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Brown University, graduate student organizers finalize terms for Nov. 14-19 unionization vote

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On Thursday, Nov. 8, Brown University finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the student organization Stand Up for Graduate Student Employees (SUGSE) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) that establishes dates, times, locations and procedures for an election to determine whether or not eligible graduate students will be represented by a union. The MOU follows an Oct. 11 notice from SUGSE/AFT of their intent to file a petition to hold an election at the University, an action that has been expected since Brown and SUSGE finalized an agreement in June 2018 that set the terms for a possible union representation election. Read more.

New Graduate Student Grievance Procedures Adopted by Faculty

Changes to the Graduate Student Grievance Procedures in the Faculty Rules and Regulations were unanimously approved by the Brown University Faculty earlier this week. The revised policy was developed by a working group comprised of faculty, staff and graduate students. Important highlights of the policy include:

  • explicit time frames for responses to grievances
  • student involvement in the adjudication of grievances
  • clear distinctions between informal efforts and the formal grievance process
  • students are not required to attempt to resolve the complaint directly with the respondent

Read the revised policy.

New Community Fellows Selected

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The newly selected Community Fellows are already making plans to strengthen the graduate student community at Brown. Motivation for becoming a Fellow varies, but many of the students describe wanting to contribute on campus and carry on a tradition of involvement they had as an undergraduate. "I've appreciated and benefited from the work of other Community Fellows in the past. I'm excited to continue the progress that has been made for graduate student of color programming and to find ways to make such programming more sustainable,” says Felicia Bevel, a PhD student in American Studies. Read more.

LoVette Wins Chamberlain Award

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This year’s Mariam K. Chamberlain Dissertation Award recipient is Ashleigh LoVette, a PhD candidate in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences. The award, granted by the International Center for Research on Women, commemorates Dr. Mariam Chamberlain, who shaped a legacy of leaders to advance women’s issues in the realms of social justice. 

"I am honored and filled with gratitude. The award's emphasis on supporting the work of a first-generation doctoral student is particularly meaningful to me as someone who is the first in their family to pursue a doctorate,” says LoVette. Read more.

Student Research: New, Durable Catalyst for Key Fuel Cell Reaction May Prove Useful in Eco-Friendly Vehicles

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A new catalyst, developed by PhD Chemistry student Junrui Li and other researchers at Brown, exceeds Department of Energy targets for performing the oxygen reduction reaction, a key step in generating an electric current in a hydrogen fuel cell. 

One factor holding back the widespread use of eco-friendly hydrogen fuel cells in cars, trucks and other vehicles is the cost of the platinum catalysts that make the cells work. One approach to using less precious platinum is to combine it with other cheaper metals, but those alloy catalysts tend to degrade quickly in fuel cell conditions. Now, Brown University researchers have developed a new alloy catalyst that both reduces platinum use and holds up well in fuel cell testing. Read the full article the full article by Kevin Stacey.

Food Exchange Open

The Food Exchange, a new program this semester, is located in Room 409 of Paige-Robinson Hall (formerly J. Walter Wilson) with an aim to increase access to food for those on campus struggling to get enough to eat on a daily basis. Drop off (if you are able) or pick up (if you are in need) non-perishable, packaged food items, such as rice, canned goods, boxed macaroni and cheese, soup, tuna, etc. The Food Exchange will be self-serve during the building’s open hours and is organized by the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life. Learn more.

MFA Student and Alums Star in Pride and Predjudice

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Trinity Rep opens the season with Pride and Prejudice. Current Brown/Trinity MFA student Katie Croyle stars as Lydia and Catherine and Rebecca Gibel '10 MFA and Shelley Fort ’15 MFA takes the roles of Elizabeth Bennet and Jane and Miss De Bourgh respectively. This classic romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy is infused with fresh vitality and hilarity in this effervescent new comedic adaptation. It runs October 4 – November 4. More information.

Student Research: Ancient Mars Had Right Conditions for Underground Life

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A new study shows evidence that ancient Mars probably had an ample supply of chemical energy for microbes to thrive underground. “We showed, based on basic physics and chemistry calculations, that the ancient Martian subsurface likely had enough dissolved hydrogen to power a global subsurface biosphere,” said Jesse Tarnas, a graduate student in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and lead author of a study published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. “Conditions in this habitable zone would have been similar to places on Earth where underground life exists.” Read more.

Mellon Foundation Renews Support for Open Graduate Education Program

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Graduate School a $1.675 million, five-year grant to support the University’s Open Graduate Education program. Launched in 2011 with prior support from the Mellon Foundation, the program enables doctoral students to simultaneously complete a master’s degree in a different field of study.

“The Open Graduate Education program is inspired by the Open Curriculum for undergraduate students at Brown,” said Andrew G. Campbell, dean of the Graduate School. “We are leading the way in one of the most notable movements in graduate education today: seeking to bridge fields of knowledge and types of inquiry from multiple academic disciplines.” Read more.