Creating a Coordinated Support System for Graduate Student Success

Creating a Coordinated Support System for Graduate Student Success

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Be the champion for grad student success across your campus.

Many institutions have support services for graduate students that are often inconsistent, decentralized, and department-specific. By not having a campus-wide cohesive support system, this can lead to feelings of isolation, added stress from both internal and external factors, and increased mental health challenges for grads. Learn how your university can build a coordinated support system for graduate student success across your campus.

Working with your graduate students presents an opportunity to create a sense of community and to cultivate lifelong relationships. Join us to learn how to create a comprehensive student support system for this growing and important constituency. Over two days of combined presentation and working time, you’ll learn alongside your peers who are engaged in the same work and faced with the same challenges.


Who Should Attend

The content of this conference is for those tasked to develop or who recognize a need for coordinated services for graduate student success. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Faculty, Directors, and Coordinators of Graduate Programs
  • Deans of Graduate Education
  • Directors of Graduate Student Services
  • Directors of Graduate Enrollment
  • Advisors and Career Counselors Who Work with Grad Students
  • Champions for Grad Students (even if you do not work within a specific grad-support unit)


Your registration for the event includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch and the networking reception on Monday, breakfast on Tuesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.



Models of Providing Grad Student Support Services

Whether your grad student support structure is centralized or decentralized, making sure that departments have clear roles and communication is paramount to providing seamless support for your grad students. We will discuss training needed for each model and the pros and cons of each. Included in support services will be: advising, career counseling, and financial counseling.



Understanding Grad Student Support on Your Campus

What are your current grad student support structures, and where do they exist on your campus? Learn how the structure of your support services affects their impact. You will have an opportunity to discuss your current structure and look for areas of “quick win” improvements, as well as long-term goals you will set.



Working Session

During this session, you will have an opportunity to work with peers to priorities improvement in your graduate support program based on seven criteria.



Creating a Sense of Community with Grad Students

Graduate students, despite their importance and size, are often under-engaged. You will hear examples of how the University of Notre Dame successfully engaged graduate students upon enrollment, created opportunities for social connections during their program, and built meaningful connections to the university.



Working Session

You will have an opportunity to workshop your current community-building efforts with grads. We will close the day by having attendees share their ideas and get feedback from peers and facilitators.



Breakout Session: Addressing Your Biggest Challenges

In this 45-minute breakout session, you will have an opportunity to discuss unique needs of your students and gain ideas for addressing those challenges.



Networking Reception





Mental Health Support

Grad students typically juggle a number of priorities. They may still be working full-time, may have a family, or may be struggling with finances or other challenges. Grad students report feelings of isolation more so than undergrads, which can exacerbate challenges they face. In this session, you will learn how other institutions have provided support to grads to help them manage stress loads and prioritize their needs as they move through their program.



Supporting International Graduate Students

International grad students not only have all the needs of domestic grads, but also tend to need even more support to connect with community, manage their day-to-day tasks, and manage stress. Through a case study, you will gain ideas for how to best support your international grad population.



Mimi Beck

Program Director, Graduate Student Life
University of Notre Dame

Mimi collaborates with key partners in academics and student affairs and manages all communications, programming, assessment, advocacy and administration for Graduate Student Life at the University of Notre Dame.

Read Mimi's full bio here.


Mark Schuster

Dean for Graduate Student Life, Rutgers University
New Brunswick

Dean Schuster has been actively involved connecting all graduate students with the medical school at Rutgers and RWJ, on the board of the “Gender Center of NJ” through an interdisciplinary series on Humanities and Medicine. He has been a keynote speaker on civility, social justice, the impact of travel bans on graduate and international students, and the intersection of transforming bodies and identities, including transgender military service at the national and international level.

Read Mark's full bio here.

Lisa Webb - 1

Lisa Webb

Executive Director, Academic Affairs in the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences
Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Lisa Webb has over 15 years of experience in the development, implementation, and evaluation of student programs and academic support services in graduate health sciences education, as well as management of health career pipeline programs.

Read Lisa's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?

Elizabeth Hubbell, Academic Impressions

Elizabeth Hubbell
Senior Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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