The Graduate College

Spring 2009

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Landing Your First Faculty Position: A Case Study
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Reflections from the Dean
Ramona N. Mellott, PhD

Ramona Mellott, Dean

My last set of reflections in January 2009 came at a time when the state of Arizona had just announced the budget shortfall and its impact on the universities. These figures have now become a reality. We have worked hard to deal with the cuts with minimal impact to students and instruction. As I work on this set of reflections, I am reminded of a recent canoe trip I took on the Black Canyon River. I have done this trip before in good weather, but on this trip we were greeted with strong winds on our return eight-mile journey. As much as we paddled and steered, we made little headway and were in constant danger of capsizing. A trip that would normally take about 2.5 hours took nearly six. To compare it to our current situation, I do believe if we all paddle harder, adjust our strokes and forge ahead, we will survive.

Despite these trying times, we have good reason to celebrate and acknowledge the many accomplishments of the past academic year. Check our Need to Know section for the recognition from the NCATE team, the recent reaccreditation of the Speech Pathology program, and the new Health Interdisciplinary certificate that was created; and see Ones to Watch for the many students who have been recognized for their scholarship.

The theme of this issue is “the job search.” There are several articles in this issue that provide tips on conducting a successful job search, especially in a time when demand exceeds supply. We hope these articles and the resources that are provided on our campus will increase your chances of finding a position that is rewarding and meaningful.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the work of the many groups that serve graduate education. Special thanks to Camille Naaktgeboren, president of the Graduate Student Organization, and her executive officers and GSO department representatives who worked hard to represent the needs of graduate students at NAU. Camille has served GSO for two years, first as secretary in 2007-08 and this year as president. We thank you and your officers for your dedicated service to the graduate students at NAU.

I would like to thank the chair of the University Graduate Committee, Karen Applequist; her review committee members Karen Plager (Nursing, also vice-chair), Lori Poloni-Staudinger (Politics and International Affairs), Chris Lockwood (Business), and Richard Rogers (Communication); and the UGC membership for their hard work. Besides reviewing certificate and degree programs and curriculum, they created bylaws for UGC, updated the Student Appeal Policy, and approved a policy to establish Bachelor's/Master's Integrated Programs at NAU.

Through the concerted efforts of the Faculty Development staff, we had an exceptional slate of speakers and programming aimed at enhancing the skills of our graduate teaching assistants. In addition, the Office of the Vice President for Research partnered in our efforts and offered some excellent hands-on workshops to all graduate students on research skills, all of which were well attended by our students in Flagstaff and across our extended campuses. Our most popular workshop was the one on Fellowship and Scholarship Funding Success. If you missed this workshop, see the overview article in the January 2009 newsletter.

Finally, I would like to thank our hardworking and dedicated staff at the Graduate College and the offices of the Bursar, Distance Learning, Financial Aid, Grants and Contracts, Human Resources, Center for International Education, Registrar, Research, Sponsored Projects, and the faculty and staff in our academic units who work hard to ensure that our graduate students and graduate assistants have a great experience at NAU.

I would like to congratulate all of our master’s and doctoral students who are getting ready to graduate. I wish you much success in your chosen career and life path. Do not forget us, and remember that we will always be here for you. We have a fund for graduate student scholarships to which you can contribute if you choose when it becomes possible for you to consider giving back to NAU.

To our returning students, we look forward to the coming academic year and the new challenges it will bring. Do not hesitate to contact me if you believe I can be of assistance.

Ramona