Professional Development Opportunities

Grad Connections

Grad Connections hosts a series of events and opportunities—offered through the English Department’s Graduate Studies Office—to support graduate students’ academic success, sense of community, and professionalization. All events are open to graduate students from all of our degree programs. Although subfields are different, much is shared amongst the programs in terms of process and needed outcomes of work and time together. Topics specific to professional development have included:

  • Insiders’ Advice: Success in the First Few Years of Graduate School
  • How the University Works (university-level speakers from various administrative offices)
  • Presenting at Conferences
  • Publishing Articles and Creative Work
  • Building Your Network
  • The Academic Job Search series (preparing over the summer, finding openings, the cover letter, dossier assembly, digital presence, CVs, research statements, teaching philosophies, interviewing)
  • Jobs Outside the Academy (alumni panelists)

Ongoing resources include a English Graduate Studies Lending Library which contains two types of resources: 1) Books on succeeding in grad school, navigating the job market, and developing effective pedagogy; and 2) Folders containing sample CVs, job letters, teaching philosophies, and conference proposals, which are all examples that department faculty and alumni have shared. Mock interviews are also an ongoing resource available, as needed, by students who have job interviews. These sessions provide useful interviewing practice, as well as insight on what to expect during an interview, questions you might be asked, etc.


Committee Service

Graduate Studies Committee: This is a planning and policy-making body for the English Department graduate programs, which is responsible for program matters regarding admissions, curricular reform, catalog copy, course offerings review, advising, graduate assistantship policies, special projects, and general direction for graduate education in the department. Graduate student representatives from each curricular area within the department are selected by the DOGE and Associate DOGE for one-year terms based on a list of volunteers.

Graduate and Professional Student Senate: The GPSS represents the graduate and professional students’ perspective on campus issues and serves as a liaison between graduate/professional students and the university administration. The English Department graduate student body elects up to two senators each academic year to attend monthly meetings and represent our graduate programs at this university level.

Conference Funding

The English Department may contribute funding—on a competitive basis and subject to fund availability—to support travel and expenses associated with presenting at conferences (serving on a panel, presenting a paper, conducting a workshop). Currently, each fiscal year (July 1-June 30) we provide a maximum level of support to each degree level which is determined at the beginning of each academic year.

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) also funds Professional Advancement Grants (PAGs) to support travel to professional meetings whether presenting or not (one PAG per fiscal year).

Teaching Opportunities and Support

The English Department awards graduate assistantships on a competitive basis. These appointments are usually positions teaching ISUComm Program courses (Foundation Communication and Advanced Communication),  Speech Communication 212 courses, or ESL courses. All of these teaching opportunities offer training and mentoring for teaching assistants by faculty in our graduate programs.

These assistantship appointments include:

  1. Monthly stipends normally as ½-time 9-month appointments teaching the equivalent of 4 courses per academic year (mid-August through mid-May)
  2. Tuition scholarships at the established amount for 1/2-time graduate assistantship tuition assessment (50% for MA students; 100% for MFA and PhD students); miscellaneous fees are the responsibility of the student
  3. Health insurance benefits through the Student & Scholar Health Insurance Program at no cost to the student for single plan coverage

Our Partner Student Organizations

Phorum (RPC PhD and RCPC MA students)

Phorum is the student organization for students of Rhetoric and Professional Communication (RPC—our PhD program) and Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication (RCPC—our MA program). The group hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the Speaker Series, where we hear from scholars in the field, and have fun social activities. Check out the Phorum website.

ALT Brown Bag Sessions (ALT PhD and MA students)

Each semester, the ALT program hosts a series of informative brown bag sessions on a variety of topics related to applied linguistics and technology. Presentations may be works-in-progress or completed projects by students, faculty, and special guests. This is an opportunity for ALT researchers to present their ideas and get helpful suggestions for moving ahead.

Graduate College Professional Development

The Graduate College has created the Graduate College Professional Development website to assist students in six essential skills identified as helping graduate students become successful in their respective disciplines (Career, Communication, Leadership/Management, Research, Teaching, and Wellness). This website provides links to both internal and external resources available to students and provides a calendar of current events related to these skills.

Graduate College Emerging Leaders Academy

The Graduate College annually accepts applications for the Graduate College Emerging Leaders Academy (GC-ELA) to develop leaders who can build collaborations, work across disciplines, and forge stronger solutions from diverse perspectives.

Preparing Future Faculty Program

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching offers a program called Preparing Future Faculty program (PFF). This program offers additional teaching, mentoring, and learning to better prepare graduate students and postdocs for academic careers as future faculty.