Governance of the Graduate School and Committee Procedures

The Faculty Committee on the Graduate School

The Faculty Committee on the Graduate School is comprised of representatives from all degree-granting graduate departments and programs, with 42 academic departments and programs that admit students to the University currently represented.  Meetings of the Faculty Committee are scheduled approximately monthly during the fall and spring semesters.  These meetings are informally called “DGS meetings,” because it is the directors of graduate studies (DGSs) from the 42 departments and programs who are invited to attend.  The meetings are chaired by the dean of the Graduate School, who regularly asks staff of the Graduate School and invited guests to attend and update the Committee about matters relevant to graduate education.  The Committee advises the dean of the Graduate School and serves as the governance and oversight body for changes to Graduate School policies or practices that require faculty approval.  The Committee may also make recommendations to the full faculty of the University, as necessary.  The DGSs serves as the voting member of the Committee.  A DGS who is unable to attend a meeting may send another faculty member from that department or program, in order to ensure representation and to vote on matters.  Administrative staff of the Graduate School and graduate program administrators from the academic departments and programs may attend meetings of the Committee as nonvoting members.  The Committee is advised by four Subcommittees that carry out much of the regular work of the Committee: Policy, Curriculum, Fellowship, and Student Life and Discipline.  Members of the Curriculum, Fellowship, and Student Life and Discipline Subcommittees are appointed by the dean of the Graduate School.  Members of the Policy Subcommittee are elected in the spring for the following year.

The Policy Subcommittee

The Policy Subcommittee has eight members, two DGSs from each division, and discusses and makes recommendations on policy issues.  It is chaired by the dean of the Graduate School.  The deputy dean serves as secretary.  There are four types of business that the Policy Subcommittee may be asked to consider:

  1. The Subcommittee may be used by the dean as a venue for discussion and information-gathering, before any vote is required.
  2. The Subcommittee may be asked to consider and vote on a matter for which the Subcommittee’s vote of approval is the only additional step required beyond the approval or endorsement of the office(s) or department(s) in which the matter arose.Two sets of circumstances when the Subcommittee’s vote alone is sufficient are, first, when the proposed matter represents a change to rules for prizes, honors, or awards overseen by the dean but available to students from more than one division; or, second, when the proposed matter would not directly affect the enrollment plans, academic requirements, or binding and formal policies or policy implementations of any department or program beyond the one that has already approved or endorsed the matter.Common examples of matters with the second set of circumstances include a request for a major exception to a Graduate School policy for an individual student, and a proposal for an individualized degree program for a student.
  3. The Subcommittee may be asked to consider and vote on a matter for which the Subcommittee’s vote of approval is necessary before a matter may be presented to the full Faculty Committee on the Graduate School for final approval and implementation.This is the case when the proposed matter affects the larger Graduate School population (and only the Graduate School population) and its operations and policies, including implementation of the matter within departments and programs at the graduate level, provided that no other parts of the relevant departments or programs or of the University will be directly affected by implementation.Common examples of this type of matter include a change to a policy affecting enrollment statuses or Graduate School-wide degree requirements for graduate students; changes to eligibility rules for benefits provided to all qualifying graduate students; and changes to the core part of the Graduate School application used by all departments and programs.
  4. The Subcommittee may be asked to consider and vote on a matter for which the Subcommittee’s vote of approval is necessary before the matter may be presented to other University-wide governance bodies, including the full Faculty Meeting of the University (chaired by the President) or its Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy, for final approval and implementation.This is the case when the proposed matter affects the larger University and its operation and policies.For this type of matter, the full Faculty Committee on the Graduate School need not consider and vote on the matter, as its members will be represented in the University-wide governance structures that will subsequently vote on the matter.Common examples of this type of matter include the introduction of a new degree-granting graduate program; and changes to faculty-approved rules, including those found in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.

The Curriculum Subcommittee

The Curriculum Subcommittee has four members, one DGS from each division, and recommends approval of permanent  and permanent topics courses at the graduate level, as well as the deactivation of permanent and permanent topics courses.  (One-time-only courses may be approved by deputy dean, without full approval of the Curriculum Subcommittee.)  The deputy dean chairs the Subcommittee.  Permanent course changes approved by the Subcommittee are then sent directly to the full Faculty Meeting of the University for final approval.  This Subcommittee is also convened as a review body if a department has proposed and approved significant changes to its own curriculum or requirements.  Endorsement by the Subcommittee for changes to a program’s curriculum or requirements is sufficient for implementation of the changes.

The Fellowships Subcommittee

The Fellowships Subcommittee has eight members, two DGSs from each division, and evaluates applications for certain competitive external fellowships (including foreign study grants, such as the Fulbright).  It also reviews and recommends to the dean the recipients of the Honorific Fellowships.  It is chaired by the dean of the Graduate School, although much of its work around external fellowships is overseen by the deputy dean. 

The Subcommittee on Student Life and Discipline

The Subcommittee on Student Life and Discipline has four members, one DGS from each division, and may be convened to review and make recommendations to the dean on student life issues, as well as on serious academic or behavioral disciplinary matters, except matters relating to sexual misconduct, which have their own separate processes overseen by the Title IX Office.  (For rules and procedures of the Subcommittee when it is called upon to adjudicate disciplinary matters and make recommendations to the dean on outcomes, see Rights, Rules, Resonsibilities, Section 2.6 – “The Graduate School.”)  The Subcommittee is chaired by the dean of the Graduate School.  The deputy dean or an associate or assistant dean serves as secretary for individual meetings or cases.