Notes from the President

President: Lindsay Freeman

The President’s office has several initiatives for the 2015 - 2016 school year.

Under Academic Affairs, we are starting the GrAdvantage Program, which will improve professional development opportunities available on campus. This includes 10 Career Nights throughout the academic year, featuring speakers who have made the jump from PhD to industry. In addition, the program includes a certificate program for students interested in management and leadership and also additional workshops hosted by the Career Services Center. We will also be hosting our annual Interdisciplinary Research Awards, which highlights research of students who work in multiple fields, and the Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal which is an award for the top thesis dissertations.

Under Campus Affairs, we have many advocacy issues that we are focusing on that have carried over from last year. Last year, the GSA voted to allocate student health reserves to supporting an on-campus psychiatrist. As one of the campuses with the lowest number of psychiatrists per student, we felt it crucial to provide additional support to our campus. We will continue to work with Student Health on improving mental health options. We conducted a Transportation Survey last year and will be advocating on behalf of graduate students to improve parking on campus. We are also in the process of contributing to the new graduate student building that is set to be opened in fall of 2017. The passage of the University Centers referendum included additional revenue for GSA events, so we will strive to offer a broad and diverse student life portfolio. Last year, we had approximately 900 graduate students attend our quarterly free for alls and had over 100 graduate students at each roaming social hours. Our cultural events, including brewery tours and plays at the Old Globe, were also overwhelmingly successful. We are collaborating with other departments on campus, and will be having our first ever Grads and Grub on the rooftop of the One Miramar Parking Structure. We hope to further develop events that reach out to every graduate student on campus.

Under Diversity Affairs, we are working on creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment within GSA. We will be revamping GSA representative training and retreat to ensure reps feel comfortable participating in council meetings and have a grasp on Robert’s Rules. We will be publishing an advisor-advisee report that looks at how our academic and research advisors have been as mentors. UCSD graduate students are eligible for membership at the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, and we want to help get the word out on this online tool that will help underrepresented minorities thrive in academia. We are also interested in using the GPSES results to study international student needs.

Under External Affairs, we are hosting the Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE) retreat from October 8th through the 11th. We will be bringing in approximately 50 students from the top 20 public research institutions across the country to discuss national advocacy. In the spring, we will be attending Washington D.C. for the annual Day on the Hill advocacy day. Advocacy efforts include increasing research funding, immigration reform for international students, and lower taxes on graduate students. We also advocate on the state level with our Lobby Corps organization. Students who are members of the Lobby Corps have the chance to attend Sacramento in the spring.

Under Financial Affairs, we made several strides in 2014 - 2015 to improve financial policy and make it easier for student organizations and departments to host events. One important change was transferring the Department Per Capita (DPC) from GSA to departments so that they would not lose funding from year to year. We also found additional revenues, including the UCEN event fund, travel grants program, and GrAdvantage Career Nights fund. We hope to continue these efforts for the next year. We were able to increase our budget to accommodate new programs, including the “new initiative fund”, which can be spent on a new idea for a graduate program and the “rep appreciation fund” to increase rep participation and give back to the GSA representatives who work so hard.