Fall 2008 Newsletter
IN THIS EDITION
• Ireland Awards Broaden UAB’s Research Horizons
• UAB Arts Review Wins Awards, Breaks Ground
• Kudos to Two Outstanding Students
• Graduate Programs Fair to be Held in October
• REGISTRATION STARTS JULY 28
• Doctoral Hooding and Commencement to be held Sunday, December 14
• August Graduate Student Spotlight--The MBA Program
• Graduate Student Handbook and Catalog
• International Students Seek “Language Edge” With Academic English
• Professional Development Courses Fall 2008
Ireland Awards Broaden UAB’s Research Horizons
Most graduate students only dream of traveling to a premiere place in the world to study their science. This summer, however, UAB biology/music major Christophe E. Jackson did more than dream. Read more.
UAB Arts Review Wins Awards, Breaks Ground
More than a half a century ago, when a young University of Alabama student named Nelle Harper Lee wrote for her campus humor magazine, the Rammer Jammer, few around her suspected that she would go on to write the quintessential 20th century American novel: To Kill a Mockingbird. Read more.
Kudos to Two Outstanding Students
Katie Gibbs, a graduate student in the Biology doctoral program, was the Second Place winner in the United States Aquaculture Society (a Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society) Oral Presentation Category for her presentation titled “The Effect of Dietary Phospholipids on Lipid Storage in the Sea Urchin Lytechinus variegatus.” Xueyan Zhao of UAB’s Department of Cell Biology, has received the FEBS Journal prize for 2007 for her paper titled “The interferon-stimulated gene factor 3 complex mediates the inhibitory effect of interferon-β on matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression.” Read more.
Graduate Programs Fair to be Held in October
The 2008 Opportunity Zone will be held on Wednesday, October 15 from 1pm - 3pm in the HUC Great Hall. Designed to give undergraduates the opportunity to learn about what graduate school at UAB has to offer Read more.
REGISTRATION STARTS JULY 28
Assigned time registration for the 2008 fall semester begins Monday, July 28. Graduate students may register in person on the second floor of the Hill University Center or online by signing onto BlazerNET located at https://blazernet.uab.edu/cp/home/displaylogin. Read more.
Doctoral Hooding and Commencement to be held Sunday, December 14
Ready to graduate? Mark Sunday, December 14, for the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony and Commencemen Ceremony for Summer and Fall graduates. (UAB holds two Doctoral Hooding and Commencement Ceremonies each year; one in May and one in December for Summer and Fall graduates.) Read more.
August Graduate Student Spotlight--The MBA Program
Li Fang came to UAB from Beijing, P.R. China. She is a graduate student in Business Administration and expects to receive her master’s degree in December 2008. Adam Guthrie, a native of El Dorado, Arkansas, began graduate studies in UAB’s MBA program in Fall 2007. He expects to receive his master’s degree this Fall. Read more.
Graduate Student Handbook and Catalog
Aside from textbooks, laboratory manuals, and program journals, two must-reads for every graduate student are the Graduate Student Handbook and Graduate Catalog. Read more.
International Students Seek “Language Edge” With Academic English
In today’s business world, the ability to speak more than one language offers graduate students a clear advantage, says Alan Corbin, veteran linguist and English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor in the Professional Development Program at the UAB Graduate School. Read more.
Professional Development Courses Fall 2008
Professional Development Courses Fall 2008 Read more.
Most graduate students only dream of traveling to a premiere place in the world to study their science. This summer, however, UAB biology/music major Christophe E. Jackson did more than dream. One of 19 UAB graduate students who won a 2008 Ireland Award for research travel or tuition, he spent two intense months at the Summer Vocology Institute at the National Center for Voice and Speech in the Denver Center for Performing Arts.
“I earned 12 hours of graduate credit, and it was awesome. Not only does Denver host the national center for technical learning in vocology, it’s home to the second largest performing arts center in the entire country,” says Jackson, a concert pianist who is working on Ph.D. in biology from UAB and a master’s of music in piano and vocal performance from Samford University. “The institute gives students real-life experience in applying new concepts in the lab, a health services setting, and a world-class performance venue. Naturally, I hope to bring aspects of what’s working there back to Birmingham and UAB.”
Vocology, the science and practice of maintaining and rehabilitating the human voice, is a relatively new field, similar to sports medicine in that regard. At present, only the University of Iowa has a formalized curriculum in vocology, and it sponsors the Denver institute. “A vocologist may be a speech-language pathologist, otolaryngologist, singing teacher or voice coach,” explains Jackson, who eventually plans to attend medical school and become an ear-nose-and-throat surgeon specializing in voice restoration. “I could wind up helping anyone from Julie Andrews to Alicia Keys.”
As Jackson’s experience shows, the Ireland Awards provide opportunities to pursue elite educational experiences that enrich not only graduate students, but UAB as a whole, says Bryan Noe, dean of the UAB Graduate School, which began making the annual awards in 2007. “The awards also reflect our strong commitment to research opportunities for Master’s students. As a research university, we want to provide incentives for Master’s students to pursue a research track (Plan I) degree instead of just completing coursework to obtain their degree (Plan II).”
The funds for both awards are provided by an endowment established at UAB by Caroline Ireland and the late Charles W. Ireland, and by resources allocated to the Graduate School from the Provost’s office, Noe explains. “The highly competitive travel awards, which offer a maximum of $1,000, are aimed at providing students with unique and valuable educational opportunities not available at UAB. This year’s winners will travel to Berlin, Germany, Northern Ireland and Chiapas, Mexico, among other places, to research a variety of fields from genetic mapping and the causes of asthma to art history and the anthropological interviews with indigenous people.”
The Ireland scholarship awards, which cover three semesters of tuition and fees, are offered on a competitive basis to students who elect to obtain a Plan I Master’s degree, whose proposed research area is promising, and who are considering obtaining a research-based doctoral degree. Students are nominated for both awards by their advisors and program directors. The Graduate School will hold another competition in 2009. The deadline for applications is in mid- to late March annually.
Students awarded 2008 Ireland Research Travel Scholarships are
Anne Markham Bailey, English; Thomas Birkner, biostatistics; Carolyn Durham, pathology; Vanessa Pirani Gaioso, nursing; Justin Coley, anthropology; Spandan Shah, pathology; Emma Fox, art history; Steven Kimble, biology; Christophe E. Jackson, biology; and Gil Koplovitz, biology.
Students awarded 2008 Ireland Tuition Scholarships for Plan I Master’s degree seekers are Michel P. Nilo, biomedical engineering; Di Pan, biomedical engineering; Anne Markham Bailey, English; Sarah Ballard, sociology; Scott Silver, anthropology; Justin Coley, anthropology; John Tipton, materials science and engineering; Ayesha Swarn, materials science and engineering; and Adinarayana Andukuri, biomedical engineering.
More than a half a century ago, when a young University of Alabama student named Nelle Harper Lee wrote for her campus humor magazine, the Rammer Jammer, few around her suspected that she would go on to write the quintessential 20th century American novel: To Kill a Mockingbird.
Today, college campuses in the South still nourish the voices of graduate students who are aspiring fiction writers. Nowhere is this truer than at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s literary arts review Aura. In 2005-2006, Aura captured national attention in collegiate publishing circles when it won two awards back to back: a Silver Crown from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism) and a “Pacemaker” from the Associated Collegiate Press, which students equate with the Pulitzer Prize.
“In 2006, Aura was in the top tier of both national competitions,” says Amy E. Kilpatrick, director of student media. Since then, the review has continued to break new ground, surprise readers, and feed a growing intellectual and artistic community that revolves around it. Not surprisingly, many of Aura’s contributors are graduate students or former graduate students, including Boyce Steel, Carl Chang, Tina Harris, Gaines Marsh, Russell Marsh, Reagan Huff, Clifton Kelly, Jason Slatton, Frankie Bradley, Pooja Aggrawal, Mary Kuhner, Daniel Robbins, Brandy Yates, and a host of others.
A cheese-enthroned Madonna, redemption, an unforgettable Alabama gas station, personal identity issues, childhood and family memories, ethnic roots, culture clashes, love stories, “eargasm”, vertigo, and “running backwards” – these are some of the provocative themes addressed in a recent issue by the cadre of young artists who ply their trade in quiet, air-conditioned cubicles on the ground floor of the Hill University Center.
A recent conversation with editor-in-chief Nathan Prewett, writer and former editor Chris Mahan and fiction editor Jonathan Scott demonstrated the strong commitment to Aura – and why it stands out among its peers. Prewett acknowledges famous Alabama writers from the canon, such as Lee and Truman Capote, but suggests that today’s talent does not conform to the traditional mold of Southern fiction.
“Most of our writers live in Alabama, but we have a diversity of backgrounds, Chinese, black, Indian, Hispanic,” he says. “They don’t put the world in a black and white box. They have a realistic, contemporary view of it. Through them, you discover a lot of new ways of looking at the world.”
Adds Mahan, who graduated with his MA in English (with a concentration in creative writing) this May. “We try to highlight the creative work of lesser known artists, and not just those in the humanities, but in a variety of fields. This is not just for English majors. We also open up the review to local writers, not just UAB students, as well as artists, illustrators and musicians. Our goal is to make Aura a complete arts magazine.”
All agree that the review’s international voices, kinesthetic visuals, and genre manipulation appeal to readers and critics alike. Finding and nourishing contributors – writers, poets, songwriters, visual artists and photographers -- is a big part of maintaining high standards, adds Mahan.
What are they looking for in fiction? In one word, “originality,” says Scott, a graduate student pursuing a masters in creative writing at UAB. “We’re looking for new and different stories. Of course, we also consider the traditional writer’s toolbox, such as the quality of the description, the depth of the characters, etc. Glaring morality tales are of little interest to the modern reader. What we like to see is sub-textual tension driven by genuine characters. That is, believable is interesting.”
Katie Gibbs, a graduate student in the Biology doctoral program, was the Second Place winner in the United States Aquaculture Society (a Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society) Oral Presentation Category for her presentation titled “The Effect of Dietary Phospholipids on Lipid Storage in the Sea Urchin Lytechinus variegatus.”
The meeting, Aquaculture America 2008, was held in Orlando, Florida this past February. Katie summarizes the paper she presented, “In this study, we looked at the effects of seven levels (from 1% to 8.8%) of supplemental dietary phospholipids from soy lecithin on growth and production in lab-reared, juvenile sea urchins, Lytechinus variegatus. In addition to the growth trial, we measured feed consumption and digestibility and the lipid content of the nutrient storage organs (the gut and nutritive storage cells). Our data suggest that juvenile sea urchins fed high levels of supplemental phospholipid (8.8%) convert that lipid (a polar lipid) to non-polar lipids (most likely triglycerides) for storage in the gut and nutritive storage cells.”
Being recognized for research would be a thrill for any graduate student. When asked what this award means to her, Katie replied, “I was very excited to hear that I received this award. I thoroughly enjoyed presenting my work at the meeting and interacting with fellow scientists. Recognition such as this suggests to me that my audience also enjoyed my presentation about some of the research we are conducting in the Watts Lab. I look forward to presenting more of my work at next year's meeting.”
Katie’s mentor and graduate program director, Dr. Steve Watts, understands the importance of students presenting their research and interacting with colleagues in their field saying, “It is exciting and rewarding for students like Katie Gibbs to be acknowledged for significant scholarly work at prestigious science conferences. It is also important that we, as faculty, continue to promote travel and participation of students in professional meetings to broaden their experience, evaluate and exchange new ideas, and establish professional networks that will increase their career options”.
Along with the plaque Katie proudly displays with Dr. Watts, she received a cash award. Katie is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Biology and expects to graduate from UAB in Fall 2009. After graduation, she plans to pursue a post-doc to continue to work in the field of nutritional physiology.
Xueyan Zhao of UAB’s Department of Cell Biology, has received the FEBS Journal prize for 2007 for her paper titled “The interferon-stimulated gene factor 3 complex mediates the inhibitory effect of interferon-β on matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression.” While the prestige alone for being recognized by her colleagues is an honor, Xueyan also received 10,000 euro and an invitation to to attend the FEBS Congress in Athens, Greece (28 June - 3 July 2008) for a formal presentation on Sunday 29 June at the FEBS Plenary Award Session where she will give a short presentation at the Awards Session. All travel expenses, hotel expenses and registration for the Congress will be paid by FEBS (the Federation of European Biochemical Societies).
Xueyan’s research involves Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), a proteolytic enzyme for matrix proteins, chemokines and cytokines, a major target in cancer and autoimmune diseases since it is inappropriately expressed at high levels. She explains, “In many cancers, elevated levels of MMP-9 correlate with poor prognosis. Interferon-b (IFN-b) is a pleiotropic cytokine with antiviral, antiproliferative and immunomodulatory activities. We have shown that IFN-b is an inhibitor of MMP-9, and wished to determine the molecular basis of the inhibitory effect. IFN-b inhibits MMP-9 gene expression at the transcriptional level and this is mediated by the IFN-b-activated interferon-stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF3) complex (i.e. STAT-1, STAT-2 and IRF-9). IFN-b suppresses MMP-9 transcription by reducing the recruitment of transcriptional activators and coactivators to the MMP-9 promoter, which then decreases the degree of histone acetylation. All of these events make the MMP-9 promoter transcriptionaly silent. This study suggests that inhibition of MMP-9 by IFN-b contributes to IFN-b’s beneficial effects in treatments for cancers and inflammatory diseases.”Xueyan believes her hard work during her academic career has paid off stating, “It is such a great honor for my mentor, Dr. Dr. Etty (Tika) Benveniste, and me. We are very proud that our work is appreciated and recognized by international colleagues. This award is also very critical for my future career development since it proves my ability and knowledge in biomedical research.”
After graduation, Xueyan expects to continue to pursue research in gene regulation, especially as related to cancer development and progression.
The 2008 Opportunity Zone will be held on Wednesday, October 15 from 1pm - 3pm in the HUC Great Hall. Designed to give undergraduates the opportunity to learn about what graduate school at UAB has to offer, this graduate programs fair includes informative talks on “hot topics” such as how to pay for graduate school, how to select a program, and how to succeed in graduate school. A panel made up of current graduate students will also be available to answer any questions about what it’s like being in graduate school.
Anyone interested in learning about graduate school and speaking one-on-one with representatives from the graduate programs at UAB is welcome. Information regarding the 2007 event is available at http://main.uab.edu/Sites/gradschool/students/prospective/35384/.
Assigned time registration for the 2008 fall semester begins Monday, July 28. Graduate students may register in person on the second floor of the Hill University Center or online by signing onto BlazerNET located at https://blazernet.uab.edu/cp/home/displaylogin. You will also find the class schedule and other important information at the previous link. Open Registration begins August 4. Check out the Student Resources tab in BlazerNET or http://students.uab.edu/to-do-list/show.asp?durki=5306 for more details.
Interested in upgrading your professional skills through the Graduate School? Visit the Graduate School's Professional Development Website for fall course offerings at http://main.uab.edu/sites/gradschool/7677/.
Ready to graduate? Mark Sunday, December 14, for the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony and Commencemen Ceremony for Summer and Fall graduates. (UAB holds two Doctoral Hooding and Commencement Ceremonies each year; one in May and one in December for Summer and Fall graduates.)
The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony is the graduation ceremony for doctoral candidates receiving PhD, DrPH, EdD, and DScPT degrees. If you are a doctoral candidate who will be graduating in August or December 2008, you must fill out the commencement form by November 24 at 5:00 p.m. located at http://main.uab.edu/Sites/gradschool/students/current/graduation/7329/ in order to participate in this ceremony. Simply showing up for the ceremony is not an option. This ceremony will be held in the Alys Stephens Centre at 3:00 p.m. Students and the faculty member hooding them should arrive by 1:30 p.m.
The commencement ceremony for master's and undergraduate students will be held in Bartow Arena at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 13. Students should arrive at the Bell/Wallace Gymnasium (on the corner of 6th Avenue South and 13th Street, no later than 1:15 p.m.) All master's graduates who would like to attend commencement should look at the graduation information online at http://students.uab.edu/academics/show.asp?durki=49764&site=3048&return=5303.
Full regalia (caps, gowns, hoods) are required for both events. For information, contact the Barnes and Noble at UAB Bookstore.
When a candidate is near graduation, she or he must pay close attention to Graduate School deadlines, which are posted online at http://main.uab.edu/Sites/gradschool/students/current/deadlines/. Important dates include the following Fall and Spring semester deadlines:
Fall 2008 deadlines
- Application for Degree September 5
- Defense Deadline November 7
- Admission to Candidacy August 15
- Change of Residency August 15
Spring 2009 deadlines
- Application for Degree January 30
- Defense Deadline March 27
- Admission to Candidacy January 6
- Change of Residency January 6
Detailed information regarding Completing a Graduate Degree is also available at http://main.uab.edu/Sites/gradschool/students/current/7287/. Completing all paper work and final payments by the posted deadlines will ensure that a candidate will graduate by the expected date.
Li Fang came to UAB from Beijing, P.R. China. She is a graduate student in Business Administration and expects to receive her master’s degree in December 2008. Li is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society for business programs accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business.
When asked why she chose UAB for her graduate studies, Li replied, “UAB has a beautiful campus with flowers in full bloom during all seasons. UAB also has a diverse environment with a variety of international students. By meeting talented students from all around world, I am able to build international friendships, which will not only help me to understand other cultures, but will also help me to forge new business opportunities in the long run. The UAB MBA program has a convenient and flexible class schedule which fits my busy life. I also appreciate the kind and helpful professors.”
One can imagine that being an international student is difficult and stressful because of the language barrier. Li attributes her most rewarding experience at UAB to being able to overcome these barriers during her first semester at UAB. She took a very difficult class and through hard work and determination she made a grade of A. Her motivation behind her academic determination is simple. She says, “I want to set a solid foundation so that I may find better career opportunities.”
Dr. Richard Turpen was a great influence on Li. In her first MBA class, he explained how critical it is to take the time to read the textbook thoroughly and often. Li took his words to heart and quickly learned to use her time wisely.
After graduation and securing a position, Li plans on taking the CPA exam in 2009.
Li’s Advice for Other Graduate Students:“Do the best you can. If an international student can make it, you can too.”
Adam Guthrie, a native of El Dorado, Arkansas, began graduate studies in UAB’s MBA program in Fall 2007. He expects to receive his master’s degree this Fall. While in the Navy, Adam worked with logistics. He is continuing his start in logistics by focusing his research here at UAB on Industrial Distribution. He says that he is honored to have one of his research papers on Industrial Distributions Policy presented by Dr. Thomas DeCarlo at a conference in Arizona. Adam adds, “This is an ongoing project Dr. DeCarlo has been working on and it gave me a chance to conduct research on a topic that is of interest to a group of professors.”Adam put a lot of thought into choosing UAB. He explains, “UAB is one of the few MBA schools that offer classes in logistics, my industry of focus. Another reason is my uncle started a fireworks company, Supershow Fireworks, several years ago and moving to Birmingham gave me an opportunity to work with him and help develop his small business. Another great aspect of UAB is the capability of the students learning from businesses within the community. On several occasions, we have had the opportunity to discuss specific issues with business leaders, a unique opportunity because of UAB’s location. After reviewing the experience of the faculty, [I found that] they have taught at the highest levels and maintain their outstanding credentials.”
Adam’s explains his motivation behind his research in logistics as a puzzle. “There are so many factors that play into getting a product to market and a manager needs to be able to piece each step together for that product to be a success and turn a profit.”While most graduate students choose a professor as their greatest influence during their graduate studies here at UAB, Adam chose a fellow student. He elaborates, “I could list several professors that have taken the extra time to answer my questions outside of class and let me pick their brain for general knowledge. If I have to narrow it down to one person, it would have to be Joe Godwin, another student. He earned his bachelors from UAB and just completed the MBA program this past spring. He did 3 tours in Iraq with the Army. He has given me advice and insight on classes and the material I have struggled with. He is currently enrolled at Auburn in the PhD program.”
Like the other MBA student in this month’s Spotlight, Li Fang, Adam believes that the diversity found here at UAB is extremely important for a well-rounded education, saying, “My most rewarding experience at UAB is meeting the other students with such a diverse background in the MBA program. The quality and merit of the students has been pleasantly surprising. It is interesting to learn what they do and their motivation behind furthering their studies.”After graduation, Adam plans to continue to work with Supershow Fireworks on a part-time basis while starting a new career in the logistics industry. Adam’s Advice for Other Graduate Students:
“Time Management. If you are working while attending graduate school, don’t take more classes than you can handle. A student must be able to devote ‘quality’ time to each class, both during and outside of class. If you don’t put the time and effort into the class, you won’t get as much out of the program as you should and you would only be cheating yourself.”
Aside from textbooks, laboratory manuals, and program journals, two must-reads for every graduate student are the Graduate Student Handbook and Graduate Catalog. Both of these publications are easily accessed under the Publications link on the Graduate School’s homepage, www.uab.edu/graduate.
The Handbook, http://www.uab.edu/graduate/UAB_Grad_Handbook.pdf, is a compilation of Graduate School and UAB policies and procedures. Some of the topics covered in the Handbook are general and specific requirements for obtaining a graduate degree, general academic requirements, financial information, and UAB and Graduate School policies. The Handbook is updated on an annual basis at the beginning of the Fall semester.
The Graduate Catalog, http://main.uab.edu/show.asp?durki=98842, provides a listing of graduate programs along with important deadline dates, course offerings, program contacts, and faculty listings.
While these publications are extremely important, it is also important to keep abreast of policies and procedures in your own department and school. Be sure to check with your graduate program’s coordinator to see if your department and school have their own handbooks specifically for graduate students in your area of study.
In today’s business world, the ability to speak more than one language offers graduate students a clear advantage, says Alan Corbin, veteran linguist and English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor in the Professional Development Program at the UAB Graduate School. Corbin ought to know. Fluent in three languages, including Russian and German, he also has a working knowledge French, Spanish and Polish. “I know for a fact that my language skills have given me a leg up on positions and opportunities,” says the former international banker.
But for international students, the “language edge” proves useful only if their academic English skills are also competitive, adds Corbin, who teaches three essential Oral Communication courses, GRD 720, GRD 721, and GRD 730, at the Graduate School. “I get a variety of questions from international students and post-doctoral fellows about our courses, and I’m always happy to talk with them about the benefits.”
Below, Corbin shares some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Graduate School’s speaking courses.
1) Question: Why should I consider Oral Communication courses, especially when my lab and research schedule is so heavy?
Answer: Even though you may have taken a recognized English assessment such as the TOEFL or IELTS, when you study and work in an academic English environment, you may well discover that your skills need ratcheting up. For example, you may have difficulty following lecturers or understanding native speakers in professional situations, where expectations are higher than in casual conversation. And this is especially true – the need to enhance your language skills – if you are making a research presentation, working in an English-dominant lab, or assisting an instructor as a Teaching Assistant (TA). So, even though graduate students have heavy schedules, most see these courses as an important investment in their careers.
2) Question: What are some common mistakes that second language speakers make that hold them back professionally?
Answer: The most common mistakes fall under the categories of vocabulary, pronunciation, and what we refer to as discourse markers. In the case of vocabulary, students may know enough words to have passed the TOEFL, but often they don’t know the important secondary meanings of words that their American peers know from having grown up and gone to school in this country. Pronunciation entails much more than a mastery of the basic vowel and consonant sounds of English – it also includes a feeling for the all-important intonation patterns of the language. Finally, discourse markers are crucial because they allow you to indicate to a professor or to a lab mate that you follow what they are saying. They can also help you to interject a point, or move on to another topic in a polite, professional and confident manner.
3) Question: How do I know which class to take?
Answer: We schedule a professional assessment – a 30 minute conversation with a trained instructor – in order to get a current evaluation of your English levels. This is critical because you may have improved or slipped since taking the TOEFL or IELTS. Also, our assessments measure your level of academic English, or what’s needed for graduate level and professional work in the U.S. This bar is higher than that needed to get by in a casual social setting. Once we know your true level, we recommend a course that builds on your current knowledge and allows you to advance rapidly and confidently. We want to make sure students are challenged, but not overwhelmed. Our GRD 720-721 series, which moves at a somewhat slower pace than 730, is for students who want more basics, more reinforcement. Our 730 course is designed to help speakers with a firmer grasp of English to move up to the next level, where they can speak confidently in paragraph-length discourse and thus become more competitive, even vis-à-vis their American peers. Some students take all three courses; some enter in the middle. It all depends on your current level and your needs.
4) Question: I see the courses are pass/fail, but they carry graduate level credit. What exactly can I expect from the courses?
Answer: All courses have a required textbook, but they are richly supplemented by current news items and information about American culture and social norms. You will acquire the tools to express yourself from Day 1 on a variety of topics ranging from everyday situations, to current events, to issues surrounding your area of expertise. When it comes to specific language issues like grammar, we reinforce what you already know and we are ready to clarify any questions you might have, but we don’t dwell on the mechanics of the language. Our goal is “communicative competence,” which is a pragmatic term from our field. It means we want you to be able to understand – and be understood – in a professional setting.
5) What’s your personal philosophy about teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)?
Answer: Speaking another language enhances your opportunities here and abroad, no matter what you do. Like it or not, English has become the international language of business and science, so having access to this level of communication opens many doors. My own multilingual skills have benefited me in the work place, a fact I want to share with my students. And a deep knowledge of culture, which goes hand in hand with serious language study, has enabled me to form lasting friendships across cultures. There is a famous saying: “To speak another language is to be another person.” In other words, the very act of speaking and thinking in another language is transformative. I tell my students that they are working on such exciting research, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear them give an acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize one day. I’m confident it will be given in excellent English.
GRD 701 Presentation & Discussion Skills
Wednesdays, Aug. 20 to Dec. 3, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Location: TBA
This course is designed to develop professional communication skills through individual presentations and group evaluations. Topics include the basics of oral presentation, content, organization, and delivery of formal presentations; use of voice and nonverbal communication; and speaking to different audiences. Students’ presentations are videotaped and critiqued by their classmates and the instructor.
GRD 706 Grants and Fellowships 101: How to Obtain Funding
Saturday, Sept. 6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Location: TBA
This workshop provides an introduction to writing grant proposals and fellowship applications. Topics include funding sources, electronic databases, organization and format of proposals and applications, submission and review processes, use of secondary sources, and guidelines for effective proposal writing.
GRD 707 Giving Professional Presentations
Saturday, Nov. 8, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Location: TBA
This workshop examines elements necessary for giving effective professional presentations. Topics include analyzing audience and purpose, assessing environment, language choices, differences between speaking and writing, nonverbal communication, characteristics of effective delivery, controlling nervousness, poster presentations, visual aids, and handling questions.
GRD 717 Principles of Scientific Integrity.
Fridays, Aug. 22 to Dec. 5, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Meets in BBRB 170
This course surveys ethical issues and principles in the practice of science. Among the topics discussed are the nature, extent, and causes of fraud in the sciences; UAB policies on fraud; ideals of good science; the responsibilities of authorship and peer review; potential problems raised by the commercialization of research; scientists as public policy advisors; and ethical issues involved in animal experimentation and in clinical trials.
GRD 728 Advanced Academic Writing
Sept. 8 to Nov. 13 Location: TBA
Two Sections: VTA—M/W 1:30 to 3 p.m. or VTB—Tu/Th 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Created for advanced writers, GRD 728 reviews U.S. academic writing genres, standards, and conventions. Fast-paced with text analysis and guided practice, this course covers the writing of conference abstracts, posters, literature reviews, and research papers as students model professional strategies. Embedded language instruction addresses key grammar issues for second language writers. (Pre-requisite for second language English speakers: Writing Assessment Level 3 or GRD 727)
Academic English for Internationals Fall 2008: Tentative Schedule
*GRD 720 Oral Communication I
Sept. 8 to Nov. 13
Two sections: VTA—M/W 3:30 to 5 p.m. or VTB—Tu/Th 5:30 to 7 p.m. Location: TBA
(Prerequisite: OPI Level 2—Low or Mid) 3 credit hours
Learn strategies for clearly and accurately expressing your ideas while building your confidence. On-line lectures allow students to practice listening to presentations and interviews on current topics. In-class discussions build fluency, grammar, and pronunciation. This interactive speaking and listening course prepares students to participate actively in discussions with Americans in both academic and social settings. (First class in a 2-part sequence)
*GRD 721 Oral Communication II
Sept. 9 to Nov. 13
One Section: VT—Tu/Th 3:30 to 5 p.m. Location: TBA
(Prerequisite: OPI Level 2 High or GRD 720) 3 credit hours
Build academic vocabulary and knowledge of American culture. Improve listening and speaking accuracy, and practice effective language learning strategies. Students in this dynamic, web-enhanced course discuss ethical and global issues while learning to speak and listen effectively in small groups. Class size is limited to ensure maximum participation.
*GRD 730 Advanced Oral Communication
Sept. 8 to Nov. 13 Location: TBA
Two Sections: VTA—M/W 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. or VTB—Tu/Th 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon
(Prerequisite: OPI Level 2 High or GRD 721) 3 credit hours
Build communication skills and learning strategies while exploring cultural values. Through small-group interaction, students learn to effectively discuss their opinions, organize effective talks, and analyze complex problems. This Level 3 course prepares students for the kinds of communication expected in graduate school —participating in academic discussions; debating scholarly projects with colleagues; and delivering formal talks at professional meetings.
Pronunciation and Accent Improvement
*GRD 714: Individualized Pronunciation Instruction
Aug. 19 to Dec. 11
(Permission of instructor required) 3 to 5 credit hours per semester (maximum 4 semesters)
Students in Individualized Instruction have acquired basic speaking skills in group instruction and are now ready for fine-tuning their language abilities with an experienced instructor, who tailors lessons to their particular pronunciation needs. The course includes a thorough diagnostic and goal-setting session, followed by one-to-one instruction in the sounds and rhythms of English, including computer-assisted language mapping and techniques used by professional actors.
*GRD 724 First-timers’ Pronunciation Workshop Location: TBA
Wednesdays, Aug. 20 to Dec. 3, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
(Permission of instructor required) 3 to 5 credit hours per semester (maximum 4 semesters)
Conversation groups in which second language students practice conversation skills with peers and with native English speakers. Students also attend lectures given by invited speakers and participate in a variety of cultural events
*GRD 726 Academic Writing I
Sept. 8 to Nov. 12 Location: TBA
Two Sections: VTA—M/W 4 to 5:30 p.m. or VTB—M/W 8 to 9:30 a.m.
(Prerequisite: Writing Assessment Level 2) 3 credit hours
This hands-on course introduces students to the writing process, the elements of effective writing, common academic texts, ethics, peer review, and techniques for efficient editing. Based on guided activities, independent practice, and small-group work with instructor feedback, it is the first of two courses on writing academic journal-style articles. Instruction also addresses key grammatical issues for second language writers.
*GRD 727 Academic Writing II
Sept. 9 to Nov. 13 Location: TBA
Two Sections: VTA—Tu/Th 8 to 9:30 a.m. or VTB—Tu/Th 10:30 to 12 noon
(Prerequisite: GRD 726 or permission of instructor) 3 credit hours
In the second of a 2-part series, academic writers build upon their knowledge of the writing process and peer review while learning to paraphrase, summarize, write literature reviews, and construct research articles. Activities include text analysis, writing practice, review, and revision as students model professional strategies. Instruction addresses key grammar issues for second language writers.
*GRD 728 Advanced Academic Writing
Sept. 8 to Nov. 13 Location: TBA
Two Sections: VTA—M/W 1:30 to 3 p.m. or VTB—Tu/Th 4 to 5:30 p.m.
(Prerequisite: Writing Assessment Level 3, GRD 727, or permission or instructor) 3 credit hours
Created for advanced writers, GRD 728 reviews U.S. academic writing genres, standards, and conventions. Fast-paced with text analysis and guided practice, this course covers the writing of conference abstracts, posters, literature reviews, and research papers as students model professional strategies. Embedded language instruction addresses key grammar issues for second language writers.