Friday, April 1, 2011

Graduate Student of the Month: Nicole Willock

Nicole Willock
Religious Studies and Central Eurasian Studies
April 2011

When Nicole Willock was 18, she didn’t know that studying Chinese would change her life. Currently a graduate student in Religious Studies and Central Eurasian Studies at IU, Willock said her desire to research Tibetan culture began when she was studying abroad as a young adult.

“It’s a passion for me to study and I think as a grad student you have to have that passion and tenacity to keep going. An important part of where that comes from is my own personal experiences studying abroad,” said Willock.

Her adventures began when Willock traveled to China to study Chinese at Sichuan University and film at the Beijing film academy. She also visited Tibet for three months and that experience in particular motivated Willock to want to understand Tibet’s place in China and how those diverse cultures interact.

After a year and a half in China, she began a Master’s degree program with a major in Chinese literature and a minor in Tibetan language at Hamburg University in Germany. She also spent time teaching English as a second language for the university and various language companies.

“At the time, I knew I loved to teach and in particular, to teach about China, but it was hard to marry those two in Germany,” she said. “Up to that point, I was ambivalent about being a professor, but I knew I wanted to study Tibet and the best place to study Tibetan is IU; it has one of the best departments in the country. My advisor Dr. Elliot Sperling speaks Tibetan and uses both Tibetan and Chinese language source materials. He’s one of only a few people who can do that.” She also works closely with Dr. Gendun Rabsal from the IU Department of Central Eurasian Studies, who was instrumental in helping Willock select source materials and the subject of her dissertation.

The religious studies part of her doctoral work came from her deep interest in intellectual history. Willock said she likes understanding how people think, and in Tibetan society, those intellectuals tended to be religious figures. Taking classes in religious studies gave Willock the foundation she needed to approach her doctoral research.

“I love Chinese culture and Tibetan history and sometimes it’s a clash and sometimes it’s harmonious. The paradoxes have driven me to figure that out and it still does. I have friends there, both Tibetan and Chinese, and those personal connections and experiences have driven my work,” Willock said.

Willock’s work on Tibet is hagiographical, she said, meaning she studies the lives of saints. “Hagio” means saints or holy people, and “graphy” essentially means to study. Her dissertation takes a multidisciplinary approach to the life and writings of a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and monk named Tseten Zhabdrung Jigme Rigpe Lodro (1910-1985). Tseten Zhabdrung is interesting as an intellectual figure, Willock said, because he was well respected by both Tibetans and Chinese.

In 2008, Willock travelled to China and Tibet for field research on a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship. Based at Qinghai Nationalities University (in Xining, Qinghai Province), she traveled to six monasteries where Tseten Zhabdrung had resided. She also interviewed former students from when he taught classes at secular universities, several of whom now have important intellectual positions in Tibet today as deans, research scholars, writers and editors.

This semester, Willock is revising her dissertation while teaching a course on the politics of religion in modern China at the University of Boulder in Colorado. She plans to defend this summer and graduate in August.

Fluent in German, Tibetan, Chinese, Willock has received a number of awards including the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation. She has presented her research in the US, Canada and Europe and currently holds her the Department of Religious Studies’ Dissertation Fellowship. Additionally, Willock is the only graduate student participating in a five-year seminar on Tibetan literature taking place in the American Academy of Religion at the University of Virginia. The seminar focuses on how Tibetan literature is seen in the academy and in general.

Media Contacts:
Erika Lee, Director of Communications, The University Graduate School,
Angela Jones, The IU Graduate and Professional Student Organization,

The Graduate and Professional Student Organization and the University Graduate School would like to congratulate Nicole Willock on receiving the GPSO/UGS Recognition Award. Students selected for this award were nominated by a faculty member from within their department, and selected by the GPSO and UGS for excellence in their graduate studies at Indiana University. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Responsible Conduct of Research Series: Authorship Workshop

Note: This workshop is for IU graduate students and postdocs.

The University Graduate School, Poynter Center and the Office of Research Ethics, Education and Policy (REEP) are pleased to announce an educational session of the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Educational Program - Authorship.

This series is designed to introduce and explore the principles and practices of RCR. RCR constitutes the integration of research ethics, best practices, and adherence to professional and regulatory standards.

Responsible Conduct of Research Series: Authorship Workshop

April 6, 2011
4 - 5:30 pm
Office of Research Administration Building, 509 E 3rd St, Room 050


Dr. Caroline Chick-Jarrold, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Chemistry

Dr. Thomas Doak, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Biology

Eric Cesar Morales, Graduate Student, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology


The Course Title is Responsible Conduct of Research Series - Bloomington. The Class is EE1920110406.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Second Annual Hoosier to Hoosier (H2H) Community Sale, August 20, 2011

Hoosier to Hoosier (H2H) Community Sale is a reuse program that aims 1) to divert reusable items from the landfill during student move-out, 2) to prevent additional resource consumption by selling collected items to students and community members in order 3) to raise funds for local charities and other organizations. The program allows students to donate reusable items, and help out their neighbors in need at the same time.

Sat, Aug 20, 2011
Gladstein Fieldhouse, IU Campus
7:30am – 3:00pm

The second annual H2H Community Sale will take place from 7:30am – 3pm on Saturday, August 20, 2011, at the Gladstein Fieldhouse on the IU Campus. Students and community members are invited to participate in the sale by donating reusable items, volunteering, or attending the sale. H2H accepts donations of furniture, housewares, clothes, office supplies, operational small appliances, and electronics. Collection begins with a May 5 drop-off day at Gladstein Fieldhouse, near Assembly Hall on IU campus. Collection is conducted at IU dormitories as well as participating apartments and rental housing. Pickups are available upon request.

In its inaugural year in 2010, Hoosier to Hoosier raised nearly $10,000 for United Way and Habitat for Humanity, and approximately 900 people attended, including students, Bloomington residents, and residents from surrounding communities. Over 100 volunteers contributed hours on sale day, and countless others volunteered throughout the summer in sale preparations. The H2H effort intercepted reusable items from IU’s 11 dorms, two Greek houses, and roughly four apartment complexes. In addition, individuals donated items from other off-campus locations, either by dropping items off at the stadium or arranging for a pick-up. In total, the volume intercepted was equivalent to roughly five full semi-trailers.

Beyond just the immediate impact on waste reduction, the H2H effort has other important implications. First, it conserves the energy required to manufacture, transport, and dispose of manufactured goods. Second, it enhances community aesthetics by reducing the amount of waste that appears curbside. Third, it helps project a message to incoming students and all residents about Bloomington’s values. Instead of being greeted by piles of discarded but still usable items upon their arrival, incoming students are sent a clear message that Bloomington is a city that values its resources and strives for sustainability.

H2H is a partnership between the City of Bloomington’s Departments of Economic & Sustainable Development and Community & Family Resources; Habitat for Humanity; IU Athletics; the IU Offices of Sustainability and Residential Programs & Services; and United Way. Numerous local businesses also play a role. Aside from a small percentage set aside for administrative costs associated with the sale the following year, all proceeds from the sale will benefit local organizations.

For more information or volunteer registration, visit or email

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Upcoming seminar for IU faculty and staff on the GRE® revised General Test and TOEFL® iBT

Please join us to hear the latest information on the GRE® revised General Test, TOEFL® internet-based test (TOEFL® iBT™), and the ETS PPI® when members of ETS’s Client Relations Team visit Indiana University. We look forward to seeing you there and invite you to forward this invitation to a colleague.

GRE® revised General Test and TOEFL® iBT Seminar
Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time: 10:30 am
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Sassafras Room


Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Walnut Room


Time: 4:00 pm
Location: Indiana Memorial Union, Walnut Room

Topics to be covered include:
  • GRE® revised General Test – launching in 2011
  • GRE Tools for Success, including the ETS PPI® and the GRE® Search Service
  • The TOEFL Test Difference and New Developments
  • Using TOEFL® iBT Scores in the Admissions Process
To attend, please send an email to with your name, title, department, and email address. Please put “Indiana University - Bloomington” in the subject line.

Faculty, program directors, admissions officers (undergraduate and graduate) and staff are welcome to attend.

We think the following sessions will be of the most interest to the following folks:

  • GRE - graduate faculty, graduate advisors, deans, graduate admissions
  • TOEFL – undergraduate admissions, international admissions, international student advisers

The Client Relations Team
Educational Testing Service
Princeton, NJ 08541
Phone: 609-683-2011