Supporting graduate student success

Supporting graduate student success

Student Academic Success Services offers numerous collaborative supports for graduate students this summer.

By Dana Mitchell, Division of Student Affairs

July 30, 2019


Summer can be a time of rest and relaxation; however, for many graduate students, these months are filled with writing, research, and looming deadlines.

Student Academic Success Services (SASS) in Student Affairs offers a variety of resources to help graduate students stay on track throughout the summer and achieve their academic goals.

Throughout the summer Student Academic Success Services (SASS) in Student Affairs offers a variety of resources to help graduate students stay on track and achieve their academic goals. (Supplied Photo) 

In addition to their May-through-July schedule of one-on-one, in-person, and online writing appointments, this summer SASS engaged in a number of campus-wide partnerships that tailored academic skills and writing resources for graduate student needs.

“Our campus-wide partnerships have been invaluable to the success and outreach of our graduate support programming,” says Susan Korba, Director of SASS. “We are pleased to offer so many collaborative summer programs and workshops, to help ensure the needs of all graduate students are met.”

In May, SASS worked with the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) to offer a four-day Dissertation Bootcamp. The workshop gave 59 graduate students the chance to write in a distraction-free environment with time for breaks and structured group discussions.

Professional staff from SASS delivered the support for the program, facilitating group discussions and offering individual appointments on topics such as procrastination, organizing information, and editing your own writing.

SASS also worked with the Society of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS) to continue running Grad Writing Lab throughout May and June. This drop-in program, held in the Graduate Student Reading Room in Stauffer Library, provided a weekly communal writing space with an academic writing specialist available to answer questions.

In addition, SASS continues to expand supports for international graduate students through its collaboration with the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC).

Last summer, QUIC and SASS hired Agnieszka Herra into the new shared role of Intercultural Academic Support Coordinator. Over the past year, Herra has worked to enhance the international student experience on campus, and has developed new programming and supports.

In May, Herra facilitated two graduate writing workshops as a part of the English Academic Writing Support series. The workshops helped international and English-as-additional-language (EAL) students prepare for a successful summer of writing and introduced them to two new academic writing resources, the Analyzing Disciplinary Expectations Checklist and the Self-Editing Checklist.

These resources, which are now available online, provide guidance on identifying writing expectations in specific academic fields and how to edit writing, sentence by sentence.

“It’s important to recognize the intersectional experience of international graduate students, and tailor our support to benefit these students in a way that is both intentional and accessible,” Herra says. “Going forward, SASS and QUIC will continue to cultivate partnerships across campus to create more resources and programming for all international students.”

Over the 2019-20 academic year, SASS plans to continue the English Academic Writing Support program at QUIC as well as the weekly Grad Writing Lab with SGPS and Queen’s Library. SASS will also be offering a satellite writing clinic at the Smith School of Business for EAL graduate students and is working with SGS to facilitate workshops in the Expanding Horizons series.

For more information on supports for international graduate students, contact Agnieszka Herra at

To learn more about services and upcoming programs, visit the SASS website.

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs