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JUNE 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.

10-Minute Tips

Designing and Developing Programs

Do you have questions about developing new graduate degree programs? This short video with Allison McKinney, Director of Academic Affairs in the Graduate College, offers an overview of several types of programs and things to consider when developing new programs.

This is the first video in a new Grad College series called "10-Minute Tips." Each video will talk about best practices in graduate education in 10 minutes or less.


Thesis Release Options

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 discuss them with their advisers 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 or 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.

Mentoring your Students

The Faculty Job Search Retreat

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


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.  


Ford Fellowships for Underrepresented Students

To increase diversity in higher education, the Ford Foundation offers predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships. Students in most research-based PhD programs are eligible. Applicants must demonstrate a sustained personal engagement with communities underrepresented in the academy. Students from the following groups are particularly encouraged to apply: Alaska Natives, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native American Indians, Native Pacific Islanders, and Puerto Ricans. 

Staff members in the Office of External Fellowships at the Graduate College are on hand this spring and summer to answer student questions, provide winning Ford application samples, and conduct reviews of early essay drafts. Questions? Contact Colleen Vojak at


Thesis Office Formatting Resources

If you have students who are planning to deposit their thesis or dissertation this semester, make sure they check the Thesis Office website for resources to help them format their document to meet the Graduate College requirements. Some of our resources include:


2017 New Directions Internal Call for Proposals

Limited Internal Submission Deadline: August 11

In partnership with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Office of Foundation Relations issued an internal Call for Proposals for the Mellon New Directions Fellowship program. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received an invitation to submit one nominee for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s New Directions Fellowships program. This program supports faculty in the humanities who would benefit from their acquiring systematic training outside their own discipline. Candidates will be faculty members who were awarded doctorates within the last six to twelve years and whose research interests call for formal training in a discipline other than the one in which they are expert. Internal Applications should be submitted to Rajeev Malik in the Office of Foundation Relations,, by 5 p.m., Friday August 11, and will be reviewed by a faculty committee before the end of August. 


Request for Proposals: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend Program

Internal Limited-Submission Deadline: August 25

Applications are invited for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend Program for Summer 2018. Successful applicants typically receive an outright award of $6,000 to support two continuous months of research and writing. Recipients must work full-time on their projects for these two months, and may hold other research grants supporting the same project during this time.

Summer Stipends support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both. The NEH will post updated guidelines for this program within two months of this year’s NEH deadline of September 27, 2017. Those guidelines, along with FAQs, application materials, and sample application narratives will be available at the NEH website.


2017 Animals & Society Institute/UI Inaugural Human-Animal Studies Summer Institute

July 9 - 15, Levis Faculty Center

Twenty-nine early career faculty members and graduate students from 22 campuses and 6 countries will convene at Illinois for the Human-Animal Studies Summer Institute. The ambitious program - developed in partnership with the Animals & Society Institute - includes presentations by Illinois faculty, seven visiting scholars and an adaptation by Deke Weaver of BEAR, the latest installment in his Unreliable Bestiary.

All plenary sessions (third floor, Levis) and BEAR (Music Room, second floor, Levis) are free and open to the public. Please consult the Center for Advanced Study (CAS) website for the latest program updates.


Illinois Senator Scott Bennett to Speak on Science Legislation

Thursday, July 13, 4 p.m., Beckman Institute, Auditorium

Illinois State Senator Scott Bennett will share his experiences in making and amending science-related laws. Questions are welcome. 

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.