 24th rather than Thursday, August 23rd.   This will impact the ability of international students to get social security numbers, for example.
  3. Jessica:  EER has a comprehensive five-day orientation involving faculty, current students, research staff, mentors, and meals- including Lunch and Learn— another name for brown bag— with the hope that people will walk away with some new knowledge.  In addition, new students meet once per week for three semesters on Thursday evenings for brown bag sessions and tea.  Topics and presenters covered over the five days include grant writing, ethics, professional development, career services, resume writing, vehicle use, security, registering, librarians, student president of EER (Energy Resources Group) and student organizations for EER.  Icebreakers might include favorite movie, favorite book, and galaxy greeting— the cultural exchange exercise that Angela Branigan and the Int’l Office uses. For example, one culture disapproves of handshakes, while another wants to shake your hand, etc.
  4. Ramon: About 140 master’s students and 10 to 15 Ph.D. students attend the two-day orientation in Fall. In Spring and Summer the orientation lasts one day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The School of Social Work has to do an ethics orientation and presents scenarios involving ethical questions.  Everyone must maintain the code of ethics in the classroom.  On the first half day they do introductions.  The group orientation sessions include registration, UT 101 (student panel), a graduate writing workshop, presentations by the library and Career Services, a Ph.D. colloquium for doctoral students, and a sort of speed interview session (kind of like speed dating) where research staff presents to students.  Everyone goes together to Gone to Texas accompanied by staff.
  5. Kimberly: The 20 or so new students attend a mandatory 4-day orientation which they’re informed about in their offer letter.  The day starts with breakfast and the noon meal is a box lunch.  Current students, the Graduate Advisor, department Chair and others are present.  The Chair and the Graduate Advisor do a presentation and answer questions.  A student group and GSA make a presentation.  New students are advised by their peers.  The GC and Graduate Advisor do a presentation.  On day two students are advised, and faculty do presentations and talk about classes they will be teaching.  Day 3 includes more faculty talks, and on day 4 students go on a Benson Library tour and get tips about using the library.  The orientation ends with a potluck dinner at the Graduate Advisor’s house with faculty and current students.
  6. kt: Students in all three areas (Design, Art Education and Studio Art) attend the one-day orientation together.  kt starts communicating at the end of Spring with the new Fall students.  There are presentations by the library and the GSA.  The professional development session includes information about grant writing.  The Art Library has its own orientation.  Each program has its own fun event.  Art Education has a potluck and they have the best food.  For two or three semesters, students have a set of classes they take as a cohort.  Ice breakers include 2 truths and a lie (guess which statement is a lie) and what animal would you be.

10. NAGAP Panel (National Association of Graduate Admission Professionals)

Panel members included Pat Ellison, Char Burke, Jessica Smith and Chaz Nailor.  Melanie Gulick moderated.
Why should we go to NAGAP?

  1. Pat Ellison: You’ll get ideas that will make your job easier; benchmarking; networking (800-900 people who do what we do attend the conference); comparing best practices.
  2. Char: You’ll be able to report back to your department chair, advisors and other coordinators what is going on in graduate education nationwide.  Two ideas implemented after NAGAP: student ambassadors and dissertation boot camp (week long).
  3. Jessica: Attended workshop on sponsoring students, international student breakout session, STEM workshop.
  4. Chaz: Introduced to sub chapters who are trying to organize like GCN.  Currently writing a proposal for dissertation boot camp for (COLA) College of Liberal Arts.
  5. School of Social Work has student ambassadors who are announced at graduation.

11. Announcements, etc.

  1. Marilyn Lehman was given a gift on behalf of the GCN for her service as the past President.
    Thank you, Marilyn, for your dedicated work and inspirational leadership.
  2. GSA: Certifications are required for selecting student representatives.  Departments can hold elections or whatever method they choose to select their representative.
  3. GCN: GSIS will have improvements to help with 18 Characteristics, but it might not turn out to be as easy as pushing a button and then it’s done.
  4. Remember the GCN Ice Cream Social on Tuesday, August 7 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Littlefield House on the corner of 24th and Whitis-- the Victorian House (built in 1893) one block east of Guadalupe.

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