Welcome to WSU! Tips for University Success Presented by: The Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) Fall 2007 Overview of Today’s Tips Getting to know your department, its faculty, and your fellow grad students; Using problem-solving skills; Finding a mentor; Avoiding plagiarism and academic dishonesty Grad Students: You’ll Be Very Busy! All grad students will be: Taking classes and doing coursework; Doing research, conference presentations, and/or publishing to contribute to your field of study. Managing Stress! Example: Counseling & Testing Services offers workshops on how to manage the stress from a variety of sources. Learn the Steps of Your Program It is important to understand the steps involved in: Choosing a chair/advisor and a committee; Filing your program of study; Developing a research project. How Does Your Program Work? Some differences in programs: your advisor choose your research topic? Or Are you expected to independently develop and propose a topic? Will your committee already be „set‟ as members of a research team? Or Are you expected to independently seek out and find your committee members? Does Working with Professors & Instructors Build a friendly working relationship with your major professor and other faculty members and staff in your program. Visit faculty with whom you study or work regularly during their office hours. Or, visit them when they like to talk. Email is great for communicating with faculty, but don‟t rely only on it. Talking in person to faculty members often helps create a better relationship Problem Solving Skills Got a problem? Don’t wait, just ask! Let your professor know early on—as soon as a challenge or problem starts. Don’t wait until it is too late to resolve the problem or issue! Seek advice from wise peers, advisors, and counseling professionals. Problem Solving Skills Find guides to show you the ropes! Build a solid peer support system. Access international student organizations and cultural events. Use university support services for managing homesickness / depression. Advice from International Students “Try to be open and …look for opportunities, don‟t be afraid of changes.” “Be independent.” “Try to adapt.” “Maybe in the first month, you feel a lot of stress…Don‟t be too worried.” Source: Smithee, M.; Greenblatt, S.; Eland, A. “U.S. Classroom Culture,” NAFSA, 2004, p. 26. Staying in the Loop It is important to keep in close touch with your faculty members and peers to find out what is going on in your department. Casual conversations can sometimes offer information on upcoming workshops, opportunities in your department or field, and other important information. Attend department events like coffee hours, parties, or barbeques. Staying in the Loop Connecting with other students: Establish good relationships with your peers (international and domestic) Grad students can learn a lot from each other! Don‟t be afraid to “Ask stupid questions.” Fellow grad students can be a source of: Information about your department and its faculty; Social support; Academic support. Find a Mentor What is a mentor? A mentor is an „unofficial‟ advisor experienced in your field of study. A mentor can show you how things work and give you advice about the best way to proceed. Types of Mentors: A Faculty Research Mentor This person can coach you in your field and may work with you on your research Experienced international professionals Professional Development Mentor An experienced professor or staffer who can advise you how to handle academic politics and the rigors of study and publishing. Women, persons of color, and/or persons sharing your nationality or ethnicity can offer their expertise and serve as great role models. Source: “What is a mentor?” WSU, McNair Achievement Program web site, accessed July 7, 2005. URL: http://www.wsu.edu/~mcnair/mcfolder/session_f5.html Be Honest: Avoid Academic Dishonesty Plagiarism = Cheating Copying papers, take-home exams, peer homework or research and passing it off as one‟s own work is not permitted. Copying ideas or words without properly crediting the source (i.e., author, title, publisher, year). Cheating is taken very seriously—students may be failed or expelled. Avoiding Plagiarism Avoid one common form of „accidental plagiarism‟ by familiarizing yourself with proper citing methods in your field. Use the MLA or APA style guides from the WSU Library Web site: http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/usered/handoutsearch.php Plagiarism Pop Quiz True or False: It is OK to copy a few paragraphs from a paper on the web and insert them--without citing the source--into your research paper as if you had written them. True or False: Borrowing correct answers from a friend‟s old assignment to use in your homework assignment is considered a serious academic offense. For TAs: The ITA Exam Who needs to take the ITA Exam? The ITA Exam is required by the State of Washington for all international TAs for whom English is a second language The ITA is offered 5 times a year by WSU‟s IALC to screen English proficiency For details, see the ITA Exam handout or web site: www.ialc.wsu.edu To Sum up Our Tips… Get to know your fellow grad students! Get to know your professors! Find a mentor! Ask for and get help! Stay informed as to what is going on both in your department. Avoid plagiarism Ask questions! The End… Thank You! On behalf of the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), thanks for your attention. Best wishes for a great year ahead!