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Tara L. Kuther, PhD, new-years-resolutionsis a writer of advice materials for undergraduate and graduate students in psychology and other fields. She writes About Graduate School (http://gradschool.about.com/), a blog and website to accompany students through the graduate school experience, from application to graduation. The list of resolutions below were taken from a recent post.

To read Dr. Kuther’s full blog post:



Resolution: Get Organized
How do you deal with the mounds of paper inherent to graduate life? Resolve to organize your space, your work, and your life. Keep your grad student space clutter free.

Resolution: Get a Handle on Time
Time is the most precious resource we have. Learn how to use your time more constructively with an academic calendar and to-do list. Simple time management tricks will help you keep this new year’s resolution.

Resolution: Be Healthy
Two major contributors to health are diet and exercise. Grad students’ hectic schedules (and lack of funds) pose challenges to this goal. However, with some planning and discipline you can eat healthily and exercise regularly.

Resolution: Balance Work and Family life
Make the time to learn how to balance work-life stress.

Resolution: Study Better
Develop better study habits. First, learn about your style of learning. Resolve to begin each semester on the right foot. Learn basic skills like how to take notes in class and how to read scholarly material.

Resolution: Set and Complete Goals
Set resolutions and some short and long-term goals this year, and make progress on them.

Resolution: Start Your Dissertation
It’s the most intense piece of the doctoral degree. Don’t let fear turn you into a permanent ABD (all but dissertation) student; start your dissertation. Select a dissertation committee and work through procrastination to write your diss.

Resolution: Prepare for an Academic Career
It’s never to early to prepare for your career. Develop a realistic perspective of the academic job market by perusing academic job ads. Develop your teaching skills. Prepare your CV and tailor it to the position at hand. Construct your statement of teaching philosophy. Consider what questions you might be asked on an interview as well as what to ask.

Resolution: Learn About Alternative Careers
The academic job market isn’t as scary once you learn about what else is out there. Graduate study imparts many useful skills that employers covet. Also rethink your definition of success – successful careers come in all shapes and sizes. Make this year the one that you lose your fear of leaving academia.

Resolution: Curb Your Stress
Don’t let stress get the best of you this year. Learn how to cope with grad school stress.

Resolution: Have Fun
Don’t let those graduate school years go by without having some fun. At the very least take some time for graduate student humor.


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Claire B Potter is a professor of history at The New School for Public Engagement, New York, NY, and her blog, “Tenured Radical” can be found online at http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/tenuredradical/. The 10 Commandments below were taken from her post on August 21, 2013

To read Ms. Potter’s full blog post:



Thou shalt not rack up unnecessary credit card debt. You may need to take out student loans to pay for things like shelter, food, medical care and a decent laptop computer. But don’t take out loans to pay for things you bought just to make yourself feel better. Try to make a budget for yourself that includes fun and going out to dinner with friends, but not all kinds of stuff you will end up throwing away when you have to move. And just because it’s a book doesn’t mean you need to own it. One of the great weaknesses of academics is buying books they never get around to reading.

Thou shalt not neglect thy dental or health care. Every tooth of mine that gets worked on in middle age became a problem in graduate school. I am totally serious about  this.

Thou shalt find an excellent thrift store. You will gradually build yourself a wardrobe of professional clothes (ok, if you are like me, you will build a wardrobe of black tee shirts) and you needn’t buy anything new. Go to the swanky neighborhoods near your university and buy the really nice things other people discarded. If you don’t know how to shop, get someone to teach you.

Thou shalt not assume that merit systems are determinative. If there is anything I hate seeing on the Interwebz, it is people claiming that the person who got the job/fellowship/prize isn’t as smart or deserving or credentialed as they are. It’s the, “Gee I wrote four articles and have a book contract, and *that* person only wrote one article and a review essay” syndrome. I always wonder, Hmmm….maybe you didn’t get the job because the other person was nicer. #Everthinkathat? Academic success is not about racking up points and head to head competition. It’s about other people making choices that you have no control over. Do your best work, and then let it go.

Thou shalt have an excellent professional back-up plan. Tape this to your mirror. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to learn things that will give you options if that dream job — or any tenure stream job — does not materialize. Things digital, things foundation oriented, things administrative. Yes, the Ph.D. program is designed to educate you, but this is the moment to educate yourself.

Thou shalt become an excellent colleague. Be generous with the others in your cohort. Look for people’s good sides and try to ignore their annoying qualities. And if you must, be honest with someone, whether it’s a hygiene issue or something that is just getting on your nerves. Beginning any comment with, “Hey, it’s probably just me, but…..”

Thou shalt join thy professional organization. It is a false economy to be out of touch with what is going on in the larger world of your field (particularly if it’s not a terribly large world, like Scandinavian Studies or something.) While you are at it, keep educating yourself about academia in general by reading Inside Higher Ed, this publication (some of the best blogs are free, but a two year subscription is cheaper than a month of your cable bill), and academic blogs (particularly those in your field that will alert you to books long before the reviews appear in a journal.) There are many voices: listen to all of them, decide what you think and what you care about. Professionalize yourself. Even if you end up leaving academia, you will know why — and how to use your experience to do something that suits you better.

Thou shalt not suck up to thy mentors nor have sexual congress with them, nor shalt thou, when a TA, cross the line thyself. Need I elaborate? An excellent way to shred your career right at the beginning is to be part of a sexual harassment suit. Or a co-respondent in someone’s divorce. Here’s another hint: undergraduates and graduate TA’s are not “students” in the same way. Even if you are only a year or two older.

Thou shalt not gossip and spread hurtful calumny, nor write vituperative email, nor bcc when chastising others. Many of the ways you may have behaved on email as an undergraduate will erode your reputation as a graduate student. For example: telling tales out of school on the faculty or on other graduate students; expressing resentment and anger to an audience; or writing long, enraged emails that you copy to other people. Particularly in the latter case, that email may be out there forever. Don’t assume your university email is private either: make sure you have another account that only the NSA can get into.

Thou shalt use the word discourse sparingly; likewise neoliberalism, and other theoretical catchphrases designed to obscure that thou hast not fully thought through thine ideas. The best part of the first year in graduate school is immersing yourself in the theoretical tools of your discipline or interdisciplinary field. You will feel like a big, wonderful sponge.  But, as the wise Carroll Smith-Rosenberg once said to me, “Wear your theory lightly, my dear.” Don’t sound smart: be smart. Intellectuals don’t want to have Michel Foucault, or Michael Warner, or Gayatri Spivak, or Anthony Appiah read back to them: they want to know what you think. Make sure you know, and learn to speak and write it in the most inviting way you can.

Thou shalt remember that this was supposed to be fun. If you aren’t having fun, it is essential to find out why. Seek out appropriate counsel.

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Galway Bay

Photo by Sylvia Martinez


Candidates for the Master’s in Educational Leadership: Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) program had the opportunity to travel abroad to Ireland this summer to immerse themselves in an international study of higher education.  This study abroad experience allowed students to earn elective credits toward their degree while visiting the National University of Ireland Galway, University of Limerick, University College Cork, and Trinity College Dublinwhere they met institutional representatives who shared the administration of higher education and the practice of student affairs work. The students were also able to experience and learn about Ireland, its culture, history, government and people, through cultural tours.

University of Limerick

Photo by Sylvia Martinez

“This trip gave students the opportunity to identify, articulate, and reflect on their values and beliefs and understand that certain universals of human existence transcend national and cultural differences” said Sylvia Martinez, Assistant Professor and coordinator of the SAHE program at UCCS.  “The chance to commit to social responsibility in the global sphere through acquiring knowledge and developing skills to operate effectively in a multicultural and intercultural global context was also gained”.

“The experience to travel abroad and see another country, especially one with such history is a definite treat. It is hard not to picture yourself all those years

Cliffs of Moher

Photo by Ian Ely-Cate

ago standing at the Cliffs of Moher and seeing ships sail in” commented, Ian Ely-Cate, SAHE candidate. “Learning about the higher education system has made me appreciate a lot of the student service opportunities we have here in the states but also brought to light a lot of the things that could be improved”.

The SAHE program is one of three offered at the graduate level through the Department of Leadership, Research and Foundations in the UCCS College of Education. Students in this program are trained to become educational leaders who can transform institutions into learning communities in which all members of a diverse society are accorded opportunity and respect.

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IMG_7817There are few things more rewarding in life than participating in a graduation ceremony.  Whether you are moving on from high school, college, or graduate school, a graduate no doubt feels a wide range of emotions.  Relief that they have finished, uncertainty about what lies ahead, excitement for starting the next chapter in their lives, or maybe just sheer exhaustion after cramming for those last few final exams.

In honor of all who have graduated, the UCCS Graduate School will be posting a series on recent graduate students who have completed their advanced degree here at UCCS and have moved on to bigger and better things!  Congratulations class of 2013!

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