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JULY 17, 2020


GradMENTOR is a publication of the Graduate College sent twice a month to graduate faculty, postdocs, instructors who teach graduate-level courses, and graduate program administrators. In this issue, we focus on ways to support graduate students who are entering the job market and share some resources for helping new students in the fall.

Creating Pathways to Career Success Amidst Uncertainty

None of us knows exactly what the world of work will look like in the coming year, within or outside of academia. But we do know that it’s not the world our graduate students thought they would find themselves in when they started their programs. 

As graduate students head into this uncertain future, they need supportive mentoring more than ever. In addition to acknowledging the uncertainty and listening to their worries with openness and empathy, here are some simple steps you can take in the coming months to actively support your graduate students:

Foster Flexibility
Students’ paths toward fulfilling careers are rarely linear. And they are likely to get even more circuitous in the near future. One of the most important moves you can make is to foster flexible thinking about careers and what success looks like—in your students and yourself. 

Take this opportunity, for example, to locate, learn from, and celebrate alumni working in a variety of careers. Introduce students to folks who graduated around 2008, who can share their experiences of transition during a crisis. And encourage all students to explore new career paths, even if they’re also searching for faculty jobs. 

Be Positive & Proactive
Help students identify positive, proactive steps they can take to move forward in the coming year. Suggest attending a professional development workshop or scheduling a career advising appointment with the Graduate College. Propose broadening their horizons with web-based tools like ImaginePhD, MyIDP, or the InterSECT Job Simulations. And regularly communicate the importance of keeping rest and relaxation on the agenda. 

Keep in mind that while your soon-to-be-graduated students will need focused support during their upcoming transition, all graduate students would benefit from open and empathetic career mentoring. Early- and mid-stage students will need support for robust networking while conferences are on hold or gaining experience when internships are disrupted.

Start Now
Finally, don’t wait for things to be clear before acting. The future our students imagined for themselves is shifting moment to moment, and they need support long before they’ll get certainty. 

Campus Resources for Faculty and Staff
 International flags
Orientation Resources: International Education Series

Staff from Counseling Center, Housing, International Education, ISSS, The Career Center, and UIPD will share programs and resources supporting international students as well as the results of a recent focus group regarding international students' experiences. Note: session only for university staff, not for students.

Tuesday, July 21, 11 a.m. - noon. Register for the Zoom session.

available online


As we prepare to welcome new students in the fall, we are modifying some of our existing resources and services to accommodate students who will be on campus as well as those who will be joining us remotely. Specifically, we are expanding our web-based and virtual resources, including GradMAP. See our recent communication to graduate programs with more details about orientation resources for graduate students. We hope this information helps programs plan their own orientations for graduate students. 


The extended closure of US consulates and disruption to international travel has raised concerns that newly admitted international students may not be able to arrive on campus in time for the start of the fall term. Earlier this week, we provided recommendations and guidance to departments for options about admission deferral or remote fall term enrollment for international graduate students who have accepted admission offers with graduate assistantship or fellowship appointments. Please note the recommendations and resources provided and work with your department to discuss the available options for incoming graduate students in your program.


Are you converting a course to an online or blended format for the fall semester? CITL has several upcoming workshops available. Topics include Online Accessibility, Instructional Video Production and Editing, Illinois Media Space, and Zoom Basics. Check out the CITL Calendar for the full list of workshops, registration details, and Zoom info. 

For Your Students

Deadlines, documents, contacts, references, institution research—there’s so much to keep track of when you’re job hunting, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

In this workshop, we will discuss concrete strategies for managing information and staying organized on the job market. We’ll look at different approaches to staying organized, and you’ll leave with a plan that best suits your needs. This workshop is for students pursuing faculty careers, non-academic careers, or both. Sponsored by Graduate College Career Development.

July 23, 1-2:15 p.m. Join the workshop

online available online 


Join us for a week-long series of events to help graduate students approach their job search strategically. It will feature an introduction to the faculty job search process, a hands-on cover letter workshop, panels of faculty from a wide range of institutions, a presentation on postdoc applications, and an office hours session to answer all your questions. Sponsored by Graduate College Career Development.

July 27-31, Register to attend any or all of the events.

  available online

 Fund It Forward

The Science Coalition believes the power of a great story can change the world. TSC is inviting University of Illinois graduate students to submit video stories to help spread the word about why science matters. Videos will be evaluated on messaging, communication, creativity, video, and editing quality. Multiple prizes including a People’s Choice Award.

The challenge opens on July 27.  

Additional Publications from the Graduate College

A weekly e-bulletin for graduate students


GradLIFE Blog
A behind-the-scenes look at the graduate experience


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.


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