This week’s blog was written by Sean Sidky, the WTS Dissertation Group graduate assistant.
For many graduate students who have completed the coursework stage of their degrees, the disruptions and challenges to their research trajectories due to the ongoing pandemic have been insurmountable. Continuing travel restrictions, for example, make it difficult or impossible to access critical research sites, communities, and archives. Coupled with the emotional, financial, and political pressures of the pandemic, and academia-wide pressure to continue to work and measure progress against pre-pandemic standards, this multitude of challenges has left many of our post-coursework graduate students needing significant support, and not knowing where to turn.
At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that these pressures, though exacerbated by the pandemic, are endemic features of the graduate school experience: feelings of isolation; insufficient financial support; lack of social, institutional, and mental health support networks; lack of training in the professional skills and genres needed to conduct research, to complete writing projects, and to enter the job market. As instructors themselves, graduate students often have the additional pressures of developing courses and creating supportive classroom spaces.
As we begin to imagine our communities, campuses, and lives after the pandemic, we also need to begin actively working to rectify the gaps, failings, and obstacles made more visible by the pandemic. The first step is connecting our graduate students with services, spaces, and communities that have been developed with and for graduate students.
Here is a collection of the services from the CITL that can complement the support you are giving to your graduate students both as students and as instructors.
Community and Collegial Support
- Writing Tutorial Services’ (WTS) graduate tutors work with students on any aspect of their proposals, theses, dissertations, or funding and job application materials.
- WTS offers an online introduction and guide to writing dissertations and proposals.
- WTS also offers a range of writing groups and workshops that offer interdisciplinary community, as well as collegial support and solidarity:
- CITL’s Graduate Student Learning Communities focus on teaching, but offer a valuable space for interdisciplinary support and discussion.
- CITL’s Graduate Teaching Apprenticeship Program (GTAP) connects graduate students with an interdisciplinary community of fellow graduate students to support career development and teaching interests .
- Teaching-related experience and training through our Graduate Teaching Apprenticeship Program (GTAP)
- One-on-one teaching consultations and classroom observations
- For students pursuing research and teaching careers, CITL offers a wide variety of workshops to help prepare job application materials.
- CITL offers extensive online guides to:
- CITL maintains a database of discipline-specific pedagogy courses offered to graduate students.
- CITL and the IU Graduate School serve as a local hub for The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), which offers online courses and certification in evidence-based teaching approaches.
- CITL offers both workshops and videos to help graduate students who are current instructors and those applying for teaching positions learn how to create and pitch syllabi and course descriptions.
- CITL has also recorded a whole series of our synchronous online events since the beginning of the pandemic, which you can find on our Kaltura channel.
The Office of International Services offers a range of resources and support services specifically for international students.
The University Graduate School also has a new centralized hub for graduate student professional development with a range of university services and support for graduate students.
And, as always, if you have questions about ways to support your graduate students, or if you’d like to set up a one-on-one consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
What great resources! Thank you so much!
Really great post—it puts into words what I’ve been feeling for the past ~2 years. The particular stress of being a graduate student during the pandemic has been difficult to convey. The resources are sure to be helpful as I begin writing my dissertation, thank you!