UGGS has spent a considerable amount of time improving the climate, creating opportunities, and facilitating access for graduate students on campus.
Below is a list of current and past projects we have pursued. If you are interested in working with us to positively impact CU and its graduate students, please consider coming to an assembly meeting or joining a working committee.
3- to 5-year stipend plan
Graduate students need to earn a self-sufficient wage. The United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS) is working with the Provost, the University Chief Financial Officer, and the Graduate School to increase current TA stipends to a self-sufficient wage. UGGS presented the Assembly-approved stipend parameters to the Office of Data Analytics in November. As of December, the administration is working on UGGS's demands as part of the University's budget process.
Graduate student and family housing is a core social climate issue. UGGS is working with the Student Affairs office and the Graduate School to develop a long-term plan that provides increased stock of quality housing at reasonable cost.
RTD Bus Pass
Graduate student bus passes are currently valid for only 9 months. Because most graduate students need to get to work during the summer months, UGGS is working with CUSG and the Environmental Center to expand our bus pass availability. UGGS officers met with the Environmental Center in late September to brainstorm solutions. The Graduate School is working with programs to determine the number of affected graduate students and what impact an expanded bus pass program would have on program budgets. If you have suggestions, email us at uggsinfo [at] colorado [dot] edu.
Mentoring can and often does occur between graduate students. UGGS and the Graduate School are partnering on a pilot project to offer structured mentoring this year. During this inaugural year, 75 mentees and 75 mentors are participating in the program. The first mentor workshop was held on Sep 23, 2016. We are excited to see how this program does in its inaugural year. During Spring 2017, UGGS and the Graduate School will ask AY16-17 pariticpants to assess the program; their feedback will inform changes to next year's program.
Diversity & Inclusion
Social climate town halls last year highlighted opportunities to move forward with action- and solution-based workshops focused on improving campus inclusion across demographics. Our first event this year was a skill-based session at the Diversity Summit in November 2016 entitled, "Learning to Listen". UGGS and CUSG plans to hold another session at the February 2017 Diversity Summit. If you would like to participate or have suggestions, please email us at uggsinfo [at] colorado [dot] edu.
Improve Honor Code Council & Campus Ethics Committee Policies
UGGS is working to improve the current set of policies and procedures used by the Honor Council and Campus Ethics Committee with respect to handling graduate student cases. We are looking to increase graduate student participation and inclusion on the Council.
Updated Travel Grant Policies
Most UGGS money funds graduate student grants for costs associated with professional conferences and professional development. UGGS updated the policies by which we decide which grants to fund to reflect best practices in early Fall 2016.
Student fees due after 1st paycheck
The first payment due for graduate student fees is early October. The due date listed by the Bursar’s office says September - this is a miscommunication UGGS is working to resolve. If you experience problems paying fees or have questions about the process, contact uggsinfo.
In recognition of the fact that graduate students on student faculty fall appointments (GA, TA, RA, GPTI) do not receive their first paycheck until the end of September, the deadline for paying fall fees is extended for these individuals until the second due date of the semester (October 5).
It is on the bursar’s site as well under “when is my payment due?”: https://bursar.colorado.edu/payments/rata/
If you pay your fees before October 5 and after September, you will originally be charged late fees which will be refunded after your fee payment.
Social climate survey: planned & implemented
During Fall 2014, UGGS Representatives were instrumental in putting a graduate student social climate survey together with University staff. The survey generated a 38% response rate. UGGS officers continue to work with University administrators and staff to address the issues identified by the survey.
Housing resolution & City ballot initiative
When the Boulder City Council indicated that Council members wanted increased enforcement of housing occupancy limits, UGGS Representatives unanimously passed a resolution calling on the City Council to consider alternative solutions and organized CU students to attend and speak at City Council meetings. After City Council passed increased housing occupancy enforcement, a number of UGGS Representatives started gathering signatures to place an initiative on the ballot to allow voters to decide how many unrelated adults can live in a single dwelling.
6.5% stipend increase
UGGS officers and other graduate students successfully worked with the Provost and Graduate School to secure a 6.5% increase to Teacher Assistant (TA) stipends during the 2016-17 academic year over 2015-16 stipends.
Co-organized social climate town halls
UGGS collaborated with CU Student Government (CUSG) and administration to hold multiple town halls to discuss campus social climate.
Standardized transparent admission letter
The social climate survey revealed that program admission letters were highly variable and generally lacking in information graduate students said they wanted when considering which school to attend. UGGS officers surveyed programs across campus about the letters they send to prospective students and proposed a standardized admission letter than included much higher transparency about contractual details to the Graduate School. The Graduate School requested that programs use the recommended letter during recruitment efforts in Spring 2016.
Supported graduate student-friendly student government ticket
UGGS officers met extensively with a prospective CUSG ticket prior to the Spring 2016 campus election. UGGS supported the eventual winning ticket and continues to work closely with CUSG officials on issues that impact graduate and undergraduate students.
Co-organized new graduate student orientation
Prior to Fall 2016, UGGS officers planned and carried out campus-wide graduate student orientations by themselves. During 2015-16, UGGS officers and the Graduate School started work with the Office of New Students and Family Programs to coordinate graduate student orientation at the campus level. A priority for UGGS officers was to make sure incoming graduate students felt welcomed and valued as new members of our community.
Initialized dental coverage: one annual exam, cleaning, and x-ray
In recent years, the quality of graduate student health insurance increased while keeping costs reasonable. One aspect of student health remained missing however: dental coverage. Wardenburg has entered into direct contract with Perfect Teeth to provide each plan member with one annual exam, cleaning, and x-ray per year, and to waive the $95 fee for the Perfect Teeth Dental Plan, which provides extensive discounts on additional services.
Open access to scholarly research is vital to a healthy democracy and to education in general. As researchers and authors, it is our responsibility as graduate students to know our rights and exercise them as we begin to publish in the top journals in our fields. UGGS played a vital role in advocating for a campus-wide open access resolution. From writing our own UGGS open access policy, to sponsoring multiple events during Open Access Week each year, UGGS has become the library's staunchest advocate!