A monthly newsletter by the Graduate School.
Mizzou Grad & Postdoc News
Summer 2020

Highlights Inside This Issue...

  1. A Message from Dr. Hart
  2. Postdoc Spotlight
  3. Virtual gradESSENTIALS Opportunities
  4. Division of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity Resources
  5. International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP)
  6. Newsletter Survey
  7. Fall 2020 Classes
  8. Funding Opportunities
  9. Tips & Reminders
  10. MU Postdoctoral Association

Welcome to the Summer Issue of Mizzou Grad & Postdoc News. If you are new to graduate education or postdoctoral studies at Mizzou, I am thrilled you have decided to call Mizzou home for the next few years. I want to introduce the Graduate School as a resource for you—we provide many services and professional development opportunities to complement your education and hope that you will take advantage of those that will help you meet your personal and professional goals. As dean, I believe my role is to advocate for graduate education and postdoctoral development and want you to reach out to the Graduate School should you have questions that your academic and scholarly units cannot answer.
For those who are continuing their MU experience, thank you for your sustained commitment to Mizzou. I hope that you are unapologetically prioritizing your own health, safety, and well-being. I know your lives do not slow down in the summer and the pandemic has made juggling all your responsibilities particularly challenging. In addition, members of our community are angry, hurt, and frustrated due to ongoing anti-Black violence and unchanging systems of oppression. Likewise, our international scholars continue to face a policy environment that threatens their ability to pursue their academic goals. Several national associations have quickly responded to the newest US Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies, including the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Council of Graduate Schools, and the Association of American Universities. Our academic community is enriched due to the contributions of our international students; these policies harm our campus, and more importantly, our international scholars. Fortunately, the advocacy efforts throughout the graduate education community have led Homeland Security to rescind the recent policy guidance regarding online enrollment for students on F1 visas in the US. We also know that the policy environment continues to evolve, so please refer to the International Programs website for updates as this guidance unfolds. Please know that the Graduate School is concerned about you and your success (however you define that) and if we can help, we are an email, Zoom chat, or call away
Plans for Mizzou’s fall semester continue to evolve and as they do, the Show Me Renewal, MU Alert, and the Graduate School COVID-19 pages are the best places to keep up to date. The City of Columbia recently passed a city ordinance requiring face coverings in most public settings. Mizzou already had face covering requirements in place for classes, labs, and studio spaces, and the city ordinance complements our efforts to help mitigate the risk of infection throughout the community.
As you turn your focus to your academic and professional goals for this coming academic year and for your program, I encourage you to consider some of the opportunities the Graduate School offers to further enhance your experience. For example, you can pursue a Minor in College Teaching and/or participate in one or both of our career development classes: Preparing Future Faculty and Preparing Future Professionals for Post-Graduate Studies Careers.

To keep you in the know, for those of you on social media, the Graduate School has a Facebook page (@MizzouGradSchool) and Twitter account (@MizzouGradEd). You can also follow me on Twitter (@MUGRADDEAN). I often post news items relevant to graduate and postdoctoral experiences. I also use it as a place to recognize the great work in which graduate students and postdocs are engaged—make sure you or your program tag me so that I can help to share the good news. Also, the Graduate School website keeps a calendar to advertise programming, deadlines, and events. Please stay connected with us.
Finally, no matter what stage you are in—starting a program or position, meeting various milestones (e.g., creating your individual development plan (IDP), establishing a committee, comprehensive examinations), or job searching and transitioning from Mizzou—let me remind you again to take a break, make yourself a priority, and spend time with family and friends in whatever creative ways you can. You will be at your best in the lab, in class, performing, creating, thinking, and writing if you take time to focus on yourself and your needs throughout your journey. The summer is a good time to be reminded of that. Be well!

Jeni Hart, PhD
Dean of the Graduate School
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies


The University of Missouri has a postdoctoral program that should be the model for other institutions, said three postdoctoral scholars. The Preparing Future Faculty Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity (PFFFD) prepares post-doctoral scholars to be professors and researchers, and to navigate the tenure-track process in academia. Most postdocs have to choose between teaching and research, but Mizzou's program offers a mix of both, thus providing a unique opportunity to scholars. Furthermore, the program offers postdoc opportunities in disciplines that traditionally do not offer postdoctoral training.

Summer 2020 Professional Development Offerings for Graduate Students and Postdocs


Graduate Leaders Needed!
Welcome leaders lead a small group of graduate students through various activities during Welcome Week (August 18-23) and meet weekly with their small group for the first 6 week of the semester. Through this position, leaders will have opportunities to talk to students about their own transition, tips for starting graduate school at MU, and facilitate discussion to help participants feel more at ease and foster connection to the campus. Other benefits include Mizzou swag and free meals provided through a pre-paid dining card.

For more information or to apply, please visit:
Questions? Contact Dr. Laura Page, MU Grad School at

Writing Retreats:
Even though we cannot meet in person, we can still be productive writers! Our July summer writing retreat will open with participants briefly sharing writing goals and encouragement. At closing, we will share updates on our progress, and discuss motivations for getting through next steps.

Checking out Library Materials:
MU students, faculty, and staff can now request MU library materials through the MERLIN catalog and schedule appointments to pick up items at the Ellis Library Loading Dock. Details on the checkout process and curbside pickup services are available here.

Wellness Wednesdays: 
Our virtual coffee chats continue through July; every Wednesday from 9:00am – 10:00am. Drop in via Zoom with a cup of your favorite beverage and bond with fellow grad students while talking about the highs and lows of grad school.

Inclusive Excellence Virtual Panel and Q&A

The Mizzou community is invited to join University leaders and the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity for a virtual panel and Q&A about our work in inclusive excellence.

Thursday, July 16, 11 am – 12 pm via Zoom

The leadership panel will present information regarding Mizzou’s ongoing work and answer questions on topics including:
  • Progress toward inclusive excellence since 2015
  • Areas for continued improvement
  • Next action steps

There will also be an opportunity to hear a summary of the findings and recommendations from a scholarly report by the American Council of Education released on June 22. The University plans further sessions specifically focused on deeper community discussions of the report this fall. Mizzou has participated in this project since 2017 to provide external assessment of the university’s journey in inclusive excellence.

The Center for Inclusive Excellence in Graduate Education (CIE) welcomes our incoming students and welcomes back our continuing students. As you prepare for the new semester, we would like to highlight a few Health and Wellbeing resources from the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (IDE):

Mizzou IDE: Self-Guided Curriculum: Race, Racism, and the American Experience
Race, Racism, and the American experience is a 10-day self-guided experience that "seeks to contextualize how seemingly inward thinking processes are deeply connected to the institutions and systems in which we are embedded. As such, this curriculum aims to support your personal exploration and scaffold your unit's efforts to create more inclusive and affirming work spaces."

A compilation of resources to help broaden perspectives & learn more about identities and experiences different than our own.
“These are meant to help further understanding about race, ethnicity, color, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, and sometimes the intersection of these identities.”

ITAP Courses:  If you are a non-native English-speaking graduate student or postdoc and you would like to improve your oral communication skills, consider taking an ITAP class. A certain level of oral proficiency is required in order to participate in certain Teaching Assistant or Graduate Instructor roles. We are happy to work to accommodate students who cannot attend in person. Please note the schedule of courses - only GRAD 7302 is offered twice a year.

ONITA (The Orientation for New International Teaching Assistants) is required by state law for graduate students who have not previously lived and taken college-level classes in the United States. Instead of the traditional, 20-hour face-to-face orientation, ONITA will be held virtually from August 17th through 21st. Participants will need to prepare for 2-3 hours each day and then attend an interactive Support Team meeting. Departments should sign up students through the ITAP Canvas site as soon as possible.
ITAP Language Proficiency Testing has also moved online. Testing is still being done on a monthly schedule. Students may test every 6 months for a total of 6 assessments during their degree program. Departments should sign up students through the ITAP Canvas site. The current testing schedule is below. 
  • July 27th - 28th
  • August 12th - 13th (New Mizzou students only)
  • September 2nd - 4th
  • October 7th - 9th
  • November 4th - 6th
  • December 7th - 11th (Including all students in ITAP classes)

Are you a TA or GI who is preparing for online instruction in the fall? Check out these resources for instructors or view a quick start guide to remote teaching.
If you are looking for additional courses this fall to complement your academic goals, consider:

Looking for external funding for your research? 
Often the best place to start looking for grad student research funding is at the local level, in your department, college, and university. However, you should also consider applying to external opportunities to help support your research. Here are some places to get started looking! Most of these opportunities require you to plan ahead. Click here to visit the MU Fellowships Office funding page to search for external funding sources. Click here to visit the STEM Grad Students Funding Database.
Fulbright U.S. Student Program
Detailed information for MU candidates interested in Fulbright is on the Fellowships Office website. The campus deadline to apply is September 2, 2020. Now is the time for potential candidates to learn about Fulbright and begin working on their application materials. Drafts of the proposal should be completed by August in preparation for submission to the campus.

Financial Aid Packaging

Student Financial Aid is working hard to get financial aid packages finalized and anticipates the information being available on student accounts no later than July 22nd. The Office of Student Financial Aid realizes this is a challenging time and students are anxiously awaiting their financial aid package. Students will receive a notification to their Mizzou student email account when their aid package is ready for review. It would be helpful to the Student Financial Aid office if students can wait to contact them about questions regarding their financial aid package until July 22nd.

Graduate School Orientations

These orientation events will be held virtually. Save the date! Registration links coming soon.
  • New Graduate Student Orientation
    • Monday, August 17th, 10:00-11:30am
  • Graduate Assistant Teaching Orientation (GATO)
    • Thursday, August 20th -  Friday, August 21st (various times)
  • Orientation for International Teaching Assistants
    • Monday, August 17th - Friday, August 21st (various times)

Parking Permit Priority Date

August 10th is the priority date for graduate students to purchase parking permissions. Purchasing opens at 9:00 AM CDT from your parking account. Your cost for parking will be applied to your student account. The bill will be due in September.

Students must be enrolled in at least one credit to be eligible for the parking permit. It may be helpful to bookmark the map of campus parking structures and lots before logging in.
If you need a summer permit, the cost will be prorated. Click here for more information about this and other parking matters.

Health Insurance

For Summer 2020 coverage: If you enrolled in the student health insurance at the beginning of spring 2020, your insurance covers you through summer 2020, even if you graduated in May 2020. 
For international students, the coverage ends on July 31, 2020.  For domestic students (U.S. citizens/permanent residents), the coverage ends on August 14, 2020.
For Fall 2020/Spring 2021 coverage: For domestic students, you can enroll in the fall 2020 student health insurance once you register in at least one credit hour for Fall 2020. The insurance enrollment is voluntary for domestic students.

For international students holding visas and taking on-campus classes, you will be automatically enrolled in the mandatory international student health insurance when you register for your fall 2020 classes.
Fall 2020 enrollment deadline: September 6, 2020
Spring/Summer 2021 enrollment deadline: February 7, 2021

The 2020-2021 student health insurance rates:

Click here for more information.

Travel Award Chair Opening

MUPA has an opening for a new Travel Award Chair to serve in our board. If you have any questions and would like to know more about this position, please send an email to Fiorella Carlos Chavez at
Have any news you’d like to share with the MU postdoc community? Recently received a grant, published a paper, or were recognized for an award? We’d love to highlight your accomplishments on our twitter feed! Send us a message or tag @mu_mupa in your posts so we can share the news! 
To keep up with all MUPA updates and events be sure to follow us on social media.
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Mizzou Grad and Postdoc News' Graphic Designer is Megan O'Russa & Features Writer is Christine Mascarenas.

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