Grad Connect - October 2016
GradConnect - Graduate Student e-Newsletter
October 2016 - Published periodically by the Office of Graduate Studies.
Issue 38

Spotlight: The Office of Graduate Studies

Tracy and Megan

Now Located in 120 White Hall, the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) was founded to enrich the experience of all graduate students from the time they complete the admissions process until they graduate. The office is staffed by Tracy Balduzzi, Director of Graduate Program Operations and Megan Wilson, Program Coordinator. Both Tracy and Megan are alumnae of a Utica College graduate program, providing them first-hand experience of what it is like to be a UC graduate student. The mission of the Office of Graduate Studies is to provide a quality, streamlined graduate experience by supporting graduate students and faculty, administering effective and consistent policies and procedures, and connecting graduate students to each other and Utica College.

In an effort to enhance services provided to all current Utica College graduate students, OGS assists in welcoming and orienting new graduate students to UC, overseeing the Graduate Catalog, Internal Review Board (IRB) submissions, Thesis and Capstone Project submissions, Graduate Commencement Ceremony. OGS strives to administer effective and consistent policies and procedures as they affect all graduate students – online and campus-based – by clarifying and streamlining them. They are always happy to assist students and faculty in navigating these policies and procedures. The OGS website is organized as a student handbook containing various important forms, deadlines, links to resources, and more. Our staff are here to answer any questions you might have and support you by removing obstacles to success.

The Office of Graduate Studies is a valuable resource for all graduate students. The staff’s main focus is graduate student support and they want to see all students be successful. In addition to the services already mentioned, it is a great place to start if a graduate student does not know where to go to address a specific concern. If OGS does not directly handle your concern, they will find the answer for you or direct you to the appropriate office.

In addition to ensuring that the daily needs of students, staff, and faculty are met, OGS’ top priority is to connect graduate students to each other and to Utica College. OGS is constantly working to improve communication and facilitate networking and social opportunities. In the past OGS has hosted events such as open house / welcome sessions, social hours, trivia night, bowling night, and multiple networking opportunities. The next event will be Game Night on Thursday, October 13 from 5-8pm in Pioneer. Please see the side article “Fun Fall Events” for more information about upcoming events, times, and locations.

The Office of Graduate Studies appreciates student feedback, so please share your thoughts on how UC can better enhance your graduate student experience! The staff would love for you to stop by and introduce yourself when you’re on campus. OGS is located in 120 White Hall and can also be contacted by phone at (315) 792-3335 or via e-mail at Additional information is available online at Tracy and Megan (pictured above, left to right) are looking forward to hearing from you!

Get to the Point


When writing an academic paper or report it can be easy to stray off topic. Maybe you felt you needed to include an interesting piece of information or draw a connection that is just slightly beyond the scope of your research. Now think back to a time when you were having a conversation with a person who kept going off topic. Was it difficult to understand them? After a while did you lose interest and resort to the smile and nod tactic? The same thing happens when people read a paper that is disorganized and frequently gets off topic. You can avoid this in your own writing by doing a few key things.

Once you choose a topic, decide what you want the main take away to be, this will form your key message. From there you can select supporting points that connect back and reinforce your message. These points will be a consistent and guiding factor throughout the document. Whether the assignment is short or long, all assignments can benefit from an outline. It does not need to be elaborate and most any format will do. The purpose of an outline is to keep you on track and ensure you include all of the important information.

Catch your reader’s attention by establishing your key message early on and explain how you plan to support it. This is very important because if the reader has to search to find out what the paper is about, they might give up. As you work past the introduction and on to the body, remember to stay on topic. Irrelevant information will only confuse the reader. Getting off topic can make it harder for you to pick up where you left off. To make a specific piece of information stand out use headings, bulleted or numbered lists, or tables and charts. These can be visually appealing and break-up the monotony of a long paper. Be careful not to use too many though, or they will lose their effect. The conclusion of a section or chapter is a perfect place to tie up loose ends and draw any final conclusions before you move on to your next supporting point. Finally, it is important to have a formal conclusion paragraph at the end of your paper. A formal conclusion at the end of a paper is needed connect all of the points you made back to the key message. Although it may be tempting, a conclusion is not the time to bring up a new idea or piece of evidence.

The goal is to keep your writing as clear as possible. Words including really, very, actually, and extremely, also known as intensifiers, often do not serve a purpose. Strengthen your message by eliminating sayings such as, I think, in my opinion, I feel, and I believe. State your opinions as facts and use credible sources to back them up. While editing, many people find it helpful to read their paper aloud. Even when reading aloud it is possible to auto-correct and read what you meant to write as opposed to what is on the paper. One method to combat this is to read from the end to the beginning. This helps pick up on areas that could flow better, sentences that are difficult to understand, incorrect words, and repetitive statements.

When you get to the point you remove the excess and leave more room for supporting points. It will strengthen your message and your readers will thank you.

For more information check out:


Important Dates:

Please note upcoming deadlines:

Oct. 15 - December application for degree deadline

Oct. 21
- D1 courses end

Oct. 24 - D2 courses begin.

Oct. 28 - Last day to add/drop a D2 course

Nov. 4 - Last day to withdraw from a full term course.

Nov. 14 - Spring registration opens

Nov. 23-25
- Thanksgiving Break for ground courses

Nov. 28 - Last day to withdraw from a D2 course

Dec. 11 - Full term courses end

Dec. 16 - D2 courses end

Dec. 16 - Final approved thesis or capstone project, Phase III form due for December graduation.

Dec. 31 - December degree conferral date

Fun Fall Events:

The Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) is excited to announce monthly events starting this fall. Each month we will be hosting a game night in Pioneer Pub. The first game night is October 13th from 5:00-8:00pm. Stop in, play a couple games or just hang out, feel free to bring family and friends. OGS will also be hosting S’mores night October 22nd from 5:30-7:30pm on the field behind Strebel Student Center (Across from the fitness center). S’mores supplies, Apple cider, and pizza will be provided. All of these events are free and a great way to get out, unwind, and meet new people!

Additional dates for game nights:
Thursday, November 9 from 5:00-8:00 pm

Saturday, December 3 from 5:30-8:30 pm

*Students are asked to RSVP two days prior to each event to OGS at or 315-792-3335.


Did you know:

Grad Connect is Moving. If you are reading this, you have probably noticed that the delivery method for Grad Connect has changed, it used to be delivered to your inbox as an html based email. Now Grad Connect will be based on its own webpage as a part of the Graduate Studies website. But how will you know when a new issue is available? Don’t worry, you will still receive an email notification when there is a new issue. The only difference is that the email will contain a web link directing you to a webpage with the newest issue as opposed to the issue contained in the body of the email.
Another recent change to Grad Connect is its frequency. In an effort to ensure we are bringing you fresh and current content (and not overwhelm you with emails), we have moved from releasing new issues once a month to now only once every three months.
As the creators of Grad Connect, the Office of Graduate Studies is always looking for new ideas and inspiration. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas, whether it be an article you have written, and idea for an article, or something you would like us to look into, we want to hear know what is important to you. Please send your feedback to Who knows maybe you will see your article or idea in a future edition of Grad Connect!
If you would like to receive an email notification when a new newsletter is posted, please email us at "" and we'll be happy to add you to the mailing list.


Office of Graduate Studies
120 White Hall
1600 Burrstone Road
Utica, NY 13502

(315) 792-3335
(315) 792-3170 (Fax)


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(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502