Dean’s Corner: Read this Article if you are Interested in a Successful Career!

Dr. Denis Medeiros

Dr. Denis Medeiros

I hope this title caught your attention. You might think there is not much that you can do right now to help yourself in the search for a position upon which to build your career once your degree is conferred; or is there?

During my graduate education I thought that my major adviser was the one who also trained me on the nuances of navigating the maze to obtain that perfect position. While my adviser was helpful, in reflection, I used what I call the “brute force method.” In other words, I found my way to a career by learning all the job-seeking strategies myself, which was a lot of trial and error and not an effective use of my time.

When I was a graduate student, there were Career Service centers on my campus. However, being the mighty graduate student, I thought that was just for undergraduate students. I never thought that Career Services had anything to offer graduate students. Part of this is the notion among many students that Career Services only exist to link up potential graduates with those firms or entities hiring at that time for a particular occupation or skill set. This is only one aspect of Career Services. As Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, I have urged graduate students to use our Career Services center; but my wisdom has not had a far-reaching impact based on data collected by Career Services here at UMKC.

Why visit UMKC Career Services? The first and most important reason in my opinion is the development of a compelling resume or curriculum vitae (CV).  Many students produce a resume, with good intentions, that is based on self-taught strategies or from examples of others.  While this is not a complete waste of time, there are professionals in Career Services who can give you that extra edge. I recently learned that the first half of the resume is an important part that can be adapted for each application—feature your background and skills that match the positon to which you are applying. Gone are the days where a resume started with a general “career goal” statement. Bring in a draft resume to the Career Services center and have them review it for you. You will be surprised at how this will help your job search.

Another aspect is knowing what strengths you have to promote in your application. Don’t know your strengths? Then take the StrengthsQuest test for a nominal fee ranging from $12.50 to $20.00. This will list your top 5 talents, enabling you to play upon these strengths. Graduate students also can take the free Sigi3 or Journey online career assessments. Knowing your strengths is much more important and productive than spending time trying to change your weaknesses.

Learn how to write a compelling application letter. Don’t rehash what is in your resume. Emphasize transferable skills or those top skills from your StrengthsQuest results and tell your prospective employer how you can help their organization rather than how they can help you! Click here and scroll to the “Job Search Process” section on the Career Services website to see two sample CVs that include transferable skills.

Once you get your foot in the door, the journey to that first position is just the start. What about the interview? In my own experience of hiring people, I find the interview the critical aspect of success. Stated another way, some who do not have an offer or a second interview may have made critical errors in the interview process. Career Services offers mock interviews that all graduate students should experience BEFORE setting out on your own. Setting up an appointment with Career Services to practice interviewing helps you develop professional skills, soft skills, better communication, and most of all, develops your confidence in convincing a prospective employer that you are a good match.

Career Services is located on the second level of the Atterbury Student Success Center; phone number 816-235-1636. Looking back during my graduate student days, I wish I had known to use my own Career Services center. I encourage you to schedule an appointment to prepare now for your future career.

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Important Dates to Remember

Fri., June 17 – Last day to apply for summer graduation

Fri., July 1 –  Format review deadline for theses and dissertations

Mon., July 4 – University closed

Fri., July 29 – Defense deadline for theses/dissertations for July graduation

Fri., August 12 – ProQuest upload deadline for theses/dissertations

Thurs., August 18 – IGTA Cultural Orientation – Student Union Theatre

Sat., August 20 – SGS IPhD Orientation – Administrative Center Conference Center

Mon., August 22 – First day of Fall classes

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Interdisciplinary Student Conference Dates Moved Previously coinciding with the Community of Scholars event in April, the ISC will now coincide with Graduate Education Week in October. Graduate Education Week is October 9-15, 2016 and the Interdisciplinary Student Conference will be … Continue reading

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Staff Spotlight: Kara Bollinger

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Kara Bollinger joined UMKC a few months ago as the Graduate Writing Specialist, a position supported by the School of Graduate Studies and the Writing Studio. Thus far, she enjoys the collaborative environment. “The Graduate Writing Advisory Committee relies on … Continue reading

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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Michelle Paquette

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Dr. Michelle Paquette came to UMKC in January 2011 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, and is now a Research Assistant Professor of Physics. She received an external grant in 2014 (a Young Investigator Award from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency), … Continue reading

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Student Spotlight: Emily McGinnis

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Emily McGinnis is a current UMKC student, earning her Ph.D. in Music Education and Curriculum & Instruction. She already has a Bachelor of Arts in music and education from Luther College in Iowa and a Master of Music Education from … Continue reading

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Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Amy Casey

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Dr. Amy Casey graduated from UMKC in 2013 with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy & Foundations and Curriculum & Instruction. She is now the Principal of a local elementary school. “After a successful principalship at Oakwood Manor Elementary, I … Continue reading

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Dean’s Corner

Dr. Denis Medeiros

Dr. Denis Medeiros

Hear Ye, Hear Ye….Student Voices Wanted

Welcome to the Spring 2016 semester!  I hope many of you have had a chance for renewal after the fall semester.  For those of you who are just starting out in graduate education, welcome!

This semester, the School of Graduate Studies will be working on developing a Graduate Student Advisory group for the School and the Dean.  Many times we may assume what issues are facing graduate students only to be incorrect.  I am keenly aware of some issues on your mind: inadequate stipends for Graduate Assistants along with access to health care. There are many other issues that we can address if they are brought to our attention.  Our current challenge in formulating such a group is to obtain fair representation of graduate students across disciplines as well as having voices from both Masters and Doctoral students.

Many of you are well aware of the situation that occurred at the University of Missouri in Columbia last semester.  What you may have not known is the series of issues started with graduate assistants voicing concern on the loss of some benefits.  This began the roller coaster of other issues not addressed in a timely manner coming to the forefront.  Here at UMKC we want to be ahead of the curve.  Moreover, we will plan to not only create such an advisory group, we will move forward with coordinating issues with our sister campuses within the UM system.  The success of this initiative will only be as good as the commitment of the students representing the graduate student body; thus leadership skills are important in such a role.  You will hear more from us this semester on the formulation of this advisory group.

We have had many innovations to promote excellence in graduate education at UMKC over the years.  In response to your previous feedback I would like to update you on the following initiative: As many of you know, one of the recent changes includes the creation of a new Graduate Student Writing Initiative that started on a smaller scale last semester, but is ramping up its activity this semester.  A search is ongoing for a Graduate Writing Specialist to direct this program.  Many of you voiced your requests that enhancing writing skills was critical to your success in graduate education.  During the Fall 2015 semester, a series of writing workshops was offered for graduate students, a Blackboard organization site was created for “Writing Resources for Graduate Students,” and other resources such as video tutorials were made available on the SGS website. The UMKC Libraries, UMKC Writing Studio, and School of Graduate Studies will continue to collaborate to expand resources through the Graduate Student Writing Initiative. Writing is critical not only for your scholarship as a graduate student, but for success as a future employee.  Likewise, we are starting the 3-Minute Thesis this semester to hone in on your oral communication skills so that an educated layperson can better appreciate the work that you do.


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Important Dates to Remember

Thesis/Dissertation Formatting Workshops

  • HSB 4307 – Tues., Jan. 26th from 10:30 to 11:30am
  • Admin Center, Brookside Room, Tues., Feb 16 3:30-5:00pm
  • Admin Center, Plaza Room, Wed., Feb 17 5:30-7:00pm

Graduate Writing Initiative Workshops

  • The Hidden Web – Royall Hall, rm#310, Wed., Feb 24th 3:30-4:30pm
  • Writing for the Humanities, Flarsheim Hall, rm#260, Wed., March 2nd 4:00-5:00pm
  • Read Like a Writer, Student Success Center, rm#237, Tues., March 8 11:30-12:30pm
  • Searching for Grant Opportunities, Royall Hall, rm#211, Tues., March 15 11:30-12:30pm
  • Scholarly Intergrity, Student Success Center, rm#237, Tues., March 22 11:00-11:50am
  • Proofreading Tips & Techniques, Student Success Center, rm#237, Tues., April 5, 11:00-11:50am
  • Writing for the Sciences, MNL, rm#452, Wed., April 6 1:00-2:30pm and Wed., April 13 1:00-2:30pm
  • Tech Tools for Writing, Student Success Center rm#237, Wed., April 20 11:00-11:50am
  • Grant Writing Seminar, School of Dentristry, rm#217B, Wed., April 27, 4:00-5:15pm

Tuesday, January 19 – Course Work Begins

Tuesday, February 9 – 3-Minute Thesis Competition, 1-5pm, Student Union – 401A & 401D

Friday, February 15 – Last day to file for May graduation

 Monday, March 28 – Friday, April 1 – Spring Break

Monday, April 4 – Deadline to submit theses and dissertations to SGS for format review

Thursday, April 28thCommunity of Scholars

Friday, May 13 – Deadline to defend theses and dissertations for May graduation

Friday, May 13 – Spring Commencement

Saturday, May 14 – Spring Commencement

Friday, May 27 – Deadline for uploading theses and dissertations to ProQuest

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New Students Selected for the 2016 Graduate Student Leadership Development Program

During the last two calendar years, we have had two classes of graduate students participate in the Graduate Student Leadership Development Program that is sponsored by the University of Missouri System.  This program was initiated on the foundation of enhancing transferrable skills to develop superior leadership abilities in our graduate students.  The four campuses that comprise the University of Missouri System came together to develop a plan that is similar to leadership development programs available to faculty and staff.  The Deans considered the questions: “Shouldn’t we have leadership development programs for Graduate Students?  What are the desired learning outcomes for a system-wide leadership development program?”  The Deans went to work, developed a proposal and were funded to have five students from each campus selected for each cohort.  The plan included leadership programming where students would travel to each of the four campuses and have monthly activities at their home institutions to build their leadership skills.

Recently, the UM System increased the funding to allow each institution to select up to 10 students per year.  This year, eight students were selected from each campus and we plan to have 10 students selected next year.  At UMKC we sent a call to all graduate students and received 48 applications.  This was many more than what we anticipated, and judging and selecting students to participate was a major challenge.

We are pleased to announce the following students selected for the 2016 year:

Elizabeth Horn, Interdisciplinary PhD, Chemistry / Pharmaceutical Sciences
Bryan Fox, PhD, Psychology
Xiaomei Xiang, MSA, Accounting
Jennifer Fournier, LLM, Law
Mohammed Aleinzi, MS, Computer Science
Kim-Ndor Djimadoumngar, Interdisciplinary PhD, Geosciences / Computer Science
Anas A. Katib, Interdisciplinary PhD, Computer Science / Telecommunications and
Computer Networking
Prachi Shah, MBA, Management Information Sciences

Please join me in congratulating these students.


UMKC’s 3-Minute Thesis Competition

There will be 28 UMKC graduate students participating in the 3-Minute Thesis campus-level competition 1-5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9 in the UMKC Student Union, Rooms 401A and 401D. All UMKC students, faculty, and staff members are invited to attend. The winning Master’s and Doctoral students will receive cash prizes, and the Grand Award winner will represent UMKC at the regional-level competition in Chicago in April 2016 at the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) annual conference.

During the Fall 2015 semester, an open invitation was issued by Dean Denis Medeiros to all UMKC Master’s and Doctoral students to participate in the 3-Minute Thesis Competition. This international competition was founded by The University of Queensland in Australia in 2008. Graduate students are given three minutes and permitted to use one PowerPoint slide to present their thesis or dissertation research using language so that an educated layperson can understand their ideas and the significance of their research.

The first round of the competition will take place from 1 until 2:30 p.m. with 9 Master’s students and 19 Doctoral students. These presentations will take place in Rooms 401A and 401D of the Student Union, with three judges in each room who will score the presentations using a standard rubric. The top eight graduate students will emerge from round one to complete in the Final Competition from 3:15 until 4:30 p.m. in Room 401A of the Student Union. There will be five judges for this level of the competition, in addition to a cash prize for the Peoples’ Choice Award determined by the audience. Awards and Certificates of Participation will be given immediately following the Final Competition.


Graduate Writing Initiative

The UMKC School of Graduate Studies, University Libraries, and the UMKC Writing Studio have partnered to implement a Graduate Writing Initiative to provide resources such as writing workshops and online tutorials for the more than 5,400 graduate students enrolled in UMKC’s degree and certificate programs. The resources include:

  1. A new Graduate Writing Resources web page is available on the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) website that provides links to online and campus-based graduate writing resources and development opportunities
  2. A Blackboard organization site, titled Writing Resources for Graduate Students, was created with access for all UMKC graduate students and graduate faculty members. After logging in to Blackboard, this site appears in “My Organizations.” This site provides examples of outstanding thesis and dissertations, links for helping students with poster and oral presentations, information on managing citations, information on avoiding plagiarism, links for publishing, presentation, and grant proposal opportunities, and much more.
  3. Writing Workshops offered throughout the Fall 2015 semester provided opportunities for graduate students to engage with a variety of facilitators on topics such as Formatting Theses and Dissertations, Writing for the Humanities / Sciences, Proofreading Tips and Techniques, research help, and Grant Writing. Attendance at each of the workshops ranged from approximately 5 to 50 students. A Spring 2016 calendar of Graduate Writing Initiative Workshops will be available on the SGS website in January, and graduate students and faculty advisors will receive emails throughout the semester regarding upcoming writing workshop opportunities. There are also plans to expand opportunities for students to participate in workshops online through Blackboard Collaborate, and to archive writing workshops on the Blackboard Writing Resources organization site.
  4. Several Online Tutorials were created for the SGS YouTube Channel, including a series of short videos by Dean Denis Medeiros titled Avoiding Plagiarism and a two-part video series on Thesis and Dissertation Formatting by Nancy Hoover.

These Graduate Writing Initiative activities will continue throughout 2016, in addition to new resources to support excellence in graduate student writing. The School of Graduate Studies and Writing Studio plan to hire a part-time Graduate Writing Specialist to support UMKC’s graduate writing community through both facilitating programming and working directly with graduate students.

Designated Graduate Student Writing Workstations with specialized software will be available through online reservation at the Writing Studio in the Atterbury Student Success Center starting in the Spring 2016 semester.


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