IE Graduate School Courses/Workshops

Jane Barnette

Theatre Ph.D. Jane Barnette's experience with IE is spotlighted in America's Best Graduate Schools 2005 (US News and World Report).

Is it worth the trouble? That's the question Jane Barnette kept asking herself as she struggled to finish her Ph.D. in theater history and criticism at The University of Texas-Austin. Barnette was hip deep in her dissertation on the effects of the burgeoning railroad system on Chicago-area theater when she started wondering why she was working so hard in a field with so few job prospects. "I was thinking that graduate school hadn't given me what I'd paid for," she says, "and that it was somebody else's fault besides my own."

Jane Barnette herself was caught up in the humanities revival. In the midst of her academic funk, she signed up for a course in UT's "intellectual entrepreneurship" program, which teaches grad students to think of ways their work can be pitched to the world outside the ivory tower. "It busted my scholarship wide open," she says. Despite theater studies' traditional division between performer and scholar, she returned to the university stage while finishing her Ph.D. And on the side, she threw herself into the Graduate Writing Project. "I realized it's not about the job; it was about the exploration and the discoveries," says Barnette. She also considered a wide variety of jobs outside academia including teaching private high school, directing theater, and becoming a writing consultant. In the end, she created the best of all possible worlds with her new position as an assistant professor in the department of theater and film at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Instead of sliding into a comfortable faculty position, she negotiated a job that transcends the boundaries of a typical professor. "I'm a professor, a writing consultant, and an artist," says Barnette, who will be directing Antigone this spring and teaching a class on graduate-level writing. "I couldn't have it until I imagined it." Read her story in <US News and World Report.

picture of Scott Evans

Mechanical Engineering doctoral student Scott Evans, a recipient of one of UT's most prestigious recruitment prizes, a Harrington Fellowship, comments on the important role IE plays in the intellectual and professional development of scientists and engineers:

"The IE Program has tremendous application to more technical fields as well. For engineers and scientists mathematical savvy and scientific problem solving are clearly important. Yet, these are useless without prominent skill in communication, especially across disciplines, and significant ability in project management. What's more, these technical professionals are often called upon to provide leadership from their specific fields and to take risks in new areas of understanding. In other words, they are called to be entrepreneurs of technical enterprises. The IE program provides a unique set of resources and a forum for exploring the various roles engineers and scientists take on in the 'real world.' In addition, the program facilitates exposure to and synergy with a range of disciplines and perspectives possibly never before connected with engineering and hard science. It creates within the academic environment of the university, a richly diverse and focussed microcosm of the surrounding society."

Scott's experiences with the IE program are the subject of an essay in Science's Next Wave.

picture of Alice Chu

Anthropology Ph.D. Alice Chudiscusses the IE Program and the value of "learning backward" in an issue of Anthropology News. Alice also explains how taking an IE course was a "crucial moment for her."

"Taking the IE Academic and Professional Consulting course during my last year in graduate school came at a critical moment for me. I was reaching the transitive point of wrapping up my doctoral program and contemplating my career options: to teach or not to teach? This 'false dichotomy' of my future career path became readily apparent within the first few weeks of the IE course. By the end of the semester, I had relearned the notion of 'teaching,' and moreover, had become an avid advocate of teaching as not merely as a profession, but also a practice. In concrete terms, how did my one-course IE experience impact my life? In short, I am now a candidate for a position in the Foreign Service, a career opportunity I would never have considered, nor even be in the position of holding, a year ago. Moreover, should I be formally accepted and assigned a diplomatic posting, I will be able to realize my newfound goal of pursuing teaching as both a practice and a profession; in short, being a citizen-scholar."

picture of Ginger Gossman

Sociology Doctoral student Ginger Gossman, featured in Texas Tribute, suggests that the Graduate School's IE Program gave her "a much greater understanding of my skills and their value. The Program has led me to reevaluate my future, to strive for a career that I want and not settle for less."

picture of R. W. Burniske

English Ph.D. R. W. Burniske,
Director, Professional Development, World Links for Development, World Bank, Washington, D.C.

"As a recent UT graduate, I considered this program the most important addition to the graduate school in my five years there. It serves as an incubator for innovation, not only generating new, quality programs each year, but also inspiring participants to look beyond stultifying, formulaic approaches to their personal and professional lives. As a result, it creates an environment in which graduate students feel encouraged to take risks, pursuing work that combines disciplined, academic research with an intuitive, entrepreneurial spirit."

picture of Kim Nixon

Kim Nixon, Neuroscience Ph.D.,
Post-doctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

[UT] "was ahead of his time in developing the IE program. At a time where many of us were realizing that there are not enough traditional academic jobs (when we had been recruited in for that purpose)," [UT] "took the lead to solve this crisis for graduate students. Ask any faculty member across the nation who is apprised of the current state of affairs for graduate students, and these people know Dean Cherwitz's name and IE program."

picture of Xiang (Alex) Feng

Xiang (Alex) Feng, Computer Sciences Doctoral Student

"Communication is so important in a person's career. Often a person's weakness in communication will cost him or her lots of opportunities. Usually international students have this type of problem, more or less, and I feel blessed that there are a wide set of IE international classes offered in UT." Read more.

picture of Sean Wheeler

Sociology Ph.D. Sean Wheeler,explains how IE courses helped him to establish his own consulting firm, The Consulting Group (TCG), and to be a citizen-scholar.

Sean Wheeler was spotlighted in an ARETE column in On Campus.

Courtney Dillard

Communication Studies Ph.D. Courtney Dillard,
who enrolled in the IE Professional Internship, demonstrates the role academics can play as social entrepreneurs. Her story was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.