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GPSO E-Newsletter: February 20, 2014

In this Issue:

From the President's Desk

Upcoming GPSO Events: Grad House Café, Assembly, First Friday Social Hour

Funding Available: GPSO Research Award

Student Spotlight: Emmalon Davis, Outstanding Graduate Student Nominee

Funding Available: OVPIA Pre-Dissertation Grant

Guest Article: How to Jump Start a Flagging Discussion Class

GPSO plans your weekend!

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From the President's Desk

  • Campus Strategic Plan draft release has been delayed, open Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, March 4th, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • Three new graduate certificates (2 in Education, 1 in Public Health) and program changes to the dual MSES/MA Geological Studies degree have been approved by the Campus Curriculum Committee; this will require Board of Trustees approval before going into effect.
  • International representatives have been appointed to the GPSO Assembly.
  • GPSO Elections take place in March; positions are open to all graduate and professional students.

For more information on any of these points, please feel free to contact Brady Harman, GPSO President.

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Upcoming GPSO Events

Grad House Café - RIGHT NOW!

Stop by the Grad House (803 E. 8th Street) before 10:30am TODAY for FREE coffee and Bloomington Bagels. Check out our Facebook event for directions.

Save a tree, and bring a mug, if possible!


Assembly and First Friday Social Hour - March 7

The March GPSO Assembly will take place at 3:30 Friday, March 7 in the Kelley School of Business, room 223.

Follow up with our First Friday Social Hour at The Tap. Please share and RSVP via Facebook!

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Funding Available: GPSO Research Award

The GPSO research award is offered through a competitive process for graduate and professional students at Indiana University-Bloomington. A flat award of $1,000 is given to help support research expenses incurred in connection with academic research, such as travel costs related to field, archival or laboratories research, payment for research related services, and purchase of research related supplies. Expenses that are not supported are typing and duplicating of dissertations, normal living expenses, and travel costs for conferences or workshops.

Visit the GPSO Research Award homepage to read more and apply.

Deadline: February 23


Interested in applying in the future? Learn more about the process and how to create a successful application by serving on the GPSO Awards Committee! The time committment is approximately 3-5 hours via distance (online, email-based).

If you have any questions or would like more information about being a reviewer, please email Josh de Leeuw, GPSO Awards Officer, at Apply for the committee online.

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Student Spotlight: Outstanding Graduate Student Nominee

The Graduate and Professional Student Organization (GPSO) and The University Graduate School (UGS) have teamed up to formally recognize an outstanding graduate student each semester. Students are nominated by faculty and GPSO representatives from across the university, and a competitive review process decides who will be honored. We will spotlight two nominees each month, bringing you excerpts from their nominators' statements.

Emmalon Davis is a graduate student in the philosophy department nominated in the field of community building. Emmalon has been proactive in bringing graduate student concerns to the faculty--meeting privately and in groups with students, writing up areas of concern, and discussing and implementing solutions with the faculty. Emmalon has given generously of her time in her efforts for the department's common good, and she has done so with a grace and determination which make her an ideal leader.

In addition to her commitment to service, Emmalon is also a model of excellent teaching and academic research. She won a department award for teaching excellence and worked as a writing tutor at WTS and brings to the classroom a deep understanding of the writing process. Emmalon has also recently been awarded the Indiana University Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day graduate essay contest, exemplifying her commitment to engage in the public sphere for promoting social progress.

Want to nominate a fellow outstanding student? Contact your Assembly representative!

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Funding Available: OVPIA Pre-Dissertation Grants

The IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs (OVPIA) supports research-related summer travel abroad prior to conducting dissertation research. Activities supported include exploring potential research sites, archives, or other research resources; establishing institutional affiliations; identifying and meeting local scholars and contacts.

A detailed description of the grant guidelines and application instructions are available at the following link: Pre-dissertation Grant Guidelines and Application Instructions.

There are five components to the application – (1) an application form; (2) statement of purpose; (3) graduate level transcripts; (4) language evaluation; and (5) references. Applicants complete the first three components, combine them into one document and submit to

Deadline for summer 2014: February 24

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Guest Article: How to Jump Start a Flagging Discussion Class

By Natalie Houston via The Chronicle for Higher Education

If you teach a discussion-based course, you know that sooner or later, there comes a day when you notice that your students’ once-enthusiastic participation seems to have vanished. You can’t know exactly when that day might happen (though flu season and midterms both can be influential factors) so you will have prepared your course material and in-class activities as you always do. And nothing you try to do seems to be working. So what do you do next? Here are a few strategies I think of as akin to the jumper cables in the trunk of my car.

  • Acknowledgement: One of the simplest strategies is simply to acknowledge what’s going on. Rather than forging ahead and trying to build a discussion with only one participant, letting your students know that you’ve noticed they’re not participating can help build rapport, rather than resentment, and also facilitate your learning more about what’s causing the new behavior. For instance, learning that no one has understood the week’s reading lets me know I need to approach the content in a different way. Letting my students know that I do realize it’s midterms and that they have important exams in other courses helps them feel understood and more willing to make an effort for my class too.

  • Movement: When the energy in my classroom is low or if a wave of sleepiness is overtaking us due to the stifling heaters in our building, I will often ask students to stand up and move around — sometimes as part of a small group exercise where they have to switch partners, but frequently just as an invitation to get the blood flowing a bit. We all wave our arms in the air for 30 seconds or so and laugh at how silly we look (I do it too!) — and both the movement and the laughter are good for increasing our individual and group energies.

  • Reversal; Sometimes I’ll just go sit in the back row of the room and tell my class they have to lead the discussion. Done spontaneously as a jump-start strategy, this is very different from a structured activity involving informal presentations or student-prepared questions: I just sit in the back and wait to see what happens. Inevitably some students will step into the space and begin some sort of conversation. This can be useful both as a way into the material and as a way of opening a conversation about the learning processes of the course.

  • Randomness: I also like to use random constraints to fuel a discussion or class exercise. For instance, I might ask students to pick random numbers and then we use those pages in the text as our focus passages, figuring out what they have to do with each other. Depending on your course subject, random numbersentences, or image selectors might be helpful constraints or prompts for an exercise.

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GPSO plans your weekend!

February 21-23:

  • February 21, 6-8pm: MFA Group Show Opening Reception (Grunwald Gallery, free)
  • February 22, 1-4pm: Maple Syrup Season at the Farmstead (2920 E 10th Street, free)
  • February 23, 3pm: Go West! with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (Bloomington High School North, free)

Nothing look good to you?

Check out the ongoing exhibits featured in the sidebar or visit and for the full on- and off-campus scoop.


Have an event to promote?

Email me at, and I can help you spread the e-word to our fellow grad students.

Go have some fun!

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