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ASTR GSC 2014-2015 Cabinet Elections - Voting Now Open

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Voting is now open for the ASTR GSC 2014-2015 Cabinet Elections. 

Please note, that you may only vote once and for one candidate in each position. Voting will begin today, Wednesday, October 22, 2014 and will conclude on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 8:00 PM EDT.

Please contact us with questions or concerns at

Click here for an online ballot.  

 Thank you and Good Luck! 

Tags:  2015  ASTR  graduate students  GSC  gsc elections 

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Message from GSC President, Michelle Cowin-Mensah

Posted By Michelle Cowin Gibbs, Bowling Green State University, Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 2014

Dear ASTR GSC Membership:

Happy Summer! We are about six months away from the next conference and our committees have been hard at work preparing some exciting happenings for Baltimore, November 2014. Below are a few updates since our last meeting in Dallas.


GSC Executive Committee:

We have proposed some recruitment initiatives in an effort to grow our membership. Led by Sara Boland-Taylor (Rep. to the New Paradigms in Graduate Education), we created a recruitment letter addressed to Theatre and Theatre-related graduate program advisors to introduce the goals and interests of our caucus. We hope to solicit interest in GSC as well as remind ASTR affiliated graduate program advisors of our activities.

Virtual Book Club:
Co-Chairs: Allan Davis (Maryland) and Rita Kompelmakher (Minnesota)

 We are pleased to announce the organization of the 2014 Virtual Book Club. In preparation for an extended discussion at the 2014 ASTR conference in Baltimore, the GSC invites ASTR members at all stages of their careers to participate, reading and discussing a book reflective of an ongoing conversation about new paradigms for graduate education in theatre and performance studies.

We will read and discuss Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius's "So What are You Going to Do with That?": Finding Careers Outside Academia. As book club participants read chapters throughout July, August, and September, GSC officers will guide a forum discussion on a group page on the ASTR website through prompt questions based on the reading. We will consider how to transfer the general advice of the book to the specifics of our training in the fields of theatre and performance studies.

Certainly, this reading will appeal to graduate students considering where they can apply training and education after graduation; however, it is our hope that this virtual book club will also serve junior and senior faculty members of ASTR who are being increasingly asked to mentor students through these new paradigms. Please consider passing along this information to the graduate advisors of your current institutions. This book is a must read for all!

If you would like to sign up to participate in the Virtual Book Club, join us on the ASTR website for an exciting discussion. Please note, you must obtain a copy of the text (electronic or print) to participate. Copies are available online at Amazon $11.43 paperback and $9.99 Kindle edition. ISBN: 978-0226038827.

Conference Assistance Committee:
Co-Chairs: Areum Jeong (UCLA) and Ira Murfin (Northwestern University)

We have a team of graduate students working on creating our annual conference assistance packet. This guide will provide all attendees with host city information, food and eatery locations, local arts and entertainment, as well as offer helpful guidance for first-time ASTR attendees on navigating through a successful conference experience.

Peer Mentorship Committee:
Co-Chairs: Shamell Bell (UCLA), Christiana Mulldrem Harkulich (Pitts), and Kellyn Johnson (UC Santa Barbara)

Formally titled, Peer Support Program Committee, the GSC Executive Committee decided to fold the duties of the Mentorship Program in with the Peer Support Program to better and more efficiently serve the needs of our caucus. This year, Peer Mentorship will host our annual Mentorship Breakfast to be held the Saturday morning of the conference. We will also introduce two new networking events in Baltimore with more details to come later. Last year we had 46 mentors and 53 mentees and are hoping to have an even greater number of participants. Sign up for mentor and mentee registration will begin in early September 2014. For more information on how you can get involved with Peer Mentorship, please contact Michelle Cowin-Mensah at

Web Resources Committee:
Chair: Danielle Rosvally (Tufts)

We have folded Graduate Resource Committee into the Web committee, as most of the information that was generated from Graduate Resources was content to be posted on our website and blog activity. Currently this group is working on creating an online recruitment brochure that will include information on each of our committees, as well as additional opportunities to serve in the GSC. If you would like to get involved, contact the committee chair at

Congratulations to Kellen Hoxworth (Stanford) on being elected our next President of the GSC. Kellen will also serve as representative to the ASTR Executive Committee. His term will begin in November 2014 and end in November 2015. Nominations for GSC Executive Committee cabinet positions will begin in September 2014. The following positions will be available for nominations:

GSC Vice President, Representative to the Committee on Conferences

GSC Vice President, Representative to the Annual Conference Committee

GSC Secretary and Historian

GSC Representative to the Committee on New Paradigms in Graduate Education

Any GSC member may be nominated to a leadership position. These positions are a one-year term to begin November 2014 and end November 2015. For elections to be valid, individuals selected must be currently enrolled graduate students both at the time of election and on upon the commencement of their term. If a member holding a leadership position completes their graduate studies during their term, they may continue to serve until the end of the term, provided they remain members of both ASTR and the GSC. For more information on the service obligations of each position, please visit our website at Please feel free to contact me at with questions, concerns, and/or requests for more information on how you can get involved with the GSC. I am beyond thrilled in anticipation of our 2014 annual conference and I hope to see you all in Baltimore!

Many Blessings,

Michelle Cowin-Mensah,
President and Rep. to the Executive Committee,
American Society for Theatre Research Graduate Student Caucus

Tags:  ASTR Baltimore  conference  graduate students  GSC 

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[Reminder - Deadline Extended] Call for Volunteers: GSC Conference Assistance Committee for ASTR 2014 in Baltimore

Posted By Ira S. Murfin, Northwestern University, Monday, February 10, 2014

ASTR’s Graduate Student Caucus (GSC), the body representing current and recent graduate students within ASTR, is still looking for graduate students interested in volunteering for the 2014 ASTR Conference Assistance Committee. The conference assistance committee is in charge of putting together a comprehensive information packet to help both graduate students and conference attendees in general navigate the conference and the host city - this year Baltimore! We are in need of additional volunteers and have extended the response deadline until February 21st. Please see below for details:

We seek volunteers to form four subcommittees that will each be tasked with independently gathering and organizing useful information to be compiled into an informational packet in advance of the conference. These are:

  • Arts & Entertainment: Provide a guide to performances, music, museums, nightlife, sightseeing, and other cultural activities, as well as general information about walkable neighborhoods accessible to the conference hotel. May need to coordinate with the Food & Drink and Transportation subcommittees.

  • Food & Drink: Provide a guide to a variety of options for food, coffee, & drinking both convenient to the hotel and worthwhile destinations for those who wish to travel farther afield. May need to coordinate with Arts & Entertainment and Transportation subcommittees, especially to identify dining options near performance venues and other cultural attractions.

  • Transportation: Guide to transportation in Baltimore, including driving directions, information on getting to the conference hotel from transportation hubs by taxi, public transit, etc., and information about getting around Baltimore by public transit, on foot, and by alternative methods (bike sharing, etc.) May need to coordinate with the Arts & Entertainment and Food & Drink subcommittees.

  • Conference Navigation: A guide to conference basics, including introducing the different types of sessions at ASTR and how to participate, and highlighting some events and aspects of the conference that may be of particular interest, especially to those newer to ASTR. May need to coordinate with the GSC representatives to the ASTR Executive Committee and a representative from the GSC Web Committee, which has already published some of this information on the GSC blog. It would be useful to have the voice of someone in this group who has attended ASTR before.

Each of these groups will work independently, in consultation with one another and the committee co-chairs, to research and compile a useful set of information for the guide. Some will require more research, writing, and coordination, others are more straightforward. So long as subcommittees work together no individual should have to do an overwhelming amount of work. Once formed, the subcommittees will have 4-5 months to prepare their material before final submission to the committee co-chairs, so there should be plenty of time.

Volunteering for the Conference Assistance Committee is a great way to get involved with the GSC and meet other graduate students in the field. It is also a good professional service credit to add to your CV. You do not have to have attended an ASTR conference before to volunteer, though those who have done so are encouraged to contribute the wisdom of experience, it is nice to have a mix of newer and more experienced perspectives. If you are familiar with Baltimore at all, that is also a plus, though not at all a requirement.

If you are interested in volunteering, please send your contact information and your first and second choices of subcommittees you would like to work on, to committee co-chair Ira S. Murfin at by February 21st.  We will respond with assignments and further instructions soon thereafter.

With thanks,

Areum Jeong & Ira S. Murfin

Conference Assistance Committee Co-Chairs

Tags:  2014  ASTR  Baltimore  conference  Graduate Student Assistance  graduate students  GSC 

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Message from GSC President - General Body Meeting, ASTR Dallas 2013

Posted By Michelle Cowin Gibbs, Bowling Green State University, Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19, 2013

Bowling Green State University
Department of Theatre and Film
212 Wolfe Center for the Arts
Bowling Green, Ohio 43402

Dear ASTR GSC Membership:

Thank you so much to all who attended to ASTR Graduate Student Caucus General Meeting on Saturday, November 9, 2013. I enjoyed getting to know our membership both personally and professionally. Everyone came to the meeting with positive energy and a hopeful outlook on the future of our organization. I look forward to working with our graduate student leadership in the GSC Executive Cabinet and GSC Program Committee to bring about those exciting changes that many of you yearn to see in the ASTR organization.

Graduate students comprised of an estimated 62 percent of registered members at ASTR Dallas 2013. While we have seen an increase in graduate student participation in plenaries and working sessions than at previous conferences, we have farther to go in terms of creating a more defined presence within the organization. The ASTR Executive Committee including, President Heather Nathans (Tufts University), is committed to working with our graduate student community in creating opportunities for career development and mentorship inside the academy, as well as in the larger theatre community.

Thanks to former GSC President Kellyn Johnson (UC Santa Barbara) and the 2012-2013 Executive Cabinet, we have seen many exciting changes that have united our collective membership. One of my goals for the coming year is to continue working towards initiatives that highlight the participation of graduate students, while also finding effective ways to positively contribute to our American Society for Theatre Research community.

In the next month, I will meet with the Executive Cabinet and the Program Committee Chairs to discuss your proposed initiatives and develop an action plan for 2014. Please feel free to send any ideas (large or small) to I welcome your input and look forward to hearing from you! Have a terrific holiday season!

Many Blessings,

Michelle Cowin-Mensah,

President and Rep. to the Executive Committee,

American Society for Theatre Research Graduate Student Caucus (ASTR GSC)

"I am standing in a field with colleagues who value community, generosity and support. The conversations are communal and generous. The process of sharing is sensual...and although some of us only meet once a year – it’s as if we never say goodbye...”

- Michelle Cowin-Mensah

Special Session: You’re Standing in a Field

ASTR Dallas 2013

Tags:  2013  ASTR Dallas  conference  graduate students  GSC  GSC leadership  Michelle Cowin-Mensah 

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GSC Peer Support Program

Posted By Danielle Rosvally, University at Buffalo - SUNY, Monday, October 21, 2013

By Beliza Torres Narvaez

Greetings new and returning ASTR grad members,  

We are the Peer Support Program! Our goal is to provide grad students attending the ASTR conference the best possible experience by giving "how to” conference tips, serve as network liaisons, help you navigate the schedule, tell you how to get involved at ASTR and the Graduate Student Caucus or simply offer company while you break the ice.

We invite you to stop by our itinerant conference hub near the registration desk, at the breakfast/coffee area, at other conference events, etc (later we will tell you exactly how and where to find us).  Our team of Peer Mentors will be there to help you with any questions or concerns or just to hang out!

Whether it’s your first time at ASTR or you are a veteran, we want to meet you and be your resource! 

Tags:  ASTR Dallas  Graduate Student Assistance  graduate students  GSC 

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