GSO Breakout Abstracts

Abstracts from 2021 Graduate Student Orientation. Updated abstracts for sessions for 2022 GSO will be available in July.

GSO  Graduate Student Breakout Session Abstracts

Avoiding Burnout
You may already be feeling overwhelmed with all graduate school has thrown at you, especially in the uncertain times we are all currently facing. That’s okay! The transition to graduate school is stressful, at best. Your leaders have been here before, and we have some tips to help! The aim of this session is to provide information to incoming students regarding stress, coping, and resources available to manage their own mental and physical health in the Kent community. 

The Diversity Toolkit: A Primer for Graduate Students on Cultivating Inclusivity in a Diverse Campus Community
This interactive session will focus on cultivating and identifying diversity, equity, and inclusion in educational environments. Definitions, types, and issues relevant to diversity will be explored. Next, with a priority to create a culturally responsive environment, we will discuss how Kent State graduate students can build diversity and inclusivity into their academic work and their interactions with their colleagues and students. We will also share resources for students who are interested in DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives at Kent State.

Grad 101: Enjoy your New Journey
Starting graduate school can be a daunting experience as one might not be fully aware of what to expect or not. This session aims at providing graduate students with important guidelines and tips that help them succeed and make the most out of their graduate school experience.

Conferences and Publications
In this session, we will have a conversation about academic conferences and publications and demystify the process of submitting and presenting your work. In addition to discussing the 'to dos' and potential roadblocks, we will talk about available resources that can be helpful along the way. 

Managing Finances in Graduate School
Graduate school may present financial challenges. A lack of financial preparedness can lead to stress and setbacks. This session will discuss personal finance, budgeting, how to deal with financial setbacks and financial opportunities.

Navigating and Networking in the Academy
This session explores topics related to networking and etiquette while in graduate school. The leaders will discuss the best ways to present yourself in a professional manner, how to efficiently and respectfully communicate with advisors, faculty, and peers, and how to problem-solve ethical/professional issues that might arise while in your program.

GSO  Teaching Assistant Breakout Session Abstracts

First Time TA
This session will focus on the common pedagogical and logistical concerns of new TA’s including instructor responsibilities, developing a pedagogical stance, classroom management, and maintaining healthy boundaries, as well as matters such as locating teaching materials or technical assistance, especially in this changing teaching & learning environment.   

Engaging Students in Challenging Conversations
Challenging conversations are a part of teaching. Whether designed as a part of the syllabus, or brought into the classroom through students’ own experiences, instructors should be prepared to facilitate these discussions. This interactive session will provide instructors with proactive strategies and “in-the-moment” tools to effectively engage students in meaningful conversations around topics such as sexual orientation, gender identity, race, political differences ,immigration, and cultural misunderstandings. 

Online Teaching Essentials
As we transition back to in-person teaching and learning, many graduate assistants will remain teaching in an online environment. There are many resources available to make your online classroom interactive and engaging for both you and your students! This session will serve as an introduction to teaching online both synchronously and asynchronously in both Canvas and BlackBoard. Your leaders have designed this session to provide you with tools and resources to make your online teaching experience smooth and hassle-free! 

Principles of Effective Teaching
This session details some strategies and recommendations for managing your course. In the session, we will discuss creating your teaching philosophy, establishing boundaries and expectations, and creating and managing course content. The second portion of the session involves strategies for engaging with students meaningfully both inside and outside the classroom. We will also talk about campus-wide resources available to you as the instructors and for your students to use outside classroom instruction.

Syllabus and Grading
This presentation highlights basic guidelines for developing a successful course syllabus and offers tips for fair grading practices. Resources are provided to assist teaching and graduate assistants in preparing for a successful teaching experience.

TA in a Science Lab
Laboratory courses are meant to provide a hands-on, engaging experience for students. Because of the nature of these courses, science lab TAs must prepare for teaching in ways that are different from other disciplines. In this session, our primary goal will be to provide attendees with actionable advice that they will be able to use for planning and executing their first laboratory class-session. To do this, we will provide an interactive overview about designing appropriate presentations, overseeing laboratory activities/experiments, and evaluating students’ understanding.