Graduate Handbook - Department Organization

The organization of the department is essentially committee-based. The committees and coordinators that affect graduate students most directly are described below.

Executive and Departmental Committees

The Executive Committee consists of tenured faculty only. It votes on tenure and promotion cases and makes hiring recommendations, among other duties. The departmental committee is larger, including assistant professors and others. It makes decisions regarding curriculum, departmental policies, and programs. The Management Team consists of the Department Chair and the three Associate Chairs (for Graduate Studies, for Undergraduate Studies, and Director of Composition). The team meets regularly to oversee the operations of the department.

Graduate Policy Committee (GPC)

This committee is made up of the coordinators of the graduate concentrations, the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, the Department Chair, the Director of Composition, three elected faculty members, and two elected graduate student members. The GPC:

  • Approves admission of graduate students
  • Approves dissertation proposals and preliminary exam proposals
  • Screens and selects teaching assistants (TA Selection Subcommittee)
  • Nominates candidates for graduate fellowships (Graduate Fellowship Subcommittee)
  • Approves the graduate schedule each semester
  • Reviews and approves recommendations for changes in curriculum

TA Selection Subcommittee members: Director of Composition, Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, and plan coordinators.

Graduate Fellowship Subcommittee members: Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, Department Chair, and three elected faculty members serving on GPC.

Associate Chair for Graduate Studies

  • Serves as a general advisor for all graduate students
  • Approves the transfer of credits, composition of master's examination and preliminary examination committees, program of study forms
  • Assists with graduate student requests for exceptions to Graduate School requirements
  • Provides guidance concerning academic progress
  • Organizes meetings and activities for Ph.D. students relating to the job search

Graduate Plan Coordinator

  • Serves as a student's initial advisor
  • Identifies transferable credits from other universities
  • Advises students about their progress in the program
  • Chairs the Plan Advisory Committee

Graduate Plan Advisory Committee

  • Recommends students for admission to its concentration or plan
  • Recommends candidates for new TA positions
  • Approves preliminary examination materials for students choosing rationale format option
  • Oversees matters pertaining to the plan

NOTE: Each concentration (Graduate Plan of Study) has an Advisory Committee. Several have a graduate student representative on the committee.