Interested in staying up to date on the latest news for UCSB graduate students? Subscribe to the UCSB GradPost.

University of California Santa Barbara
Campaign for the University of California Santa Barbara

Translate the GradPost:

Graduate Peers' Schedules

Fall 2014
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer:
Shawn Warner-Garcia
Tue: 10 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Diversity & Outreach Peer:

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco
Wed: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thu: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre
Mon: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Tue: 9 a.m. to noon, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wed: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Communications Peer:
Melissa Rapp
Wed: 9:45 to 11:45 a.m.
Thu: 1 to 5 p.m.

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.



Campus Map


View UCSB Graduate Student Resources in a larger map


How to Survive the Peer Review Process

Credit: PhD Comics

Many graduate students dread the peer-review process. Not only can it take a dauntingly long time, but anonymous reviewers are notoriously characterized as vicious, unhelpful, and snide. Alas, it appears that peer review is here to stay in academia (at least in the foreseeable future)! Read below for more on how to survive the process and perhaps even produce a paper that you are proud of and that people will read.

The ins and outs, ups and downs

Peer Review in Academic Publishing. We all know peer review is important, but why? Mary Bucholtz tackles that issue and gives 10 tips for dealing with reviews.

The Really Obvious (but All-Too-Often-Ignored) Guide to Getting Published. Columnist Kirsten Bell spells out some of the basics, including learning how to write a good paper in the first place (contact our writing peer for personalized help!), nominating your own reviewers, and being persistent.

The Peer Review Jerk Survival Guide. It's inevitable. You will encounter jerks in the peer review process. Rebecca Schuman tells you how to handle it with poise and a sense of humor.

Take the Hit and Move Forward. Learning life lessons from peer reviewing takes humility and patience, but it's worth it. Erik Schneiderhan and Tricia Seifert provide encouragement for when peer review makes you want to throw in the towel.

Also check out Vitae's discussion forum on scholarly writing.

Feeling optimistic? How to fix the peer review process

Revise and Resubmit! In a column for Slate, Rebecca Schuman explains why the peer review process is the way it is and how to fix it.

Why You Gotta Be So Mean? Columnist Erik Schneiderhan calls on peer reviewers to ease up a little bit and suggests that perhaps there is a place for public shaming of particularly mean reviewers.


Finding Your Yoda: The Importance of Mentoring in Academia

Credit: Shawn Warner-Garcia"Mentoring" has become something of a buzzword in academic circles these days. Many graduate students and faculty are realizing the mutual benefits of creating and cultivating a positive mentoring relationship.

The Chronicle and Vitae websites have recently published several articles addressing this very issue. Here is a brief rundown of the current conversation.

Making the most of advising relationships

Trouble Finding Mentors on Campus? Go Online

Many interdisciplinary scholars or underrepresented and marginalized students may have trouble finding traditional mentors at their academic institutions. David Leonard offers advice on how to tap into online resources and social media in order to assemble a community of mentors to critically engage with and elevate your scholarly work.

Spotting a Bad Adviser - And How to Pick a Good One

Leonard Cassuto gives pointers on how to choose a good adviser. Some qualities to look for include: the adviser treats you like the CEO of your own education, the adviser's expectations evolve as the student develops through his or her graduate education, and the adviser is interested in your career - whether it's within or outside of academia. Take-away point: know what you want and expect what you're entitled to.

Mentoring Is a Business. Don't Fear It.

Many in academia see mentoring as a necessary (but usually unpaid) aspect of the job. Kerry Ann Rockquemore argues that mentoring as a paid, professional service (often outsourced from the university) can be more effective than overburdening senior faculty members. She also prompts mentees to think extensively about 5 important questions to ask when seeking a mentor relationship.

Mentoring from a faculty perspective

What Mentors Often Miss

Providing advice and guidance are typically the primary role for academic advisors. But Tracey Lewis-Giggetts also points out two things that many mentors miss or undervalue: caring for their mentees and listening more than talking.

The Difference Mentoring Makes

Beth McMurtrie talks about the importance of developing mentorships between senior faculty and junior faculty. She points out that open-door policies, downplaying competition, and investing for the long haul are all ways to make mentoring count. However, she also notes that contingent faculty can get the short shrift of otherwise successful university-wide mentoring efforts.

Other resources

The Worst Advice Grad Students Get

"#5: It doesn't matter who your advisor is."

Vitae Discussion Forum: Advising in Academia

Should advising be done by faculty or staff?

Giving and Getting Career Advice: A Guide for Junior and Senior Faculty

Over a dozen topics of discussion, including how to get grants, what types of service work to take on, the tenure-and-promotion process, family issues, and how to plan a career trajectory.

Also check out these GradPost articles on advising:


Easy and Rewarding Ways to Maximize Your Summer as a Young Scholar

Many scholars dedicate their summers to writing, researching, and recuperating from the school year. But summer is also prime time for graduate students and other young scholars to catch up on some professional development projects. Josh Boldt of Vitae offers eight easy and rewarding ways to maximize your summer, including:

  • Create a personal website. Read this GradPost article about more ways to manage your digital reputation.
  • Join Twitter and use it. Learn more about how to use Twitter to create a personal learning network here.
  • Write guest posts for websites (such as Vitae or the GradPost!). This is a great way to build a professional network and increase the audience for your research.

Read the full list of summer to-dos here.


How to Navigate the Diversity Question in Job Interviews

"Describe your experiences with diversity in and/or outside of the classroom."

With the shifting demographics of college campuses, it is likely that most job candidates will be asked some form of this question while interviewing for jobs in academia. And, as Nicole Matos writes in an article on Vitae, it is important for applicants not to dodge this question or give an equivocating answer.

Matos gives several pieces of advice on how to face the diversity question head-on in an appropriate and proactive way.

  • Explicitly discuss race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, and/or disability as aspects of diversity. Address culturally potent forms of difference (and do your research beforehand about appropriate terminology for each of these diversity categories).
  • Demonstrate an awareness of difference within commonly-accepted categories of diversity. Demonstrate that you know that cultural groups such as African Americans and persons with disabilities are not homogenous entities.
  • Go easy on the “stranger in a strange land” equivalencies. Be mindful of how your own experiences of being a minority do and do not compare to others'.
  • Never assume your expertise with diversity issues should go without saying. On the flip side, don't assume that a rich personal background equals adequate reflection about issues of diversity.
  • Discuss privilege. Acknowledge the ways in which privilege has allowed you to become the qualified candidate that you are while also discussing how you would seek to level the playing field for those less privileged.
  • Admit to uncertainty and ambiguity. It's okay to be honest about instances where you struggled to appropriately deal with diversity. Again, this admission demonstrates self-awareness and reflection.
  • Discuss the very real, positive side of classroom diversity—don’t only treat it as a “problem” to be “solved.” How have you helped students take pride in their backgrounds while also pushing them beyond their comfort zones?
  • Offer specifics and stakes. Offer up an example - whether real or hypothetical - of how you would handle a difficult diversity situation in the classroom.

For more in-depth advice, access the full article here.

For more GradPost articles on diversity, click here.

“Describe your experiences with diversity in and/or outside the classroom.” - See more at:

Vitae Hosts Scholarly Writing Discussion Group


Have you heard of Vitae? It is The Chronicle's online career hub for those in academia. The website has great resources for job searches and professional development, as well as academic news and advice. Vitae is currently hosting a discussion forum about scholarly writing tools and strategies in order for scholars to talk about productivity, craft, and anything else that pertains to the writing life.

Some of the recent posts include:

Check out the forum here and then sign up for Vitae to participate!


What You Need to Know about Predoctoral Fellowships

Many graduate students dream of getting a prestigious postdoc position where they have the time to write, research, and network. But a similar opportunity is available even before finally receiving that hard-earned hooding. A predoctoral fellowship – sometimes also called a dissertation writing fellowship or dissertation completion grant – is a great way for graduate students within two years of completing their Ph.D. to gain invaluable time to write their dissertation.

Some predoctoral fellowships require that you complete your dissertation by a certain date, while others are more open-ended. A great way to stay accountable with the vast amounts of unstructured time that a predoctoral fellowship affords you is to join a writing group. These can be found within your discipline, online, or even in the Graduate Division's Writing Room!

While you will likely spend much of your time writing while on a predoctoral fellowship, it is also a good idea to use some of your time to get a head start on your job search. It's also important to stay connected to your department and your discipline by continuing to network, which will help you once you enter the job market as well.

Check out these links to find out more about predoctoral funding at UCSB:

For more tips on how to make the most of a predoctoral fellowship, read this article.

“dissertation writing fellowship,” “predoctoral fellowship,” “dissertation completion grant.” - See more at:

Getting the Most out of Your Summer

It's summertime! That means vacations, barbecuing, and pleasure reading. For those in academia, summer is also the time to catch up on work put on the backburner during the school year, including writing, fieldwork, and – if you are a newly minted or soon-to-be-minted Ph.D. – preparing to enter the fall job market. Dan Royles, a recent graduate himself, gives some great advice on how to get a running start into the fall academic job search in this article on Vitae, The Chronicle's online career hub.

Royles' top tips include:

  1. Update your CV. This might also include creating a resume version of your CV if you are interested in alt-ac jobs.
  2. Get organized by creating a spreadsheet to track all of the job opportunities you are pursuing.
  3. Pull together your teaching portfolio. If you are pursuing a Certificate in College and University Teaching at UCSB, you should be ahead of the game!
  4. Come up with a second project, complete with a plan for funding and sources, so that interviewers will view you as a potential colleague with an active research agenda.
  5. Build your interview wardrobe. Check out this thread on The Professor Is In to learn "how not to f**k up your conference interview."

Read the full article here.


Building Your Nonacademic Profile: Strengths and Weaknesses You May Not Know You Already Have

John W. Tomac for The ChronicleMany graduate students know which types of academic skills they excel at and which are more challenging for them. But how does an academically cultivated skill set translate to the world outside of academia? With recent trends in alt-ac and post-ac careers, it is important for graduate students to learn how to make themselves marketable to broad audiences. In their article "Using Your Last Two (or More) Years Wisely" for The Chronicle, professional development experts Julie Miller Vick and Jennifer Furlong discuss how to build your nonacademic profile while finishing up grad school.

In particular, the authors point out that doctoral students already have many skills that readily translate to the outside world, such as:

  1. Applying for external grants.
  2. Learning to teach and present information clearly.
  3. Being able to synthesize complex information quickly.
  4. Developing a high level of comfort with (big) data.
  5. Building strong writing and/or technical skills.

However, they also note that there are some things that many grad students don't do well or don't do a very good job of communicating that they do well, such as:

  1. Working as part of a team (particularly one made up of people with different training and perspectives).
  2. Supervising people.
  3. Overseeing complex projects.
  4. Managing a budget.

For tips on how to play up strengths and shore up weaknesses in preparing for a wide range of career opportunities, read the full article here.


Ph.D. Hacks Every Graduate Student Should Know

When time is of the essence, it's good to know that there are lifehacks for everything - even for completing your Ph.D. ScholarShape Blog recently published a list of 101 Tips for Finishing Your Ph.D. Quickly. Some favorites include:

  1. Find an efficient note-taking system, like Evernote.
  2. Choose an advisor who has a reputation for being helpful.
  3. Try a standing desk.
  4. Don't reinvent the wheel. Borrow, swap, and search online for already-created materials (like lesson plans).
  5. If you have a child, get help. (Not that kind of help. The childcare kind of help.) Check out these GradPost articles about student parent resources and funding for childcare.
  6. During work time, block distracting websites using apps such as FocalFilter.
  7. Integrate your social media use into your work. Use these platforms to publicize your work as well as get feedback about your research.
  8. If you’re attending grad school in an exciting city, pretend you’re instead living in Waco, Texas. (This one hits a little too close to home, as I also attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas. However, it is true that I finished a masters degree in two years while working nearly full-time when I lived in Waco.)
  9. Honor the connection between writing and thinking.
  10. Look forward to, and plan for, the job you’ll have after grad school.

For the complete list, click here.


Santa Barbara City College Seeks Writing Tutors


The Writing Center at Santa Barbara City College is looking to hire a writing tutor to start in Fall 2014. Tutors assist students with pre-writing, writing, editing, MLA and other citation guidelines, grammar, essay structure, and thesis and content development for academic writing. The hiring committee is looking for experience in writing, counseling, tutoring or teaching that has familiarized applicants with student-centered learning and empowerment or the stages of the writing process. However, training in these areas is also provided. Hourly wage is $14.50/hr.

For more information, click here or contact Michelle Detorie or Beth Taylor-Schott.


To begin the application process, visit the SBCC Employment Search Website.