While far from the proverbial ivory tower, academic life can often seem quiet (except for the firing of the Fleming House cannon marking the end of classes) and insulated from the surrounding world. During this past year, and particularly these past few months, events on and off campus have been closely coupled, however. There are opportunities to discuss and explore these developments, such as the Coffee & Conversations sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Graduate Student Council, and I encourage you to participate in these activities and discuss the underlying issues with your colleagues, advisors, Deans, etc.
An important opportunity for campus-wide dialogue will be provided by the Student-Faculty Colloquium organized by the Graduate Student Council to be held February 11, 2016. Issues of diversity, mentoring and professional development will be highlighted, and the program will feature a keynote address by President Rosenbaum, student and faculty panels, and break-out discussion groups.
There have also been some policy/administrative changes that I would like to share with you.
Pregnancy and Family Bonding Leaves - The holiday season can be associated with the arrival of small bundles of joy, and in that spirit, it is appropriate to note that the Pregnancy Leave policy has been modified so that the Institute now provides up to 8 weeks of paid leave to graduate students as a consequence of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Graduate students are also provided with six weeks of Family Bonding Leave without pay. Please consult the Graduate Studies Office for additional information.
Gym fees - There has been a reduction in gym membership fees for graduate student spouse and dependents.
Vacation policy - As a reminder, students are entitled to two weeks’ annual vacation (in addition to Institute holidays), but they should arrange their vacation schedule with their adviser in advance.
Institute closures - This year, the majority of the Institute will be closed from December 24th – January 2nd, 2016, and consequently a number of the Institute services will be limited or unavailable, so please plan ahead if you’re staying on campus. For those of you who are traveling and may need a signature on your visa, be sure to contact ISP before the holiday closures.
Dean of Graduate Studies