September Updates from Nathan Urban with Graduate and Professional Student Government

September 20, 2017

Dear Graduate and Professional Students,

I hope that your academic year is off to a productive start. This month I have invited Christopher Staten— the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) — to join me in my letter to all graduate and professional students. GPSG’s mission is to empower Pitt’s graduate and professional students to maximize their opportunities and impact by fostering a sense of community both within the University of Pittsburgh and the local community ( Chris and I have been talking about areas of mutual interest in our efforts to support graduate students and we wanted to highlight some of our shared thoughts about these areas. We see the partnership between graduate student government and the Provost’s Office as being a powerful way to build programs and to improve communication.

Both of us believe that one important way to improve graduate student life on campus is to do a better job of communicating with graduate and professional students about the resources, opportunities and activities available through the university, through the GPSG and through individual schools. Separately and together, we are trying to make access to important information about policies, programs and resources more readily available. Recently we organized a reception inviting student leaders from all of the school Graduate Student Organizations (GSOs) plus GPSG to meet with me and associate deans from all the schools to discuss issues of student interest. 

Professional development:
Success after graduate school depends on both outstanding academic preparation and also developing skills like communications, leadership, mentoring and building professional networks. Both GPSG and the Provost’s Office are looking for ways to enhance these kinds of professional development of graduate and professional students. Please email if you are interested in joining GPSG’s newly formed Professional Development Committee which will be involved in organizing professional development programs for graduate and professional students at Pitt. The Doctoral and Postdoctoral Professionalism Series is hosting programs called Learn to Maximize Productivity (October 26) and Leverage LinkedIn (November 8). Look for more programs and activity on this front to come later in the semester.

Notable Events and Programs:
University Library System Fall Workshops and Faculty Books Talks
Join the library for workshops on topics ranging from Copyright Survival Guide to Network Analysis and Visualization and more. Visit their upcoming events page for a complete listing and to register.  You might also enjoy attending one of the next two Faculty Book talks, see

Healthy U Fair:
The annual Healthy U Fair will be held from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Friday, September 25 on the William Pitt Union lawn and lower lounge. Representatives from health and wellness-related organizations from across the University (such as student health) and city (such as fitness facilities and counseling organizations) will be available to talk with students about the programs and services that they offer. Raffles and giveaways, including a Fitbit Blaze watch from the Provost’s Office, should also encourage you to stop by! It’s important to take time for yourself.

Nominate research doctoral mentors:
Letters of nomination for the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring are being accepted until October 6, 2017. Guidelines for submitting a nomination and eligibility are available at Doctoral Mentoring Awards. Past award recipients are listed at

I am committed to doing all that I can to support graduate and professional students at Pitt, and I want to hear from you.  Feel free to contact me at, or stop by my next office hour on Wednesday, September 27 from 4 to 5 p.m. in 826 Cathedral of Learning. Also, see the Graduate Resources Website at

Nathan Urban
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies