The Graduate College

Spring 2008

New & Noteworthy
Reflections from the Dean
Ones to Watch: ARCS Scholars
Program Notes: MS ENGR
GSO Update
Graduate Assistants' Corner
Deadlines & Calendar

Teaching: Toward a Community of Practice
Farewell to Pat Baron
Some Thoughts on Doing Less
Triumph in Tuba City

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GSO Update

The GSO is Back!

Graduate students across the Northern Arizona University network wonder, “Where did it go?” The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) has been inactive for the past three years, but with strong student interest and the encouragement of the new Graduate College dean, Dr. Ramona Mellott, the organization has reinvented itself.

The Graduate Student Organization of Northern Arizona University is to represent the interests of graduate students at NAU and to communicate between the graduate student body and the NAU administration.”—GSO mission

In fall 2007, Dr. Mellott organized an informational meeting for interested graduate students to discuss the group’s revitalization. Within a few months, each mountain-campus graduate program selected a voting representative for the executive committee, which in turn elected officers. One of the committee’s first achievements was to amend the existing constitution to add a member-at-large position to allow distance learning students or other specialized groups a voting member.

The GSO worked diligently throughout the 2007-08 academic year to research student opinion and select among a variety of goals. Top priorities included:

  1. creating a travel award program
  2. conducting a survey on graduate student housing needs
  3. providing master’s and doctoral fellowships
  4. increasing graduate assistant benefits
  5. becoming a strong voice for graduate student questions and concerns

Within a few short months, the GSO has made substantial progress in realizing two of these goals. In conjunction with ASNAU, the GSO created a travel award program to provide monetary support for conference travel. The travel award committee received an impressive 55 applications, and awards will be announced this month. We will work toward continually increasing the available pool of travel funds for the future.

In addition, the GSO organized a forum on April 1, to which all NAU graduate students were invited, to begin a dialogue with the president. Dr. Haeger, graduate students, and GSO executive committee members had the opportunity to ask many questions, and the discussion covered transportation, increased tuition remission for graduate assistants, graduate student fellowships and scholarships, and becoming a more sustainable university. Increasing graduate fellowships and scholarships is an important priority for Dr. Haeger as well, and he wants to see “more grads at the table” in NAU policy discussions.

Dr. Haeger stated that the higher the number of active GSO members, the more influence the organization will command. We encourage all grad students to participate in the GSO to ensure a powerful graduate voice and presence at NAU. You are invited to attend the next monthly meeting on April 29 at 5:30 p.m. in Ashurst, room A109.

Distance students can attend via teleconference by calling the “Meet Me Line”—watch for the number a week in advance via the graduate student e-mail list-serve.

Please check the GSO web site for more information or to become involved!

—Sara Rinfret, GSO president