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Graduate Assistant Orientation. Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Cascade Room, Atwood Center. Dinner and Icebreakers. Please introduce yourself to others at your table by sharing your name, graduate program, and assistantship location;

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graduate assistant orientation

Graduate Assistant Orientation

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cascade Room, Atwood Center

dinner and icebreakers
Dinner and Icebreakers
  • Please introduce yourself to others at your table by sharing your name, graduate program, and assistantship location;
  • Check out the bright sheet of activities/ icebreakers and complete one or more;
  • Get to know your fellow Graduate Assistants; and
  • Enjoy your Dinner.

The Orientation Program begins at 5:10

  • Dr. Wanda Overland, Vice President for Student Life and Development
  • Dr. Patricia Hughes, Interim Dean, School of Graduate Studies
  • Dr. Melanie Guentzel, Director of Graduate Student Services
orientation goals
Orientation Goals
  • Provide an overview of and orientation to the GA role and expectations;
  • Begin building community among graduate assistants;
  • Offer information, tools and resources for success and professional development.

5:10 University Welcome

5:15Professionalism Discussion

5:45Graduate Assistant Roles

Community/ Communication

6:30 Dessert Break

6:45 Graduate Assistant Roles continued

Compliance/Balance and Boundaries

7:45 Wrap-Up and Question and Answer: Making the Most of the GA

8:00 Conclusion


Adam Klepetar, Director of First Year and Transition Programs

  • “Norms and expectations of the profession.”

(Philip G. Altbach, The decline of the guru: The academic

profession in developing and middle-income countries, 2003)

  • “Individuals do not become professionals because of some sudden leap that they make into the stratosphere. Individuals become professionals because of their lifetime dedication and commitment to higher standards and ideals, honorable values, and continuous self-improvement.”

(James R. Ball, Professionalism is for everyone:

Five keys to being a true professional, 2008)

professionalism entails
Professionalism Entails
  • Appearance
  • Attitude
  • Character
  • Communication
  • Etiquette
table discussion
Table Discussion
  • Discuss these aspects of professionalism at your table. Identify applications of this topic to professionalism in the GA position.
  • Take notes for the group on the sticky sheet at your table.
effective communication
Effective Communication
  • Effective communication in the workplace is the driving force to any successful business, especially in higher education.
  • Knowing how to speak and write clearlyand conciselyand how to be an active listener helps identify you as a professional in your field.
professional email communication
Professional Email Communication

A lot of first impressions are made via office email. Here are some guidelines:

  • Use correct spelling and proper grammar
  • Use a tone appropriate to academic and professional communication. When in doubt, be more formal.
  • Be courteous
  • Use a relevant subject line
  • Do not use emoticons
professional email communication1
Professional Email Communication
  • Do not assume familiarity with the recipient unless you actually know them
  • Do not send large attachments without forewarning
  • Do not overuse the high priority option
  • Acknowledge emails promptly
  • Use an appropriate signature
graduate assistant roles and responsibilities
Graduate Assistant Roles and Responsibilities

Ellyn Bartges, Equity and Affirmative Action Officer;

Phyllis Greenberg, Associate Professor, Gerontology;

Taunja Meers, Director of Case Management;

Peggy Sarnicki, Assistant Director of Conduct Programs;

Judith Siminoe, Special Advisor to the President;

Melanie Guentzel, Director of Graduate Student Services; and

Adam Klepetar, Director of First Year and Transition Programs

topical areas
Topical Areas
  • Community
  • Communication
  • Compliance
  • Balance and Boundaries
  • Caring for Students
  • Understanding the University
  • Seeking assistance
    • Making appropriate Referrals
a troubled student
A troubled student
  • It’s hard not to notice Riley. Riley arrives late, texts on the phone instead of paying attention and participating in discussion and is constantly eating and drinking. When someone expresses an opinion Riley disagrees with, s/he rolls her/his eyes or makes negative verbal sounds. Other students have noticed as well and yesterday two of them pulled you aside and shared how Riley’s behavior is affecting their experience. You have finally decided that something needs to be done, but what?
  • Identify next steps and potential resources
  • Request student make an appointment
    • discuss in private
    • address when you first observe troubling behavior
    • ask your supervisor to sit in on the meeting
  • Share specifically how the behavior is affecting others
  • Ask about the student’s life situation and refer to appropriate resources
  • Set clear behavioral expectations and consequences
  • Your supervisor can assist with ideas for addressing the behavior and may be at your meeting with the student
  • The Counseling Center staff can provide suggestions for addressing disruptive behavior (GAH, p. 10)
  • Public Safety (GAH, p. 11) can take reports of disruptive behavior
  • Student Life and Development may address behavior through the Student Conduct program (GAH, p. 12)
  • Taunja Meers, Director of Case Management, Counseling Services
    • What is case management
    • What not to handle on your own
    • Counseling
    • Behavioral Intervention Team
  • Assertiveness
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Networking
  • Cultural competency
supervisor communication
Supervisor Communication
  • A GA shared this experience: “Sometimes my supervisors are so irritating. They give me all these projects and never have a deadline. Then they get mad when I don’t have something done when they want it. The project I did last week took forever and sounded so important I rushed to finish it, but my supervisor doesn’t need that until next week. Today I was told the project I got yesterday needed to be finished today. I have a big paper due tomorrow and was going to spend the afternoon doing that, but it looks like I’ll be pulling an all-nighter to get both things done. I’m so tired of trying to guess what I should be doing.”
  • What advice would you give to this GA?
  • Miscommunications Happen
  • Don’t Assume
  • Ask Questions to
    • Clarify expectations
    • Clarify understanding
  • Check-in/Ask for Feedback
  • Advisor
  • Department Chair or Your Supervisor’s Supervisor
  • School of Graduate Studies
  • Student Conflict Resolution Services
cultural competency
Cultural Competency

Cultural Competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, particularly in the context of human resources, non-profit organizations, education, and government agencies whose employees work with persons from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds.

cultural competency1
Cultural Competency
  • Four components of cultural competency
    • Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview,
    • Attitude toward cultural differences,
    • Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and
    • Cross-cultural skills.

Mercedes Martin & Billy Vaughn (2007). "Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management" magazine, pp. 31-36. DTUI Publications Division: San Francisco, CA.

  • Center for International Studies
  • Multicultural Resource Center
  • Multicultural Student Services
  • LGBT Center
  • Women’s Center
  • Human Resources
  • Office of Equity and Affirmative Action
consider this
Consider This…
  • Are you a GA all day, everyday?
  • Or only when you are working?
  • What are your responsibilities as an employee of the institution?
dessert break
Dessert Break
  • We will begin again promptly at 6:45 pm.
  • Restrooms available directly across the hall, down the hall to the left, and on the first floor.
  • Consider the scenarios on your table and discuss.
  • FERPA/MN Government Data Practices Act
  • Legal issues
  • University Policy
  • Dual Role/Harassment
  • Ethics / Decision-Making
privacy laws
Privacy Laws

Should you or shouldn’t you:

  • Your faculty supervisor asks you to leave graded exams in a box outside the office for students
  • A parent is on the phone asking about their adult child’s behavior/grades/etc.
  • A bunch of graduate assistants are out and one of your colleagues asks you to “share that great student story.”
  • A student shares in a journal that they are depressed and considering suicide.
  • FERPA, MN Govt. Data Practice Act information releases (GAH p. 8)
  • There’s confidentiality and then there’s CONFIDENTIALITY
  • Professionalism in sharing information
scsu policy changes
SCSU Policy changes
  • Catalog goes on line and is prompting a new look at web based policy at SCSU
  • Tobacco Free Campus will add an enforcement component August 2013
  • SCSU policy requires that students and employees be permitted to observe religious practices absent “undue hardship” (Don’t try to gauge sincerity of beliefs)
  • Privacy Policies (GAH, p. 8)
  • Special Advisor to the President
  • Student Life and Development
  • Case Manager - Counseling Center
dual roles harassment
Dual Roles/Harassment
  • Overview of policy on harassment and discrimination
  • Title IX and Reporting
  • Dual Roles as Student and Employee
  • Consensual Relations Policy
we belong to mnscu
We Belong to MnSCU…
  • A system of 31 Institutions, with 54 campuses, including 24 two-year colleges and seven state universities, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is the largest single provider of higher education in the state of Minnesota. 58% of the state's undergraduate students attend a Minnesota State College or University. It is the fifth largest system of higher education in the country.
mnscu policy 1b 1 and 1b 3 scsu scoc title ix procedure
MnSCU Policy 1B.1 and 1B.3 & SCSU SCOC Title IX Procedure
  • 1B.1 Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination in Employment and Education

  • 1B.3 Sexual Violence Policy

  • Student Code of Conduct

Student Code of Conduct - Title IX Procedure

prevention and remediation of gender discrimination

Dear Colleague Letter of April 4, 2011 aims to remediate discrimination based on sex/gender

Prohibition of:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Gender discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Retaliation
sexual harassment is
Sexual Harassment is
  • Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
  • Sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
  • Unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives someone of the ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities, and is
  • Based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.
employee or student or both
Employee or Student or Both?
  • What is my primary role?
  • What places me in any given role?
  • What are best practices in each role?
  • What is the compliance standard for me professionally?
consensual relationships
Consensual Relationships
  • You are attracted to an undergraduate student you work with, when is it OK to ask him/her out?
  • You are dating a faculty or staff member on campus, is your relationship covered by the policy?
meatloaf yes or no
Meatloaf…Yes or No?
  • An employee of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities shall not enter into a consensual relationship with a student or an employee over whom he or she exercises direct or otherwise significant academic, administrative, supervisory, evaluative, counseling, or extracurricular authority or influence. In the event a relationship already exists, each college and university and system office shall develop a procedure to reassign evaluative authority as may be possible to avoid violations of this policy. This prohibition does not limit the right of an employee to make a recommendation on personnel matters concerning a family or household member where the right to make recommendations on such personnel matters is explicitly provided for in the applicable collective bargaining agreement or compensation plan.
isn t this informtion confidential
  • Professionals who CAN listen and not report have legal recognition from the state. At SCSU these resources for sexual assault/harassment victims include:
    • Student Health Services,
    • Women’s Center Advocates,
    • Counseling Services
  • Also clergy from any religion (not an on-campus connection
compliance one liners
Compliance One-Liners
  • The GA’s in my department share a big office and 2 computers. Someone has been viewing sexually explicit websites. What do we do?
  • Who do you tell, if anyone, when a tearful student in your class says she was raped last weekend after a house party she attended with people from her residence hall floor.
  • If you think one of your struggling students is showing signs of attention deficit disorder do you tell him that you think he has ADD and he shouldn’t try to get through college without asking for accommodations?
  • Equity and Affirmative Action Office (GAH p.7,9)
  • Public Safety for escorts, safety issues (GAH, p. 11)
  • Women’s Center for safety planning (GAH, p. 12)
  • Counseling Center
  • School of Graduate Studies
balance and boundaries
Balance And Boundaries
  • Learning your role as a GA
  • Position and Expectations
  • Boundaries
  • Balance
learning the graduate assistant roles
Learning the Graduate Assistant Roles
  • Socialization is “the process by which persons acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that make them more or less effective members of their society” (Weidman, Twale, & Stein, 2001).
  • “Double socialization”: into graduate studies and into profession
    • Graduate research, curriculum, and assessment
    • Interaction with faculty, peers, and practitioners
    • Professional practice
are you a ga 24 7
Are you a GA 24/7?
  • Two GA’s walk into a bar and see a big group of students they know, including some who are underage. What do you do?
  • You are walking through campus and notice a group of students smoking outside Centennial Hall in clear violation of the Tobacco Free Campus policy, what do you do?
  • Your supervisor asks you to pick up their dry-cleaning since it is on your way home. Is this an appropriate request?
are you a ga 24 7 online
Are you a GA 24/7 Online?
  • Undergraduate students you work with are asking to friend you on Facebook. How should your respond?
  • You are active on Twitter and routinely tweet about life, work, and the random weirdness of the world. You notice that several students and SCSU employees are following you on Twitter. What do you do?
balancing work school and life
Balancing Work, School and Life
  • After four weeks of the semester you realize you have put 30 hours a week into your GA job without catching up and you are getting behind in your classes. When you point this out to your supervisor she says, “Oh, you can always take Incompletes and catch up at winter break.” What is your plan?
  • You got a late start on writing a paper and could really use the day to finish. You are scheduled to work at your assistantship but don’t think you have any major projects. What do you do?
  • What is your personal responsibility?
  • What is ethical?
  • Is there a university policy, a law or regulation that covers your situation?
  • Use your resources
    • Supervisor
    • GA Handbook
    • School of Graduate Studies
to summarize
To Summarize
  • You are not alone‐seek out support and guidance
  • Keep your supervisor informed of all situations
  • Become familiar with campus resources and use them as needed
  • Questions?
  • Thank you for your time
  • Sign the Attendance Sheet at your table to verify your attendance at the Orientation.
  • Best wishes for a successful GA