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Increasing Student Development Opportunities

By Jaime Bue


The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) continued its efforts for student research and professional development during the 2016 spring semester by organizing four workshop events with the Russian and East European Studies Institute (REEI) and the Association of Central Eurasian Students (ACES). This workshop series began in an effort to respond to the unique needs of area studies graduate students, including those oriented towards professional careers and those interested in pursuing academic research careers. Representatives from the IAUNRC and REEI will be presenting details about this initiative at the National Academic Advising Association’s 40th Annual Conference in Atlanta this October.

The IAUNRC worked to respond to student interests and requests in organizing these events. These efforts resulted in a small workshop series that the IAUNRC will continue in the spring semester. Dr. Ariann Stern-Gottschalk, Director of the Summer Language Workshop (SLW/SWSEEL), organized the first event, a Personal Statement Workshop geared towards students applying for area studies programs and degrees. The event included an overview of designing a Personal Statement, guided students through a critique of sample statements, and allowed students time to gain feedback on their own statements from a panel of Professors and Reviewers with experience of sitting on review committees.  

The Syllabus Design Workshop led by Samuel Buelow, a PhD candidate in Anthropology with minors in Gender Studies and CEUS, attracted participation from graduate students in Departments and Schools across IU. The Workshop focused on developing syllabi for Collins and Global Village, programs that allow advanced graduate students the opportunity, if selected, to teach their own courses. Experience in successfully implementing courses for both programs as well as teaching courses across several departments made Samuel Buelow an ideal candidate for leading this event. The workshop included an introduction into the structural design of a syllabus, detailed explanation of each section, and opportunity for students to brainstorm or receive feedback on their own syllabi in various stages of development.

Dr. Jamsheed Choksy, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS), led a Public Speaking and Research Presentation Workshop that helped students adapt their presentations to match the audience. Students practiced speaking concisely on their research, and discussed the nuances between presentations for conference presentations, academic lectures, and policy briefings.  

The “Area Studies and the Teaching Job: Strategies for the Application and the Interview” was the final part of the spring series by Dr. Kristoffer Rees of IU East. Dr. Rees’ seminar focused on marketing area studies expertise towards teaching-focused academic positions at institutions without area studies programs. He covered several topics including: preparing for a teaching demo outside your specialization, common interview questions, balancing teaching and research interests, and an overview of mistakes to avoid. The presentation followed a similar format of other seminars in the series that encouraged question and answer sessions to encourage a dialogue with students.

The IAUNRC will continue this series in the Fall 2016 semester and is open to suggestions as well as collaboration opportunities to bring further research and professional opportunities to Central Eurasian Studies students. Please email for more information.