The Graduate Student Senate (GSS) is dedicated to supporting the growth and success of our graduate student population, both inside and outside the classroom. We also encourage graduate students to maximize their experience, to prepare them for involvement in the larger community and in life beyond graduate school. Graduate students are valued, appreciated, and important to us!
The GSS is committed to addressing the questions and concerns about your graduate student experience at UMass Dartmouth. Our goal is to empower each other to find solutions to day-to-day obstacles we may encounter as graduate students. We can help to amplify your voice, clarify your issues, and provide an impartial listening ear for your concerns. We care, we advocate, and we network to connect you with the right campus and community resources. We want you to succeed in class, in research, and in life!
And if you want to create positive change with us, we invite you to participate in GSS activities.
Many of these issues have been discussed in the Graduate Community Forums hosted by the GSS. More details on these Forums, and minutes for the Open Forums, are here.
Below are the number of UMassD graduate students who have experienced ongoing issues since 2016. (See the Issues Poll below the chart for complete descriptions of these student issues.)
The GSS uses these issues to prioritize our advocacy efforts, so be sure to scroll down to the Issues Poll and upvote your concerns!
Here are the ideas generated to solve some of the issues noted above:
- To help with the lack of grad level courses and follow the “learn outside the classroom” model, get course credits for academic club activities?
- Have a university-administered graduate student survey, similar to the undergrad survey (NSSE)?
- The Student-Faculty-Academic Affairs Committee and Graduate Program Committee may look at differences in student pay and act as an advocate for graduate student employment?
- Have family housing on campus?
- Reopen the pub on campus, open to the regional community?
- Have a dedicated graduate lounge space in a central location where students can socialize and relax?
- Make a pro card available through the Graduate Studies Office, exclusively for GSS use, for booking airfare and conference registration for students, so they do not have to wait 3-5 months for the majority of their conference reimbursement? The GSS would book the student’s travel using the pro card.
- Fee waivers for students from developing and economically unstable countries?
- So, this is mostly just an idea to solve some of the problems that came up during the Open Forum. It sounded like the big issue was money. On the students side it was we need more money which is very true. On the administrations side it sounded like it was we don’t have any more money to give which is also true. The only thing I could think of was to bring our own money in. So, how can we do that? Well what if we did organized a grant finding/writing goal with the GSS. Let’s set a goal for the graduate student body to have x number of grant proposals submitted by next May or something along those lines. What we measure is only how many are submitted but we follow up with a statistic of how many grant approvals come from the effort. This is an indirect method of bringing money into the school, offloading the responsibility from the university onto us. I believe this would be an important exercise for everyone because as a graduate student one of the main goals is to become a researcher and this just helps put that on the path to accomplishing that. Researchers constantly have to look for ways to fund their projects and as a student we should begin learning how to do this. We would obviously need to keep research advisers in the loop on this and make sure students are staying on track for graduating in some way. To aid in the effort I think it would be helpful to have monthly(ish) check-ups that students can either attend or post to in order to maintain momentum on the effort. Obviously not all programs would be helped by this. There are still TA’s that are looking for research projects and programs that cannot really write proposals. But for those students that are currently doing research as a research assistant using money from the same pool that all other students are using, this could be a possible way to pull students out of that pool creating more availability for those students that need to. This is just an idea and it could use a lot of refinement.
- To foster a stronger culture of intellectual curiosity and research here at UMassD, ask everybody who gets GSS travel funding to give a 5-minute presentation to the Senate? Or have a seminar series where everybody presents?
- To foster a stronger culture of intellectual curiosity and research here at UMassD, add a list of current grad student fellowship opportunities to the GSS website?
- The university should implement an electronic form system for TA forms, RA forms, Advanced Standing forms, Full-Time Enrollment forms, OPT forms, etc. so they don’t get lost on people’s desks, are processed more quickly, and edits can be made more easily
- Make journal article access a shared service across all 5 UMass campuses?
- Create a grad student lounge area with a couch, microwave, desks that lock, near their PIs/labs?
- Get regularly-scheduled food trucks in the summer?
- Start a wiki-style platform for grad students to connect and feel supported, create and subscribe to sub-pages for their department/program/college, free food, housing, organizations, intramurals, pick-up activities, bowling league, swaps, grocery shopping runs, carpools, grad-run seminars, etc. Faculty/staff/admins can join too. Membership would be moderated.
- Start up a GSS-sponsored hangout, like every other Thursday from 6-9 pm at the Campus Center?
The UMass Dartmouth administration has resolved the following issues:
- Wifi in Violette and other research areas around campus is now functional (resolved in 2017)
- Law students now have equal access to travel expense reimbursement funds (resolved in ~2016)
- The Navitas program has been migrated from Fall River to the main campus (resolved in ~2016)
- The Educational Leadership program has been moved from Fairhaven, near the Law School (resolved in ~2017)
- All student hiring (except work-study) is now done through Corsair Jobs (resolved in ~2017)
- The International Student & Scholar Center now has an online form for off-campus employment requests (resolved in ~2018)
- Class scheduling is now computerized instead of manual, so prerequisites, required courses, and rooms are optimized (resolved in ~2017)
- Notification about tuition waivers only being applied after the Drop/Add period is now included in all assistantship contract letters (resolved in ~2018)
- The thesis/dissertation submission process is now electronic (resolved in ~2018)
The GSS sincerely thanks the UMass Dartmouth administration, faculty, and staff for addressing these graduate student issues! We respect and appreciate our strong working relationship with the UMass Dartmouth community, and the GSS looks forward to resolving additional graduate student issues together.
If you are aware of an issue that has been resolved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to update this list.