October Updates from Nathan Urban

October 30, 2017 

Dear Graduate and Professional Students,

Welcome to Fall, as evidenced by the cool temperatures that have finally arrived here in Pittsburgh. I am writing to update you on some of my most recent activities and the opportunities I have had to meet with graduate and professional students—to learn more about your perspectives, and to use that information to gain insight into ways to support you throughout your graduate school experience. 

On October 10th, the Engineering Graduate Student Organization invited me to talk about a number of issues, including graduate student unionization. Kristy Rzepecki, Senior Title IX and Diversity Specialist, attended the discussion and talked about the resources that the University provides for students who have concerns about issues of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination. The Title IX Office helps graduate students regardless of enrollment status, academic appointment, or international status. To increase graduate student awareness of Title IX, the office added a new Webpage to highlight available resources for graduate and professional students [link updated Dec. 2020].

After the panel formally concluded, a number of students stayed to talk individually. One topic we discussed was the challenge of parenting as a graduate or professional student. You might be interested in reading a new article (first in a series of three) titled, “Graduate Students and Parental Leave: Seeing a Need, Providing Assistance,” which is available on the graduate resources page. To continue to provide information and to hear your thoughts about this important topic, my office is planning an event to be held in Spring 2018. Please let me know if you have suggestions for this event.

Professional Development:
As part of Science 2017, I spoke and hosted a table at the Career Symposium for Postdocs and Graduate Students. This interactive workshop, presented by the Office of Academic Career Development–Health Sciences (OACD - www.oacd.health.pitt.edu) and the University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association (www.uppda.pitt.edu), provided attendees a unique opportunity to gather career advice and insights directly from professionals with graduate degrees working in specific fields. OACD has a number of programs on professional development and my office is compiling information about the broad array of available for graduate students.

Notable Events and Programs:
The Center for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Career Development is hosting Leveraging LinkedIn: Building Your Online Presence on November 8, 2017, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Attendees will learn tips and tricks to ensure their profiles stand out and are targeted to attract the people or organizations who can help them advance their careers. 

The Graduate Student Teaching Initiative is hosting Developing a Teaching Philosophy Statement on November 2, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A teaching philosophy statement is a concise, compelling illustration of you as an instructor, a useful exercise in reflexive examination of your teaching, and a necessary component for many academic job applications. 

As well, Encouraging Student Participation is scheduled for November 8, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Participants will gain strategies to engage all of their students in the learning process. 

Note: These two workshops and others may be counted toward the Professional Development concentration of the Achievement in Pedagogy badge, offered through the Graduate Student Teaching Initiative. 

Five graduate students from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Nursing, and Dietrich School/English were exhibitors representing three Pitt interactive installations at the ACCelerate Festival: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival in Washington, D.C. from October 13-15, 2017. Over 37,000 attendees visited the museum and the Open House over three days!

Follow Office of the Provost - Graduate Studies on twitter @PittGradStudies

I am committed to doing all I can to support graduate and professional students at Pitt— and I want to hear from you.  Feel free to contact me at VPGraduate-Urban@pitt.edu, or stop by my next office hour on Friday, November 3, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in 801 Cathedral of Learning. Also, please see the Graduate Resources Website at www.gradstudents.pitt.edu

Nathan Urban
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies