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APRIL 2017

GradMENTOR is a monthly publication of the Graduate College designed to provide you with resources as you work with and mentor graduate students and postdocs.

News and Announcements

Announcing the Winner of the Graduate Student Leadership Award

We're pleased to announce the winner of the Graduate Student Leadership Award: Alexandra Van Doren, a doctoral student in Comparative and World Literatures. 

During the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015, Alexandra realized there was no refugee welcome center in Champaign or Urbana, and decided to take action. In January 2016, she founded the non-profit Three Spinners Inc. with the help of fellow graduate student Meagan Smith and her husband Tim King.

Two graduate students also received special recognition. They are:

  • Uttam Thakore - a doctoral student in Computer Science 
  • Yanfen Li - a doctoral student in Bioengineering 

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2017 Image of Research Competition

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Image of Research Competition!

  • 1st: Leanna Barcelona, iSchool, "A Walk Down Memory Lane: Connecting History at the Student Life and Culture Archives"
  • 2nd: Chris Seward, Cell and Developmental Biology, "A Clear Mind"
  • 3rd: Elizabeth Weston, Social Work, "Alone No Longer"
  • Honorable Mention and People's Choice: Melinda Lanius, Mathematics, "The Banana of my Eye"

Read more about the winning submissions online! 


Annual Meeting of Graduate Faculty

Monday, May 1, 1 - 2:30 p.m., Illini Union, room 210

Join us at the Annual Meeting of the Graduate Faculty. Topics include an overview of graduate education at Illinois, including the soon-to-be launched graduate education dashboard that provides data at the campus and program level. We will also provide an update on issues related to immigration and DACA, including potential short and long-term impact for our students and campus.


Updated Export Control Information for Researchers

The university's export control website has been updated with guidance on the use of controlled technologies and hiring international students and scholars. Research and other activities involving sensitive equipment, software, data or other materials may require prior approval by the export compliance officer.

The Office of Export Control can consult with faculty advisors and researchers if you have concerns about how export control might impact your research or that of your graduate students. See for more information. Contact the office at: or 217-300-6385.

Mentoring your Students

The Faculty Job Search Retreat

Tuesday, July 18, 12:30 - 5 p.m., Illini Union Ballroom

Encourage your students to register

Do you have students or postdocs who are going on the job market soon? Encourage them to mark their calendars to join us for valuable advice from faculty experts, the Graduate College Career Development Office, and others from around campus. This afternoon retreat includes an overview of the application process, a faculty panel that will take attendees behind the scenes with a search committee, hands-on activities to help write strong cover letters, and presentations on academic job search strategies and other application documents.  


Thesis Deposit and Publishing Options for Your Students

With the thesis deposit deadline quickly approaching, it is important to remind students to review the release options available to them as they publish their document in the University’s repository, IDEALS. Students are encouraged to review these options carefully and early as they consider the visibility and dissemination of their work.

Students may choose from three options:

  • Open Access: The thesis is publically available in IDEALS.
  • U of I Access: The Thesis is restricted in IDEALS to the campus community and through interlibrary loan for 2 years.
  • Closed Access: The Thesis is restricted in IDEALS and is not available to anyone (not even the student of adviser) for 2 years.

Please Note: No matter which release option the student chooses, the metadata (including the title and abstract) will be available.

If it is necessary to delay publication of the document to protect potentially patentable technology or work or to comply with the terms of sponsored research agreements, then the student and adviser must work with the Office of Technology Management (OTM) to request a patent hold on the document. You can learn more about the patent hold process on the OTM website.

We hope that you will help graduate students be aware of and understand these options as they develop their thesis or dissertation. Please contact the Thesis Office at or (217) 333-6278 with any questions.


Junior Faculty Seminar Series: Enabling Students to Think Critically and Problem-Solve

Wednesday, April 12, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Armory Building, room 428

Registration required

As the world becomes more global and information grows exponentially, our students are facing increasingly more complex problems whose solutions cannot be readily found in textbooks. Join the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) to learn how to enable students to approach issues through an inquiry-based instructional model in tackling authentic real-world problems. This session is the last in the Junior Faculty Seminar Series this semester.


Invitation to Conversation with University Senior Leadership

Wednesday, April 19, noon - 1 p.m., Illini Union, room A, B, and C

The Chancellor invites graduate faculty to join him for a public conversation with the senior leadership team of the university. The event will begin with a brief budget update presentation by Interim Provost John Wilkin and Vice Provost Paul Ellinger. Following that, Professors Antoinette Burton and Gene Robinson will moderate a roundtable-style conversation around critical campus issues with Interim Provost Wilkin, Vice Chancellor Benson, Vice Chancellor Romano, Vice Chancellor Schiffer and Chancellor Jones. The event will conclude with questions from the audience

The Research University at 150

Deadline: April 28

In celebration of the University’s Sesquicentennial, the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research are now accepting proposals to fund 4 - 6 research symposia that tackle big-picture topics with clear societal impact and that showcase the university’s research strengths. The symposia, the culminating research events of the Sesquicentennial Celebration, will occur simultaneously, April 10-12, 2018.

Topics should appeal to researchers in a number of disciplines and proposed presentations should invite the exploration of new or innovative approaches to pressing societal issues. Funding of up to $20,000 per symposium is available. Funding for this program is made possible through the generous support of the David Dodds Henry Lectureship Fund.


Future of Bioscience Graduate and Postdoctoral Training (FOBGAPT)

Register by April 15

The FOBGAPT2 conference will be held in Denver on June 8 - 10. The conference will be organized to maximize discussion. Concurrent workshops will be held to allow all participants to contribute actively to all workshops to produce both a compendium of best practices at institutions and consensus support for national policy recommendations. The conference is open to faculty, postdocs, and graduate students. Questions? E-mail or


The University of Illinois: Engine of Innovation

Friday, April 28, 5 - 6:30 p.m., Levis Faculty Center, second floor

Join us as we celebrate "The University of Illinois: Engine of Innovation," a new book edited by professor emeritus Fred Hoxie. Fred will discuss the book and its stories about our remarkable university’s key inventions, places, and people. Several of the book’s authors will also speak and the University Archives will display related artifacts. Presentations will be followed by a reception. This event is free and open to the public. Find more information online.


Consider Registering for the Faculty Success Program

May 21 - August 12


Registration is now open for the Faculty Success Program from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. The Faculty Success Program is a 12-week intensive mentoring program (or virtual bootcamp) that is designed to help you increase your research productivity, get control of your time, and live a full and healthy life beyond your campus. Seats are limited, so if you know now that you want a spot in the next session of the program, grab your seat today.

Deadlines and Policies

Dropping Courses

Friday, April 14 is the last day for graduate students to drop ALL Spring semester courses from their Spring registration without a grade of W and thus withdraw from Spring semester. Students need to complete a Withdrawal/Cancellation form and obtain their department’s signature and, in the case of International Students, a signature from International Student Scholar Services. Students considering this action are encouraged first to discuss their decision with their adviser and/or program.

Friday, April 14 is the last day to drop individual full term Spring semester courses without a grade of W. Students need to come to the Graduate College, 204 Coble Hall, to complete a Late Course Change form to complete the process, but first are encouraged to discuss their decision with their adviser and/or program. Dropping a course may affect progress toward degree completion, so the decision is best done in consultation with a student’s program.


Friday, April 14 is the last day to change a course to the credit/no-credit grading option for a Spring semester course or to change from the credit/no-credit grading option to a regular grade. Adviser approval is required. Please consult with your program if you are considering this grading option for any course because course and department restrictions may apply.

View our calendar for additional academic deadlines.


Tech Zone Faculty and Staff Appreciation Sale

Thursday, April 20

As a thank-you to all the hard-working faculty and staff on the Illinois campus, the Tech Zone is holding a one-day Appreciation Sale with specials throughout the store. If you've been thinking about getting a new Mac or iPad, now is the time. You can receive 8 percent off current Mac units, including the new Macbook Pro, plus and much more. Pre-orders are accepted begining April 10.


Testing Center Services Available

The new expanded facilities of the Testing Center are open for use. The center is located at 1819 S. Neil, Suite B in Illini Plaza. Parking is free and the site is convenient to city bus lines. The Center can administer conflict exams and provide proctors for finals. Questions, e-mail, or call (217) 244-1342.

Additional Publications from the Graduate College

A weekly e-bulletin for graduate students


Grad Life Blog
A behind-the-scenes look at the graduate experience


Postdoc Post
Biweekly e-bulletin with news and highlights for postdoctoral scholars


Biweekly job postings for graduate students.


GradMENTOR is distributed monthly to graduate faculty and department contacts who work with graduate students. Please see our website for submission information

If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in any of the programs or events listed in GradMENTOR, please email the contact person for the event. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.