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From The Graduate Student Council (GSC) Steering Committee: Heading into Year 4

Wednesday, April 25, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Michael Amory, The Pennsylvania State University
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Incoming GSC Steering Committee Leadership Team

I am thrilled to present the incoming AAAL GSC Steering Committee: Rayoung Song, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and I, Michael Amory, from The Pennsylvania State University will serve as co-chairs; Shyam Padney, Purdue University will serve as Secretary; and both, James Coda, University of Georgia, and Jessica Lian, Georgia State University will serve as Members-at-Large.  Our first leadership meeting was held in Chicago to begin planning strategic priorities for 2018-2019.  We will meet virtually each month as we work to serve, represent, and advocate for the AAAL graduate student community.

Comments on AAAL 2018

As AAAL 2018 in Chicago has come to an end, Rayoung Song (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) and I are honored to become the new co-chairs of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) Steering Committee.  The GSC is entering its fourth year as an organizational body within AAAL, and we hope to
maintain the progress we have made and improve with new initiatives.  With graduate students now comprising over one-third of the total AAAL membership, it is our continued mission to support their professional development, to build a strong community, and to conduct outreach and advocacy.  In what follows, I share some key accomplishments from the past 2017-2018.

Conference Events at AAAL 2018

As in previous years, two events were organized by and for graduate students. During the afternoon event, “Ethical Practice in Academia: Unpacking the AAAL Ethics Guidelines,” graduate students were able to engage with the newly endorsed
AAAL Ethics Guidelines (in Research, Teaching, and Service) and the Task Force members who created them.  In the post-event survey, graduate students indicated how important these open-floor discussions are as they come to understand their rights.  Our evening event, “Ask Us Anything: Graduate Student Forum on a Successful Academic Journey,” featured discussants who shared insights on topics that arise during the academic journey such as publication, grant proposal writing, job search, and strategies for work/life balance.  In the post-event survey, attendees noted that it was beneficial to hear others' experiences, and that similar events are needed. Both events filled to capacity, and through the generosity of AAAL leadership, food was provided! In addition, the GSC hosted a new “Graduate Student Meet-and-Greet” the night before the conference as an opportunity for graduate students to network with future colleagues. 

Social Media

Led by Ai-Chu Ding (University of Indiana-Bloomington), our social media presence strengthened, with our AAALgrads
Facebook page remaining our primary outlet to provide information and resources to graduate students.  In December, we launched the AAAL GSC website, featuring information about the GSC Steering Committee, archived issues of the AAALgrads newsletter and webinars, and a blog with conference-themed posts.  Another communication and professional development initiative included a webinar series on myriad topics to help graduate students navigate academic life and engage in topical discussions in applied linguistics.  The Social Media team facilitated three webinars:Writing Effective Grant Proposals (November) with Lesley Bartlett, Vesna Dimitrieska, and Laura Hamman; “Meet a AAAL scholar- Language Testing for Immigration and Citizenship: Issues of Fairness and Justice (January) with Tim McNamara; and “Prepare for AAAL conference / Meet AAAL scholars (March) with Suresh Canagarajah, Paul Kei Matsuda, and Tim McNamara. In case you missed the webinars, please visit our AAALgrads website to view the recordings. We expect to continue this initiative; stay turned for a survey asking for your input on possible webinar topics!  

AAALgrads Newsletter

This past Spring, co-editors Rayoung Song and Jessica Lian (Georgia State University) published the fourth edition of
AAALgrads, a student-run biannual newsletter. The co-editors have worked diligently with graduate students from various institutions to craft content articles concerning graduate student experiences.  As Rayoung transitions to co-chair and Jessica to member-at-large, we welcome the addition of Amanda Giles (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa) and are excited to see the newsletter expand. In the coming months, a call for submissions for the Fall newsletter will be sent out - if you are a graduate student, please consider submitting a piece!

T-shirt Fundraiser

With the support of the AAAL Executive Committee (EC), the GSC hosted a t-shirt fundraiser.  
Huy V. Phung (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa) won the t-shirt design competition, and t-shirts were sold at the 2018 AAAL conference.  All proceeds from the sale will be used to provide additional funding for graduate student travel awards. We appreciate your support, as t-shirts almost sold out!

Looking Ahead: The 2018-2019 Term

Some identified goals for the 2018-2019 term are internal.  As we evolve, and in an effort to be transparent, we will document more fully our respective positions to ensure a smooth succession of members.  Externally, we will continue our webinar series and AAALgrads newsletter, find ways to interact with graduate students outside of the annual conference, and increase our collaboration with the AAAL 2019 conference planning team at Concordia University (Lauren Strachan, June Ruivivar, and Clinton Hendry).  We will organize graduate student events at AAAL 2019 in Atlanta, choosing topics and session formats based on survey feedback from AAAL 2018.  Finally, we will persist in representing graduate student interests on the EC and AAAL task forces, ensuring that graduate student voices are heard.

Have questions, suggestions, or feedback for the GSC Steering Committee?  We value your input! Contact us at:  To stay up-to-date with what the GSC is planning, we encourage you to follow us on our social media outlets: Twitter,  Instagram, and  AAALgrads Facebook page.

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