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Preparing for Graduate School Exams

Posted by: McCrayCC | April 6, 2015 | No Comment |


Even if you aren’t the best test-taker, there are some simple ways you can improve your readiness for graduate school final exams. Conversely, there are always some ways to “blow it.” The key is always preparation—graduate school requires a lot more of it than undergrad. Don’t let any of these mistakes ruin those big exams and hurt your graduate school success!

Don’t Cram the Night Before

Graduate school final exams are not the type of test you can successfully cram for in one 24-hour period—taking any test exhausted is a surefire way to wind up with bad scores. Make sure you are sleeping regularly at least six hours a night in the weeks leading up to midterms. Information “sticks” in your brain better if it is revisited in short bursts over an extended period of time, and you will only be able to memorize so much information in a short span of time.

Cheaters Never Prosper

The best graduate schools are institutions with strong academic policies and extremely strict cheating punishments. Whether it’s on a multiple-choice final or a thesis essay, don’t ever, ever cheat. We’ve all heard the phrase, “cheaters never prosper,” and it’s true! Character and integrity is part of what you came to grad school to build, and cheating doesn’t prepare you for success beyond academia. On a practical level, there is no guarantee that on test day, the person you are cheating off knows the correct answers, or that the person whose essay you copy is any more convincing than your own thoughts would be. If you are caught cheating, it could lead to a serious blight on your academic records, and you could even be dismissed from the school. Trust that you are capable of doing well on your own.

Exercise, even in small bursts.

We all know we should exercise, but it can be tough to find even 30-60 minutes a day to go for a jog or take a Pilates class. Even if you have no time to get a true workout in, make yourself take at least three five-minute stretch/meditation breaks—one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one before bedtime. For each break, set your phone alarm for five minutes and quickly stretch out on the floor. Stretch out your spine and listen to yourself breathe. This will allow your muscles (especially those around your head and shoulders) to relax into the floor, and remove any tension you may be subconsciously “holding” in your body. See yourself succeeding on your exams!

Take your electronics away from where you sleep.

We’re all guilty of studying in bed, cross-legged, furiously typing away at a last-minute paper, but studies have shown that our bodies becomes conditioned with routines. If you consistently use your bed as your office-space, it will be harder for you to mentally “switch off” once you climb under the covers. If possible, do most of your computer-work at a desk or kitchen table, away from your bedroom (or at least a few feet away from your bed). It’s always good to sign off.

Manage your time well

The single most important skill to develop to successfully navigate graduate school is to learn how to budget your time efficiently. There is no one way to manage your time, Everyone has a different approach, which also may change over time.

From there, make a things to-do list for your grad school career, and each semester. Then, you can break it down month by month and day by day. The critical piece is not to feel overwhelmed but to mark down all the details on paper. Do this for assignments, too. It’s important to “allocate time for everything. Take advantage of organizational tools, such as Google Calendar and good old paper planners. You have to play with it and figure out what works for you. Always keep the big picture in mind. When you don’t, “you get tangled up in one task,”  For instance, it’s easy to spend all weekend writing and editing one paper and neglect other tasks. But this inevitably leaves less time for the rest of your to-do list and becomes a big stressor.

Finally, “Don’t let unhealthy perfectionism keep you from attending to all of the demands of graduate school and doing well on your exams. :)

Best of luck on your exams! You can do it!


under: Uncategorized

As the spring semester ends soon, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) is running the annual election for all the officer positions for the 2015-2016 GSA executive board.  The following positions will be vacant: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

What is GSA?
The GSA is composed of all University of Charleston, S.C. graduate students. We participate in major administrative committees, act as an advocate for graduate students, and organize regular academic, social, and cultural events.

Students interested in running for a position should be present at the April 10th meeting to declare their interest in the position and secure a nomination from other student member of the Graduate Student Council. Candidates will require one nomination from the graduate students present at the meeting before being considered for candidacy. Potential candidates should also come prepared to give a brief statement outlining their qualifications for the position of interest.

Elections will be held online the week of April 13th, following official nominations at our final meeting of the semester on April 10th. Candidate bios and photos will be posted on the GSA blog along with the link to the voting form.

Why run for GSA?

  • Serve and have positive influence in the graduate student community.
  • Gain leadership, communication, and teamwork skills.
  • Meet fellow students from different disciplines.

Interested in running for a position, but have questions? Feel free to email the current members of the Executive Board with any questions or concerns that you might have. They are more than happy to share their experience and answer your questions about serving GSA. The duties required of each position can also be found in Section 5 and 7 respectively in the GSA Constitution.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our final meeting of the semester!

– Brett, Mimi, Will, and Megan


under: Academics, Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate Student Association, News


Greetings! My name is Ciera Michele Gordon’16. I am a proud native of Florence, South Carolina. I am a proud graduate of the University of South Carolina. Go Gamecocks!  I am currently studying African American History at the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, SC. My family is filled with stories of black history. All families have stories to tell, regardless of their culture or their circumstances. Of course, not all of these stories are idyllic ones. Research shows that children and adolescents can learn a great deal from stories of life’s more difficult moments–as long as those stories are told in a way that is sensitive to the child’s level of understanding, and as long as something good is gleaned from the experience. I was always fascinated by my parents’ childhood stories and the re-tellings of the past. Their stories inspired me to study African American History and work towards its inclusion into mainstream history. Books contain narratives, but only family stories contain your family’s personal narratives. Fortunate I was able to get both. I was able to hear and read stories from books to become part of other people’s worlds, and they hear and tell stories of their family to understand who they are and from whence they came.

Upon graduation, my aspiration is to work with historic museums and/or historical sites while increasing and addding value to the representation of minority history.

History and Culture go hand and hand. I think it is very important to recognize and understand each other’s culture. The understanding of other cultures helps to diminish false stereotypes and prejudices. Which leads me to my next topic, The Graduate Students of Color Association ( GSCA). This is an organization that will make a difference on the campus of CofC. The Graduate Student of Color will seek to build and sustain a supportive community for graduate students of color that contributes to their academic development, social growth, and well-being. As the co-founder, I believe that the Graduate Students of Color Association will help diversify perspectives and increase respect of different cultures among the graduate students. The organization will serve as a bridge, connecting diverse attitudes and thought in a supportive atmosphere.

If you would like to know more about GSCA, I want to personally invite you to our mixer, Friday, March 20th at 5:30 in Stern Center Room 201. Come meet members and learn more about our future plans for engaging, connecting, and supporting graduate students. There will be food, beverages and desserts. I hope to see you there!



gcsa mixer

under: Charleston, Diversity, Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, News


You might see some familiar faces if you find yourself passing by the student art exhibition case in the  Stern Student Center in the coming weeks. Nancy Cooper, a graduate student in the Public Administration and Arts Management programs, was recently invited to display her research outreach project in the Stern Center in celebration of Graduate Education Week. Nancy’s project, the Charleston Self-Portrait Project, is a community engagement initiative the encourages individuals to “explore and express who they are through art.” Each “pop-up” event features a portrait making station where participants are able to draw their representation of themselves using various mediums from graphite pencils, pastels, and charcoal.

The Stern Center Exhibit features self-portraits from College of Charleston students, faculty, and staff that participated in one of several on-campus portrait sessions that Nancy organized in the early spring. Stop by and see how graduate research is impacting our campus and the Charleston community!

To learn more about the Charleston Self-Portrait Project, including the calendar of upcoming events, visit the site.
Also check out CSP on Instagram and Facebook.


Photos courtesy of Charleston Self-Portrait Project



under: Academics, Arts Management, Charleston, Events, Graduate Programs, News, Public Administration

image from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768.

Andrew Wynne is a graduate student in Environmental Studies at the University of Charleston, South Carolina and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. He served in the Philippines (2012-2014) as a Coastal Resource Management Advisor, and hopes to continue to educate and inspire others to create healthy coastal environments. A SCUBA diver and former college athlete, Andrew lives an active lifestyle fueled by travel and exploration, but never strays too far from the water.


An island archipelago nation laying in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is commonly known for its idyllic beaches, rugged volcanic interior, routine natural disasters, and amicable people. But perhaps less known is the battle against solid waste that is currently enveloping the country. I spent two and a half years on the front lines of this battle as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and can attest to what a study published just last week in the respected journal Science found; the Philippines, along with a small number of other developing countries, is a major vector for plastics and other debris flowing into the global ocean.

With the vast majority of the population and economy tied to the coastline, managing solid waste is exasperating already stressed resources and forcing individuals into economically inefficient ways of making a living that strain the coastal environment. In addition, the Philippines’ location in the western Pacific Ocean likely leads to the transportation of waste around the globe, thereby affecting everyone from local barangays to American coastal cities.

The fundamental issue is how to solve this large and growing problem on land, and in doing so, protect the ocean from the harm that debris causes. The Philippine government has adopted a number of laws needed to help mitigate solid waste.  The problem is these laws and product bans don’t work well if community members don’t understand the consequences of their actions or know why these policies were designed. This lack of awareness about solid waste and its effects on local waterways and the ocean is ultimately crippling the Philippines’ national process to confront the problem. To stem it nationwide, a concerted effort is needed from the ground-up, one that actively involves community members in the discussion.

I recently returned from Tabaco City, Albay, a port city in Southern Luzon facing the Pacific, where I was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer working on coastal resource management. After seeking input from local leaders and experts, I worked with Bicol University Tabaco Campus (BUTC) and Dean Plutomeo Nieves to develop and launch the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program.

Begun in January 2014, this three-year program has been using a participatory, community-based approach to address solid waste management, improve river water and habitat sustainability, and thereby protect our ocean. Local students and youth representatives are both the facilitators and target audience; the program seeks to empower them to initiate action, repair existing degradation, and be leaders in sustaining their local ecosystems for future generations.

Thus far, 36 BUTC students have facilitated a community needs assessment amongst almost 300 local households. The students interviewed residents and sought information related to solid waste management practices, community involvement, and river usage. River water quality testing and cleanup events are ongoing, and future program activities will include educational campaigns to inform and educate the community and the establishment of a Bantay Ilog, or “river watch team.”  With this groundwork in place, the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program hopes to facilitate the co-management efforts needed for future urban river sustainability and solid waste management in Tabaco City.

With proactive national and provincial policies, local awareness and activism, and financial resources to build a foundation of leadership, we can take the next step in stemming the flow of debris in the rivers and coastal environment of the Philippines.  This will be one small step in solving the global problem of plastics pollution in the ocean identified last week in Science. While it is troubling that the scientists found that the Philippines is a major source of ocean trash, efforts such as the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program can be a model for how other local communities can contribute to a global effort to protect the oceans from the threat of land-based debris.


Andrew’s original post for Ocean Currents can be accessed here.


under: Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, News, Travel

Graduate Education Week 2015!

Posted by: powellbh | February 16, 2015 | No Comment |

The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina is excited to present a week of informational sessions about various aspects of graduate education here at the College of Charleston.  Throughout the week, we will be hosting a variety of events that all highlight aspects of graduate education. We hope that you can join us in our week-long celebration of graduate education!

Today, we kick off the week’s festivities with Graduate School Boot Camp today (Monday, 2/16) at 5:00 pm in the Stern Center Room 205.

Check out the schedule of other events lined up for this week:

MONDAY, 2/16
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Graduate School Office Open House, Randolph Hall Suite 310
We welcome students, faculty, and staff to drop by the office of the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C. Get to know our graduate students and meet the office staff. Light refreshments served.

5-7 p.m. Graduate School Boot Camp, Stern Center, Room 205
UCSC Graduate School representatives Cicely McCray, Director of Recruitment, Marketing, and Communications, and Susan Hallatt, Director of Admissions, will lead this workshop for prospective graduate students. They will highlight the ways students can succeed in graduate-level academic programs as well as answer your questions about how to get into graduate school.

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Tour of Simons and Cato Centers for the Arts
Join us for a tour of the facilities in the Simons Center for the Arts and the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts. The tour begins in the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and will continue through the gallery and arts buildings. Prior to the tour, students, faculty, and staff will meet with directors Karen Chandler (Arts Management), Jo Ann Ewalt, (Public Administration), and Laura Turner (Performing Arts) to hear about each of their respective graduate programs and to answer questions. The tour will be given by Nancy Cooper, an MPA candidate and Graduate Assistant in Arts Management.  

9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tour of facilities at Grice Marine Lab, DNR Marine Resources Institute and Federal Hollings Marine Lab. Vans will take participants to/from Fort Johnson on James Island
Dave Owens, Associate Dean and professor of Biology, will lead a tour of the student resources at Grice Lab, Federal Hollings Marine Lab, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Marine Resources Research Institute. Lunch provided.

Noon-1:30 p.m. Fulbright Faculty Information Session, Stern Center, Room 409
Stephen Litvin, professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, will lead a talk with faculty interested in pursuing Fulbright scholarship opportunities. Most recently, Litvin has been appointed a Fulbright Ambassador.

2-4 p.m. Managing your Online Presence & Building a Professional Digital Portfolio with WordPress, Addlestone Library, Room 122
In this hands-on workshop we will explore WordPress.com, a free blogging platform for building your personal web presence that integrates with common social media applications that support multimedia web publishing. You will have the opportunity to develop your own personal digital portfolio basic framework and structure using WordPress with the help of Joey van Arnhem, Instructional Design Librarian, and feedback from other students. You will also be provided with information on creating and managing your professional online presence.  Computers will be provided for the workshop, however if you have a laptop please feel free to bring it.  If you are using your personal laptop, you will need to configure it for campus wireless prior to the session (for more information on campus wireless setup visit http://wireless.cofc.edu).

4-5:30 p.m. Graduate School: Tips for Graduate School and the Working Professional, Addlestone Library, Room 227
You’ve been a newly minted graduate student for few months and wonder where all your time went? If this sounds like your experience, join Melissa Thomas, Director of the Center for Student Learning, for discussion about time management and stress buster tips for first-year graduate students.

5:30-6:30 p.m. MBA Information Session, Tate Center, Room 207
Join Jim Kindley, MBA Program Director, and Penny McKeever, Associate Director of Graduate Programs, to learn more about the MBA offerings at the University of Charleston, South Carolina. Visit http://sb.cofc.edu/academics/graduate/mba/ for information.

12-1 p.m. Resume Workshop: Operation Employment, Career Center, Lightsey Center, Room 216
Does your resume need some updating? Let us help! At this workshop you will increase your understanding of how your resume and cover letter are used in the job search process and make sure they target your career goals. Learn how to compose a resume that reflects your greatest strengths and talents and explore different resume formats. By the end of this workshop your resume will say, “Interview me!”

3-4 p.m. Graduate Information Session, Multicultural Center (next to Addlestone Library), 207 Calhoun Street, Multicultural Center Conference Room
Want to learn more about the graduate degrees, certificates, application process and student life offered at the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina? The information session consists of a presentation and a campus tour conducted by current graduate students.

4-5:15 p.m. Making Study Abroad WORK for You, Stern Center, Room 201
Interactive workshop — Learn how your study abroad experience can be incorporated into your resume, highlighted in an interview, and showcased in graduate school applications. Register with the Center for International Education through Appointment Manager on MyCharleston. Presented by the Center for International Education and the Career Center.

12-1 p.m. Diversity Discussion: Social Identities & Diversity, Stern Center, Room 205
Kristi Brian, Director of Diversity Education and Training, will lead this discussion. This session allow you to explore the dimensions of diversity and inclusion most relevant to your field of study. Through interactive exercises, it will address biases, micro-aggressions and inclusive empathy. The intent is for you to learn something new about yourself and your peers, and take away a fresh perspective on how you can foster meaningful diversity through your work.

4-6 p.m. Graduate Research Poster Session, Stern Center Ballroom (4th floor)
This is the 9th annual Poster Session and will feature 37 graduate students representing 12 programs and showcasing their research.

FRIDAY, 2/20
Noon-3 p.m. Graduate School Advisory Board Meeting, Stern Center Room 409 A/B
Spring meeting for members of the Advisory Board to the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.

5:30-7 p.m. Dinner with the Graduate Dean, Tate Center, Room 202
By invitation only. Free dinner for graduate students. A great opportunity to network with other graduate students, graduate program directors, staff, alumni, and the Advisory Board to the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.!

under: Academics, Charleston, Diversity, Events, Graduate Programs, Networking, News, Professional Development, Tips on Applying to Grad School

Azikiwe Chandler ’14 recently began teaching at Veritas Preparatory Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Veritas Preparatory Charter School opened in August 2012 with Grade 5 and adds one grade with each successive year. To learn more about the mission and educational philosophy of Veritas prep, visit their website.

From Azikiwe Chandler: Greetings from frigid and snowy Western Massachusetts, College of Charleston Family! I started teaching at Veritas Prep public charter school this week, and I still feel like it’s a great fit for me. It’s a Title I school serving the socioeconomic status (SES) demographic with which I most want to work. Their mission is to “prepare students in grades 5 through 8 to compete, achieve, and succeed in high school, college, and beyond.” Each classroom is named after a college or university, instead of referred to by a number. Teachers address their students according to the college or university they’re “attending.” So next year, for example, I will address my class, “College of Charleston scholars.” The school is decked out with banners from numerous colleges and universities in the halls and cafeteria, and each classroom is decorated with banners, flags, posters, photos and other paraphernalia representing the college for which it is named. Sadly, while Harvard, Columbia and Smith are well represented, the College of Charleston can’t be found anywhere in the building. Of course, I want the College of Charleston to be represented to the utmost in the school and in my classroom. For additional information about Azikiwe Chandler’s journey in the classroom. Follow his blog at www.AzikiweChandler.com “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.” – El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)





under: Education, Elementary Education, Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, News

This Thursday, February 5, the Office of Institutional Diversity will be hosting a presentation by South Carolina Representative Bakari Sellers in celebration of  2015 Black History Month. Representative Sellers will present “How far have we come and where do we go from here?: A Journey to excellence….” at 5:00 pm in the Stern Center Ballroom. This event is free and open to the public.

In 2006, at the age 22, Sellers was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, making him the youngest black elected official in United States history. In addition to his impressive political career, Representative Sellers is a dedicated champion of civil rights, equality, education, and faith in the state and beyond. Representative Sellers was also recently recognized by TIME Magazine as one of “40 Under 40″ rising stars in American politics.

We welcome Representative Bakari Sellers as our 2015 Black History Month keynote speaker and look forward to his address!


For questions, contact the Office of Institutional Diversity at 843.953.5079 or visit their website.

under: Charleston, Diversity, Events, News

The University of Charleston, South Carolina at the College of Charleston and the Université de Versailles – Saint Quentin have an exchange program which affords a unique opportunity for graduate students to teach and conduct independent research at a university in the southwest suburbs of Paris.  Established in 1994 by Dr. Olejniczak of the History department, the Graduate School has sent nearly 20 College of Charleston students to France with great success. We recently checked in with the 2014-2015 fellow, Margaret Edling, to hear about her experience after her first semester. Margaret is a student in the History program and the 2013-2014 Graduate Student Association President. 


Hey y’all!  My name is Margaret Edling and I am the 2014-2015 Versailles Fellow currently living in Paris.  I am one of four English teaching assistants at the University of Versailles, Saint Quentin; two of the teaching assistants come from universities in the UK and the other comes from Clark University in Massachusetts.  The four of us teach all of the English conversation classes and help the students with their fluency.  Most of my students are quite proficient in English and have a great attitude which makes teaching them enjoyable.

Since the conversation classes are split between the four of us I have a lot of time to explore Paris and work on my thesis.  My thesis topic focuses on Joseph Glanvill and his perceptions of witchcraft in England, and I am currently planning a trip to visit the Royal Society in London to do research at their archives. I am excited about being able to do this archival research because it would not have been possible from Charleston.

This experience has been exciting and has allowed me to experience the French culture first hand.  I was in Paris when the Charlie Hebdo and grocery stores attacks occurred and it was interesting to see the French reaction.  The Sunday after the attacks over a million people gathered in Paris to march and show their support; so many people participated that the French government made the metro free to accommodate the masses.  And although I have seen an increase in security at some public places, for the most part everyone has continued to go about the city without fear.  Daily life has not changed and it is nice to see people coming together in support rather than torn apart by this terrible event.  Overall I have enjoyed my first few months in Paris and am looking forward to what the next semester holds!

paris 2

We are currently accepting applications for the Versailles Program for the 2015-2016 academic year. Visit the Versailles Program page of our website for eligibility information and requirements.

Applications are due February 1, 2015. 

under: Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, News, Travel

The first meeting of the Graduate Students of Color Association (GSCA) will be held this Friday! Come out and learn more about the Graduate Students of Color Association

What is GSCA?
The Graduate Students of Color Association seeks to build and sustain a supportive community for graduate students of color that contributes to their academic development, social growth, and well-being. We are committed to increasing the enrollment, retention, and success of people of color at the graduate student level, as well as at all levels of the university.

Where: Multicultural Student Center Conference Room (located on the corner of Pitt and Calhoun Streets, adjacent to Addlestone Library)

When: Friday, January 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Questions? Email Ciera Gordon@ [email protected] or Cicely McCray, [email protected]

All students are welcome to attend!


under: Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate Student Association

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