Graduate School News and Events
Graduate School Assembly Update
The Yale Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) has made great strides this past academic year. While the GSA continues to maintain a strong relationship with the Yale administration and to administer the Conference Travel Fellowship (CTF), the Assembly has also focused on several new short and long terms goals.
The 88 members of the 2013-2014 General Assembly elected in April will continue to work on these projects during the summer with GSA’s Summer Steering Committee, as well as in the fall, under the leadership of the GSA’s new chair, Brian Dunican. If you would like to learn more about any of initiatives described here or if you would like to become involved in GSA, please visit our website.
Roundup of 2012-13
- Legal Aid. Beginning this past fall, the GSA began offering legal aid services, which included “Ask-A-Lawyer” sessions with volunteer lawyers from the New Haven Bar Association and a free referral service created with the help of the Office of the General Counsel, allowing students the opportunity to consult lawyers free of charge.
Transportation and Safety. As many students use bicycles as their main mode of transportation, the GSA conducted research and published both an Intersection Safety Report as well as a Bike Plan Report, which identified the most dangerous intersections around the Yale campus and proposed infrastructure improvements to the streets that connect campus, focusing on road-sharing for bicycles.
Facilities – Student Space, Gym and Library Hours. In order to provide more student space to graduate students who do not have workspace, over 2,000 square feet in HGS has been converted to student space for History and American Studies students. The GSA continues to work to identify departments without dedicated space or 24-hour access to workspace. As well, many graduate students seek better access to the gym and library, and the GSA has proposed to administrators an expansion of hours that are at least on par with our peers institutions.
Mentoring. To encourage mentoring between students and faculty, the GSA developed the Common Grounds program, which provides university café vouchers for students to meet with advisers, mentors or staff over coffee. Due to popular demand, the Common Grounds program was expanded during the year to cover additional meeting places and provide for a greater number of vouchers.
Although the GSA accomplished several projects this year, we are still looking towards the future and continuing to work diligently to improving the Yale Graduate experience. Several key projects include:
Funding and Teaching. To alleviate the financial anxieties of upper-year PhD students, the GSA has been in conversation with the administration about the possibility of guaranteed sixth-year funding. Additionally, the GSA continues to advocate for expanded teaching opportunities in the upper years to help students be more competitive on the job market.
Housing. As housing remains a top concern for graduate students, the GSA advocates for the expansion of graduate housing and the creation of a university-wide housing committee. As a part of this effort, the GSA is exploring options for transit from campus to the Westville neighborhood, to alleviate the housing crunch in downtown New Haven and East Rock.
Healthcare. In response to concerns about access to the Yale Health Plan’s Mental Health and Counseling Department, the GSA and GPSS have collaborated to create a joint ad-hoc committee to address issues and to develop solutions regarding mental health services. The joint committee presented research and recommendations regarding graduate student participation in Yale’s mental health programs. We have also begun partnering with Student Wellness to investigate potential methods of improving the wellness climate on campus.
Career Services. The GSA continues to advocate for the expansion of the career service resources available to graduate students. In particular the GSA has sought to expand the staff and electronic resources available at the existing Office of Career Services to a level commensurate to the other schools at Yale and our peer institutions. The GSA also continues to promote the future careers of graduate students both within and outside academia through our collaborations with the graduate departments and the Graduate Student Alumni Association.
Student Center. In collaboration with the Graduate and Professional School Senate and Yale College Council, an ad-hoc committee has been created to address the possibilities of a student center at Yale. The three student governments discovered a common desire for a facility that includes meeting spaces, multi-purpose space, dining, and a centralized office of student affairs and student group offices, uniting the entire Yale student body.
— Submitted by Lauren Tilton, Julie Lanselle, and Brian Dunican