Collecting Institutional Knowledge
Often, graduate students learn about their field’s expectations through informal networks of colleagues. A Pressbook could provide an organized set of department-specific resources intended to help graduate students understand disciplinary conventions, access field-specific resources, or navigate the job market. 
The following list includes some of the materials that may be useful to include in a graduate student resource guide.
Many departments are composed of and connected to multiple sub-disciplines that each have their own institutional knowledge. Graduate students and professors interested in supporting entering students and attracting future applicants might find it useful to provide a centralized resource for succeeding within a sub-discipline.
- Overview of key journals
- Guidelines for IRB approval
- Conference info and characteristics
- Ex. which conferences have a reputation for being particularly welcoming to graduate students?
- Specific research fellowships
- Do any major journals offer research support or paper prizes within a particular subfield? When are the deadlines for these applications?
- Timelines: When should examinees contact potential committee members?
- An overview of the range of note-taking templates and study strategies that past graduate students have found productive
- Links to travel support funding rules and required forms
- Examples of successful conference abstracts in the field
- Information about presentation preparation:
- If your field has a convention of reading papers aloud at conferences, you might provide common wisdom about how many pages of writing to prepare for a 15-minute presentation or provide links to this words-to-minutes speech calculator.
- Are there conventions about using images in presentations in your field? How should images be described or credited during a presentation?
- Useful writing guides relevant to your field– (for example, Wendy Laura Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks)
- Links to UW-Madison resources– (for example, the Writing Center’s list of publication workshops for graduate students or the English department’s Proofreaders and Editors list)
- Advice or archived department presentations detailing strategies for addressing “Revise and Resubmit” feedback
Dissertation Resource Guide
- How to set up a dissertation proposal defense conference:
- For example, who should students contact to schedule a conference room?
- Which institutions are most likely to provide funding for research travel or writing support?
- A list of recommended guides to writing dissertation projects in your field. For example:
- Eric Hayot’s Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities (2014)
- Irene L. Clark’s Writing the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Entering the Conversation (2006)
- Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis (1998)
Dissertation Defense Conference
- What should candidates bring to the meeting? How early should committee members receive copies of the finished product?
- Are there any special considerations for depositing that are particularly relevant in your field?
Job Market Support
- Sample job materials, dissertation and project proposals, and grant applications (password-protected, if desired)
- Application timelines
- Field-specific advice from experienced applicants
- A direct link to department BOX folder containing department letterhead file
OER Sourcebook Hypothes.is Discussion
- What other resources might departments consider including in a guide for graduate students?
- Graduate students in the UW-Madison English Department are in the process of piloting a crowd-sourced guide of this type. At the end of this pilot project, we will update this page with more information about lessons learned in this process. ↵