EEB graduate student orientation seminar

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EEB 5100 (Planning for a career in EEB) - FALL 2022

This 1 credit seminar course is intended to provide orientation information to incoming EEB graduate students, although it is open to other students; we strongly advise new students to take it. The course will meet for about 75 min, once a week, to discuss topics related to professional development with a rotating cast of faculty, grad. students, or other EEB-connected people.

Meeting time: Tuesdays 3:45-5

Location: Bamford Conference Room (TLS 171B)

Course coordinators: Elizabeth Jockusch, Chris Elphick

Grading: Officially, letter grades are assigned in this course; in our minds, it's graded on an S/U basis (but there are significant paperwork hurdles to doing that officially). Regular attendance and participation constitutes satisfactory performance, for which students will earn an 'A'.

Tentative syllabus (subject to change); note too that the resources present are from last year - when appropriate we will update them when each week's session happens

Date Presenters Topic Resources Notes
Aug. 30 Chris Elphick University/department structure and resources; Degree ontogenies Compliance & Resources slides Homework: Build (or update) a professional web site--complete a draft website to share during class on next week. Paul Lewis's very helpful instructions will get you started Pdficon small.gif.
Sept 6 Paul Lewis Communicating your work: web sites Homework: Identify, for next week's discussion, 3-5 characteristics of good scientific questions
Sept 13 Dan Bolnick,
Yaowu Yuan
Formulating good scientific questions Alon 2009 on choosing good scientific problems

Schwartz 2008 on the importance of stupidity in research
Founding of the NSF: text pdf
Good and less good reasons for choosing a question
Dan's blog posts on finding inspiration and fads
Predictability of transformative research
100 Questions in Ecology

Homework: Identify, for next week's discussion, 3-5 qualities that you look for in a mentor.
Sept 20
Elizabeth Jockusch
Eric Schultz
Mentoring Good mentoring (from Nature)

Getting mentoring (from Science)
Megan Duffy's mentoring plan outline (from Dynamic Ecology)

Homework: identify, for next week's discussion, a person or activity that greatly influenced your learning
Sept 27 Kurt Schwenk, Louise Lewis,
Nick Van Gilder
Developing as a teacher Kurt's tips on learning

Tips on engaging students
Tips on how to learn
Benefits of Active learning for inclusivity
Field courses narrow achievement gaps
Specimen-based research courses
Graduate Certificate in College Instruction

Homework: come up with three questions for next week's alumni panel - email to Chris, before Monday morning
Oct 4 Sarah Bois,
Erin King,
Krissa Skogen
Alumni panel: Careers outside academia Homework: Identify at least 3 places outside of UConn where you could apply to get funding that would support your planned research. (This list might be a good place to start, but notice that it is out of date.) For each, determine the due date, how much money you can ask for, and look over the grant requirements.
Oct 11 Mark Urban,
Sarah Knutie
Funding your research

Mark's slides
Sarah's slides
Grad-compiled funding page
Pivot searchable database of funding opportunities

Homework: Identify at least 1 annual conference or professional society specific to your discipline
Oct 18 Carlos Garcia-Robledo Conferences and professional societies Homework: come up with at least three questions for next week's grad. panel - email to Elizabeth, by Monday morning
Oct 25 Grads TBA Grad panel: TAing, research & anything else you want to talk about! Homework: track the hours you spend on work this week (for discussion next week)
Nov 1 Jill Wegrzyn,
Michael Finiguerra
Work-life balance

Jill and Mark's slides
10 simples rules for balance
Grad perspective on balance
Achieving balance with kids

Identify at least 2 journals relevant to your discipline; look up the impact factor, read the instructions to authors for each of the journals, and figure out the cost of publishing in each.
Nov 8 Bernard Goffinet, Robi Bagchi
Writing and Publishing Bernard and Liz's slides

The Writing Workshop
highly recommended by Liz!
Guide to Peer Review (British Ecological Society)

Homework: Read Lopes et al. (2018) (linked below); fill out google form, and identify a piece of science outreach that has influenced you in some way
Nov 15 Margaret Rubega,
Dave Wagner
Outreach and communication outside academia Lopes et al. 2018

Lupia 2013
Dave's broader impact slides

Homework: do all of the following
  • Identify an ethical dilemma you have faced during work/school that you are comfortable sharing with the class
  • Read UConn's code of conduct, especially the Research Principles section
  • Look up the code of conduct for one professional society, meeting or academic institution of your choice
Nov 22 THANKSGIVING BREAK Homework: Bake a pie!
Nov 29 Pam Diggle,
Gene Likens (watch the video here)
Scientific ethics UConn RCR training

Read this blog post
And, either this or this
Updated post on spider case

Dec 6 Kent Holsinger Succeeding in graduate school & Long-term goals Kent's slides

Useful readings: Some modest advice for graduate students: Steve Stearns and Ray Huey
The full exchange is on Ray Huey's page:

Stephen Stearns's later reflections:

Nature editorial on life outside of academia
Nature perspective on choosing alternative careers

Advice for new graduate students

Advice on a range of topics from Science magazine