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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Summer 2014
(Email for availability)

Professional Development Peer:
Shawn Warner-Garcia

Diversity & Outreach Peer:
Hala Sun

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.



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How to Pitch Yourself for a Visiting Assistant Professorship

VAPCredit: Funding PeerBecoming a visiting assistant professor (VAP) is highly competitive, but the position looks great on the CV of a brand-new PhD.

Here are some tips on how to tailor your application to the VAP position.

  1. Teaching: Put teaching before research since a VAP is normally a teaching position.
  2. Research: State your research and publications but not your long-term projects.
  3. Service: Have a very brief paragraph on service, since you will not be serving the department for long.
  4. Audience: Tailor your information to fit their department needs.

For more detailed advice, see the article by Karen Kelsky, "How Do I Pitch Myself for a Visiting Assistant Professorship."


Versatile PhD Online Panel Discussion: 'Careers in Social Media' 

Interested in learning more about how to turn an interest in social media into a career? All this week (March 10-14), Versatile PhD will host an online panel discussion with several humanities and social science PhDs and/or ABDs who have become social media professionals.

As a UCSB graduate student, you have free access to the information and resources on Versatile PhD. To learn more about accessing its premium content, such as the panel discussions, follow these simple instructions provided by Graduate Division.

To participate in the panel discussion on "Careers in Social Media," register on Versatile PhD, then visit the Humanities Forum anytime this week and search for threads beginning with the keyword "Panel." The expert panelists will answer questions throughout the week. If you prefer, you can receive posts by email: Log in, got to "MyVPhD, and then select "Notifications."


UCSB Career Services' New Assistant Director, John Coate, Will Focus on Graduate Student Services

John Coate is the new Assistant Director of UCSB Career Services. Coate will lead coordination of services for graduate students.UCSB graduate students have yet another advocate for their interests. Career Services has hired John Coate as the new Assistant Director/Coordinator, Graduate Student Services, effective this week.

Coate comes to UCSB with more than 12 years of experience in career development and counseling at UCLA, where he was Counseling Manager, Employer Services, and before that, a Career Counselor. Among his duties there, he counseled, instructed, and provided programming for undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. students in all areas of the transition from school to career.

For more than 10 years, he worked with graduate students on academic job search; critiques of CV’s and other academic documents; interview preparation; and transitions out of the academic arena. 

With a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Cal State Northridge, a depth and breadth of understanding of the unique issues graduate students face, as well as substantial counseling experience, Coate will bring even greater strength to the existing team of UCSB’s career counselors dedicated to helping graduate students.

Coate will also be working collaboratively on graduate student initiatives with Graduate Division’s Coordinator of Graduate Student Professional Development, Robert Hamm.

Coate – who pursued undergraduate studies at UC Santa Barbara before transferring to USC, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – is happy to be back on the UCSB campus.

“Having done undergraduate work at UCSB, I am especially thrilled about returning to this outstanding institution and further developing career services and resources that are cutting edge and highly applicable to this unique population of graduate students,” he said. “In this day and age there is a wider range of career possibilities than ever for Master’s and Ph.D. students, both inside and outside of academia. But with this comes the need, often, for help in navigating this reality, and I’m very excited and honored to be a part of this service at UCSB.”

Director of UCSB Career Services Ignacio Gallardo is looking forward to Coate’s contributions to the university’s services for grad students. “I am thrilled to have John join the Career Services team. He brings the combination of counseling skills and management experience we need for this position. In addition, John shares Career Services’ commitment – and has the ability – to help UCSB students identify how they want to contribute to the workforce and then to strategize to achieve those goals.”


Survey Shows Strapped Scientists Abandoning Research and Students

Credit: Funding PeerBad funding news for future and current graduate students pursuing science and engineering research.

In a Chronicle of Higher Education survey of over 11,000 scientists who had received grant funding from either the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF), due to lack of funding more than half of the respondents had abandoned an area of investigation central to their lab's mission and more than three-quarters had reduced their recruitment of graduate students and research fellows.

In the article, "Strapped Scientists Abandon Research and Students," Paul Basken and Paul Voosen report that based on the Chronicle survey "for better or worse, the nation’s scientists have embarked on an unequivocal downsizing of their capability to perform basic investigative research."

It's not only research and students that are affected, but full-time research positions have been reduced as well. According to the National Science Board (the NSF’s governing authority), fewer than 75 percent of people holding science and engineering doctorate degrees are being employed in academia in full-time faculty positions. This is down from 90 percent in the 1970s.

However, there is hope. Michael S. Teitelbaum, in his new book "Falling Behind? Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent," argues that the current downturn in science funding is merely the fifth alarm-boom-bust cycle since the late 1940s. Such downturns eventually lead to fears of shortages, which lead to interventions in the forms of money and visas, which is later followed by another bust as interest wanes.

For more on the survey and how reduced funding is affecting research, read Basken and Voosen's full article.


FYI: You Don't Own That Nifty Online Course You Created

MOOC PosterCredit: Mathieu PlourdeCongratulations! You just created an online course for your university. Oh, and by the way, you have no rights to the course you created.

This is something that instructors are learning to their chagrin as they race to take part in the university craze of creating online courses (often called MOOCs) to reach more students.

In a recent survey of 110 higher education institutions by Jeff Hoyt, an assistant vice dean at Middle Tennessee State University, he discovered only about 10 percent of universities allow faculty to keep sole ownership of the online courses they create.

Of the remaining universities in the survey, more than a third claimed complete control over the courses and materials professors created, while an additional 41 percent were generous enough to allow for joint ownership, meaning that professors might own the course materials they wrote, but their university kept the rights to the multimedia components.

So before you start creating that online course, you might just want to ask who owns the course and the materials. Under California law, professors are supposed to own the rights to the course materials they create, not the university. Elsewhere, the law is not so clear.

For more information on the topic, see the Hechinger report by "As online courses expand, so do questions of ownership."

The Hechinger Report is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet based at Teachers College, Columbia University.


Noozhawk Career Site Offers Free Service to Job Seekers

Besides UCSB’s Career Services Center, grad students have another resource when searching for jobs, both locally and nationally.

At, job seekers can submit their resumes; and receive job matches and job alerts – all for free.

Kim Clark, Noozhawk’s vice president of business development, says the jobs platform offers a more secure and stress-free alternative to sites such as Craigslist, which often contain bogus job postings.

After the free sign-up, job seekers may gain access to job matches; and view and apply for relevant jobs both online and via the job-seeker app.

To sign up, go to


Creating Your Job Negotiation Success Story

Handshake sketchCredit: AJ Cann

Dr. Karen Myers, Graduate Division Associate Dean, and Samantha Powers, a Communication Ph.D. student, recently hosted a workshop to walk graduate students through the process of negotiating a job offer. The workshop also featured a panel of experts who shared some sage and practical advice: Jill Dobrowitsky (Human Resources Consultant, HRL), Dr. Dave Seibold (Professor and Vice Chair, Technology Management Program), and Dr. Bill Smith (Professor and Chair, Molecular Cellular Development Biology).

Here is what I learned from the workshop:

Always Negotiate

You may be happy just to receive a job offer. However, Samantha presented an enlightening hypothetical example of two individuals: One individual did not negotiate and started at $100,000 a year, while the other individual negotiated a 10% increase to a starting salary of $110,000 a year. Over 30 years, with a 3% cost of living adjustment, the person who negotiated for a salary increase would earn about $400,000 more than the other individual. If the individual had invested it, he or she could have almost $1 million more just for making a simple request during the job negotiation process.

Plan, Plan, Plan

CashCredit: flickr user 401(k) 2012Develop clear objectives about what you need and want. Identify your target salary and your walk-away point.

Make a list of your strengths and think about how you can use these strengths to justify your requests. Also, think about your weaknesses and how you can respond to these if the employer brings them up. It’s also helpful to know the employer’s weaknesses and think about how you can use these to your advantage.

Research the salary of the position. Faculty salaries are public information and you can find this information online. You can use a salary calculator or salary database to examine the average range in salary for your position. You can also ask contacts within the organization, university, or industry to get a general idea about the salary for the position. Here is a helpful handout from the workshop about finding credible salary information: Where to Find Salary Information (pdf).

Negotiate More Than Just the Salary

 Academic negotiable items may include:

  • Salary
  • Supplemental salary (e.g., summer stipend) 
  • Relocation/moving expenses 
  • Benefits 
  • Research/startup funds 
  • Lab space 
  • Professional development/travel funds 
  • Research assistant support 
  • Spousal hire 
  • For more ideas, see: What to Negotiate - Academic Jobs (pdf)

Industry negotiable items may include: 

  • Signing bonus 
  • Time off (vacation days)
  • Relocation expenses 
  • Training 
  • Additional perks 
  • Start date 
  • Benefits 
  • For more ideas, see: What to Negotiate - Industry Jobs (pdf)

Think about which two to three of these items are your top priority and focus on how you can negotiate for these items. Jill Dobrowitsky also recommended that you should ask at the beginning of your job negotiation what is and is not negotiable. You can still try to negotiate the items that are not negotiable, but you may be able to get significantly more from the negotiable items.


Use silence to your advantage.

Dr. Myers mentioned that during the negotiation, you should aim for listening 70% of the time and talking only 30% of the time. This allows you to actively pick up on queues and understand the employer’s position. You will also be less likely to say something that you later regret.

Be Specific and Direct

If something is a “must-have” then let the employer know. Make sure to share your reasons and justifications for your requests (e.g., “According to estimates I’ve obtained, I need at least $5,000 in moving expenses in order to be able to move here”).

Play Nice

Be willing to give and take. Don’t go into the negotiation with the “my way or the highway” attitude. Figure out how you can work together with the employer to come to agreeable terms. Employers actually expect you to negotiate because it shows your willingness to collaborate and handle conflict. Additionally, the job negotiation can shape the relationship you have with your future employer. This is your opportunity to show that you can be a team player and work with the employer. Even though you have your objectives, the goal of the negotiation process is to get a “win-win” situation for both parties.

For more information regarding the job negotiation process, here is the workshop PowerPoint:


Essential Take-Aways from the 'How to Work a Career Fair' Workshop

Happy Resume ManCredit: Open Clip Art

Below are some of the essential take-aways for those of you who missed the excellent presentation on “How to Work a Career Fair” by Cathleen Dunn, a UCSB alum and Enterprise-Rent-A-Car Talent Acquisition Manager, on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Career Services.

Own the Process!
Research beforehand, make personal contacts, and follow up on the contacts you make. About 60% to 75% of jobs come about by making a personal contact.

Review the list of employers, tailor your résumé to 5 to 6 specific companies, identify the skills you have and match them with the talent a company needs.

Dress to Impress
Conservative dress is best. If it looks like you could have fun in your outfit, you need to change.

Practice Your Approach
Prepare your 30-second commercial with your name, major, qualifications, career goals, that relate to the needs of the specific companies.

Take Control
Be energetic, make eye contact, and have a firm handshake.

Practical Tips
Turn off your phone, bring a pen, use a checklist of employers to visit, and print more résumé copies than you think you will need (because you will need them).

Helpful Keywords
Study-abroad experience means you have the ability to adapt. Waiting tables or working at Starbucks means you have customer service and sales experience.

Things to Remember
Do not be shy, follow up, initiate and maintain contact with employers you meet, send a thank-you email to the employers you are interested in.

Go to the next “How to Work a Career Fair” workshop to get the full scoop. You will not regret it.

Career Services Logo


What You Missed at Resume+

Credit: Open Clip Art

If you were too busy to go to Career Services on Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m., this is what you may have missed at Resume+.

  • A chance to meet with one of 14 human resource recruiters from companies that will be represented at next week's Winter Career Fair.
  • Ten to 15 minutes of personalized critique of your résumé on such things as:
    • Format
    • Job Description
    • How to make your content stand out

Besides résumé advice, there were also:

  • Useful tips on how to prepare for the Career Fair. (Hint: Cover that tattoo and have a firm handshake).
  • A chance to join the UCSB Alumni Association and hear future talks from people who have been successfully employed.
  • Delicious cookies from the UCSB Alumni Association representative. (The chocolate chip was especially yummy).

If you could not attend Resume+, you can always drop in at Career Services, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.



Versatile PhD Online Panel Discussion: Careers in Finance for Humanities and Social Science PhDs 

Versatile phd logoAs a UCSB graduate student, you have free access to the wealth of information and resources on Versatile PhD. Versatile PhD also hosts online panel discussions to connect you with experts in a specific field so you can get your career-related questions answered.

On Monday, Jan. 20, Versatile PhD will be hosting a weeklong online panel discussion for students interested in pursuing careers in the field of Finance (e.g., investment strategy, proposal writing, client relations). Here are the details:

Careers in Finance Online Panel Discussion

Audience: Humanities and Social Science Ph.D. students.

When: Monday, Jan. 20, to Friday, Jan. 24.

What: A panel of experts in the field of Finance will be available to answer your questions and moderate the discussion forum posts.

More Information:

To register for a Versatile PhD account, visit: