Dean’s Welcome

As many of you know, Dean Stapleton has been tapped for the role of Interim Provost for the transitional first year of Dr. Edward Montgomery’s presidency. Contrary to popular belief, she actually cannot be in two places at once, so I have stepped up to fill the role of Acting Dean of the Graduate College at Western Michigan University for a one-year term. My dedication to graduate education started well before I became Associate Dean of the Graduate College in 2014. I came to WMU in 1996 as Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and progressed through the ranks to Full Professor. Throughout my career, I have focused on mentoring students and have supervised the research projects of 5 doctoral, 9 masters, and 74 undergraduate students. From 2010 to 2014 I served as graduate advisor for the Department of Biological Sciences. My experience teaching a professional development course for graduate students in the sciences led to the creation of the new Plan It 4-Ward Individualized Development Plan now available for all graduate students. WMU now participates in the worldwide Three Minute Thesis competition, which challenges graduate students to explain their work in 180 seconds; for the last two years, our University-wide winners have gone to the regional competitions. I also oversee the university-wide Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate. At this time, eight students have enrolled in this program, with inquiries coming in daily from prospective students. I have also worked closely with Epigeum (now with Oxford University Press) on their “Advising Doctoral Students” tutorial for faculty and am working on additional mentoring resources to assist faculty in becoming great advisors. Since becoming Associate Dean I have continued to mentor students in my lab as well as serve faculty, students, and staff as a resource regarding university policies and procedures related to graduate education. As Acting Dean of the Graduate College, I look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the amazing faculty, staff and students of Western Michigan University.
A photo of Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs, Acting Dean of the Graduate College

A Valuable Degree

A PhD from Western Michigan University pays big dividends, as these recent graduates prove. Out of over 120 doctoral graduates from Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, we chose several who have exciting opportunities after graduation. Three have post-doctoral research offers at prestigious institutions around the country, several have faculty positions at universities here and abroad, and some are working in their fields. Their experiences reinforce research which shows that a doctoral degree is a worthwhile investment.

This photo is a collage of several alumni of Western Michigan University.  Featured most promenenently is Lindsay Jeffers, her photo was picked to be the background of the collage because she is wearing her graduation cap and gown.  Lindsay has blond hair and a large smile, we suspect because she just graduated.  In the middle of the photo is a big gold W, which is the brand mark for Western Michigan University.  To the left are the photos of seven other alumni members, a colum of three to the far left includes from top to bottom are Erica Taylor, Tiantian Zhang, and Neil Deochand. To their right, and sort of in the middle are four alumni in a collum, but slightly smaller photos because there are more of them.  They are: Andrew Hale, Justin Moore, Elizabeth MacQuillan, and James Atkinson.  Everyone is smiling except for James Atkinson, because this photo was taken while he was teaching, and he looks rather stern, but he's really a nice guy, it just doesn't show very well in this photo.

James Atkinson, who recently completed his doctoral degree in Chemical and Paper Engineering, has obtained a job as a pre-press operator at LTi Printing in Sturgis, Michigan. LTi Printing is a locally owned and operated printing company that employs 100 people and focuses on packaging, pressure sensitive labels, and commercial and digital printing. In a technology-driven industry, hiring employees who are experts in their field is key to meeting strategic goals. Atkinson’s dissertation analyzes the ‘Fate of Conductive Ink Pigments During Recycling and Landfill Deposition of Paper-Based Printed Electronics.” He focused on recovering metallic inks so they do not enter the water table and contaminate groundwater, with an added economic bonus of reusing the metallic inks. With his committee composed of Drs. Andro Mondala, Paul Fleming, Jan Pekarovic and Jorge Rodriguez, Atkinson has positioned himself to rise in the rapidly evolving printing industry.

As a newly appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati, Neil Deochand’s 2017 doctoral degree from WMU has paid off handsomely. His research indicates that using real-time audio and video feedback correlates with better workouts and improved athletic performance compared to a standard workout. With Dr. Wayne Fuqua of WMU’s Department of Psychology as chair of his committee, Deochand worked with Drs. Ron Van Houten, Anthony DeFulio, and Derek Reed to refine his research into a dissertation titled ‘Assessing a Punching Bag Feedback Performance Device’. Dr. Deochand and his wife, Michelle, are now living in Cincinnati, Ohio where a new baby will soon join their son Scion as heir to the family brains.

Another recent graduate of the doctoral program in Psychology, Andrew Hale, is nearing completion on his pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Veteran’s Administration Ann Arbor, MI Healthcare System. Upon completion, he will begin a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research, a Health Services Research and Development Center of Innovation located in Ann Arbor. Here he will continue his work with veterans reflected in his dissertation, ‘Predictors of change in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for veterans in a residential Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment program.’ Hale’s committee chair Dr. Richard Spates joined with Drs. Scott Gaynor, Amy Damasheck and Jessica Rodriguez to mentor Hale through the process of obtaining a doctoral degree. We wish him the best as he continues through his post-doc to a career helping veterans recover from trauma.

Lindsay Jeffers has just accepted a visiting faculty position at Grand Valley State University in the Department of Writing. Her dissertation focuses on the challenges of student teachers and those who mentor them in ‘Preparing Teachers in English Language Arts: Mentor Teachers Speak.’ With Dr. Jonathan Bush as chair and Drs. Karen Vocke, Allen Webb and Leah Zuidema as members of her dissertation committee, Jeffers received her doctoral degree in the English Education program in the Department of English at Western Michigan University. Along with her work instructing future English teachers, she currently blogs on https://writerswhocare.wordpress.com/ . Here teachers of English to elementary and secondary school students share the joys and challenges of developing budding writers.

Another PhD recipient who will be working at GVSU is Elizabeth MacQuillan. She received her degree from WMU in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program under Drs. Amy Curtis, Kathleen Baker and Rajib Paul. Dr. MacQuillan was offered a faculty position in the new Masters of Science in the new Clinical Dietetics program at Grand Valley State University. MacQuillan has been busy since defending her dissertation, titled ‘Birth Record Analysis of Gestational Diabetes: Applications for Intervention Planning.” This study aims to assess Michigan-wide rates of gestational diabetes using a combination of statistical and spatial analyses. What makes her study truly interdisciplinary and groundbreaking is her use of statistical analysis and Geographic InformationSystems (GIS) to identify where services are most needed in Michigan and what type of content those services would most beneficially deliver. She recently presented her research at the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research conference in Seattle, WA and in July had an article published in the Michigan Journal of Public Health.

Justin Moore, PhD in Clinical Psychology, conducted several months of study at a local alternative high school, instructing students on mindfulness practices and assessing the effectiveness of their use. Moore used a computer-based strategy to teach the adolescents mindfulness strategies and score participants throughout the study to determine their levels of psychological distress using the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale. Moore’s research found that two interventions, breath-counting and self-compassion, had mixed results. He determined that while computer based interventions did not produce reliably positive results on overall mental health, as demonstrated by the DAS Scale, the practices did show some promise in promoting the acquisition and practice of mindfulness in teens. A successful defense of his dissertation, “Examination of the Effects of Computer Assisted Mindfulness Strategies with Adolescents in an Alternative High School Setting” took place on May 11, 2017. His committee, comprised of Drs. Scott Gaynor, Amy Naugle, C. Richard Spates and Helen Pratt, was proud to recommend Dr. Moore for his next step: a pediatric psychology post-doctoral position at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.

Another WMU graduate has attained a post-doctoral position with a famous organization. Tiantian Zhang, of the Deparment of Biological Sciences/Biomedical Sciences, has begun his work in Dr. Larry Kwak’s laboratory in the City of Hope Cancer Center in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Kwak was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2010, and Dr. Zhang will join Dr. Kwak’s lab working toward a cure for cancer. His dissertation, “Oncolytic Tanapoxvirus for Melanoma Therapy” demonstrates how oncolytic viruses, which infect cancer cells with anti-tumor immune responsivity, may emerge into a potentially effective therapy against melanoma, a deadly form of human cancer. Working with Drs. Karim Essani, Bruce Bejcek, Robert Eversole, and Christopher Fisher, Dr. Zhang was also an active member of the Graduate Student Association and was one of the first Graduate Ambassadors appointed by Dean Susan Stapleton when she launched the Graduate Ambassador Program in 2013.

Like many students in the Educational Leadership, Research and Technology department, Ericka Taylor came to WMU already functioning as a leader in an educational setting. By earning her doctorate, Taylor has positioned herself not only to shine in her current role as Early Childhood Coordinator for Saginaw Public Schools, but also to continue to rise in the ranks of her profession. Taylor worked with Drs. Walter Burt, Sue Poppink, and Kelley Peatross on her dissertation, titled “Are the Leadership Behaviors of K-12 Leaders in Mid-Western Urban School Districts Influenced by Their Beliefs and Attitudes Regarding Spirituality?” Dr. Taylor’s project concluded with several recommendations for improving professional development and support for individuals working in this high stress environment. These strategies include holding spiritual values, utilizing meditation or prayer, and employing practices which develop and maintain a strong sense of purpose and a collective sense of mission for all employees.

Laura Alicia Pacheco del Castillo worked with Drs. Joseph Morris, Mary Zoyer Anderson, and C. Dennis Simpson to attain her doctorate in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. Having returned to the Dominican Republic, she is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Her dissertation, titled “Dominican College Students’ Experiences of Distress, Help-Seeking and Stigma” looks at how Dominican students handle feelings of psychological distress through seeking psychological help. Pacheco found that about 71% of traditional-aged undergraduate college students report moderate levels of distress and also hold neutral attitudes about help-seeking, while about 67% hold moderate help seeking intentions. Over three-quarters report they themselves feel moderate stigma for seeking help and the same number report moderate levels of social stigma about psychological services. Her study, one of the first to examine college students in the Dominican Republic, contributes valuable data on mental health and help-seeking within this population and has implications for improved practice and research.

Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate Program

In response to a need expressed by students and faculty, Western Michigan University created a new university-wide Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate in which students combine research and coursework from two or more disciplines. This program is housed in the Graduate College, and allows for cross-disciplinary work that spans every college. The Interdisciplinary Studies Doctoral degree offers flexibility to students with interests outside existing academic boundaries and established programs. Since 2000, national reports calling for increasing interdisciplinary graduate education and encouraging an interdisciplinary approach to research and education have risen sharply, as reported by the Council of Graduate Schools, the national organization dedicated to advancement of graduate education [Council of Graduate Schools (2012) Interdisciplinary Graduate Education: Role of the Graduate School. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools]. At the eighth annual Global Summit on Graduate Education in 2014, leaders of graduate institutions from 14 countries supported interdisciplinary learning in graduate education and challenged graduate institutions to prepare students to collaborate across academic disciplines.

Given the emerging interest crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries, we created the Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate at WMU. In addition, there are several other interdisciplinary degrees on campus: the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences PhD, the Interdisciplinary PhD in Evaluation, and interdisciplinary PhDs in Education and Human Development and Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate is designed to span all disciplines at the university and allow additional flexibility in meeting the needs of students whose research interests are not currently met in a traditional program. WMU is now better positioned to more effectively serve future students as interdisciplinary approaches in research continue to expand.

Currently there are eight students in the program, with two applications under review for fall 2017. These students have established creative combinations of disciplines, including anthropology/sociology, economics/philosophy, social work/psychology, computer science/English/library sciences, and special education/educational leadership. Some of the projects are groundbreaking in their scope or focus, including a social history of the mobilization of the gay community in Tijuana, Mexico since the early 1980s in the context of human rights activism. Another project focusing on the Latino community analyzes healthcare construction and stresses the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare policy. Another student has devised a collaboration between special education and educational leadership to create a Special Education support center in Saudi Arabia.

The individually designed interdisciplinary degree relies heavily on its unique combination of specific disciplines and the particular expertise of each faculty member involved. Students in the WMU program craft a distinctive experience that supports the learner-centered, discovery-driven, and globally engaged mission of WMU. It meets individual student needs, promotes academic collaboration across the university, and produces scholars with a global approach to solving problems.

The Legacy Scholarship

The Legacy Scholarship recognizes the loyalty of multi-generational Bronco families through a program established by the WMU Alumni Association. The Legacy Scholarship has been offered competitively since 1990 to freshmen from Michigan who are family members of a WMU alumna or alumnus. Now we can proudly report that this prestigious award is available to graduate students for the first time. For fall 2017, eight incoming graduate students have been awarded a $1000 Legacy Scholarship. The following individuals have been named as Legacy Scholars for 2017. Taylor Berry, from Battle Creek, MI, is entering the Master of Arts program in Educational Leadership, Research and Technology. Sarah Bradtke is beginning the Master of Arts in Psychology: Behavior Analysis. She is from Paw Paw, MI. Daniel Buehler, from Delton MI, has been admitted to the Physician Assistant program for a Master of Science in Medicine degree. Another student in the Physician Assistant program, Colin Knue, is from Kalamazoo and will receive his Master of Science in Medicine upon completion. Another Michigan native, Nathan Pastrick, is beginning his Master of Arts in Psychology: Industrial Organizational Behavior Management. John Pruelx of South Pasadena, CA has been accepted into the Music Performance program for a Master’s of Music degree. Alicia Risk, another resident of Delton, is beginning her degree in Public History leading to a Master of Arts. The final awardee is an international student, Rona Vitancol, from Imus Cavite, Phillipines. She begins work on a Master’s of Science in Statistics. Join us in welcoming all these talented graduate students to Western Michigan University this fall. We expect great things from them since they are carrying on the legacy of proud Bronco families

DID YOU KNOW? – Responsible Conduct of Research Requirement for All New Graduate Students

With a goal of aligning our graduate students with national expectations for higher education and post-graduate careers, the Graduate College at Western Michigan University requires that all new master’s and doctoral students complete ethics training in their first semester. Partnered with the Office of the Vice President for Research, a Responsible Conduct of Research online course was modified for students in all disciplines.

Ensuring that all graduate students at WMU are working to the highest possible standards of integrity, the RCR course provides advice on planning, conducting, and reporting research. All new graduate students must complete the course in their first semester. This aligns with our strategic goal of graduating accomplished and ethical scholars, researchers, and professionals. Students are registered automatically in their first term of admission; the course will appear in their e-learning course list. The course is free and carries no credit; GPA is not affected. For those working with human or animal subjects, this is not an alternative to CITI training but a supplement to that training.

Dean’s Message

Hello.

It was an exciting Fall 2016 semester that started with the Graduate College moving to our newly designed space on the first floor of Walwood Hall. We recycled much of the office furniture and cubicle framework left by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, turning it into our exciting new home. We unofficially opened our space to the public during Homecoming weekend and were pleased to welcome back many alumni and friends who stopped by to see our new space.

During the Homecoming weekend, we were excited to learn that the Alumni Association Board of Directors voted to include an opportunity for first time enrolled graduate students to apply for the Legacy Scholarship. Previously, the Legacy Scholarship was only available for undergraduate students. We are thankful to the Alumni Association Board of Directors for this exciting opportunity for our graduate students. Details about the application process for new graduate students will be forthcoming.

This fall, we also welcomed graduate students into the newly refreshed Stadium Drive apartments. Working with our colleagues in Student Affairs we were able for the first time to reserve on-campus housing for graduate students. Our thanks go out to the Vice President for Student Affairs and the staff of Residence Life for making this a reality.

The fall semester ended on a high note at graduation as over 27% of participants received graduate degrees. Forty of these new graduates were doctoral degree recipients. The scholarly work of these graduates along with their faculty mentors are advancing our understanding and knowledge in several areas: evaluating the training of student affairs professionals in community colleges; setting and evaluating expectations of mentors; understanding the impact of visual impairment on daily tasks; assessing the economics of child labor and education, and determining ancillary treatments for depression. We are incredibly proud of all our graduates and the contributions they have made to their fields of study and to the global Western community.

We are looking forward to an exciting 2017.

Susan R. Stapleton, Ph.D.

Dean, Graduate College

A photo of Dr. Susan Stapleton, Dean of the Graduate College

Dr. Kathleen Quardokus Fisher

Western’s campus is covered in snow and ice. Temperatures hover near the single digits at WMU while alumna Kathleen Quardokus Fisher strolls across the campus of Florida International University in the 80 degree sunshine of Miami, Florida. Would she rather be back up north for the start of Spring semester 2017? Dr. Quardokus Fisher says “No”. She’s happy with a tenure track position at FIU, Miami’s first and only public research university. FIU was recently designated a tier 1 research university; so her NSF grant to pursue a new diversity mentoring program gives Quardokus Fisher the ideal environment to grow as a scholar. As Assistant Professor she has a 50% appointment in the Department of Earth and Environment and a 50% appointment in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology (STEM) Transformation Institute.

A photo of Dr. Kathleen Quardokus Fisher. Dr. Kathleen Quardokus Fisher has light brown hair a welcoming smile and is wearing a blue top.

Her field of scientific expertise is atmospheric science, but her current emphasis is the GEO Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD): Hearts of GOLD. The result of an Ideas Lab Activity, it is an NSF-funded project using the influence of top geoscientists to create champions for diversity. Mentoring is crucial in supporting underrepresented minority students in the sciences during the doctoral effort and through to a tenure track or other research position. As a graduate of three universities, Quardokus Fisher understands the importance of mentoring. She got her Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and Mathematics in 2005 and a Master of Education at Valparaiso University in 2007. During this same time period she taught mathematics and the sciences to high school students in Chicago, IL and later in Benton Harbor, MI. In 2010 she received an M.S. in Atmospheric Science from Purdue with a thesis designing and evaluating an undergraduate laboratory course in atmospheric science research. This led, rather naturally, to a contact with Dr. Charles Henderson at Western Michigan University’s Mallinson Institute for Science Education. Focusing on instructional change in higher education, Quardokus Fisher dissertation is titled “Instructional change in academic departments: An analysis from the perspective of two environment-focused change strategies.” Mallinson Institute for Science Education, named for Dr. George Mallinson, pioneer in the field of science education and the founding dean of the Graduate College at WMU, prepares undergraduate pre-service teachers to be science educators. At the graduate level, MISE prepares researchers to learn about teaching science and how students learn about science. Quardokus Fisher’s main interest at WMU was exploring how an institution of higher education can support faculty in teaching about science through an examination of how social networks can be used to enhance faculty’s learning about teaching. When asked if this includes social media, she explained, “It’s about who talks to whom about what.” Using ORA Social Network Software to analyze the structure of conversations between members of formal and informal social networks, Quardokus Fisher and Henderson determined if teaching and learning were being discussed. By doing so, the two scholars have been able to better understand the hidden structure of academic departments as well as facilitate faculty learning communities. After receiving her Ph.D. from WMU in 2014, Quardokus Fisher spent two years at Oregon State University doing post-doctoral study with mentors Milo Koretsky and Jana Bouwma-Gearhart on a project titled Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education at Oregon State University (ESTEME@OSU). In 2015 she and Henderson co-authored one article in the leading international journal in higher education studies, Higher Education, “Promoting Instructional Change: Using Social Network Analysis to Understand the Hidden Structure of Academic Departments”. Another article under review is titled “Department-Level Instructional Change: Comparing Prescribed vs. Emergent Strategies”. She has presented and published with numerous conferences, including, most recently, the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching Annual Meeting, and the 19th Symposium on Education of the American Meteorological Association. Most importantly, she has landed not only a tenure track position at an R1 university, but an important grant from the National Science Foundation. She is actively engaged in developing mentorship circles and building diversity in the geosciences, which will trickle down to high schools like the ones in which she started teaching a dozen years ago. By working at the institutional level to build programs encouraging minority scholars at the highest level, she is influencing young people by developing mentors who can inspire them to pursue academic or research careers in the sciences.

Cynda Harris – Doctoral student in Audiology

Every student knows the first question to ask when starting a writing project is “Who is my audience?” When Cynda Harris, Doctor of Audiology student in Western Michigan University’s Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, set out to write an essay, she knew the audience was not academic. In fact, it was radio station WIRX, a rock station her family listens to daily from their home near Western’s Southwest Campus. The purpose of the essay? To win a contest sponsored by WIRX, “Get Lit This Christmas” that would bring a professional light installation crew to her parents’ home to decorate for the holidays. Harris knew the radio station was not looking for an academic essay, so she wrote the following heart-felt letter, sent it off and thought no more about it.

A photo of doctoral student Cynda Harris with her family and representatives of WIRX infront of Cynda's newly lighted home.

“This is actually my parents’ home. They absolutely love Christmas, especially my mom. They work so hard every day. My father alternates between 14-hr night shifts immediately into day shifts. His days off vary every week. Sometimes, we don’t get to see him. Then, on his days off, he’s nonstop working around the house. Cleaning, fixing things up, taking care of the pet, doing laundry, mowing the lawn – you name it. It’s very stressful, and I can see him wearing down. But, he is always in a good mood. He smiles and jokes, and will get little to no sleep just to spend time with his family when he can. My mom is the same way. Her job is stressful, but she takes the criticism from her boss when she needs to be at work late or leave early to take care of my youngest brother (only 6 and in 1st grade). She will wake up at 3am with my Dad sometimes just to spend time with him. She cooks, cleans, drives all around for errands or my brother’s activities, and is always willing to do whatever she can for her family, despite her lack of sleep. My middle brother is in the Army and currently stationed in Korea. This has been hard on my parents, but they are always loving and supportive. Now that I (the oldest) am joining the Navy, I can see the sadness in their eyes, but they are so proud of us. After all they continue to go through, Christmas has always been a holiday of love and togetherness. For all they do and how much they love this holiday, I believe they deserve a house of light to reflect all the goodness within their hearts.”

Imagine her surprise when, a few weeks later, the phone rang while she was taking a well-deserved nap between studying for finals, working her internship, volunteering with ROTC, and taking classes. The radio shock-jock’s voice blared in her ear, causing the type of damage her audiology program is educating her to treat (for audio of this conversation, click here: http://www.wirx.com/get-lit-this-christmas/).Harris got her wish; her parents’ home was covered in lights, and the radio station came out for a big lighting ceremony. But nothing made up for the fact that her brother wasn’t home for Christmas because he’s serving in the US military in South Korea. After she finishes her program, Harris plans to enter the military as well and serve as an audiologist. Only two of all graduating audiologists in the entire United States will be chosen for a Navy externship each year. The externship, which is the last thing she will need to complete her Au.D., would last from summer 2017 to summer 2018 and takes place at a Navy base either in the US or around the world, working in a Navy clinic or hospital. After graduation from WMU and getting her license to practice audiology, Ms. Harris has her sights set on a military training school which would lead to a career practicing as a military audiologist. Her commitment is palpable. In her own words, “The men and women who fight would willingly give up life and limb to protect their loved ones. I will only be happy if they are safe.” While audiologists are expected to be competent in every aspect of the hearing field, according to Harris, military audiologists differ from audiology specialist practices in the United States. These typically focus on one type of audiology, military audiologists must be proficient in every category of audiology: hearing loss from trauma, infection, or medical condition, and adult or pediatric audiology. If and when she decides to establish or join a practice back home, she knows she can handle any patient situation she encounters. While an undergraduate, she tutored Japanese students and traveled to Japan. Her love for all things Japanese has fostered her hopes to eventually be stationed on a military base in Japan. She double majored in Japanese Language and Culture and Pre-Audiology at Ball State University. A recipient of the Whitinger Scholarship, Ball State most prestigious scholarship, Harris was able to double major and received her bachelor’s degree in four years. As an audiologist entering the military she would be a commissioned officer, so she needs to know about each branch of the military. To that end, Harris volunteered for ROTC here on Western’s campus during fall 2016. Her busy schedule also includes working as Graduate Ambassador in the Graduate College at Western Michigan University for fall 2016 and spring 2017, where she acts as a liaison between students, faculty and staff in the College of Health and Human Services and the Graduate College. Harris is as determined now as she was while an undergraduate at Ball State. The Doctor of Audiology degree is a four-year post baccalaureate professional degree which prepares its graduates to provide high quality services and leadership in the field of audiology. Audiologists are health-care professionals who specialize in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory system, which involves both the inner and outer ear. The degree program is rigorous. Currently 23 students are enrolled in some stage of the program, which involves completing all requirements of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Certificate of Clinical Competence and/or state licensure. This means a four-year schedule packed with coursework, clinical practice, professional field experience, outcomes-based formative assessment and independent scholarly research.

While pursuing this rigorous schedule, Harris also performs as a Graduate Ambassador, works at PetSmart, volunteers with ROTC, and sometimes babysits for her six-year old brother. On top of all that, she takes time to write and submit winning essays designed to cheer up her parents. We’d say that’s pretty impressive.

Dr. Brian Horvitz – Graduate Faculty Fellow

The Graduate College welcomes new faculty fellow Brian Horvitz, Associate Professor of Educational Technology in the College of Education and Human Development at WMU. Since 2015 Dr. Horvitz has served as Program Coordinator of the Educational Technology Program, which places him on the front lines of online education. He teaches technology for elementary education, introduction to educational technology, and creating online courses. His research interests include online teaching in higher education, the use of technology in teaching in higher education, and preparing pre-service teachers to integrate technology in learner-centered classrooms using a mixed-methods approach.

A photo of Dr. Brian Horvitz.  Dr horvitz has brown hair and a brown beard that surrounds a friendly smile. Dr. Horvitz is wearing a brown checked shirt with a button-down collar.

With two articles in press for the Community College Journal of Research and Practice and a publication in Innovative Higher Education (2015), Dr. Horvitz is an active scholar. In 2015 he received a National Science Foundation grant along with Co-PIs Regina Garza Mitchell, Andrea Beach and Charles Henderson. The Online Technical Education in ATE-Funded Programs grant is synthesizing what has been learned about online technical education in 38 Advance Technical Education (ATE) projects and making connections to the broader literature about what is most effective in online technical education. With his strong background in teaching and research, Dr. Horvitz now adds a strong service component to his C.V. with his appointment as Faculty Fellow in the Graduate College for the 2017 academic year. He will work with Associate Dean Christine Byrd-Jacobs to improve the online orientation for incoming or prospective graduate students and assist with other online training offerings. Currently graduate students must share an online tutorial with incoming undergraduate transfer students. Since the needs of undergraduate and graduate students are radically different in many ways, developing and implementing a graduate-specific online orientation will greatly improve service to incoming students. Currently only incoming students who have been awarded a graduate assistantship participate in a day-long training that is offered in the fall semester. Funded students comprise about 20% of the total graduate student body, so a significant portion of graduate students are missing out on a comprehensive orientation. The vision for an online orientation is to provide to prospective and newly admitted graduate students helpful information on resources and services available at WMU in a convenient format. Online access means incoming graduate students can become familiar with Western Michigan University services to meet their needs at any time, during any semester or session. We anticipate that this will help new students feel more connected with the university as they begin their graduate programs.

10 WRITING TIPS FOR COMPLETING YOUR THESIS OR DISSERTATION

(ALSO WORKS FOR ARTICLES, SPECIALIST PROJECTS, BOOKS, PAPERS AND REPORTS)

  1. Focus on your passion for your subject to get you through the doldrums.
  2. Find a model for your work. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Emulate the structure and form used by top scholars in your field.
  3. Reach out to your support system when you feel stuck or frustrated.
  4. Take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. You cannot pour from an empty pitcher.
  5. Find a writing group. Start by attending the Writing Haven in Room 215 East Walwood Hall on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dr. Marianne Di Pierro is available to help you get going.
  6. Write at the beginning of the day. You’ll feel better without that hanging over your head.
  7. Just write. Words on the page are better than no words on the page. Your goal is not to write the best thing ever written. Your goal is to finish your degree.
  8. Write new words. Don’t spend precious creative time rewriting. There will be time for that later.
  9. Start by setting yourself to write for 20 minutes every day. If it turns into a longer session, great!
  10. Begin writing now. Don’t wait until you have signed up for dissertation or thesis credits.