[Fcs-faculty] Feedback requested--Graduate Handbook -- A proposal for positive reinforcement

Sonia Lynne Salari sonia.salari at utah.edu
Fri Jan 11 18:02:21 MST 2019

Greetings FCS Faculty,

Our Graduate Handbook has various mechanisms listed for keeping students on-track as we require adequate progress toward a degree. We will have regular evaluations, interventions and a process for orderly dismissal if students fail core courses or lose their momentum.

What seems to be missing from the description is a mechanism for positive reinforcement, such as rewards or graduate program awards.  Yes, funding can serve as a reward, but we need something more. Some of our students come with a full-time job, scholarships or are self-funded.  I suggest we find a way to give an annual award one for student research and one for teaching...maybe even something for community service or outreach?  We might also give the students an opportunity to nominate a faculty member in a "student choice award" type recognition.  These things increase cohesion and give people something to talk about in our community.

When I was in graduate school I won both the Paul Meadows Award for Research and in another year, the one for teaching-- It gives a young student something to put on the newly forming CV. We had a ceremony, which accompanied the annual invited lecture on a topic in sociology.  For the award, there was a small monetary award with a certificate. For our purposes,  it might be something in the spring, before the Mary Lowe Policy Lecture? Or the ceremony that inducts/gives cords to students into Honor Society? Once upon a time, Cheryl had an undergraduate student banquet at the end of the year...if we revived this, it would be another good opportunity to give recognition for successful progress toward a degree.
Maybe add in an award for an outstanding undergraduate? Maybe they need to be a major for eligibility--it could serve as incentive to declare our major?

What are your thoughts?  Should we begin an award program for our graduate students? undergrads?

Thank you!

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