UWC Summer Workshop Series: Writing the Dissertation 

UWC Summer Workshop Series: Writing the Dissertation 

Wednesdays in June & July 2021

This workshop series is intended to help graduate students become familiar with the general conventions, rhetorical moves, and expectations of the dissertation. The workshops are not specific to any one field, and instead, will address common challenges and strategies for writing success across disciplines. We will also discuss and practice ways to develop good writing habits, including but not limited to setting goals, scheduling writing time, and experimenting with tools for sustained productivity.

This workshop series will be most useful to ABD graduate students near or at the beginning of the dissertation-writing process, and we encourage those writers to attend all sessions. Writers at other stages are welcome to join any or all meetings. All writers may find it helpful to join a UWC summer writing group to complement the workshops with regular, protected time to write.

Each session will include a presentation and time for discussion and resource-sharing. Many sessions will include a writing activity and guided reflection. All sessions will be on Zoom, and registration is required. Presentations may be recorded and posted to the UWC Graduate Services YouTube channel.

Workshop schedule (may be subject to change):

To register for all eight sessions, click here.

To register for an individual session, click on the title below.

The meeting Zoom link will be emailed to all registered participants 30 minutes before the start of the session.

June 9, 1-3pm: Systemic Challenges & Some Solutions

June 16, 1-3pm: Developing Professional Writing Habits & Tips for Time Management

June 23, 1-3pm: The Dissertation Genre 

June 30, 1-3pm: Refining Your Research Question 

July 7, 1-3pm: Reading Sample Introductions 

July 14, 1-3pm: Abstracts & Elevator Stories

July 21, 1-3pm: How to Email Busy Supervisors 

July 28, 1-3pm: Research Management 

Please note

The UWC encourages all graduate student writers to seek out guidelines, sample materials, and mentorship from their departmental faculty and program advisors. This workshop series is not intended to serve in lieu of or replace that support.

For more information about the University Writing Center Graduate Services, please visit us at uwc.utexas.edu. If you have any questions about the workshop series, email uwcgradservices@utexas.edu


Graduate Student Professional Development Opportunities

The Faculty Innovation Center (FIC) has several great teaching development opportunities for graduate students this semester, including:

(1) Canvas Training for TAs

Are you a graduate teaching assistant (TA) who has been tasked with maintaining your course Canvas page?  Has your instructor put you in charge of setting up the course gradebook on Canvas?  Would you like to learn tools to grade more efficiently using Canvas?  These topics and many more will be covered in a Canvas workshop designed specifically for TAs, with two available sign-up dates, Wednesday, January 24 from noon-1:00 p.m. and Thursday, January 25 from 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Register here (if you have difficulty registering, send an email to kkondoff@austin.utexas.edu confirming which session you will attend).

(2) Teaching Preparation Series 

Now in its third year, the Sanger Center and the Faculty Innovation Center offer a professional development opportunity for graduate student instructors who are appointed in TA positions that don’t involve classroom instruction (TA roles that involve grading, holding office hours, attending lecture).  This program provides participants with basic training in grading, communicating effectively with students and faculty members, and fostering self-directed learning in their students.  In addition, it will allow participants to observe, practice, receive feedback on, and reflect upon classroom teaching techniques.

We are offering four sessions this semester, and students can sign up for any or all of them.  Please note that while these sessions are pitched towards non-classroom TAs, they are open to all!  Students who complete three sessions will receive a certificate of completion.  The first session is Thursday, January 25 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in SZB 450.  Find more information and apply here.

(3) Teaching Fundamentals for International Graduate Students 

This series of three interactive, engaging workshops is tailored specifically to international graduate students who are interested in developing their teaching skills.  The sessions cover a range of topics, including strategies for connecting with students, facilitating effective classroom discussions, and motivating students.  Students who attend all three sessions will receive a certificate of completion.  Learn more about the sessions and apply here.

(4) ITA/UTA Connect Program

Are you an international graduate student who wants to know more about UT undergraduate student life?  This selective program connects international teaching assistants (ITAs) with senior undergraduate teaching ambassadors (UTAs) in order for ITAs to gain insight into the experience of being a UT undergraduate student.  ITAs will meet with UTAs at least four times (two one-on-one meetings, and two in group settings) throughout the spring semester to gain first-hand exposure to facets of undergraduate life such as undergraduate advising, residence hall life, and extracurricular activities.  In addition, ITAs will receive feedback on two practice teaching sessions from undergraduate students and pedagogy experts.  Learn more about the program and apply here.  The deadline for applications is Wednesday, January 24.

2017 COLA TA Orientation

August 28, 2017

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All entering graduate students who will serve as teaching assistants in the College of Liberal Arts should plan to to attend the 2017 COLA TA Orientation.This condensed session, sponsored by the COLA Dean’s office, will provide guidance on the responsibilities and rights of teaching assistants in their joint roles as employees and students at The University of Texas at Austin. It will also provide practical information on how best to support undergraduates and faculty in the classroom. Topics will include: ethics, boundaries, and misconduct, de-escalating disruptive situations, and supporting students in distress.  

TA Handbook Overview

Graduate students are vital to the teaching mission of The University of Texas at Austin. Through academic employment as Teaching Assistants (TAs), they work alongside accomplished professors and other instructors of record to synthesize material and gain a deeper understanding of disciplinary content and methods. TAs master instructional skills and empower younger students by providing group and individual assistance to undergraduates and serving as role models. As academic employees, TAs play an essential role in the rich learning environment of the Forty Acres.

The College of Liberal Arts recognizes the valuable contributions of TAs and supports them in their dual roles as graduate students and university employees. Managing the demands of these two types of professional training can be challenging. Whereas individual departments are valuable sources of program-specific information, the Liberal Arts TA Handbook provides a general guide to the policies and procedures, as well as the rights and responsibilities, governing TA employment at The University of Texas at Austin. We encourage TAs to use this handbook and take advantage of the many resources available on campus.

We are grateful to the members of our TA Task Force and our graduate coordinators, who were instrumental in exploring needs and practices across the College of Liberal Arts and who initiated the compilation of this resource. The TA Handbook is a work in progress, and we invite further contributions to its content – contact Erica Whittington with suggestions at whittington@austin.utexas.edu.