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Student Perspectives at ACSP 2016

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 21, 2016

C. Aujean Lee, UCLA,
ACSP Student Representative

At the November 2016 ACSP conference, the student representatives worked to create new ways to support students. We were excited to try out some new programming, and look forward to creating more ways to improve student engagement with ACSP.

Before the conference, we created the student bulletin, which showcased student accomplishments! We also included ways that students can get involved in this conference and the ACSP committees.

At the conference, we organized the inaugural graduate student clinic booth! Students were matched with faculty volunteers for 30-minute sessions to go over job application materials. We had approximately 40 sessions primarily during Thursday and Friday. We thank all of our faculty volunteers for their help, and look forward to offering it next year! Thanks also to ACSP staff, who worked hard to coordinate space for the booth.

Michael Lens, an Assistant Professor of UCLA who participated as faculty mentor remarked, “I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet the two students I talked to, and it was nice to feel like I had concrete advice that they could run with to hopefully make them more attractive to potential employers. We ask for a lot of information from academic job applicants -- research and teaching statements, diversity statements -- so students need a lot of help.“

Jongwoong Kim, a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati, used the clinic. He described how "it is usually not easy to have dedicated, face-to-face time with an experienced professor/mentor outside of your institution. Using part of the national conference schedule as a venue for this kind of event was invaluable for me."

We also held two workshops with approximately 50 attendees. First, on Friday morning, Aujean Lee organized a session called “Applying for jobs.” We had five faculty panelists: Carissa Slotterback at the University of Minnesota, Erick Guerra at University of Pennsylvania, Mi Shih at Rutgers University, Vinit Mukhija at UCLA, and William Rohe of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Students asked questions about the job application process based on the type of institution, how to prepare for interviews, and what strategies are useful for framing job application materials.

James Wood organized the second session, called “Getting your Work Published: Advice on Funding, Co-Authors, and Journal Selection.” Panelists included Michael Duncan of Florida State University, Huston Gibson at Kansas State University, April Jackson of Florida State University, and Lisa Schweitzer from the University of Southern California. Students took part in an open forum about publishing research, journal selection, the revision process, managing co-authors, and meeting publication expectations for hiring and tenure.

On Saturday evening we held the student reception at Rock Bottom Brewery. About 150 students attended throughout the evening, including one student from the Association of European Schools of Planning attend the reception. We are glad fellow students enjoyed each other’s company and the opportunity to network!

What did you think about the new events this year (graduate student clinic booth, workshops)? What other student-related activities or programs would you be interested in?

Additionally, thanks to James Wood for serving as the ACSP student representative from 2015-2017. We are looking for a second student representative to replace him after his term ends (Spring 2017 – Spring 2019). In order to be eligible, students must be enrolled in an ACSP member-planning program for during the 2-year term. A committee composed of the ACSP President and the current student representatives selects the candidate(s) and the President appoints the new student representative.

The selection and confirmation will be made in late January or early February with the first board meeting scheduled for March 9th in Washington DC/Reston, Virginia. Student representatives are expected to attend two ACSP Governing Board meetings each year, spring and fall. The fall Governing Board meeting will be held the day before the ACSP Annual Conference (2017 Denver; 2018 Buffalo).

ACSP reimburses each Student Rep up to $2,500 for itemized travel expenses to both Governing Board meetings in their two-year term. Applicants must secure the consent of your department chair in the form of a letter of support on university letterhead.

If you are interested in applying for the student rep position, email Aujean Lee at

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Carissa S. Slotterback says...
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2016
Thanks Aujean, great post! I really enjoyed my experience meeting with a student during the office hours. I would definitely volunteer to do it again.
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