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K-State Today

April 28, 2014

Reflecting on a productive year in the Graduate Student Council

Submitted by Taylor Wadian

In my term as Graduate Student Council president, the Graduate Student Council has contributed much to enhance the graduate student experience at K-State. As my term is coming to an end, I wanted to publicly recognize our many accomplishments and thank those who have helped make this a very successful year for the council.

For those who are not familiar, the Graduate Student Council is an umbrella organization representing all 4,200 graduate students at K-State. Our primary goal, as outlined in our constitution, is to provide support to the graduate student body, through travel awards, recognition of academic achievement, professional development, social activities and networking opportunities. As an organization, we also serve as the link between the graduate student body and the graduate faculty, the Graduate School, the Student Governing Association, and various university administrators and offices such as the university president and provost. Taken together, the council actively works to not only represent graduate students at K-State, but also to enhance the graduate student experience at K-State.

Some of our major accomplishments during this academic year are summarized below:

  • Creation of a Welcoming Committee. The council now has a committee solely charged with welcoming new graduate students to campus. Therefore, all newly admitted graduate students now receive a phone call and/or an email from a member of the council welcoming them to campus and offering them with information or guidance on the many questions new graduate students have when coming to K-State. We have found these efforts to be extremely well received among new graduate students at K-State and therefore intend to continue these efforts to help new graduate students in their transition to graduate school.
  • New records in travel awards. The council actively works to support graduate student travel to professional events — such as research conferences and symposiums — by awarding travel grants. Last fiscal year, the council awarded more than $100,000 in travel awards, helping 389 graduate students to travel across the globe to present their research and scholarly activities. This year, I am proud to announce that the council is on track to provide the most money for travel awards in our organization's history. Thanks to annual funding from the president and the provost offices, as well as student fee money from Student Governing Association, the Graduate Student Council is projected to award more than $138,000 this fiscal year for graduate student travel to professional events.
  • Three extremely successful research forum events. The council coordinates events that provide graduate students with opportunities to share their research with other graduate students, faculty and state legislators. Currently, the council organizes three major research forums events every year — Research and the State, the Capital Graduate Research Summit and the Kansas State Research Forum. I am proud to announce that these events were extremely successful this year, not only in recognizing graduate students for their exceptional scholarly contributions, but in further promoting K-State as an outstanding research institution.
  • Eight outstanding professional development events. Throughout the academic year, the council has actively worked to provide graduate students at K-State with a host of events to facilitate their professional development. More specifically, our professional development committee organized eight events throughout this fiscal year that covered topics such as networking, negotiating, finding a job in academia, industry, or even as a post doc, and grant writing. Thanks to our partnership with the Division of Communications and Marketing, many of these events were recorded and archived on the Graduate School's website so that all graduate students can benefit from the information provided, regardless of whether the students are in Manhattan, Salina, Olathe, or elsewhere.
  • Supporting K-State diversity efforts on campus. Thanks to funding from the Student Governing Association's Diversity Programming Committee, the council was able to bring a highly renowned speaker on diversity issues to campus. On March 25, Orlando Taylor, a highly recognized advocate and spokesperson on topics and issues related to access and equity in higher education, presented "Re-Considering Diversity as a Social Justice: A Compelling National Need of Global Imperative." While at K-State, Taylor also was able to personally meet with many K-State students, faculty and diversity point-persons to discuss how K-State can further enhance diversity efforts on campus and beyond.
  • Enhanced graduate student visibility on campus. For perhaps the first time ever, graduate students are becoming a highly visible demographic on campus – so much so that university administration now actively ask for graduate student representation on universitywide committees and task forces. Currently, graduate students serve as representatives and leaders on the Union Governing Board, Honor Council, University Sustainability Task Force, University Budget Advisory Committee, University Climate Survey Committee and Graduate Council. The council also has graduate students who represent graduate student needs and concerns for health insurance, Hale Library, state affairs, 8020 and the recreation complex. Furthermore, graduate students also have served on various search committees, such as the search committee for vice provost of international programs and vice president of research.
  • Recognizing graduate students on campus. The council works with communications and marketing to recognize graduate student achievements through a universitywide newsletter distributed fall and spring semesters. Furthermore, in partnership with the Graduate School, the council has worked to promote the recognition of outstanding graduate students by encouraging graduate faculty and graduate program directors to nominate graduate students for various awards on campus. Through these efforts, the council provides the outstanding graduate students on campus the recognition they deserve and enhances the visibility of graduate student accomplishment on campus.

As is evident from our activities, the Graduate Student Council has worked diligently to enhance the graduate student experience at K-State. As much as I would like to personally take credit for the council's many accomplishments this year, much of the credit goes to the many graduate students who serve as leaders and representatives within the organization. Without their countless hours of work, the council would not be what it is today. I would also like to recognize and commend the outstanding Student Governing Association leadership, the Graduate School — the Graduate School staff and Dean Carol Shanklin — and the K-State administration — President Schulz and Provost Mason — for their contributions and assistance in accomplishing our many goals as an organization.

Thank you all for a wonderful and very successful year. It was truly an honor to serve as the 2013-14 Graduate Student Council president.


Taylor W. Wadian

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