Category: Succeeding in Graduate School

Articles about professional development and seminar announcements.

Smart Start Seminar – September 2, 2020

New graduate students to Michigan Tech are invited to our virtual Smart Start.  In Smart Start, we’ll introduce students to resources and policies to assist them to have a successful start to their graduate career. It will be especially useful for students in their first year, but all students are welcome to attend. The seminar will be recorded for any students who cannot attend the zoom meeting.

The seminar will be on September 2, 2020 beginning at 1:00pm via Zoom.  Please register online to receive streaming information and reminders to attend.
It will be taped and available online for those unable to attend at that time.


Submission and Formatting 101: Master the Dissertation, Thesis, and Report Process

Students who are completing a dissertation, thesis, or report are invited to join the Graduate School to learn about the resources available to them to assist in scheduling their defense, formatting their documents, and submitting their documents.  In one afternoon, you can learn everything you need to be successful and complete your degree in a timely fashion!  Faculty and staff who assist students with submissions are also welcome to attend.  Attend the entire event, or stop in for the seminar that interests you.

  • When: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 2 – 4pm (see detailed schedule below)
  • Who: Students completing a dissertation, thesis or report; faculty and staff who assist students with submission
  • Where: Zoom webinar; (register to attend online and receive participation instructions)

If you are unable to join us, the event will be taped and available online after the event. The previous semester’s seminars are always available online.

Information on submitting, formatting, and more can be found online for dissertations and theses or reports.

Detailed schedule

  • 2 – 3pm – Submission 101
    Learn what is required to submit your document to the Graduate School and the deadlines for the upcoming semester.  Best for students who are completing their degree this semester or next semester.
  • 3 – 4pm – Formatting 101-103: Word, Acrobat and Copyright
    • Learn how to find what you need in the Guide and use a Word template to create a perfectly formatted document the first time. 
    • Learn how to use Adobe Acrobat to check your document to ensure it meets our formatting requirements and correct it without recreating the PDF.
    • Learn how to use copyrighted materials in your document, including papers you have published as well as materials created by someone else.
  • 4pm – ?: Final questions
    Have a question that hasn’t been answered yet? We’ll be available to answer any additional questions you have.

GSG and the CTL to Host Teaching Seminar for GTAs and GTIs

The Graduate Student Government (GSG), in collaboration with the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, is hosting a seminar for GTAs and GTIs who will be teaching in the Fall 2020 semester.

This virtual event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 20). Topics such as teaching resources, safety, student engagement and classroom policies will be discussed, and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Mike Meyer from the CTL will lead the session. Please feel free to submit any questions you may have in advance on this document. We hope to see you there.

Register here. Link to the Zoom meeting.


Graduate academic standing and pass/fail option for spring 2020

Dear students,

We hope this email finds you and your family well and that the close of the semester gives you some time to relax and refresh your spirit.

Grades for spring semester have been recorded, and your academic standing has been updated if you are a degree-seeking student. For all classes with a letter grade, you have the option to change those grades to Pass (SCV), Low Pass (LCV), or Fail (ECV) grades. Pass, low pass, and fail grades do not count in your GPA calculation. A limited number of SCV grades may be allowed to count toward your degree, with the approval of your graduate program. Please consult with your advisor and graduate program director to determine what options will best support your academic progress.  Additional information is available online.

The option to change your letter grade to Pass (SCV), Low Pass (LCV), or Fail (ECV) will be available on Banweb from 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 6, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, May 12. To change your grade from the letter grade earned to SCV, LCV, or ECV:  

  • Go to Banweb and click on the Student tab  
  • Then click the Student Records link  
  • Finally, select the COVID-19 Pass/Fail Grade link 

The Graduate School has put a hold on processes to place students on academic probation or academic suspension for spring 2020. The decision to change your grades to pass/fail may impact your academic standing by changing your cumulative GPA. As a result, your academic standing as shown on MyMichiganTech may not be correct until after May 12. On May 13, the Graduate School will carefully review your academic record and update it as follows for all degree-seeking students:

  • If you were on probation after fall 2019, and you have returned to good standing, your record will be updated to good standing.
  • If you were on probation after fall 2019, and you have not returned to good standing, you will remain on probation. No student will be suspended based on their spring 2020 academic standing.
  • If you were in good standing after fall 2019, or are a new student in spring 2020, you will be in good standing, regardless of the grades earned in spring 2020.

If you have any questions about your academic standing or related to degree completion, please reach out to the Graduate School. We want to hear from you and we’re here to help.

Be well and keep in touch,

Michigan Tech Graduate School


Summer 2020 Track B and research labs

Greetings!

An email has been sent to graduate students with more information about the decision to continue to conduct instruction remotely during Track B, the reopening of research labs, as well as an update on the forthcoming graduate student MTU Flex web page (email is attached).

We realize you are anxious to return to the lab and to the regular advising and instruction of graduate students. We have frequently received the question, “What do I need to do to get my lab and students ready for continuing in-person research and advising in the laboratory?” 

For Track A, research activities will continue to be conducted remotely. For Track B, we are putting in place plans to conduct in-person research; however, under the current executive order, we must limit activities to those deemed critical. We are not sure at this time whether these restrictions will remain in place during Track B. Several Michigan universities are working with State entities in an effort to reopen research labs as soon as possible. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will keep you updated as the situation changes. We have directed graduate students to work directly with their supervisors and refer to the resources and VPR guidelines on mtu.edu/research/COVID-19.

As we continue to monitor the situation, it is imperative that we protect the health and safety of our students and faculty as we return to research activities, while increasing our research activity in a stepwise fashion in line with governmental guidance. As colleges and departments are planning their return to normal activities, the specifics will vary greatly with the type of research activities, the nature of research laboratories and equipment, and whether fieldwork is involved.

There are some common guiding principles that we should all follow: 

  1. Follow local, state, and national directives regarding shelter-in-place and social distancing. 
  2. Under Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s extended “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, all persons are required to wear face coverings when entering enclosed public spaces, including campus buildings and workspaces, where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

    Michigan Tech strongly encourages employees to provide their own personal face coverings in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. There is additional information about masks in the April 30 edition of Tech Today.
  3. Protect the physical and emotional health and safety of our researchers and students.
  4. Prioritize graduate students nearing graduation when selecting activities to ramp up first.

There is additional guidance about conducting research on the Vice President for Research website, but we recommend that all advisors begin to develop a plan for their labs that addresses the following fundamental issues:

  1. Protection of the health and safety of students and faculty
    • A social distancing plan
      • How many people can safely work in the lab synchronously following social  distancing (six feet/two meters) guidelines?  
      • Do you need to set up a staggered schedule so that no more than two people are present in the laboratory? (In many cases two people need to be present for safety concerns.)
  2. Personal protective equipment (PPE) for personnel in the laboratory and cleaning procedures
    • What PPE should students and staff wear in your laboratory? (Mask? Lab coat? Gloves? Goggles? Others?)
    • How should the lab be cleaned up after each use?  
    • Should you maintain a log for student schedule and lab cleanup?   
  3. Activities that must be conducted in the lab and those that can be carried out remotely
    • Prepare a list of activities that have to take place in the laboratory, such as sample prep, experimental work, and equipment use.
    • Prepare a list of activities that can take place remotely, such as work on the computer and data entry, group meetings, individual meetings, and writing.
  4. A communication plan 
    • Prepare a plan to communicate all the details for working safely in the laboratory. Require students and staff to sign that they have read and understood the plan.

We realize this is an uncertain time and we are all anxious to return to our normal research and advising routines. Please continue to ask questions of us and we will answer them with as much speed as we are able.

Take care and be well,

Pushpa


Updated Course Grading Options for Spring 2020 – for Accelerated MS students

This information was emailed to students accepted into an accelerated MS program for summer or fall 2020 on April 24, 2020.

Congratulations on being accepted into an accelerated master’s program at Michigan Tech for summer or fall 2020.  We hope that you and your family are doing well.

At the University Senate meeting this week, new policies were approved in response to the challenges of this academic semester. Pending administrative approval, these policies will give you additional options and flexibility toward completing your courses this semester.

  • The accelerated master’s program allows you to double-count up to six credits of undergraduate courses toward your graduate degree, with the permission of your graduate program director.  
  • The University will allow graduate level courses to be converted to pass/fail.
  • The Graduate School will allow a limited number of pass (SCV) grades in courses to be used to satisfy degree requirements.
  • Each graduate program may allow up to six credits of BC, C, or SCV grades to count toward a graduate degree. At the discretion of the graduate program, an additional three (3) credits of SCV may be allowed to count toward degree requirements.  Please consult with your graduate program director to determine the scholastic standards in your program.

For more information about the pass/fail option, please consult the University’s web site.

Please let us know if we can assist you in any way as you begin your career as a graduate student.

Sincerely,

Michigan Tech Graduate School


Updated Academic Policies for Spring 2020

This information was emailed to all enrolled graduate students on April 24, 2020.

We hope this email finds you and your family doing well during these extraordinary times.  At the University Senate meeting this week, three new policies were approved. Pending administrative approval, these policies will give you additional options and flexibility toward completing your courses this semester.

Policy 1: Pass/Low Pass/Fail option

Pending administrative approval, graduate students will be able to change the grading mode of their classes with letter grades to pass/low pass/fail.  Pass/low pass/fail grades will not be included in a student’s GPA calculation. See the next section of this email for information on how these grades may be considered for degree completion and the University’s FAQ page for more information. Research credits will not be eligible for conversion, as they are already graded as Progress (“P”) or Inadequate Progress (“Q”). 

Graduate students will be able to view their spring grades and have until 11:59 PM Eastern on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 to decide if they would like to switch any spring 2020 classes to pass/fail grades (grades of SCV, LCV, or ECV). 

  • A pass grade (SCV) will be assigned for a grade of C or better.  
  • A low pass grade (LCV) will be assigned for grades of CD or D.  
  • A fail grade (ECV) will be assigned for a grade F. 

To change your grade from the letter grade earned to a Pass (SCV), Low Pass (LCV), or Fail (ECV) option, go to Banweb and click on the Student tab and then click the Student Records link.  Finally, select the COVID-19 Pass/Fail Grade link.

Policy 2: Scholastic Standards

Pending administrative approval, and at the discretion of the graduate program, a limited number of SCV grades may be used to satisfy degree requirements.

A graduate program may allow up to six (6) credits of  BC, C, or SCV grades to count toward degree requirements. The BC or C grades may be from any semester.  At the discretion of the graduate program, an additional three (3) credits of SCV may be allowed to count toward degree requirements.  Please consult with your graduate program director to determine the scholastic standards in your program.

Policy 3: Repeating courses

Pending administrative approval, students may repeat any course taken during Spring 2020, regardless of the grade they earned in that course or the number of times they have taken the course.

The following policy changes have been previously announced and are already in place:

  • Drop deadline extended: The deadline to withdraw from classes with a “W” grade has been extended to 5 p.m. on April 24. W grades do not impact cumulative GPA calculation.  Please email the Registrar’s Office (registrar@mtu.edu) with your M-number and the course(s) you would like to drop.  International students and supported students can be registered with fewer than nine credits without impacting their support or student status.
  • Probation and suspension: The process to place graduate students on probation or suspension will be placed on hold for spring 2020. Students will maintain their current academic standing after semester grades are posted and no student will be suspended. Students currently on probation may return to good standing if their academic performance has improved in spring 2020. Dismissals (if any) will be handled on a case-by-case basis after consulting with the graduate program.

We are concerned about your health and well-being. If you have concerns about your workload, educational experience, or personal matters, please contact us (gradschool@mtu.edu) so we can connect you with resources. Anna McClatchy, our Student Support Coordinator, is available to help students. HuskyFAN is available to provide emergency food for those in need. The University has gathered a wide variety of resources to assist students. Finally, Counseling Services is providing individual services, group sessions, and seminars through remote services and referrals. 

We understand that you might have reservations about openly discussing your concerns. If you prefer, you may address concerns or questions confidentially. Students may contact Counseling Services at 906- 487-2538, or the Office of the Ombuds at speters@mtu.edu or 906-487-2391. Concerns can also be reported anonymously online

Take the time you need to take care of yourself and your family. We wish you the very best as we navigate through these extraordinary times. Please reach out to us with any questions or suggestions you may have. 

Sincerely,

Michigan Tech Graduate School


Volunteering as a graduate student

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education recently advocated for volunteering as a graduate student. While it might seem counter-intuitive to work for free while being a student, the author presents several great reasons why volunteering can help you build your professional skills and expand your professional and personal network.

Participating in activities outside of graduate school can help refresh your mind and spirit. There is nothing quite like the “real world” to remind you that your graduate school experience is special and that you are doing amazing things. Whether it is volunteering or participating in a campus activity, a small amount of time away from your studies can have a big impact on your frame of reference and mood.


How to prepare for a career beyond academia

Whether your goal is an academic or non-academic position after attainment of your graduate degree, building skills outside of your degree requirements is an important part of your career preparation.

In this interview with Dr. Paula Chambers, founder of The Versatile PhD, Dr. Chambers explores:

  • Whether an academic career is a realistic expectation
  • Skills that you can build in graduate school that will strengthen your job applications
  • How to make your resume concrete by counting everything

As you build your non-academic skills, such as marketing or web development, you may find out more about yourself and projects you enjoy. This can further your professional development by helping you to explore new career opportunities.


Smart Start Seminar – January 15, 2020

New graduate students to Michigan Tech are invited to Smart Start.  In Smart Start, we’ll introduce students to resources and policies to assist them to have a successful start to their graduate career. It will be especially useful for students in their first year, but all students are welcome to attend. The seminar will be streamed for off campus students and recorded.

The seminar will be on January 15, 2020 beginning at 2:05pm in MUB Ballroom A.  Please register online to receive streaming information and reminders to attend.

It will be taped and available online for those unable to attend in person.