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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: Graduate College Fellowship and Grant Programs

Looking for funding opportunities to support your graduate students? This short video with Ken Vickery, Director of Fellowships, provides an overview of Graduate College fellowships and grants. We provide funding to help graduate programs recruit top students and promote diversity and to support students' research/project-related travel and dissertation completion. Learn more about these funding opportunities, including where to find deadlines and how the selection process works.

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


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

Funding Your Students
Page from the Graduate College Fellowship Brochure 
Click the image to download a copy of this brochure 

Graduate College Fellowship and Grant Competitions

Visit the Graduate College website for the nomination deadlines and anticipated notification dates for our fellowship and grant competitions. The page offers an easy-to-find listing of all of our fellowship and grant programs. Click the link for each award, and you will be taken to the award’s full description in our Fellowship Finder database.

See also our Celebrating Excellence: Graduate Fellows brochure to learn more about Graduate College Fellowship and Grant Competitions. See the difference they made for current and former fellows. If you would like a hard copy please contact


Conference Travel Grants for Graduate Students

The Graduate College is pleased to be able to provide Fall 2017 Conference Travel Funds, not to exceed $350, for eligible graduate students. Application is by department nomination only. Students do not apply directly to the Graduate College. Instead, students submit materials to their department, then the department selects applications for submission to the Graduate College. Check with the Director of Graduate Studies in your unit for details regarding your units nomination process.

Please see the Conference Travel Award information on the Graduate College website for more information.

 2017 Fellowship Workshop Poster
 Click the image to download a copy of this poster

Helping Students Pursue External Fellowships

The Graduate College provides services and resources to help your graduate students compete for external grants and fellowships. We offer grant writing workshops, one-on-one proposal advising, a collection of sample proposals, and an online searchable database of funding opportunities.

Our Fall 2017 proposal writing workshops includes:

  • Writing Effective Fellowship Proposals in the Social Sciences & Humanities
  • Writing Effective Fellowship Proposals in STEM
  • Writing Personal/Professional Goals Statements

See our events calendar for details, including specific times and dates.


Information Session for Social Science Research Council – International Dissertation Research Fellowship

Friday, September 15, from 10-11:30 a.m., 308 Coble Hall

Encourage eligible students to register for our SSRC-IDRF information session.

Ms. Elsa Ransom, Assistant Director of the Program, will be our featured speaker. Dr. Karen Ruhleder of the Graduate College External Fellowships Office will talk about the proposal review services offered to students pursuing this fellowship.

The SSRC-IDRF offers 9-12 months of support to doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences who are conducting dissertation research on non-US topics, in whole or part, outside of the US.Students of all nationalities are eligible. The average award amount is $21,000. This year’s deadline is November 7.

Special Session for Students/Postdocs Conducting Research in Japan

Friday, September 15, from 1- 2 p.m., Foreign Language Building, room 2090B

Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers wishing to conduct research in Japan on topics in the humanities or social sciences (not limited to Japanese Studies) are encouraged to attend a second information session on short- and long-term fellowships sponsored jointly by the SSRC and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. See the SSRC-JSPS listing in our Fellowship Finder database for details. The deadline to apply is December 1. 

Please encourage eligible students to register for the information session. Prof. Robert Tierney, Head of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, will join Ms. Ransom to speak about the impact that an SSRC-JSPS fellowship had on his career. 

Mentoring Graduate Students

Helping Students in Difficult Situations: Strategies for Faculty Mentors

Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., Illini Union, room 104


Faculty play an important role in the campus community to helping support students in difficult situations. Please join us for a panel discussion with campus experts to discuss how to identify and refer distressed and distressing students. The panel will include representatives from the Office of the Dean of Students, Counseling Center, Faculty Staff Assistance Program, the Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Relations, and International Student and Scholar Services.


Community of Care

The Community of Care Resources for Faculty provides resources for faculty working with students who are in distress. This resource from the Office of the Dean of Students includes sample policies for course attendance and missed exams and strategies for helping distressed and distressing students. Also on the Community of Care website you will find the student referral page, which has common concerning behaviors and practical tips for intervening.

Helping Your Students Succeed
 2017 Fall Career Development Poster
 Click on the image to download a copy of this poster

Career Development Workshop Series

Encourage your students to mark their calendars! This Fall, the Graduate College Career Development Office will offer more than 15 workshops on a range of topics. Our interactive workshops offer information and practice to help students succeed in graduate school, identify career goals, communicate effectively, and conduct effective job searches.

Our Fall 2017 workshop series includes:

  • GradMAP: What Do You Want to Achieve in Grad School?
  • Preparing for Faculty Interviews
  • Identifying and Communicating Your Skills
  • Education, Arts & Social Justice Career Panel
  • Career Exploration Group
  • What Can I Do with a PhD in the Humanities? Group
  • Resumes for Grad Students and Postdocs
  • Convincing People Your Research Matters
  • And more

See the full schedule and learn more. If you would like a full-color copy of a poster advertising this series, please email


Schedule a Coffee & Careers Event for a Guest Speaker

Is your department, research group, or institute bringing a guest speaker to campus? Is there a gap in their schedule of events? If The Graduate College Career Development Office is happy to help you fill that gap by scheduling a “Coffee & Careers” event. “Coffee & Careers” is designed to give graduate students a chance to have an informal conversation with a guest about their career path. Whether your speaker is a researcher, alum, industry collaborator, government official, or something else entirely, graduate students might be fascinated to learn more about what they do and how they got there.

Email for more information or to schedule a “Coffee & Careers” event.


Registration for Research Live! Opens this Week

Your graduate students are engaged in fascinating, ground-breaking research. Their archival work, ethnographies, and textual analysis are transformative. They can analyze a data set like nobody's business. They design, choreograph, sculpt, compose, and create works that can change the world. But can they get a general audience interested and excited about what they do in only 3 minutes?

Research Live! invites graduate students to celebrate their work and hone their presentation skills by giving a compelling 3-minute, 2-slide talk. Participants compete for honor, glory, and a $300 first prize.

Encourage your students to sign up and compete in this competition sponsored by the Graduate College. Registration closes on October 18. Learn more and register online

 2017 Fall Thesis Tools Workshops
 Click on the image to download a copy of this poster

Thesis Tools Workshops

The Graduate College Thesis Office is sponsoring a series of workshops for students that relate to various stages of the thesis process.

Our Fall 2017 workshops include:

  • The Patent Process and Your Thesis
  • Managing Your Thesis Data
  • Thesis Format Review and Deposit

Please encourage any interested students to attend. You can learn more about the Thesis Tools Workshops online.
We are also happy to provide customized workshops that can be requested by departments, faculty, and student groups. The topics discussed include an introduction to the thesis process, thesis format review, and thesis deposit. Additionally, we are happy to work with you to adapt any workshop topics to meet your needs. Visit our website to learn more and please email to schedule a workshop.


English Proficiency Interview (EPI) Workshops for International Graduate Students

Registration is now open for four workshops for graduate students who plan to take the EPI. The workshops are free, but seating is limited and registration is required. Workshop dates and times: September 14, 18, 27, and October 2, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. More information about the EPI workshops can be found online. Questions? Email

Important Information for Your Students

Graduate Assistant Employee Orientation

Tuesday, September 12, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m., Illini Union, Room 314A

Co-sponsored by Academic Human Resources and the Graduate College, this orientation provides information for teaching, research, pre-professional, and graduate assistants regarding appointments and benefits.


Understanding Taxability of Graduate-level Tuition Waivers

Offered twice. Registration requested.

  • Tuesday, September 12, 3-4 p.m., Illini Union 314B
  • Wednesday, September 20, 3-4 p.m., Illini Union, room 406

If more than 50% of a graduate student's total employment at the University is as a Graduate Assistant, tuition waivers totaling over $5,250 per calendar year are taxable and subject to withholding during the months of October, November, and possibly December of this semester.

The session will help students determine how the taxability of tuition waivers affects their pay, calculate how much of a stipend reduction to expect, identify ways of getting through the months of withholding. This event is offered by University Payroll & Benefits and USFSCO's Student Money Management Center and is co-sponsored by the Graduate College.

From the Council of Graduate Schools
 Council of Graduate Schools logo

PhDs Wanted: Valuing Deep Training in the Humanities

CGS President Suzanne Ortega is featured in the latest American Academy of Arts and Sciences Data Forum, which reports continued stagnation in the academic job market for humanities disciplines. “This news of the continued sluggishness of the academic job market is only distressing, however, if we believe that the single possible or appropriate professional pathway for humanities PhDs is the professoriate. There is no reason to accept this view as reality when the limited available evidence suggests that a wide range of rewarding careers are possible." Read the rest of President Ortega’s essay.

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.