Register Now for GSAC’s Scholar’s Retreat

The Spring 2014 Scholar's Retreat – an intensive workshop for writers of dissertations and theses – begins on April 14th!

Texas Tech Double T symbol with "Keep Calm and Write On" underneathWe are now accepting registration for the Spring 2014 Scholar's Retreat, which will be held the week of April 14th. If you are writing your thesis or dissertation and plan to defend in summer or the coming year, you might benefit from attending this intensive five-day workshop. We are offering three sessions this semester: (1) 9AM-Noon, (2) 6PM-9PM On Campus, and (3) 6PM-9PM Online for Distance Students.

What is Scholar’s Retreat?

The GSAC Scholar’s Retreat is designed to help students progress through the difficult writing stages of the dissertation process. By offering a quiet environment and support for intensive, focused writing time, the Scholar’s Retreat provides participants with the structure and motivation to overcome typical roadblocks in the dissertation process. Our goal is to assist each participant in making significant progress toward completing his or her project.

Is this for me?

This event is directed primarily toward students in the final stages of writing their dissertations. In many disciplines, final stages could be defined as the time period after data has been collected. However, individuals working on a dissertation proposal or master’s thesis could also benefit from the structured time, space, professional writing consultation, and motivational support of the program.

The Scholar’s Retreat is limited to 15 Texas Tech University graduate students per session. An online synchronous evening session of the Scholar’s Retreat is also available for 25 distance graduate students in online degree programs.

On-site and online participants must be able to commit to writing for 3 designated hours every day, Monday-Friday, during the week of Scholar’s Retreat. If you cannot commit to write during the designated hours when we have writing consultants available, we ask that you do not register for Scholar’s Retreat this semester so that other graduate students can take advantage of the opportunity. We will have another Scholar’s Retreat in the spring semester.

What should I expect?

At the beginning of the Retreat, participants sign individual “contracts” indicating the goal they would like to reach by the end of the week. They then determine mini-goals to help them accomplish the larger project.

For the next five days, participants spend three hours per day writing and working on their thesis or dissertation. Writing consultants will be available throughout this time. After each day's writing session, participants will meet to chat with each other, discuss progress made toward the week's writing goals, share tips, and discuss dissertation-related experiences.  It is our hope that this peer-to-peer interaction will allow you make connections that can help you establish your own dissertation writing support group after the workshop. Materials will be provided to help guide you through the steps of setting up such a group.

Online students will be enrolled in a Blackboard non-academic Scholar’s Retreat course with resources, discussion boards, and writing consultant contacts to help support your writing and networking with other writers during and after Scholar’s Retreat.

How do I register for Scholar’s Retreat?

For the Spring 2014 semester, there will be three sessions of Scholar’s Retreat with meetings every day from April 14th through April 18th:

(1)  9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, on-site graduate students, register:

(2)  6:00 PM – 9:00 PM, on-site graduate students, register:

(3)  6:00 PM — 9:00 PM, online graduate students, register:

Please note that only graduate students in distance education graduate programs can enroll in the 6-9 PM online session. If you are an on-campus student and accidentally enroll in the online session, your registration will be cancelled. We will email you to let you know, and if there is still space in an on-campus session, you will have the option to register for it.

Where will it be held?

On-campus participants will meet in the newly renovated Graduate Student Center, which is in the west-wing basement of the Administration Building (Rooms 40, 41). The best way to enter is through south-west entrance to the Administration Building.

A photograph of the Administration Building with the west wing basement door circled

Distance students will be enrolled in a Blackboard non-academic course where they will meet during the evening session. Blackboard enrollment will take place April 11th, and you will receive additional instructions via email then.

If you have questions or need additional information, please email us at!



GSAC Joins Grads Have Debt 2 National Call-Congress Event on April 9th

Graduate & professional students will express their concerns about shouldering a disproportionate amount of student loan debt with Grads Have Debt 2 National Call-In Day!

Did you know the average cumulative debt for a master's degree is $57,000, a doctoral degree is $75,000, and a professional degree is $146,000?

And that graduate & professional students are no longer eligible for the in-school loan interest subsidy as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011?

And that the graduate-professional student default rate is significantly lower (6.1%) than the overall default rate (17.6%), making graduate students loans a safe financial investment for the federal government? (Source: NAGPS, Grads Have Debt 2 Campaign)

Texas Tech graduate and professional students will join others from around the country for the Grads Have Debt 2 National Call-Congress Event on Wednesday April 9th. To support this effort, the Texas Tech Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) will host a local call-in event from 11AM – 3PM in the Graduate Center to help students call members of Congress and urge them to reunify student loan interest rates and reinstate the in-school interest subsidy. Congress needs to hear from graduate and professional students that the increasing and disproportionate graduate-professional student debt burden is unacceptable!

We’ll have phones, scripts, phone numbers, snacks, and coffee available in the Graduate Center all day so that you can call Members of Congress and express your graduate student loan concerns. We’ll also be gathering graduate students’ stories and points of concern to include in a letter to be sent to our state and national representatives. The newly renovated Graduate Center is in the west-wing basement of the Administration Building (Rooms 40 & 41).

We'd love to have you come by the Graduate Center to make your calls with GSAC representatives on April 9th, but you can also make your calls from wherever you are with these materials:

After you call, post a message and/or photo on the Graduate Student Advisory Council and Grads Have Debt 2 Facebook pages! Use hashtags #GradsHaveDebt2, #NAGPS, and #TTUgsac. You can also tweet to @TTUgsac and @NAGPS. Let’s keep the photos, posts, and tweets going all day!

Student debt in the United States has been an ever-increasing problem in recent years, and is now estimated to exceed all American credit card debt. Massive student debt hurts all Americans as it prevents students and their families from being active participants in the economy by limiting their ability to invest in major purchases like buying homes and cars, starting small businesses, and starting families. Simultaneously, it creates individual challenges for students and their families who struggle to find the financial support necessary to attain a higher education degree.

Graduate and professional students have higher debt burdens, on average, than undergraduates since they often carry debt from their undergraduate studies into their graduate studies. They are also typically older than undergraduate students and no longer have parental support; and instead may have families of their own to support. Despite these challenges, graduate and professional student debt has been paid little attention in the conversation about national student loan debt, and recent political efforts continue to strip away loan options for graduate and professional students, which increases their debt levels.

For the first time in history, graduates are charged a higher rate than undergraduates for unsubsidized Stafford loans and since 2012 have been ineligible for subsidized Stafford loans. Such Congressional measures threaten to widen the already large debt load difference between Master’s ($57K), Doctoral ($75K), and Professional ($146K) students and undergrads ($29K). And the recently proposed GOP Tax Reform Act of 2014 includes many provisions that directly affect graduate and professional students and the debt they will carry because it will

  • Make tuition waivers taxable.

  • Repeal the in-school interest deduction on student loans.

  • Repeal the Social Security tax exemption for students on income over $1,200.

  • Make forgiven student loans taxable.

  • Make education-related tax breaks only available for the first four years of college, i.e., not for grad/prof education.

The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) and its members launched the Grads Have Debt 2 campaign last summer in response to recent legislation that increases the financial burdens on students pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees. The April 9th National Call-In event continues a series of local, regional and national events. During a similar event this past December, students Texas Tech University and across the country made over 860 phone calls and contacted roughly 1/3 of Congress, urging legislators to act on postgraduate student loan inequity.

In March, Texas Tech graduate students Florencio Aranda and Katie Peters travelled to Washington DC for the NAGPS Spring 2014 Advocacy Summit and Legislative Action Days. Along with representatives from other participating universities, Florencio and Katie discussed the graduate debt issue with Congressional members representing Texas and other key states.

On April 9th, Texas Tech graduate students will again join others from universities across the country to amplify our message to Congress: Grads Have Debt 2! The purpose of the Grads Have Debt 2 campaign is to educate legislators and the public about postgraduate student debt and interest rate inequality and to give voice to graduate and professional students in the student loan conversation. The goals for this event are to

  • Reunify the undergraduate and graduate rates to reverse the current inequalities and

  • Reinstate the in-school interest subsidy for graduate-professional students

For updates on this national campaign, which is organized by the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS), like GradsHaveDebt2 and Texas Tech Graduate Student Advisory Council on Facebook.

Graduate education continues to be more expensive at a time when we need more advanced degrees than ever. The Department of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs requiring graduate degrees will grow nearly 20% in the next five years. These jobs will be crucial for reinvigorating the economy and continuing America’s growth; yet, the federal government continues to send signals to American students that graduate school and debt is not important enough for their investment. On April 9th, graduate students at Texas Tech University will work to change this trajectory by speaking up about the benefits of graduate education and the need that graduate and professional students face. Graduate education will continue to help our nation achieve its highest potential and we ask that Congress take action to reduce graduate student debt to ensure this is possible.


To learn more about the rising debt burden shouldered by graduate-professional students, check out this Inside Higher Ed article:

To learn more about NAGPS’s Grads Have Debt 2 campaign, you can also download their tool-kit:

Graduate Student Appreciation Week 2014 at Texas Tech!

Come celebrate graduate student life at Texas Tech with the Graduate School and GSAC!

Next week is National Graduate-Professional Student Appreciation Week! To show how much we appreciate the graduate students who study, research, and teach at Texas Tech University, we've planned a week of socials, coffee, workshops, food, receptions, freebies, awards, and parties.


  • Monday, April 7th, 12-1 PM & 6-7 PM in the Graduate Center (Administration Building, west wing basement)

  • Please register online for the 12-1 PM Session OR the 6-7 PM Session.

  • You can preview the workshop handout here.


  • Tuesday, April 8th, 5-6:30 PM at Plains Capital Bank (4415 4th St. & Quaker Ave., Lubbock


  • Wednesday, April 9th, 12 PM in the Graduate Center


  • Friday, April 11th, 11:30 AM-1 PM in the Merket Alumni Center (17th & University)


  • Friday, April 11th 5-7 PM @ BarPM (1211 University Ave., Lubbock)

  • Free food and door prizes!


We hope to see you at these event next week so we can say "THANK YOU" in person.

[Event updates will be made to this website if necessary throughout the week.]

Graphic text reads "Graduate Student Appreciation Week 2014, April 7-13, 2014, Texas Tech University, " Additional text includes the URL to this web page and the description of each event on this web page.


April Meeting & Open Forum of the Graduate Student Advisory Council

New Vice-Provost of Graduate Affairs and Graduate Dean, Dr. Mark Sheridan, Scheduled to Speak at April 4th GSAC Meeting & Open Forum!

The April GSAC Meeting & Open Forum will be held from 6-8 PM in the newly opened Graduate Center, which is in the west wing of the Administration Building. Special guest, Dr. Mark Sheridan — who began work as the Vice-Provost of Graduate Affairs and Graduate Dean in mid-March — will speak followed by an Open Forum for graduate students to voice their opinions, questions, and concerns during the first hour of the meeting. During the second hour, the 48-member Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC), with 20 new representatives elected in March, will conduct regular business. All Texas Tech graduate students are welcome to attend in person or online.

Distance graduate students and those unable to attend in person can use the following link to join the meeting online: Past meeting minutes and the upcoming agenda can be found on the GSAC website at Meeting updates, if necessary, will be announced on the GSAC Facebook page at

If you can't attend the meeting but want to share with us your thoughts about improving graduate student life, please email at The Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) is an organization of graduate students dedicated to enhancing graduate student life at Texas Tech University.

A photo of the Administration building, with the west wing in the forefront, includes an arrow pointed to the door in the west arm labeled Graduate Center. The TTU campus map with the Administration Building marked is shown beneath the photo. Click the photo to go to the Texas Tech Campus Map.


Grand Opening of the Graduate Center

Texas Tech University Graduate Students and their Supporters are Warmly Invited to Today's Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony!

LUBBOCK- At 4:00 pm, on Tuesday, April 1st, Texas Tech University's graduate students, faculty, and staff will celebrate the grand opening of the Graduate Center – a 2000+ square foot facility dedicated to exclusive use by graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. The Center, located at the very heart of Texas Tech’s Lubbock campus occupies almost entire basement level of the Administration Building’s West Wing. The Center will feature quiet and small group study spaces, a computer lab, dining area, conference room, and a lounge with 70-inch LED Smart TVs. The facility has been developed as a green project featuring responsibly sourced and recycled and reused materials.

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will feature an address by Texas Tech University’s President Dr. Duane Nellis, remarks by the Provost Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, and by the Vice Provost for Graduate affairs and Dean of the Graduate School Dr. Mark Sheridan. Reception will follow. 

Located at the very heart of campus, the Center will provide graduate students and post-doctoral fellows with much needed meeting and networking space, quiet study/research space, as well as leadership, academic, and professional development activities.  The Graduate Center and its programming is central to Graduate School’s and Graduate Student Advisory Council’s plans to support growth of graduate student population and advancement of Texas Tech’s graduate community.

Funding for the center was provided by Student Service Fees and generous support from Dr. Juan Sanchez Muñoz. Additional support was provided by Texas Tech Graduate School, by a generous donation by Mr. Ron Thomson and the Sherwin-Williams Paint Store in Lubbock.

The Ribbon Cutting is open to all graduate students and their supporters who wish to join in the debut of the hard work and efforts that the GSAC has put forth in building the Graduate Center.


Contact Gloria Park for more information and follow the Ribbon Cutting at on Facebook.

Photo of scissors rigged with string and legos to cut. Text reads "Graduate Center Ribbon Cutting. Tuesday, April 1, 4 PM, Administration Building, West Wing"

A New Space just for Graduate Students on Texas Tech Campus!

Phase I of the Graduate Center officially opens to graduate students with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 1st!

three side-by-side photos, each with a graduate student rolling paint on Graduate Center walls, which are shades of yellow and green

At 4 PM on Tuesday, April 1st, the new Graduate Center will open in the Administration Building with a ribbon-cutting, VIP speeches, and reception. All graduate students and supporters are warmly invited to attend the event. Honored guests President Duane Nellis, Provost Lawrence Schovanec, and Vice-Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Mark Sheridan will speak and jointly cut the ribbon opening the Graduate Center.

The Graduate Center is one of the very few spaces on Texas Tech campus dedicated solely to graduate students and their unique needs. Located at the very heart of our campus, this 2000-square-foot facility will provide graduate students with much needed meeting and networking space, quiet study areas, and leadership and professional development activities. The Graduate Center and its programming is a central element of our plan not only to grow the graduate student population but also to grow the graduate community.

The Graduate Center is located in the west wing basement of the Administration Building on campus. Since the inaugural meeting of the Graduate Student Advisory Council in February 2012, most of our monthly working meetings and open forums have been held in this space.

A photograph of the Administration Building with the west wing basement door circled and the words How to Find Us: Graduate Center

But our journey to this grand opening ceremony really began in Fall 2012, when the GSAC acquired the space to develop into the Graduate Center. We held an Open House to show off the new space to graduate students during the 2012 Carol of Lights Run. At the Open House we started gathering information from graduate students about how they would like to design the space to suit the unique needs of graduate students.

In June 2013, we held a Graduate Center Design Poster Competition among graduate students in Interior Design. The three-person winning design team–Ahmed Redha Gheraba, Samaher Fallatah, and Shuang Niu–was selected by a popular vote of almost 800 graduate students – roughly a quarter of graduate students present on our campus. Click this link to view the winning design poster titled "The Graduate Center as space: Providing students with opportunities for studying, socialization, relaxation, and restoration:"

A photo of the basement with structural pillars running through the center, a long table with computers lined up and walls painted

Over the next nine months, Jacek Jonca-Jasinski, Director of Graduate Life, and Gloria Park, GSAC Secretary and research assistant, have put in countless hours working with designers, contractors, and suppliers to modify the winning design to fit the requirements of the space. To help extend our budget dollars, GSAC members have worked with Jonca-Jasinski and Park to do as much of the work as possible, including painting the Center with a generous donation from Ron Thomson, Manager of the Sherwin-Williams Paint Store in Lubbock. The April 1st ribbon-cutting ceremony will acknowledge the most notable contributions to the creation of the Graduate Center from Dr. Peggy Gordon Miller, Dr. Dominick Casadonte, Dr. Juan Sanchez Munoz, and many members of the Graduate Student Advisory Council who were not afraid to roll up their sleeves and make this project happen.

And we don't plan to stop there! This is just the first phase. After the grand opening, GSAC meetings and workshops will move to the Graduate Center, where we will continue to improve with the help of fellow graduate students like you!

Photo of orange-handled scissors jerryrigged with string and legos and open ready to cut with a pull of the string. Text: Graduate Center Ribbon Ceremony, April 1, 4 PM, Administration Building, West Wing




GSAC to Present IRB Workshop on March 26th!

Want to get your research going, but feel stuck in the approval process? Don't miss this encore workshop on the IRB Process on March 26th, 12-1 PM in Room 151 AVI Lab of the TLPDC, which is in the Library. This important information for your research at Texas Tech includes a free lunch! Register now at

The presentation will concentrate on the basic elements that comprise the IRB proposal as well as the information that should be included in each section. Emphasis will be placed on the Proposal Format page with additional guidance on accompanying materials.

Worried about missing lunch? We’ve got you covered! Free refreshments will be provided.

IRB Workshop Flyer

Join Us for Friday Afternoon Thesis-Dissertation Revision Sessions!

Text Image "A Good Dissertation is a Done Dissertation. Ancient Grad Student Proverb"

Experienced Academic Researcher & Writer Scheduled to Speak this Friday!

Friday afternoon revision sessions for students writing dissertations or theses are in full Swing at the Graduate School. Don't miss this  Friday's excellent speaker, writer, and researcher, Rebecca Rickly, Professor of Technical Communication and Rhetoric! Join us for the presentation and bring writing you want to work on afterwards.

The Friday, March 7th Revision Session features

  • Guest Speaker, Rebecca Rickly, Professor of Technical Communication and Rhetoric, will give a short presentation on learning how to edit your own writing

  • Instructions for peer review and review strategies

  • Peer work to edit and revise texts

  • Graduate School thesis-dissertation staff available to answer specific revision-related questions

Graduate students may attend on campus or via distance link from 1-4 PM. On campus students should go to Room 313 in the Administration Building. Those wishing to attend remotely can login through TTU's Mediasite: (go to Graduate School –> Thesis-Dissertation Review Sessions –> 3/7 Presentation: Rebecca Rickly).

Students are welcome to come at any point during the three-hour session, however, peer revision groups will start immediately after the speaker presents. Admittance is first come as space allows. Students attending in person should bring laptops and paper copies of their drafts.

You can view past Friday Revision Sessions via TTU's Mediasite Catalog (go to Graduate School –> Thesis-Dissertation Review Sessions). And stay tuned for an asynchronous online version of Thesis-Dissertation Peer Review Sessions to be advertised via TTU email soon!

For more information, contact Anastasia Coles (, Graduate School Thesis Coordinator.


[Image credit: from Redden, S. M. (2013, May 2). "Dos and dont's of dissertation writing" [Blog post]. The Blue Muse. Available at]