Developing Mentoring Relationships That Last

AN EFFECTIVE MENTORING RELATIONSHIP passes through phases of development. Early on, your mentor will recognize your unique qualities and your need for special coaching. In turn, this recognition should inspire you to seek out your mentor's support, skills and wisdom. Later, both of you will explore and deepen your working relationship, perhaps collaborating on projects while you develop into a junior colleague. At some point, you may grow in ways that require separation from your mentor, to test your own ideas.

Making the Most of Your Teaching Evaluations

It’s the end of the semester, and you’re wrapping up the class you’re TAing. Just a few more classes, and your students will hand in their final assignments and take their final exam. And they’ll complete a teaching evaluation. How can you make the most of the evaluation?

Use Definite, Specific, Concrete Language

William Strunk and E.B. White promote the use of specific, definite, and concrete language over the general, vague, and abstract. Academic prose doesn’t need to be general, vague, or abstract. With a little practice and a good editorial eye, you can engage your reader with added detail.

Presenting a Research Poster

You’ve been working hard on your research these last few semesters. The data has been collected, sorted, and analyzed. So what do you do with the findings? Maybe you’ll write an article down the road or present your findings at a disciplinary conference.

A great way to prepare for the next step is to present your research at the Spring 2014 Graduate Poster Session, scheduled for Tuesday, April 15, at 3:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union.

Preparing Fellowship Applications: A Step-by-Step Guide

A major fellowship can be a critical funding resource, especially if your research requires money for travel, equipment or supplies, and time to collect data and write. When you consider applying for a fellowship, keep the following in mind:

Using the Active Voice

In scholarly writing, the scholar often disappears behind the words. What this means is that the person acting (doing an assay, reviewing books, or interviewing subjects) isn’t the focus of the sentence—instead the emphasis is on the objects being assayed or the subjects being interviewed. For example, in the following three sentences, the person doing the action can be omitted, which is a clue that the passive voice is used:

Asking Good Questions: Socratic Method in the Classroom

To get students thinking critically about material, lecturing to students who remain passive recipients of knowledge won’t work. Students must be engaged and grapple with questions in order to think critically. Discussion helps students consider the material and tackle it using higher-level thinking (see figure) .
Bloom's taxonomy (modified): From low-level skills to high-level skills, they are remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating

Best Practices for Collaborating on Research

Across the disciplines, collaboration and interdisciplinary work is growing. As teamwork in scholarship increases, it’s important to establish good practices for collaboration. Laying clear ground rules (Howard Gadlin and Kevin Jessar call these a “prenuptial agreement for scientists”) and having an open discussion about expectations helps the collaboration run smoothly. This is equally true if you are collaborating with different labs at other universities, working with private industry, or keeping your mentor up to date on your own research.

Funding Your Dissertation

Whether you’re looking for a few extra dollars to fund research or a larger fellowship that will pay for a year or two of focused work on your dissertation, a research grant can be just the ticket for finishing your dissertation and launching your career. A smaller award shows that you’re capable of getting money to fund research and, when it comes time to apply for a larger award, you’ve demonstrated that you are capable of using funds effectively to support your work.

Teaching Critical Thinking

Every student within a discipline needs to learn facts and acquire basic knowledge in introductory classes. Students make flashcards, memorize terms, and gain a basic understanding of the subject. Sometimes, students may be able to apply the knowledge they’ve learned in order to solve basic problems. These lower-level activities are referred to as declarative knowledge, one of the three types of knowledge according to Joanne G. Kurfiss, author of Critical Thinking: Theory, Research, Practice, and Possibilities.

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