[WORKSHOP] Managing a committee: Strategies for effective negotiation and communication with multiple committee members

Jingjing Chen

Working with multiple advisors or committee members can be stressful, as inter-personal relationships become complicated, and implicit and even conflicting expectations occur. At this workshop, participants will learn about the strategies to organize and manage a committee effectively. In this workshop, you will learn the skills to set goals and expectations with multiple faculty members via writing as well as other forms of communication, and to negotiate your progress and the evaluation process of the progress with advisors. Tips will also be offered to help you make decisions when there are disagreements among different members of the committee. For graduate students who need to assemble a committee by themselves, this workshop will help you decide whom to invite and how to convey your decisions to faculty members respectfully and gracefully.


[WORKSHOP] NSF GRFP grant writing workshop

& [DEVELOPMENT] Writing Partner Program

Julia Singleton

This year, I had two projects I worked on as part of WAC. The first was that I continued my NSF Grant Writing Workshop Series, a two-part series targeted towards graduate students applying for the NSF GRFP. The first workshop in this series provided students with a broad overview of NSF, the grant, and the application process. The second workshop in this series provided hands-on learning for students to read real grants that were submitted along with their reviews in an effort to get inside the head of the reviewer and understand ways to make their own writing stronger. My second project was to continue Lauren Fink's work in the Writing Partner Program. In general, this program is designed to help create and maintain cross-disciplinary writing groups for graduate students and postdoctoral writers. The program underwent several changes this year including a new sign-up system and check-in system with groups. In future years, we will continue offering and refining the Writing Partner Program to fit the needs of the UC Davis graduate writing community.


[WORKSHOP] Careers in science writing and communication

Mitchell Simon

I’ve noticed a growing interest in science writing and communication careers from fellow grad students. However, information on specific careers that lend themselves to this and how to prepare for them during grad school remains limited. Thus, I invited three science writing and communication professionals to share their knowledge with us.

  • Sarah Brady, PhD works at the California Council on Science and Technology where she advises the California Legislature on several policy issues related to science.
  • Robin Meadows, MS works as an independent science journalist in the Bay Area covering anything related to biology and the environment.
  • Janet Raloff is the Editor in Chief at Science News for Students, and has been reporting at Science News for over three decades.

Each shared great insight about the nature of their jobs and advice for those hoping to follow in their footsteps.


[WORKSHOP] Collaborative writing

Sarah Reed & Victoria White

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from all disciplines were invited to join a conversation about teaching and participating in collaborative writing projects. WAC fellow, Tori White and I developed a two workshop series to engage a variety of audiences, from seasoned collaborators to the simply curious, covering the following: Session 1) Collaborative Writing Pedagogy: Beyond Group Work, and Session 2) Strategies for Co-Authorship: Collaborative Writing Practice. We reviewed research in the field of education regarding the challenges and benefits of collaboration, and provided practical tools to support a collaborative writing practice. Participants were invited to share from their experiences as students, teachers and co-authors.


[RESEARCH] “I was told to come see a language specialist”: A look at graduate writing consultation trends from 2012 to 2016

Matt Zajic

Graduate writing consultations offered by the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program provide writing support to graduate and postdoctoral students at UC Davis. Each consultation session begins with an electronic intake form submitted via the online webform. These intake forms provide a wealth of information about how graduate students and postdoctoral scholars make use of our graduate writing consultations, however, these intake forms have received little attention beyond their role as an intake form. This study analyzed these intake forms across a four-year period (2012-2016) to understand how graduate students and postdoctoral scholars make use of these services. Following IRB approval, data were cleaned (including removal of all formal cancelled consultations) and deidentified. Between 2012 and 2016, WAC Fellows conducted 1221 total consultations with 333 unique graduate students or postdoctoral scholars, meaning that 72.7% of all consultations were follow-up visits. On average, students came 3.34 times with 42% of individuals attending one session, 24% attending two sessions, and 7% attending three sessions, with diminishing percentages up 51 sessions (for one individual). Sessions did vary by quarter but not by year, with fall quarter having the most sessions (n = 140) across all four years (with winter and spring roughly equal around 80 sessions apiece). Students from 78 graduate programs have made use of consultations, with programs with the highest frequencies (> 10 visits) being Human Ecology, Statistics, Spanish & Portuguese, the School of Education, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, and Plant Sciences. Average consultations per WAC Fellow stayed extremely consistent across quarters and years. Students came into sessions with a variety of different goals, though many (28%) of sessions reported not having a specific goal for the writing. Frequently seen goals included improve (11%), review (8%), clarity (8%), grammar (8%), and organization (6%). Students brought in many different graduate school genres, including theses (13%), journal articles (13%), dissertations (12%), fellowship proposals (11%), and course papers (9%). From the overall sessions, students with English as a second language were roughly equal in proportion to students with English as a first language (42% to 58%); however, amongst unique consultations, students with English as a second language represented a higher proportion (67%). Students spoke over twenty different languages other than English, though students mainly spoke Chinese or Mandarin (45%). Students heard about our services through various forms of communication, including email (17%), colleagues (13%), online searching (9%), and graduate program advisers (7%). Better understanding how students have made use of our services can further help not only inform training and professional development of WAC Fellows to meet the needs of our graduate students and postdoctoral scholars but also assist with ways to improve upon the services the WAC program can offer UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars seeking writing support.