PROMISE at Schools within the USM: Salisbury, UMES, Bowie, Towson. “When Faculty Say X” discussion, Spring 2016.

This week, PROMISE is visiting schools around Maryland for meetings and workshops. The key feature will be the PROMISE annual workshop, “When Faculty Say ‘X’ …”

Description of the lecture:

Understanding professors’ expectations shouldn’t be a mystery. However, sometimes, there are disconnects between what a faculty member wants a student to produce for a project, and how the student interprets the instructions. In many cases, the expectations of faculty are clearly articulated, either in written or oral format. However, in other cases, there are situations where a faculty member’s feedback or outcomes from discussions regarding progress may not be as clear because they involve aspects of non-verbal communication such as eye contact, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and eye contact.

Addressing the Needs of Graduate Students

We draw particular attention to the needs of graduate students for our “When Faculty Say X” success seminar series. Graduate students have several forms of faculty interaction that have their own sets of nuances. For graduate students, the faculty member is a teacher, a mentor, an advisor, and a future colleague. There are several phases through which one must pass to navigate the transitions. During coursework, there is the phase where one follows the syllabus, turns in the homework, and takes the exam. During the qualifying exam and proposal stages, it can be difficult for a student to determine what they are supposed to know on the journey toward building expertise in a discipline or particular area of research. In addition to becoming a contributor to the field, a professor may have a methodology that must be employed by all in her lab, or a set of theories which need to be used set the foundation for all work that comes out of the research group. There may be bibliographies that one must reference, techniques that must be mastered, and simple “unwritten rules” that must be followed. Some of the rules may include attending every group meeting and each departmental colloquium. Other rules may extend to writing, i.e., explicit use of a citation style, paragraph structure, or drafting process.

The PROMISE AGEP launched the “When Faculty Say X …” series to answer some of these burning questions. The facilitator will be Dr. Renetta G. Tull, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs at UMBC, and Director of the University System of Maryland’s National Science Foundation’s PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP). Dr. Tull will present a series of scenarios that graduate students have experienced, along with responses from STEM faculty from the USM and other schools around the nation. Time will be set aside for students’ real-time Q&A, which is often the most important part of the program.


This week:

Monday, April 4, 2016 – Salisbury


Students are invited to read the responses that were shared at an earlier event.

Answers from the virtual event in 2015




Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 11 AM – UMES

UMES flyer 2016 April 5


Location: Suite 3046, the new Engineering and Aviation Building

PDF link on UMES’ website:

Thursday, April 7, 2016, 3 PM – Bowie State

Bowie State

Bowie State:

Thursday,  Apr 7, 2016 3pm – 4pm (EDT)
14000 Jericho Park Rd., Bowie, MD 20715,

Center for Business and Graduate Studies (CBGS), Room 3201


Friday, April 8, 2016, 12 Noon – Towson

Towson Flyer


12:00 Noon

Graduate Student Lounge (Room 205)

Psychology Building

Closest Parking: Towsontown Garage (on Towsontown Blvd and University Ave)

Any member of the PROMISE community (student, staff, postdoc, faculty) is welcome to attend any of the events.

USM Banner 2016 w X

Published by 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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