Professional development on the graduate level

By Layna Edington | 11/4/12 4:39pm

Last week I talked about just one of my opportunities to expand professionally through my work as a graduate assistant for the Office of Graduate Studies. I realized after writing the post that the position has actually provided me with quite a few more great experiences I felt were worth sharing.

Although this is only my second semester as a full time GA, I have been able to experience an array of different opportunities as a direct result of my position. Here is a list to highlight my favorite involvement opportunities:

• Professional Development

o PACES – Beyond simply attending various PACES events, I have been able to see first-hand all of the work that goes into putting together solid programs for the graduate student population. Each program is selected based on requests of students and fine-tuned to assure they are not only useful, but also meet the professional needs of the attendees. If you have not yet attended a session, I strongly suggest you look over the schedule and find a session that meets your professional needs.

o Web workshops – I mentioned this opportunity last week in detail, but for those of you who missed it, the web team put together awesome presentations. Does this link to the presentations from the workshop?

• Interaction with Faculty

o Graduate Council – This is by far the greatest experience I have had working at the Office of Graduate Studies. As a GA for the office I get to sit in on Graduate Council meetings every Friday morning as an ex-officio member. If you think the university is not listening to your concerns as a student, you will be surprised to know they are not only listening, but letting students be actively involved in decision making at the graduate level. At every meeting at least one graduate student provides input to the Council from a student’s perspective, and the Graduate Council listens! I have seen changes be put into graduate policies that directly reflect suggestions of students, and to me that is a huge part of what makes GVSU graduate programs so great. If you want to become a student representative for Graduate Council, send the GSA President an email at

• Research

o International students – This has been my main research focus as a GA. I have learned not only about how international students are recruited, but also about the challenges they must overcome. This project has really opened my eyes to what great programs we have here at GVSU and that there are initiatives in place to support all students on campus.

• Student Involvement

o GSA – I was actually involved with this group before I was a GA, but since starting my work with the OGS, I have seen how important GSA is to the graduate community. For example, the group is currently working on getting graduate students the better representation on Student Senate. It is initiatives like this that make a difference in all of our graduate education and help shape our community.

I hope all graduate students are getting a chance to get involved both with their program and the graduate population as a whole. If you would like to get more involved, I suggest coming to GradClub put on by the GSA. The group meets Wednesday nights from 5-6PM in the University Club 107C DeVos Center.

If you have feedback for the Office of Graduate Studies, send an email to This email address is checked daily and requests forwarded to appropriate parties at the university.

Layna Edington
Graduate Student Voice

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