Graduate School Faculty Fellows program created to support faculty in meeting students’ needs
Graduate students soon will reap the benefits of the Graduate School’s new Faculty Fellows program, which got underway recently with the selection of the inaugural class of Fellows.
Associate Provost and Graduate School Dean Jason Osborne established the program to address the needs of graduate students by encouraging faculty to use their expertise and passion for projects that address the strategic goals in graduate education at Clemson. The program also provides opportunities for faculty to immerse themselves in a different side of graduate education, both at Clemson and on the national level.
Each project was evaluated for its scope, feasibility, and relationship to the University’s strategic plan. “There were many excellent ideas submitted, and it is unfortunate that we could only fund a few. My expectation is that we will make this an annual tradition, continually bringing fresh energy and ideas into the Graduate School,” Osborne said.
“We’re happy to be able to fund these proposals,” said Provost Bob Jones. “Clemson has always been about the creative use of available resources and this is a great example of that.”
Professional development turned out to be a major theme in the selected proposals, said Osborne, even though he had no preconceived notions about what he was looking for in the first round of proposals. “Students and faculty agree that grad student professional development is one of the most important building blocks for a well-rounded graduate,” Osborne said.
The selected projects will launch this summer and will last approximately one year. The goal for each project is to create resources or programs that will continue to be offered sustainably and predictably for the benefit of present and future students.
Brief descriptions of each project are below. For details, visit the Graduate School’s Faculty Fellows page.
Research, publishing, and digital literacy for graduate students
Anne Grant, instruction coordinator/history research librarian, and Andrew Wesolek, head of digital scholarship, University Libraries
Grant and Wesolek will gather information on what we need to do to better support the needs of graduate students (both in Clemson and on other campuses) in the areas of research, publishing, and digital literacy and then, using that information, will work with the Graduate School to produce and deliver experiences to address those needs. The material will be presented both in-person and online to allow maximum access to students on the main campus and elsewhere.
Professional development for graduate women: Empowering women to overcome the impostor syndrome, combat communication bias, and embrace their conative strengths
Dr. Amy E. Landis, Thomas F. Hash ’69 Endowed Chair in Sustainable Development, and professor, Glenn Department of Civil Engineering
The most influential factors impacting women’s recruitment, retention, and promotion in academia in engineering and science fields are an inclusive work culture and access to a network that provides mentorship and training. Landis’ project will establish a series of three workshops that provide mentorship, networking, training, and support for issues unique to women in engineering and sciences. Workshop topics include the following: Leveraging Your Conative Strengths, Women Communicating Science, and Banishing Your Inner Impostor. These workshops are designed to foster an inclusive academic culture for women, increase Clemson’s attractiveness to top new graduate students, and provide training and networking opportunities for current students.
STEM communication and certificate program
Dr. Tamara L. McNealy, associate professor, Biological Sciences
The growth of the internet and the loss of topical science writers in major news industries have created a need for scientists to speak directly to the public. The explosion of citizen science and crowdfunding suggests that the public is willing and eager to engage with the STEM disciplines, but the process of engagement could be improved significantly. McNealy’s project would establish a focus on effective scientific communication at Clemson. The program would initially focus on students in STEM disciplines, but eventually expand to all students. Three key components will include the establishment of a Science and Engineering Communication certificate, development of a science communication “boot camp” for graduate students, and — in collaboration with the Pearce Center for Professional Communication — the development of a home for a STEM communication program, future initiatives, and expansion of projects.
Clemson Link: a project to support underrepresented students at Clemson University
Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward, lecturer, Eugene T. Moore School of Education
The goal of the Clemson Link project is to bring together Clemson’s undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to research and learn together as they collaborate on a participatory action research project. Recruited undergraduate and graduate students will select a research topic that relates to supporting the professional development needs of both currently enrolled and prospective underrepresented students in graduate school. This student team will collect and analyze data and communicate findings from their research to relevant audiences with support and guidance from the faculty supervisor. The project will emphasize research, professional development, and peer mentoring within the community of burgeoning scholars. Aligning an action research project dedicated to learning relevant information about student experiences and needs is central to continuing to foster a culture of diversity in graduate education at Clemson University.