UMBC’s Winter 2011 Dissertation House: “Nothing is Utterly Hopeless.”

The day began late due to ice-encased cars, slippery roads, and a delayed opening. However, the graduate students at UMBC are hard at work and they are putting in the time and effort needed to work on their dissertations.  This morning, students posted and shared their goals and objectives for the week and began to chip away at their respective projects. Dr. Wendy Carter, the Dissertation Coach for the campus, reviewed the goals with the students to make sure that they were measurable and reasonable for the 4-day period of the workshop.

After lunch, Dr. Robert Deluty (Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Presidential Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology, and published poet) gave a talk on working with committees and advisors that was filled with both wisdom and humor.  Dr. Deluty’s message of support for all of the graduate students at UMBC was that often, “nothing is utterly hopeless.” He provided some words and phrases that students can use when talking with their advisors and seeking advice from mentors. He also told students to be sure to seek multiple sources of encouragement and support because a solution can often be found with help of others, whether they be peers, faculty, or administrators.  The afternoon mini-lecture series ended with a great story by newly minted Ph.D., Dr. Adrienne Starks, an alum of the Dissertation House. Dr. Starks discussed her journey and some of the solutions that she used, including resources for an editor and a spa to de-stress!  She has shared them on the Dissertation House’s “Winter Challenge” section of the blog:

Read more about Dr. Deluty:


Join us online. You can participate in the Winter Online Challenge regardless of your department, school, state, or country!

Good luck to all who are working on their dissertations.

About Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of California Davis. She previously served as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate School at UMBC, and was Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She was Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) –, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research on global diversity in STEM continues, and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: Connect with her on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull;
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