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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2015
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer:
Shawn Warner-Garcia
Mon: 10 a.m. to noon
Wed: 10 a.m. to noon
Fri: 10 a.m. to noon

Diversity & Outreach Peer:

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco
Tue: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre
Mon: 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Tue: 9 to 11 a.m., 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wed: 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Communications Peer:
Melissa Rapp
Mon: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thu: 1 to 3 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.



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5 Ways to Be a Better Mentor

MentorCredit: Funding PeerOne day you will graduate (really!) and someone will look up to you for advice.

Here are five ways you can be a better mentor.

  1. Ask better questions. Mentors just don't provide good answers, they also ask the right questions.
  2. Be fully present when listening. Your mentee doesn't just need advice; he or she also needs a sympathetic listener.
  3. Understand that the professional and personal are linked. Sometimes personal lives affect professional lives.
  4. Truly listen. By truly listening, you can articulate your mentee's thoughts back to him or her so that s/he can clearly see the situation.
  5. Demand accountability. You're not just there to encourage and hand hold, your must also expect your mentee to meet set goals.

For more on this topic, read the Time article by Rick Wartzman, "5 Secrets to Being a Great Mentor-From Someone Mentored by the Best."


Perish or Pay to Publish: The New Devil's Choice in Academia

E-CardCredit: Funding PeerRecently, I received an email from two excited graduate students who had their book of edited articles accepted for publication. I was excited for their success – that is, until I read their acceptance letter: Congratulations, your book was accepted for publication: The authors will pay $4,000 to have their book published.

Welcome to the hard, cold, new world of academic publishing.

Not only are professors expected to publish to get and keep their jobs, but now many also have to pay to have that work published. And they're not just paying for books; they're paying for articles, too.

The overwhelming need to publish has helped to create a market for the world of open-access publishers, who are willing to publish your research – for a price.

What is that price?

This selective list created by UC Berkeley shows that academic authors must pay $1,000 or more in many cases to have their article published by an open-access publisher.

Elsevier hosts a number of open access journals, and publication in them costs an author anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for an article, depending on the title.

Outsell, a consultancy firm, estimated the average price in 2011 for a published science article was $660.

And for monographs, the price can be up to five times as much.

Who benefits?

Not surprisingly, open-access publishers are benefiting the most from this trend. In an article in the Economist "Open Access Scientific Publishing is Gaining Ground," it was estimated that open access publishers generated $172 million in 2012 and were expected to earn $336 million by 2015.

So what should you do?

The reality is that young professors need to publish to be hired, to keep their jobs, and to get tenure. While there are still places to publish without a fee, article acceptance is more difficult, and that's if you accept the fact that doing free work as a peer reviewer is not a fee.

My advice: Go in with eyes wide open and a big wallet.

For more discouraging information on this topic, read these articles:

Nick Hopwood's blog " A Few Things You've Always Wanted to Know About Academic Publication But Were Too Afraid to Ask."

Sarah Kendzior, "What's the Point of Academic Publishing?"

The Nature article by Richard Van Noorden, "Open Access: The True Cost of Science Publishing."


How to Tell Your Advisor that Faculty Life Is Not for You

AdvisorCredit: Funding PeerMany graduate students have anxiety telling their advisors about their desire not to follow the sweet faculty life. Based on what I've seen and experienced at UCSB, graduate advisors think their students want to be just like them.

So how do you break your advisor's heart – and still get that reference or permission to do an internship out of the department? The following is my personal advice on how to handle the situation.

Prepare for the conversation

First, frame your conversation to stress the difficult job market for academia and that you want to be prepared for the possibility of not landing that sweet tenure-track job in Nowheresville, USA.

Next, do research on what options are available to you in your field of study.

Then, have a plan of what you are going to say and what research you have done.

Address push/pull factors

Let your advisor know what is pushing you away from academia and what is pulling you toward another field.

Push factors can include things such as the difficult job market in academia, your mounting financial obligations, and your geographical limitations.

Pull factors can include how you feel you can make a better, more meaningful contribution to a non-academic field such as government, non-profit, industry, or administration.

Ask for something specific

Be polite and explain to your advisor what you exactly need from him or her, in terms of a letter of reference or  permission to work in a non-academic internship.

Prepare a cheat sheet to show how the advisor can write your non-academic reference to best present your skills.

If things go wrong

Most advisors will be helpful, but if you feel your advisor is being unreasonable, you always have recourse to your department chair or the Graduate Division.

For more information on this topic, read The Chronicle of Higher Education advice article by L. Maren Wood, "How to Tell Your Advisor."


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:

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