EEB graduate student orientation seminar

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EEB 5100 (Planning for a career in EEB) - FALL 2019

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 Room (Torrey 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)

Date Presenters Topic Resources Notes
Aug 27 Kent Holsinger What do you aim to accomplish in grad school (and beyond)?

Kent's presentation
EEB Alum Employment
University of Michigan PhD outcomes website
University of Michigan MS outcomes website
Inside Higher Ed Career Advice
The Versatile PhD
UConn Career Services for grads

Sept 3 Carl Schlichting,
Elizabeth Jockusch
University/department structure and resources; Degree ontogenies Carl and Elizabeth's presentation Homework: web site assignment will be distributed; send a link to your draft website to Chris in advance of class
Sept 10 Chris Elphick Communicating your work: web sites Homework: Identify, for next week's discussion, 3-5 characteristics of good scientific questions
Sept 17 Dan Bolnick,
Janine Caira
Formulating good scientific questions Janine and Dan's presentation Homework: identify, for next week's discussion, a person or activity that greatly influenced your learning
Sept 24 Kurt Schwenk,
Annette Evans
Developing as a teacher Graduate Certificate in College Instruction

Learning style quiz
Annette's presentation on teaching
Kurt's teaching tips
Evidence-based teaching/learning practices

Homework: Identify, for next week's discussion, 3-5 qualities that you look for in a mentor
Oct 1 Chris Simon

Eliza Grames

Mentoring Managing your advisor

Mentoring plans
Why mentor undergraduates? (skim)
Good mentoring (optional)
Mentoring whiteboard

Homework: track the hours you spend on work this week (for discussion next week)
Oct 8 Jill Wegrzyn,
Mark Urban
Work-life balance Homework: come up with three questions for next week's grad. panel - email to Elizabeth, before Monday morning
Oct 15 Andrew Stillman,
Grad panel: TAing, research & anything else you want to talk about! Homework: Conduct a Pivot search (click here) related to your research or internship interests; identify at least 3 grant programs (excluding NSF) where you can apply for funding
Oct 22 Jeff Seeman
How does research funding work Homework: come up with three questions for next week's alumni panel - email to Chris, before Monday morning
Oct 29 Sacha Spector,

Erin King,
Krissa Skogen

Alumni panel: Careers outside academia Homework: Identify at least 1 annual conference specific to your discipline
Nov 5 CIndi Jones Conferences, professional societies and networking 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 12 Pam Diggle,
Gene Likens
Research ethics and regulations UConn RCR training Identify at least 3 journals relevant to your discipline; look up the impact factor and read the instructions to authors for each of the journals.
Nov 19 Robi Bagchi,
Sarah Knutie
Communicating your work: publishing Homework: Identify a piece of science outreach that has influenced you in some way
Dec 3 Margaret Rubega,
Dave Wagner
Broader impacts, social media, and communication outside academia

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