Archived Newsletters

October 2020

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From the Director

As we settle into fall, I cannot believe that we have been managing to live, work, and pursue our degrees in a world transformed by COVID-19 for more than seven months. The pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives and livelihoods. So many of our interactions have migrated to a remote environment: we had to cancel commencement in spring 2020 and our fall commencement exercises will now be held virtually. These are milestone events, yet they just scratch the surface. It is so easy to become overwhelmed by the rapidity with which our lives have changed and the extent to which those changes have permeated our world. It is easy, at times, to become despondent; there are, however, always reasons for optimism.

This month we feature another one of our graduate students. I invite you to learn about Ms. Charley Todd, a current student in the Master of Education program and a 5th-grade teacher in the EVSC. Her story, as well as Kimberly Burk’s story in last month’s Newsletter, provide examples of why there is reason to remain positive and optimistic despite the severity of this pandemic. While so much has changed in our world, one constant I see daily is the dedication, determination, and unstinting commitment of USI’s graduate students. Charley and Kimberly provide examples of how our students are navigating successfully the pandemic while maintaining standards of excellence in their lives, in their work, and in their studies.

If there has ever been a time to highlight the accomplishments of our students, who serve as paradigms of positivity, it is now. Over the coming months, I look forward to sharing additional stories of our students’ exceptional ability to transform the lives of others during these challenging times.

Dr. Michael Dixon
Director, Graduate Studies

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Fall 2020 Graduation

The Fall 2020 Graduation will be held virtually on Saturday, December 12. All 2020 USI graduates are invited participate in this virtual ceremony.

President's Address  FAQs

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Spring 2021 Registration

Priority Registration starts this week! Be sure to speak with your advisor if you are unsure of your course plan. 

Register as soon as possible as courses will begin to reach capacity!

Course Registration Tips

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Student Spotlight

Charley Todd, Graduate Education Student

I am a 5th grade teacher for the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation. This is my fourth year with the EVSC. Before moving to Evansville, I taught for ten years in the Atlanta area. I am in the MS in Education (MSE) program and will graduate in the Spring. I obtained my bachelor’s degree from Brenau University in Georgia.

The pandemic impacted the end to the 2019-2020 school year. Our last day physically with the students was March 13th, 2020. For the remainder of the semester, we taught virtually. At that time, teaching virtually involved creating a Google Slide presentation with 30 minute lessons for core subjects every other day.

The start of the 2020 school year was delayed for two weeks. As a result, I was extremely overwhelmed when the year did start because my USI classes and my job all started at the same time. The first part of the school year is always extremely busy for teachers, so for the first month, I wondered if I was going to be able to actually do my classes at USI and continue to be an effective teacher.

The set up of my classroom is completely changed. The desks are socially distanced and facing the same way. I prefer to use tables arranged in a way to promote community and collaboration. Students are not permitted to leave their seat, and if they are out of their seat, they are required to wear a mask. If they are facing any direction except straight forward, they are required to wear a mask. The students are in the classroom almost all day, with the exception being recess, bathroom breaks, and the days they have gym. When we are in the hallway, students must wear their masks, and This creates a need to be creative to keep the students engaged. We have built in brain breaks and the students are permitted to stand by their desks while I lead a guided movement activity. Before the pandemic, students were moving around all of the time, and were able to be in small groups, and working with their peers in a much closer space. This has been difficult for the students who do not fully understand the reasoning or need for the guidelines.

The education strategies I use are also very different. As a result of the pandemic, my students are not able to work as much collaboratively. We do some collaboration, but the students must stay in their desks with their masks on. They are not allowed to share supplies or handle each other’s belongings, so collaboration is not as effective as previous years. Small groups are also changed. I only meet with 1-3 students at a time in short burst for direct instruction to their needs. This makes fully meeting the needs of the students more difficult. The good news is that there are less students in my class, which does help with the stiuation.

Teacher wearing mask

The students arrive 15 minutes earlier now, which eliminated our grade level PLC time. PLC time is a needed aspect because it allows us to review data and make decisions with our instruction and curriculum based on the needs of our students that the data shows. It also allows us to work together to ensure all instruction is effective and understood by all of the teachers. Since I plan ELA for my grade, PLC time would be a point when I make sure that everyone understands and knows the purpose behind the lessons, the set-up, the upcoming 

assessments, and other instructional/curriculum needs. We still have our personal plan period, but we often use this to perform the tasks that would normally occur within our PLC time. As a result, I don’t have as much personal plan time and bring home more work than I normally do. I spend more nights and weekends working on teaching stuff than I have in previous years.

My research has changed as well. Previously my research was going to focus on the benefits of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in the classroom, but the pandemic has changed the way we teach SEL. Now my research is focusing on the difficulty and changes to teaching SEL during the pandemic. I am a firm believer of SEL, and I am excited to do my research around it but I wish the pandemic hadn’t changed so much about this valuable aspect to classrooms.

Overall, I think the biggest change is that I feel isolated in my workplace, as do other teachers. My students also feel isolated from other classrooms and from each other.

My advice to others working through a pandemic to to be flexible. Understand that things are changing constantly and 

that you may not have control over what is happening. Try to be understanding and know that no one is intentionally trying to make things more difficult for you or those around you. Another piece of advice I have is use time management. Create action lists and schedules and follow them. It is very easy to feel as if you have more time because you are not going out as much but time still needs to be managed. I believe that action/work lists help people be more organized and prepared to tackle multiple aspects of life, such as grad school and work, even when a pandemic is not happening. Know who your support people are and know your own boundaries and limitations. It’s okay to say no and it’s okay to step back and do less things sometimes. Finally, remember to do some sort of self-care whether that’s yoga, meditation, drawing, or something else. I am a certified yoga instructor so yoga is my go-to and recommendation.

Every family or situation is different. While I chose to return to my classroom and work with my students during a pandemic, I have a 17 year old daughter that is doing Virtual Academy. She and her mental health team determined that in-person classes was not good for her. My husband, DeWayne, is amazingly supportive of our family and is able to be at home with her as her learning coach. He is my rock, an amazing dad to our kids, and I would not be able to do any of the things I do without him.

Online Resources & Self-help

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Spring 2021 Graduate Student Colloquium

Theme: The Urgency of Now: Empowerment through Education and Social Justice

We welcome abstract submissions related to the above theme from USI graduate students and alumni for the fourth annual Graduate Student Colloquium. This colloquium will be held virtually on April 7, 2021.

Submit Abstract

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COVID-19 Updates & Online Resources

The start to the Spring 2021 semester may look different than expected. Read the latest statement from President Rochon regarding a safe return next semester.

COVID-19 Dashboard  Online Resources

September 2020

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From the Director

We have reached the midterm of the fall semester and our bi-term courses will be concluding in a couple of weeks. Although most graduate-level courses are being offered online this semester, it has been a pleasure to see a number of our graduate students on campus and in our office. You may have seen the campus-wide announcement, but in case you did not, the official number of graduate students registered this fall is 1,766, which marks another record enrollment. Graduate Studies and USI’s graduate faculty are honored that you have chosen to pursue your degrees here and we are delighted to have you with us!

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how we work, how we learn, and how we study. Beginning in this issue, we shall feature over the next few months some of our graduate students, and how they are managing their careers and studies during the pandemic. This month, we are pleased to highlight Ms. Kimberly Burk, a graduate student in our Post-Masters Nursing program. We are indebted to the work that she and all other health care providers perform daily. One can only wonder where we would be were it not for their dedication, fortitude, and commitment to service.

Also featured in this issue is our new Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program, which is beginning to enroll students for the fall 2021 semester. This program will be delivered entirely online and in an accelerated format. I want to express my congratulations to all who were involved in its development and we look forward to welcoming the first class of MACJ students next fall.

Despite the challenges we face, all of us at USI are committed to providing each of you with an outstanding graduate experience, both inside the (virtual) classroom and outside of it. In the coming weeks, look out for announcements regarding the Graduate Student Professional Network and also the Graduate Student Colloquium, which we plan to host again this spring. Please also know also that you can reach out to me directly if there is anything I can do to help improve your experience at the University of Southern Indiana.

Dr. Michael Dixon
Director, Graduate Studies

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Record Enrollment

Graduate Studies has surpassed previous Fall enrollment numbers for the fifth consecutive year. Total graduate enrollment is 1,766. 

Thank you for choosing USI to further your education!

Read Article

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October Registration

Some programs offer accelerated, 6-week courses. If you are eligible, note that October courses are quickly reaching capacity. Plan to register as soon as possible. Bi-term courses begin October 19, 2020.

Course Registration Tips

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Student Spotlight

Kimberly Burk, Graduate Nursing Student

I am currently a Nursing Professional Development Practitioner at Deaconess Hospital and the Critical Care Educator for all Deaconess Campuses. I am enrolled in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program and will graduate in 2021. I completed my BSN through Murray State University in 2007. I have not completed other degrees at USI but I do want to mention that I have been an adjunct instructor at USI for the undergraduate program for several years as well.

When the pandemic first began, our department strictly focused on education, planning, and preparing clinical staff in the hospital in anticipation of an influx in patients to the hospital. We had several staff members from the education department work on the units to assist with staffing. We trained staff in proper PPE for COVID patients and assisted in creating policies and procedures to care for COVID patients. Deaconess is very fortunate to have a great team and we were very proactive in preparing staff to care for these very sick patients. While my normal role was put on hold during the lock down, we continued to prepare staff and assist in any way possible.

My advice to other students working through the pandemic is to focus on self-care and your own mental health. It has been very taxing as the pandemic has progressed and we have seen a lot of very sick patients. It is your job to care for these patients but sometimes I feel we forget about our own mental health and it is crucial to just take a minute to focus on taking care of yourself. Team work is even more important now than it has ever been and we should continue to provide support for each other during this world-wide pandemic. There are a lot of good resources out there that can assist healthcare workers on improving morale and mental well-being.

Coping with Stress

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Criminal Justice Approval

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program was recently approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. This is the newest graduate program to be offered by USI. We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2021.

Program Objectives:

  • Students will build skills relevant for leadership in their field and the community including critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and effective communication. 
  • Students will describe the theoretical foundations of criminology and criminal justice institutions and be able to apply these theories to inform criminal justice policy.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to utilize social scientific research methods and statistics in order to study crime, criminal justice institutions, and criminal justice policy. 
  • Students will articulate the historical, legal, and practical nature of criminal justice policy and how policy is related to the functioning of criminal justice institutions. 

Read Article  View Flyer

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COVID-19 Updates & Online Resources

With the health and safety of the University of Southern Indiana campus top of mind, USI is maintaining a COVID-19 dashboard that includes weekly and cumulative numbers of reported positive COVID-19 cases as well as students quarantining, both on and off campus. The dashboard is updated weekly on Friday.

COVID-19 Dashboard  Online Resources

July 2020

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From the Director

After having spent nearly four months away from the USI campus, the Graduate Studies staff and I returned to the office a few weeks ago. I write to let you know that we are here daily in order to assist you in any way we can, as we near the conclusion of our summer courses and quickly approach the start of our fall semester. While most of our graduate courses this fall will be offered in an online format, our campus will remain open.

I am deeply saddened, however, that COVID-19 has prohibited us from holding our rescheduled Graduate Studies Commencement on August 14. Fortunately, we are able to share with you in this newsletter the Reflections speech that Mr. Van Thawng, who recently completed his M.B.A., would have delivered at commencement. I hope you find his remarks inspiring and I ask you to join me in congratulating all of the graduates of the class of 2020 on their achievements.

Van concluded his remarks, stating that “the future is exciting.” I certainly agree with that assessment, and I would add that the future will bring many challenges and opportunities to all of us. Your ability to navigate these challenges and seize the opportunities is greatly enhanced with a graduate degree. Persist in the pursuit of your degree, as it is now within your reach. Together we can make an uncertain future an exciting one.

Do not forget that the fall semester begins on August 24; if you have not registered for classes yet, please reach out to your program director, your advisor, or Graduate Studies. We look forward to seeing you in class next month. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.

Dr. Michael Dixon
Director, Graduate Studies

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Director Announcement

The University of Southern Indiana has named Dr. Michael Dixon as the Director of Graduate Studies. Dr. Dixon previously held an interim director position in Graduate Studies since April 2019.

Read Article

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Reflection Speech

The following speech was recorded by Van Thawng, MBA Spring 2020 graduate and former Graduate Assistant for Graduate Studies.

Graduate Studies congratulates all Spring 2020 graduates and wish you well in your future endeavors. Please stay connected with Graduate Studies by following our social media accounts!

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Registration Reminder

Fall 2020 courses begin Monday, August 24, 2020. If you have yet to register, please do so as soon as possible as courses are reaching capacity!

Course Registration Tips

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COVID-19 Updates

The university campus has re-opened. Be sure to complete any training prior to returning to campus. Graduate Studies staff is in-office to assist you. Feel free to contact our office with questions or concerns.

COVID-19 Updates

April 2020

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From the Interim Director

Dr. Michael Dixon, Interim Director of Graduate StudiesAs I write this note, we are just a week away from the start of final examinations.  Under normal circumstances, our thoughts should be turning to commencement and the celebration of our graduates’ accomplishments.  No one needs to be reminded that the current circumstances in which we find ourselves are not normal.  Nevertheless, this current situation cannot diminish the significance of our graduates’ accomplishments that serve as a beacon of positivity at a time when we long for news to celebrate.  We are all saddened by the fact that we have had to reschedule our commencement exercises, but I look forward to celebrating your accomplishments with you when we are able to convene for this milestone of your lives (tentatively scheduled for Friday August 14, 2020).  Until then, I congratulate each and every one of you who has successfully completed a graduate degree and I wish you the very best as you transition to the next phase of your careers.  I ask also that you join me in thanking the all of the faculty and staff who have assisted you along your academic journey at the University of Southern Indiana. Congratulations, graduates!

Please stay safe and stay healthy.

Dr. Michael Dixon
Interim Director, Graduate Studies

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Colloquium Update

2020 USI Graduate Student Colloquium

View all presentations on the Colloquium website. Feel free to share this page with family, friends, undergraduate students, etc.

We are still accepting presentations. Let us know if you are interested!

View Presentations

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Pass/No Pass Deadline

The deadline to change your course grade to the pass or no pass option is Monday, April 27. Please consult your program director and/or advisor and review the guidelines as soon as possible, if you wish to update to this option

View guidelines and application

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COVID-19 Policy Changes

To view all policy changes regarding withdraw schedule, holds and fees, commencement updates, etc. review the COVIC-19 Student Resource website.

Student Resource Website

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Counseling Center Virtual Workshops

The Counseling Center is providing virtual Wellness Workshops and other online resources for all USI students. To see all resources offered, visit their website.

Counseling Center Virtual Resources

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Family Fun Virtual Activities

USI Alumni Association has created a resource page filled with fun family activities that are online! Take a look!

Virtual Activities

March 2020

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From The Interim Director

Dr. Michael Dixon, Interim Director of Graduate StudiesJust a month ago, I noted in the Graduate Studies Newsletter that we were a little more than a week away from spring break. I had no idea then that we would be in the position we find ourselves today: the University of Southern Indiana’s faculty delivering all courses online, staff and students working remotely. We are living in unprecedented times.

Despite the challenges we all face at this moment, I have been amazed to see that the dedication of our students and faculty continues unabatedly. Although most of USI’s graduate students were already taking their courses online, many pursued their graduate degrees on campus. The transition all have made to this modality is admirable and it demonstrates that when we work together, solutions can always be found.

I am happy to announce that we managed to find a solution that prevented us from cancelling the third annual Graduate Student Colloquium. We were committed to providing our students with this opportunity, and we are thrilled that we have been able to make the Colloquium available completely online. Our graduate students submitted their pre-recorded presentations and I encourage you to visit the Colloquium web page and enjoy the work they have put into their presentations. If you had thought about participating in the Colloquium, but did not have time to do so, we will still accept presentations and those will be added to the Colloquium page.

Lastly, I encourage you to visit the COVID-19 Graduate Student Resources page and I remind you that if you are experiencing any challenges with your online courses or other aspects of your graduate studies, please contact me directly so that the staff of the Graduate Studies office and I can get you the help you need, or put you in contact with someone who can. We remain committed to providing you with excellence in instruction and to helping you succeed in your academic pursuits.

Please stay safe and stay healthy.

Dr. Michael Dixon
Interim Director, Graduate Studies

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Colloquium Update: Student Presentations Are Live!

2020 USI Graduate Student ColloquiumView all presentations on the Colloquium website. Feel free to share this page with family, friends, undergraduate students, etc. as it is an excellent way to share USI Graduate Student research!

View Presentations

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Late Colloquium Presentation Submissions

We are still accepting pre-recorded presentations to add to the website! If you have questions, or would like to submit an abstract with the theme of Accessibility, please let Graduate Studies know!

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Online Student Resources

Online ResourcesAfter the University's recent announcements, you may need additional resources to help you throughout this semester. Online Learning has created a page just for you.

Student Services

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COVID-19 Graduate Student Resources

University Updates & Resources: USI.edu/covid-19/

Commencement: USI.edu/commencement/

USI Counseling Center Availability & Online Mental Health Screenings: USI.edu/counselingcenter/

USI Health Center: USI.edu/healthcenter/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-information/

Online Learning Student Services: USI.edu/online-learning/student-services/

Pass / No Pass Grading Information: USI.edu/covid-19/march-30-2020-weekly-update/#pass

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Video Q & A with Dr. Rochon, Dr. Khayum, Dr. Dixon, & Dr. Doss

Missed the Zoom Q & A for Graduate Students? View the live recording with answer to:

  • Graduation Ceremony
  • Graduate Assistantships
  • Graduate Student Resources
  • And more!

February 2020

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From The Interim Director

Dr. Michael Dixon, Interim Director of Graduate StudiesIt is difficult to believe that spring break is just over one week away! Although the spring semester is nearly half-way over, there are many exciting opportunities upcoming later this semester. For example, the 2020 Graduate Studies Colloquium is scheduled for March 24, and I encourage you again to submit an abstract (for more information, see within). You will also find, in this issue, information about how our faculty are working to make our programs more accessible to our students. Several programs, for example, now deliver their curricula completely online, with many also adopting a seven-week course bi-term format. Other programs are currently considering similar changes. Additionally, you will find important information regarding several other upcoming events that will be of interest to you. I hope you enjoyed our January 2020 Graduate Studies Newsletter and that you will continue to appreciate receiving regular communications from Graduate Studies. As I stated previously, our office is here to ensure that you have a successful and engaging experience at the University of Southern Indiana.

Dr. Michael Dixon
Interim Director, Graduate Studies

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Graduate Student Colloquium: Abstract Update

CNHP: Location of third annual USI Graduate Student ColloquiumWe have decided to extend the abstract submission deadline for the 2020 USI Graduate Student Colloquium on March 24, 2020.

The new deadline to submit an abstract with the theme of Accessibility is March 9, 2020.

Abstract Submission

Colloquium Website

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Graduate program offers flexible courses for students

Screaming Eagles ArenaRecently, the Master of Science in Sport Management (MSSM) program began offering courses completely online in an accelerated format, allowing MSSM students to finish this graduate degree in less time. Courses are offered every eight weeks, with 6 starts throughout the year and all course material is conducted with accessibility in mind.

The University of Southern Indiana will soon offer several programs that offer different modes of course accessibility. Stay tuned for more information!

Are you an online student? Check out these online student resources!

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Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program Scholarships

ICPSR Summer Program LogoFounded in 1963, the ICPSR Summer Program offers rigorous, hands-on training in statistics, quantitative methods, and data analysis for students, faculty, and researchers of all skill levels and backgrounds. Participants in the ICPSR Summer Program learn how to understand data and gain valuable research skills that help them to advance their education and careers. 

From May through August 2020, the ICPSR Summer Program will offer more than 90 courses in Ann Arbor, Michigan and other cities around the world. Registration is now open for all workshops.

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SOAR Recording

Did you miss the Scholarly Open Access Repository (SOAR) presentation? You can find a recording via VoiceThread below. Please let Rice Library staff, Andrea Wright and Peter Whiting, know if you have any questions!

Download the Presentation

January 2020

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From The Interim Director

Michael Dixon PhotoWelcome back, and I hope your spring classes have started well. This Graduate Studies Newsletter is intended to provide you with important information that will assist you in making your experience as a graduate student at the University of Southern Indiana a successful one. We plan to continue publishing this Newsletter regularly, so let us know if there is anything you would like to see in future editions. By now, most of you have heard about our third annual USI Graduate Student Colloquium that will take place in March. This year, we invite abstract submissions for papers to be delivered in person, or via distance. If you cannot attend in person, all graduate students will have access to the colloquium via Zoom. More than 80% of USI’s graduate students are completing their coursework online and we want to ensure that our online students are able to take advantage of all the opportunities our on-campus students currently enjoy. On behalf of Graduate Studies, I hope you have an enjoyable and successful spring semester.   

Dr. Michael Dixon
Interim Director, Graduate Studies

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Graduate Student Colloquium: Deadline Approaching

College of Nursing and Health Professions third floor lobbyDeadline to submit abstracts: February 17, 2020

We welcome abstract submissions related to the theme of accessibility from USI graduate students from all programs for the third annual Graduate Student Colloquium.

Abstract Submission

Colloquium Website

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Mandela Social Justice Day

Angela Davis PhotoKeynote Speaker: Dr. Angela Davis
Date: February 5, 2010 at 6 p.m.

The mission of the Nelson Mandela Social Justice Day and Speaker Series is to raise dialogue at USI around current issues of human and civil rights, public service, and activism through diverse, dynamic, nationally, and internationally known public intellectuals and academics.

Mandela Social Justice Website

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SOAR: Scholarly Open Access Repository

SOAR LogoEvent Date: February 18, 2020 at 3:30 p.m.

Writing a Thesis, Capstone, or Dissertation? David L. Rice Library is hosting a workshop on USI's digital collection of these works. Any graduate student is invited to attend that may have question about this open access repository.

SOAR Website

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CareerLink Internship and Job Fair

Students talking with employers at CareerFairDate: February 19, 2020, 1 - 4 p.m.

Dozens of employers will be recruiting students from most majors for internships and part-time and full-time jobs. They will be looking for students graduating in May as well as those who will be available for undergraduate spring, summer and fall internships. Dress professionally and bring copies of your resume.

CareerLink Website

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Graduate Student News

Kacy Eschweiler, graduate of the online Master of Science in Sport Management, completed the program in the fall of 2019. Since graduating, Kacy has accepted a position with the Colorado Avalanche Icy Hockey Team based in Denver.

Kacy stated "Without the MSSM from USI, I wouldn't feel as prepared as I do entering this career opportunity."

Are you an online student? Check out these resources curated for you!

Contact

Graduate Studies Office

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