Welcome to the Graduate Student Assistant to the Dean and Chancellor (GSADC) blog for the 2018/2019 academic year. My goal for this blog is to share what I have been doing in this role in an effort to promote communication and transparency, and to provide a looking glass into my schedule, my goals, and my hopes for the graduate and professional student community. You will also get a glimpse into my academic life and fun things that happen to me during the year. If you are not a grad student and you just happened to stumble unto this page, my hope is that you become more familiar with graduate and professional student’s experiences, thoughts, and interests.
Before beginning in this role this past summer, I had the opportunity to teach my first ever course in Summer Session II! It was quite exciting and nerve racking and there were definitely a few moments where I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. But, my students were thoughtful and engaging and I felt like we all left that class having learned so much more than we thought we would. Shortly after, under the guidance of the past GSADC, Jeanelle Hope, I began my crash course into the role of the GSADC. Needless to say, it was a bit daunting and there seemed to be a never ending stream of information that I had to absorb in a very short while.
I am now well in the position and my calendar is more colourful than I have ever seen it. The first event I participated in was the Graduate Student Orientation (GSO) at the Mondavi Center this year where I met hundreds of brand new Aggies and got to talk to them about their hopes and calm their fears (fingers crossed) about grad school. I even managed to recruited some of them to join the Chancellor's Graduate and Professional Students Advisory (CGPSA) board! More on that soon.
My priority for the past few weeks has been to learn about the wide range of issues graduate and professional students are facing and to identify the appropriate administrative offices and committees that are responsible for addressing these needs. In the first few weeks I met with the members of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) which includes the graduate groups and departments student representatives and the Executive council. At the meeting, I gave my first address to the assembly where I laid out my goals and offered up my services. I have also met with representative from our satellite campuses including Bodega Marine Lab and Sacramento, to learn about their campuses and how we could work together to improve their experiences. On the administrative side I have met with Chancellor May, Dean Delplanque, Associate Dean Butler and a host of people in grad studies and university administration regularly to inform them about the issues raised by the body politic, and to learn about their plans to address them. All in all, the month of October was mainly about listening.
Then in the spirit of the great Li Shang, it was time to get down to business. The Chancellor’s Graduate and Professional Students Advisory (CGPSA) board completed our recruitments of first year members and we have already begun researching a host of areas including Mentoring, Retention, Diversity and Inclusion, Student Employment and Campus Resources. It is definitely a lot to cover especially with our already packed academic schedules, but I know I speak for entire advisory board when I say we are excited to get going. One of the issues at the top of my agenda as well as the Chancellor’s is transportation, specifically the expansion of Unitrans to graduate and professional students and I have been working with the GSA EC – specifically the President, Jonathan Minnick and Internal Vice President, Antash Najib – to articulate the graduate student perspective to various campus stakeholders. Hopefully I will have some good news on that front soon.
As GSADC, I also sit on countless shared governance committees like Graduate Council, the Campus Community Council, and the Basic Needs Oversight Committee, and the Graduate Students Center at Walker Hall planning committee where I have the opportunity to advocate for graduate and professional students. I have also had the opportunity to engage with faculty and students across the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and STEM fields and I look forward to meeting with more student organizations that serve smaller communities and see how we could work together.
While being the GSADC might sound like all work and no play, I have definitely had been able to carve out time for fun with friends. On the 3rd of November, I attended the annual UC-HBCU Luncheon with President Napolitano where my fellow fellows and I got to discuss issues facing black graduate students across the UCs with the goal of improving recruitment and retention and cultivating more inclusive campuses. Once that part was over we all got to hang out and catch up for the rest of the day in Oakland. The Black Graduate and Professional students association (BGPSA) of which I am a member also hosts it weekly Black Space where I go to decompress and last but definitely not the least the Anthropology Graduate Students Association hosted a trip to the Dixon Corn Maze. It is the largest corn maze in the world and let’s just say we had more fun than we had a right to. Picture a long line of map reading trained grad students speeding through the maze like its nothing while jamming to Afrobeats, Reggaeton, Dancehall and Soca. Shout out to Dance Squad!
Well that is all for now and hopefully this will be one of many blog entries. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or need any assistance. I am here. I look forward to sharing more with you all. Until next time.