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GSA Newsletter: Jan. 28, 2019


GSA Spring Welcome Back Mixer: Event Photos
Photos by Amanda Jacobs (Education Psychology, Ph.D student)
Music by David Baker, Hiroki Kitazawa, and Jack Roben


GSA 2019 Estes Park Trip: Trip Photos
Photos by Amanda Jacobs (Education Psychology, Ph.D student)

linda black

Graduate Town Hall Meeting
Friday, Feb. 1
1-2 p.m.
Carter Hall, room 2010

Do you have questions or concerns about how UNC's current budget crisis will affect your graduate education? Want to know more about the state of the Graduate School? Attend this meeting to speak with Graduate School Dean Linda Black, Ed.D., and/or Associate Dean Cindy Wesley, Ph.D. Snacks provided by the GSA (while supplies last). 


Graduate Research Brainstorming: Weld County Jail

Friday, Feb. 1
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Weld County Jail

The Graduate Student Association has been invited to meet with the Weld County Sheriff's Office to explore research opportunities with their inmate and/or employee populations. The Weld County Jail houses approximately 800 inmates and employs 300 law enforcement and associated staff members. One or more graduate students and/or faculty members in the following departments have already been notified of this opportunity: Applied Statistics & Research Methods, Criminology, Sociology, Sport Administration and Sport Pedagogy. If you haven't heard of this opportunity, but are interested in attending this meeting, email GSA Director David Shimokawa as soon as possible. 

cindy wesley 

Graduate TA Town Hall Meeting

Thank you to the graduate students who attended the Graduate Teaching Assistant Town Hall meeting on Friday, Jan. 25. The following programs were represented: Biomechanics (via email), Criminology, Educational Psychology, Exercise Physiology, School Psychology, Social Psychology of Sport, Sport Administration and Sport Pedagogy.

The following topics were brought up by graduate students at the town hall:

  • Different stipend amounts between graduate assistants of various programs
  • Increasing the amount of 100-200 level courses taught by graduate students so professors can focus on research/grants/higher-yield activities
  • Increasing graduate student funding
  • Improvements to the fall teaching assistant conference
  • Administration viewing graduate students as an expense
  • Developing a metric to determine GA/TA/RA dollar value to the institution
  • Creating a list of all the ways graduate students contribute to UNC
  • Getting student health insurance covered by UNC for graduate assistants
  • Increasing graduate student representation on university councils/boards/committees

andy feinstein 

UNC's Proposed Cost-Savings Measures

The President's Leadership Council has provided feedback on several proposed cost-saving measures for UNC:

  1. Mandatory two-day employee furloughs, RECOMMENDATION: Do not implement in fiscal year 2020.
  2. Extend computer refresh program for employees, RECOMMENDATION: Do not implement in fiscal year 2020.
  3. Move to a high-deductible health plan, RECOMMENDATION: Do not implement.
  4. Reduce employer contributions to health insurance plans and/or optional retirement plans, RECOMMENDATION: Reduce employer contribution/increase employee contribution to health insurance plan. Do not reduce employer contribution to optional retirement plan.
  5. Modify the employee/ dependent tuition waiver, RECOMMENDATION: Continue all waivers for current users through a specified time period. Reduce undergraduate waivers for dependent children to 50%. Eliminate all graduate waivers. Eliminate all undergraduate waivers for employees. Eliminate undergraduate waivers for spouses and domestic partners.
  6. Offer a faculty early retirement program, RECOMMENDATION: Implement in fiscal year 2020 or earlier if possible.
  7. Identify opportunities for outsourcing or external shared services, RECOMMENDATION: Do more research on outsourcing.
  8. Set targets for reducing expenses and letting units decide how to implement, RECOMMENDATION: Consider past participation in cost-savings work when setting division cost-savings goals.
  9. Change faculty workload, sections offered, adjunct costs, and/or course releases for research, RECOMMENDATION: Should be addressed at the division/college level
  10. Layoffs, RECOMMENDATION: Allow at the division/college level if needed.
  11. Eliminate contracted services with low return on investment, RECOMMENDATION: No university-level services recommended for elimination at this time. Consider at the division/college level.
  12. Permanently reduce travel and/or restrict faculty conference travel, RECOMMENDATION: Address at the division level.
  13. Review Athletics for cost-reduction ideas, RECOMMENDATION: Set cost-savings goal for Athletics. Focus on reducing costs rather than conference/division move at this time. 

dick monfort 

UNC Board of Trustees Meeting Notes

Thanks to our GSA representatives who attended the Jan. 25 Board of Trustees meeting at the Panorama Room. Here are their notes from the general session:

Representative #1's notes

Representative #2's notes

apass lunar new year 

APASS Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, Feb. 9
Children's Carnival: 3:30-5 p.m.
Celebration: 5-7 p.m.
Michener Library, Lindou Auditorium

Join graduate students Shumin Shen and Oluwagbenga "David" Agboola at the graduate student meet-up for this year's APASS Lunar New Year Celebration. Pick up your own tickets for this event and email Shumin or David for the graduate student meet-up time and location. 

This year's celebration will have a carnival with games, activities, and different booths from different organizations and clubs on campus. After that, there will be a show with performances from the students of UNC, showcasing their many talents and skills! Finally, there will be a dinner celebration to finish off the night! It's a great event that you won't want to miss!

Tickets are free to students, staff, and faculty of UNC! For community members they are $10! You can pick up your tickets at the Office of Modern Languages in Candelaria or at the Kohl House, located at 924 20th St.

janis hooper 

Message from Janis Hooper in the Graduate School

Hello graduate students! We are reaching out to tell you about the new and improved Graduate Program Change form!  The old Change of Major form has been revised and renamed.

We hope the new form is more intuitive and simplifies the process for admitted students:

  • To change from one degree program to another.
  • To move down in degree level (e.g., from a doctorate to a master’s or master’s to certificate). Note: To move up in degree level, you will need to apply for the new program. Contact the Graduate School with questions. 
  • To Add or Drop a license/endorsement or a certificate from the current program.  

Content has been changed.

  • Effective date for the program change: If submitted prior to add/drop date, an approved change can be effective in the current term. All other submission will take effect in the next term.
  • RE: If the program you wish to change to requests additional materials for review before they make a decision, the Graduate School will not collect additional materials, e.g., new statement of goals, letters of recommendation for the requested or added program. Students should submit them directly to the program for review.

The user Interface has been changed.

  • The upper portion of the form is for program changes, the lower portion reflects adding or dropping a license/endorsement or certificate. 
  • The form has radio buttons and is digitally fillable! Ease of use for signatures.

Please contact the Graduate School if you have questions or need assistance with this process in any way!

Go Bears!


Graduate Student ChatBot Testers

The Graduate School is currently testing a new chat bot system to assist recently admitted graduate students with any questions. Thank you to the following graduate students who volunteered to participate in text message testing of the chat bot:

  • Ann Kuhn
  • Annabel Li
  • Ann-Elizabeth Nash
  • Anthony Azari
  • Aspen King
  • Brandy Tackett
  • Brittney Morgan
  • David Shimokawa
  • Elizabeth Shmikler
  • Gabby McAllaster
  • Garrett Wheeler (UNC IT Staff)
  • Gianna Stover
  • Jacob Kisiolek
  • John Matthews
  • Jonny Lisano
  • Kathy Casey
  • Luke Monington (undergrad, president of UNC Artificial Intelligence Club)
  • Margaret Sebastian
  • Peter Smoak
  • Rowen Thomas
  • Sarah Zwetzig
  • Shane Murphy
  • Yolanda Chatwood
  • Zoe King 


GSA Volunteer Position: 
Graduate Council, GSA Representative
Conference/Research Travel Stipend Available

The GSA is currently seeking a representative to attend and report on UNC Graduate Council meetings. The function of the student members of the Council is to present the perspectives, information items, action items andrecommendations of the university's graduate students. This position will begin in February 2019. Interested candidates should contact GSA Director David Shimokawa as soon as possible.