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December 20, 2013

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G rtauddui ae ts e S Volume 2, Issue 5 Inside this issue: For Planning....................... 2 From the Director................. 3 Student Spotlight.................. 4 ...and much more!

S U N Y P o t s d a m ­— O f f i c e o f G r a d u a t e S t u d i e s satterlee hall, suite 116 • potsdam, ny 13676 v: 315.267.2543 or 800.458.1142, ext. 2 • f: 315.267.4802 gradstudies@potsdam.edu


For Planning Purposes I mportant U pcoming D ates

December 2013

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February 2014 Sun

Winterim Begins (2-week courses)...............................Jan 3 Winterim Ends...........................................................Jan 15

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Last Day of Classes.............................................. Fri, May 9

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Final Examinations................ Mon through Fri, May 12–16 Undergraduate Honors Convocation................Sat, May 17 Graduate Commencement................................Sat, May 17

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Undergraduate Commencement......................Sun, May 18


From the Director ... What a fast semester this has been! It seems like just yesterday we were hosting our welcome back BBQ at Dexter’s, assisting with registration, and getting settled in for the fall. Now it’s almost the New Year! On behalf of the Graduate Studies team, I would like to thank every member of the graduate community for a successful semester. As we reflect upon the semester, I’d like to highlight a few great things that have happened: • Professional Development Funding supported some great trips for some graduate students to Atlanta, GA and Orlando, FL. • Numerous workshops were offered to support students’ growth in many key areas such as thesis writing, resume writing, classroom tips, and more! • A few great networking events were offered, and graduate studies gave back on national “Make a Difference Day”! • The Graduate Studies resource room was “open for business,” providing resources for students as well as a place to hang out or do work. • A new website was launched! Please visit us at the following URL: http://www.potsdam.edu/gradstudies. These are just a few examples, and also an opportunity to thank everyone involved in making them happen. It is our hope that in addition to every day support, these resources were of benefit to you, our students. Spring is just around the corner, and Graduate Studies is working to continue to build upon this semester, and provide you with resources and opportunities to connect with peers, engage with your profession, and more! I wanted to share with you a few key things we will be working on for the spring, as well as some dates you will want to be sure and hold on your calendar: • Graduate Studies is beginning to develop an “online resource center” for students. This will include previous workshops, videos of webinars, professional organizations listing, resources from the Career Planning Office, and more! This area will be especially helpful to our valued Watertown students to keep them in the loop with campus happenings.

• Workshops and speakers! We have some great projects we are working on to bring special speakers in and provide opportunities to develop your skills to be offered throughout the semester. • We have created three new positions! In spring 2014, we will have a community coordinator for both Potsdam and Watertown, as well as a communication manager. Graduate students will fill all three positions. There is much more in store, and we invite you to share ideas you have of how we can support your community. Lastly, I want to bring to your attention an important opportunity to showcase your work, and gain experience in presenting to an audience of your peers. On April 26, a fellow SUNY institution (Brockport) will be hosting a Master’s level research conference! This conference will include graduate students from across the SUNY system. Graduate Studies wants to support you! The presentation proposal is open until February 2, and additional information is on the attached flyer and in our office. Please stop by so that we can discuss your proposal! Graduate Studies will provide transportation and conference registration. Not sure if you want to present but are interested in going? Stop by our office to sign up. A limited number of seats will be available. As you spend time at home with family and friends this holiday season, I wish you a safe and happy time, and I look forward to seeing you in late January. For those of you who graduated this semester, congratulations! I hope you will consider walking next May during the graduate commencement ceremony. Yours in Education,

Josh LaFave — Director, Graduate Studies

S t i l l A va i l a b l e You can get an application for Professional Development Funding or a copy of the 2014 Job Search Handbook by stopping in our office!

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Student Spotlight — Brenton M. Johnson

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his issue, Graduate Studies interviews Brenton M. Johnson, an MA English & Communication student. Brenton is a Graduate Assistant employed as Assistant Director for the Writing Center.

• How does this position fit into your overall career path? The reason that I took on the Graduate Assistant position of the Assistant Director of the Writing Center at SUNY Potsdam is because it is helping me to continue to gain knowledge and insight along my career path of hopefully one day being an English Instructor at a community college here in the US, teaching English abroad, and/or being a Director of my own Writing Center. I have been a peer tutor at the Writing Center since 2010. Since then I have come to realize that being an instructor or director is something that I was meant to be because I like being able to help my college peers with their own writing and in turn helping to inspire others at the same time. Being a tutor and a Graduate Assistant/ Assistant Director has been very rewarding and memorable and I would not trade this experience for anything. It has helped me grow as a person and a professional in many ways through the experiences and skills that I have gained while working at the center and being a part time faculty/staff member in the English and Communication Department. Plus this position is expediting my master’s thesis research as well that I am working on currently at the moment. The present title for my thesis research is “Discovering an Empathic Pedagogical Workshop for a Writing Center: Peer Consultants Recognizing, Learning, and Applying Empathy in their One-On-One Sessions.” With this thesis research, my goal is to essentially create an empathic pedagogical tutor workshop or seminar that can be used at any writing center that will benefit tutors and help them to become more aware of the power of empathy and how one should recognize, learn, and apply it within their one-on-one sessions with their every day tutees. • What skills and experiences have you gained or continued to develop through this position? The skills that I have gained or continued to have developed through the College Writing Center Assistant Director position have been learning to be in a leadership role overseeing approximately 15 undergraduate tutors and staff, expanding on my knowledge as a peer tutor and collaborating professionally with the Director, Dr. Jennifer Mitchell of the English and Communication Department on past tutor development workshops, collaborating with other professors and colleagues from outside of the English and Communication department through presentations and peer editing workshops to help their students essentially become better writers, assisting different cultural and diverse students from all over the world on how to become better writers through patience and compassion, which is truly one of the most rewarding experiences that I encounter every day through this position, and lastly through all of these experiences and skills that I am fully embracing and taking them all in day by day, I am hoping to carry on the knowledge that I have gained and am continuing to gain to the next chapter of my professional development after I graduate with my Master’s degree in English and Communication in May 2014. • How do you plan to employ these skills and experience later in your career? I plan to employ these skills and experiences later in my career by simply taking everything that I have learned, soaking it all up, and applying it to my future writing center and/or English classroom. I have learned so much about what goes into making a writing center function successfully by collaborating with professors across every discipline and being attentive and caring to my college peers who seek help and guidance with their writing. I am hoping that one day, while potentially directing my own writing center or teaching my own students in a classroom environment, I will be able to employ these same techniques and strategies to make them function positively and be a success. • What has been your favorite part about this job?

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My favorite part about this position is being enmeshed with a great group of people with different attributes and skills. These wonderful peo-

ple include undergraduate tutors who make my job worthwhile and a daily joy, the English and Communication faculty who are truly amazing and great at everything they do, while also making sure their students are getting the best education possible, and collaborating with the Director on various projects that have to do with the writing center, including a presentation that is currently in the works where I will be a co-facilitator/ presenter at the Northeast Writing Centers Association at Bryant University in Providence, RI in March 2014. Through this professional partnership, Dr. Mitchell has shown me how one can truly be passionate and dedicated towards your students and staff, because she cares a lot about her students and staff. With this being said, I hope that I can take some of her wisdom and wholeheartedness with me and demonstrate these wonderful attributes to my own students when I graduate next semester. She has been a wonderful and inspiring mentor and professor throughout my years here at SUNY Potsdam and I hope to be half the professor and/or director she is in the future. • What is the most rewarding aspect of the position? The most truly rewarding aspect about this position is simply to be able to help others emotionally, and to do so efficiently. When I see, meet, and greet students who come into the writing center, sometimes they can be very distraught and lack confidence with their own writing. My main tutoring goal is to be sympathetic towards their writing goals and to ultimately help them become more confident with themselves and their writing. One of the big misconceptions about a writing center in general is that tutors do the revision and edits for you on your paper or writing assignment. This is simply not the case. We collaborate one-on-one with every writer at any stage of his or her writing and we all try to assist our tutees by acting as a sounding board. Teamwork, compassion, and devotion are three main things that exist within the writing center here at SUNY Potsdam when it comes to every tutor, including myself. Furthermore, while being sympathetic towards a writer’s goals and aspirations of their final product or paper, as long as I am able to make them comfortable and more confident in their writing than before when they walked through the center’s doors is the biggest and most rewarding aspect that I could ever ask for. This rewarding aspect is why I truly adore my job so much and why I praise and respect other tutors and professors who do the same with their tutees or students. • What type of graduate student would find this to be a worthwhile job? The type of graduate student that would find this to be a worthwhile job would be one who already has existing knowledge on what it means to work within a writing center as a peer tutor or one who has an interest in tutoring and assisting others with their writing. Furthermore, the ideal graduate student perfect for this position would be one who possesses a true sense of empathy, compassion, and understanding for those who seek help and guidance with their writing. To note: Writing centers are truly confidential, comfortable, and useful places that students will often overlook throughout their academic career. However, once one has stepped into a writing center and received help with their writing in an individualized consultation, I feel that they will gain a new appreciation and respect for their peers. Additionally, they might find that they would want to become a tutor themselves, which is always welcomed and tutors always invite questions on how one becomes a tutor. Take a chance and come get help with your writing, you will be glad you did!


On Camp u s NEWS

Finally Graduating! December 2013 graduates — can you believe that you are ready to receive your degree?! Classes and finals are done, grades have been entered and processed. What were you hoping for? Why, a 4.0, we’re guessing! You have worked so hard to get to this moment, and now there’s just one more thing to round out your educational experience here at SUNY Potsdam; do you know what that is? Your final project is to complete your Application for Master’s Degree. You have done all the hard work, and this last project is an easy one! Once you have completed your application and your grades are posted, we can award your degree. But we cannot do that until you have

turned in your Application for Master’s Degree. The 2014 Graduate Commencement Ceremony will be held Saturday, May 17, 2014 in the Hosmer Concert Hall. For more information regarding Commencement, please visit the webpage http://www.potsdam.edu/current/commencement/ where you can find information about caps and gowns, other special events, and the Commencement day schedule. For the few remaining days of 2013, the Office of Graduate Studies wishes you Happy Holidays; and for the New Year and beyond, we wish you continued success in 2014 and in your future career!

Course Transfer / Substitution Policy This quick overview will help ensure full understanding of the course substitution process and how it relates to BearDeN audit accuracy. At the graduate level, substitution approval is case-by-case. Approved course substitutions are most typically administered within the parameters that follow: Types of Substitutions: 1. Use of an approved graduate transfer course from another institution (see Graduate Catalog, page 11, Transfer Policy) to replace a required course or elective within a program. 2. Replacing a required course or elective with another approved Potsdam graduate course of equal or greater credit, since either the student has already completed the academic requirement with previous academic work or, in some cases, experiential training (most typically employment or volunteer work). All master’s degree students are required to complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of degree study through SUNY Potsdam. A total of no more than nine hours of transfer

credit may normally be used to meet Master of Science in Education, Master of Science for Teachers or Master of Science degree requirements at SUNY Potsdam. No more than six hours of transfer credit may normally be used to satisfy Master of Arts and Master of Music degree requirements. Credits transferred from another institution are accepted at the discretion of the department granting the degree, and must meet the following conditions: upon evaluation, courses to be transferred are judged to be equal in scope and content to those offered by this College. Only graduate credit earned at accredited institutions is acceptable for transfer credit. The grades earned must be at the 3.0 level or above (based on a system where A = 4.0). The transfer grade is not included in the student’s SUNY Potsdam GPA. Process: In order for a substituted/transferred course to appear on BearDeN, the “Course Substitution/Transfer Credit Request Form” must be completed. This form can be picked up in the Graduate Studies (Satterlee 116)

or downloaded from our website’s “Find a Form” page: www.potsdam.edu/gradstudies. To substitute work/volunteer experience for credit, a resume should be attached. In this case, additional coursework must be completed to fulfill program credit requirements. To substitute any courses, a matriculated student planning to enroll in transfer courses at another institution must obtain prior approval for such courses from their adviser. Evaluation should be requested in advance of registration for the course. A catalog description for each course should accompany requests for transfer credit. Transfer credit is not formally applied to the degree program until the student has achieved Full Admission. An official transcript confirming completion of the work must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office. This policy applies whether or not courses have been used to satisfy another graduate degree from SUNY Potsdam or elsewhere. Courses taken to complete a previous Master’s Degree at SUNY Potsdam will be treated as transfer courses in accordance with this policy.

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to improve the quality of graduate life at SUNY Potsdam.�

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Satterlee Hall, Suite 116 Potsdam, NY 13676 Voice: 315.267.2543 or 800.458.1142, ext. 2 Fax: 315.267.4802 gradstudies@potsdam.edu

Josh LaFave Director

lafavejj@potsdam.edu

Yo

Pete Cutler

Annette Kelley

cutlerpj@potsdam.edu

kelleyar@potsdam.edu

Assistant Director

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Clerical Support

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This is your newsletter. We invite you to share with us what you would like to see. Stop by Satterlee 116 for a visit, or contact us at gradstudies@potsdam.edu. Also, be on the lookout for a Graduate Studies Corner in The Raquette!

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Graduate Studies Weekly - December 20th, 2013