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This page documents an ongoing effort of the Working Group for establishing an Association of Mathematics Graduate Students and Teaching Assistants. The Working Group seeks input from all math graduate students and TAs throughout the planning process. Please join in! (See mailing list below.)

Mailing list

Those interested in helping, or just staying informed of the Working Group's efforts, should subscribe to the mailing list|, which will be the primary way of organizing future meetings.

Meetings Minutes

Meeting #2: 2019-01-27, Sunday 4:00pm, notes by Vladimir Sotirov

Present: Michel Alexis, Benjamin Bruce, Soumya Sankar, Vladimir Sotirov, David Wagner, Jenny Yeon

Structure of the representative body

  1. regular (e.g. monthly) meetings to discuss issues that may have been brought up
  2. attending department meetings, which is a responsibility that should cycle so that the burden is not too high
  3. 7 or 5 representatives total: if 7 then 4 pre-disseratotrs and 3 dissertators, perhaps 1 dissertator beyond funding guarantee
  4. ideally the representatives will offer a diversity of perspectives: from various years, domestic and international students, various genders, etc; codifying this into an actual requirement seems unreasonable

Communication between the representative body and the student body

  1. a scheduled event/meeting at either the beginning or end of the semester, coupled with a survey at the opposite end of the semester
  2. emails highlighting information from department meetings that is important to graduate students, e.g. policy changes
  3. graduate students should have the ability to raise isssues to the representatives as an intermediate step before raising issues to department chair or faculty
    1. we need to have clear guidance on how such issues should be handled
    2. a list of example issues and a list of appropriate resources need to be compiled and available
    3. perhaps there should be a special secretary position among the representatives, or possibly even in addition to the representatives, responsible for maintaining information
  4. graduate students that "fall though the cracks" tend not to communicate very well
    1. Bobby Grizzard would perhaps be a good faculty link for such cases
    2. the peer mentoring project is anothe resource
  5. Kathie can mentiong us during orientation, perhaps distribute a poster with the representatives' faces!
  6. there should be a web-site

Initiating the association

  1. mention us during donuts?
  2. An email to everyone soliciting self-nominations, requires concise bullet points of exactly what the representative role entails
  3. Timeline: have all the information necessary to craft the self-nomination solicitation email by March 3rd (Bulgarian independence day); solicit such unitl spring break, have the association ready after spring break for visitor's day

Tasks for next time

  1. minutes (Vlad)
  2. set up collaborative docs (google or university), maybe a web-site, where we can compile the information we need (Jenny)
  3. compile resources for dealing with various issues (David)
  4. come up with example issues (MIchel, perhaps Soumya)
  5. write down roles and responsibilities (Soumya, perhaps Michel)
  6. make the wiki page more readable, so that people would sign up for the mailing list (Ben)
  7. organize next meeting between 11th and 18th February (Ben)

Meeting #1: 2018-12-16, Sunday 12:30pm, notes by Vladimir Sotirov

Present: Michel Alexis, Benjamin Bruce, Vladimir Sotirov, Jenny Yeon

Goals of the association:

We first discussed what the goals of the association might be.

  1. to facilitate communication between graduate students and faculty:
    1. have a graduate student attend department meetings whose role is to relay relevant information back to the graduate students, e.g. via a newsletter, and to communicate positions of graduate students on issues that concern them;
    2. Michel mentioned Tonghai and Andreas are open to the above role, but would hesitate in allowing graduate students to vote at department meetings;
    3. provide structured time (e.g. monthly meeting, perhaps referendums via grad-chat) for graduate students to discuss issues that should be brought up to department meetings or to respond to policies being discussed at department meetings.
  2. to facilitate communication and support between graduate students:
    1. maintain awareness of various groups and activities organized by graduate students, especially concerning academic support and mentoring, as well as general stress management or mental health support.
  3. to assist and to mediate between faculty and individual or groups of graduate students whenever specific issues arise.
  4. to document and keep records graduate student life
    1. maintain a history of past discussions between graduate students and faculty, eliminating the need for folklore that shifts as students graduate, and allowing graduate student a "big picture" view;
    2. maintaining some kind of useful FAQ for graduate students beyond the Graduate Student and TA Handbooks that the department offers/will offer, e.g. various activities organized by grad students like DRP, peer mentoring, etc.

Roles within the association:

We briefly talked about the roles of people within the association's representative body.

  1. Representatives of various groups of students, e.g.
    1. representatives from each year
    2. representative from each academic status: pre-qualifiying exam, post-qualifyting exam but not dissertator, dissertator
    3. representatives for international students, women, other groups and minorities
  2. Representatives to attend department meetings
  3. Specialists in mental health resources and academic issues

Getting people involved:

We then discussed how to move forward with the establishing of the association, and specifically with getting people involved in the working group to make sure that what finally comes to be is as broadly useful as possible.

  1. Canvas people to let them know this is happening after we have concrete proposals that they can think over and comment on.
  2. Announce the working group somehow, e.g. via mailing list
  3. Perhaps have a google doc or some other collaborative document to house the drafts of the above goals and roles.


Finally, we assigned each other tasks to perform:

  1. Typing up the minutes (Vladimir)
  2. Establishing a google doc or wiki (Vladimir)
  3. Establishing a mailing list (Vladimir)
  4. Contact other department stewards via TAA (Ben)
  5. Send out a when2meet in early January to determine next meeting