Grad Connections hosts a series of events and opportunities—offered through the English Department’s Graduate Studies Office—to support graduate students’ academic success, sense of community, and professionalization. All events are open to graduate students from all of our degree programs. Although subfields are different, much is shared amongst the programs in terms of process and needed outcomes of work and time together. Topics specific to professional development have included:
- Insiders’ Advice: Success in the First Few Years of Graduate School
- How the University Works (university-level speakers from various administrative offices)
- Presenting at Conferences
- Publishing Articles and Creative Work
- Building Your Network
- The Academic Job Search series (preparing over the summer, finding openings, the cover letter, dossier assembly, digital presence, CVs, research statements, teaching philosophies, interviewing)
- Jobs Outside the Academy (alumni panelists)
Ongoing resources include a GC Lending Library which contains two types of resources: 1) Books on succeeding in grad school, navigating the job market, and developing effective pedagogy; and 2) Folders containing sample CVs, job letters, teaching philosophies, and conference proposals which are all examples that department faculty and alumni have shared. Mock interviews are also an ongoing resource available as needed by students who have job interviews. These sessions provide useful interviewing practice as well as insight on what to expect during an interview, questions you might be asked, etc.
Graduate Studies Committee: This is a planning and policy-making body for the English Department graduate programs which is responsible for program matters regarding admissions, curricular reform, graduate course offerings, advising, graduate assistantship policies, special projects, and general direction for graduate education in the department. Graduate student representatives from each level of study (MA, MFA, and PhD) are elected by their fellow graduate students for one-year terms.
Graduate and Professional Student Senate: The GPSS represents the graduate and professional students’ perspective on campus issues and serves as a liaison between graduate/professional students and the university administration. The English Department graduate student body elects two senators each academic year to attend monthly meetings and represent our graduate programs at this university level.
The English Department is able to offer travel support and contribute funding for expenses associated with presenting at conferences (serving on a panel, presenting a paper, conducting a workshop). Currently, each fiscal year we can provide a maximum total of $500 for PhD students, $400 for MFA students, and $300 for MA students to assist with travel expenses.
The Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) also funds Professional Advancement Grants (PAGs) to support travel to professional meetings (maximum of $180 and one PAG per fiscal year).
Teaching Opportunities and Support
The English Department awards graduate assistantships on a competitive basis. These appointments are usually positions teaching ISUComm Program courses (Foundation Communication and Advanced Communication), Speech Communication 212 courses, or ESL courses. All of these teaching opportunities offer training and mentoring for teaching assistants by faculty in our graduate programs.
These assistantship appointments include:
- Monthly stipends normally as ½-time appointments teaching the equivalent of 4 courses per academic year (mid-August through mid-May)
- Tuition scholarships (50% tuition paid for MA program students; 100% tuition paid for MFA and PhD program students)
- Health insurance benefits through the Student & Scholar Health Insurance Program no cost to the student for single plan coverage)
There are a few different awards available to current students in the graduate programs each year. These include departmental awards and scholarships which students must apply for each spring (early March deadline), Research Excellence Awards for which students are nominated by their major professor based on outstanding work as documented in their theses and dissertations, and Teaching Excellence Awards for which students are nominated by faculty and peers in the English Department.
Graduate College Professional Development
The Graduate College has created the Graduate College Professional Development website to assist students in six essential skills identified as helping graduate students become successful in their respective disciplines (Career, Communication, Leadership/Management, Research, Teaching, and Wellness). This website provides links to both internal and external resources available to students and provides a calendar of current events related to these skills.
Graduate College Emerging Leaders Academy
The Graduate College annually accepts applications for the Graduate College Emerging Leaders Academy (GC-ELA) to develop leaders who can build collaborations, work across disciplines, and forge stronger solutions from diverse perspectives.
Preparing Future Faculty Program
The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching offers a program called Preparing Future Faculty program (PFF). This program offers additional teaching, mentoring, and learning to better prepare graduate students and postdocs for academic careers as future faculty.