Date: August 15, 2014

Time: 1:00pm-5:45pm

Plaza B, Hilton San Francisco Union Square


Conference Preliminary Agenda

2014 Director of Graduate Studies Conference

This half day conference for directors of graduate studies programs focuses on the organizational challenges of managing MA and PhD programs in sociology. Topics respond to current issues in graduate education, and may include effective recruitment, balancing funding priorities, maintaining and promoting diversity, PhD completion, and preparing students for the job market. The conference is held the afternoon prior to the start of the ASA Annual Meeting.


Preparing Graduate Students for Multiple Career Outcomes: Vision, Mission and Implementation

Concept statement:

The ASA Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) Conference is designed to help new and continuing Directors of Graduate Studies Programs gain insights and knowledge that will help them respond to the day-to-day responsibilities of their position, as well as the broader challenges of the changing higher education landscape.  


The theme of this year's DGS Conference begins with a question: "Does it make sense for graduate programs in sociology to prepare students for multiple career outcomes -- including both academic and applied paths?" Clearly, this is far from the reality in many departments today, where students who are interested in alternative career paths may feel they have to hide their intentions in order to be taken seriously by their advisors; where students who enter such careers are left with the feeling they have somehow failed; and where the pathways into “non-traditional” sociological careers are obscure.  


Bernice Pescosolido (Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Indiana University) and Brian Powell (Rudy Professor and Co-Chair of the Preparing Future Faculty Program in Sociology, Indiana University) will kick off this half-day conference with a presentation exploring the rationale and implications of intentionally and systematically addressing multiple career paths within graduate programs.  


Next, a panel of successful sociologists employed in diverse sectors -- including the Federal Government, an internationally renowned non-profit research organization, a community college, and a tech industry giant -- will each describe the path that let them to their current positions and key elements of graduate preparation that would assist current graduate students interested in similar careers. 


A second panel will include Directors of Graduate Studies from departments that are actively engaged in preparing students for multiple career outcomes.  Presenters will describe their program’s approach, including specific issues such as curriculum, dissertation requirements, job market preparation, and alumni relations. 


In addition to these presentations, the conference also includes two sessions of concurrent roundtables, where conference participants can join in discussions with their peers from other departments on the topics that most respond to their current needs.  Roundtable topics include:

  • Getting Started in the DGS Role.

  • Recruiting and Admitting Graduate Cohorts.

  • Supporting International Students

  • Orientations and Pro-seminars that Improve the Hidden Curriculum.

  • Teaching Writing in Graduate Programs

  • Making Space for Graduate Student Parents.

  • Helping Students Navigate the Scholar-Practitioner Divide.


Conference Organizers

The conference will be led by Bernice Pescosolido (Indiana University) and Brian Powell (Indiana University) and Margaret Weigers Vitullo (ASA). The DGS Conference takes place Friday, August 15 from 1:00-5:45pm, just prior to the Opening Plenary for the 2014 Annual Meeting.