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Washington State University Graduate School

Chapter 1D3: Graduate Program Participants

Each graduate program shall designate a program director(faculty position, often department chair or school director), a graduate coordinator (faculty position), and an academic coordinator (staff position) with duties and responsibilities as outlined below. In some cases, the program director may also fill the role of the graduate program coordinator. All faculty who are eligible for participation as advisory committee chair for graduate programs within the University (as defined by Graduate School policies below) are eligible to apply for participation in any graduate program within the University. Therefore, the bylaws for each graduate program should clearly delineate the criteria by which such participation will be reviewed and continued or discontinued.

a. Responsibilities of the Graduate Program Director.

The director of a graduate program is expected to provide overall academic leadership, develop and implement program policies, represent the interests of the program to the campus and University administrators, and call and preside at meetings of the program faculty. In many programs, the director will be the chair of the department to which the majority of the faculty belong. However, this is not required. When the department chair is also the graduate program director, specific responsibilities may be delegated to a faculty member designated as the Graduate Program Coordinator.

b. Responsibilities of the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC).

The Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) recruits, admits, and advises students in the graduate degree program. In addition, the GPC will serve as interim advisor to new graduate students in the program. The GPC should be a member of the program’s graduate faculty and a WSU employee,and is the official representative of the academic unit that offers the graduate degree program. The GPC maintains familiarity with the policies and procedures of the Graduate School and provides overall coordination of graduate activities within the program. In addition, the GPC generally has the departmental signature authority for recommendations for admissions, and changes to programs of study, advisory committees, and majors. The director of the program may also serve as the GPC.

c. Responsibilities of the Graduate Academic Coordinator (GAC).

The Graduate Academic Coordinator (GAC) typically is a staff position that assists the department chair, director of the program, GPC, and program faculty with the administration of the graduate program, including recruitment, admissions, and academic implementation. The GAC provides support by ensuring that Graduate School and departmental policies and procedures are followed, assisting with graduate student recruitment, coordinating daily activities and information with the Graduate School, and processing forms and maintaining student records in the Graduate Research Management (GRM) module within myWSU. The academic coordinator often supports graduate students by providing information and guidance on program requirements and deadlines. In smaller units,the GPC may also fill the responsibilities of the GAC.

d. Faculty Participating in Graduate Programs.

WSU hires quality tenure and career-track faculty, as well as adjunct and adjoint faculty, who participate in graduate programs as per WAC 250-61-100. In many cases, their interdisciplinary credentials and expertise qualify faculty to participate in more than one graduate program. Program faculty and directors are in the best position to determine who should teach graduate courses, advise graduate students, and serve on advisory committees.  Graduate programs should be well-populated with active research scholars to serve as mentors. Faculty who participate in a graduate program are termed “graduate faculty” of that program. The list of graduate faculty should be reviewed annually by the graduate program director; changes and updates should be forwarded to the dean of the Graduate School so that student Programs of Study and advisory committee members may be approved in a timely manner.

i. Internal Career Track, Adjunct, and Adjoint Graduate Faculty. WSU career-track,adjunct or adjoint faculty, may make important contributions to graduate education at WSU, including serving as a member, co-chair, or chair of master’s or doctoral advisory committees. The faculty within a graduate program are in the best position to determine how to utilize the talents of these individuals. The bylaws of each graduate program should clearly delineate the processes for nomination of WSU career-track, adjunct and adjoint faculty for participation in the graduate program and the specific roles these individuals are eligible to fill within the program.

ii. External Graduate Faculty. Professionals who are not WSU faculty (e.g., scholars, scientists, and professionals from government, business, or industry; researchers from national laboratories) may also participate in a graduate program and may participate on advisory committees if they are first approved as adjunct or adjoint faculty for the University.Qualifications and limits for participation of these faculty must be clearly defined in the bylaws and they must be approved as graduate faculty of the program according to the program bylaws.

iii. External Committee Members (Non-Graduate Faculty).

  • Individual Advisory Committee Member Internal to WSU:  Individuals not officially participating as graduate faculty within a program (e.g.,a faculty member from another WSU department or program) may serve on advisory committees as long as they are a member of the graduate faculty in their own program or discipline and their advisory committee appointment is approved by the Program Director.
  • Individual Advisory Committee Member External to WSU: Individuals not officially participating as graduate faculty within any graduate program at WSU (e.g., a faculty member from another university or research entity) may be approved to serve as an advisory committee member for an individual student on a case-by-case basis. The advisory committee chair for that student should forward the name and a curriculum vitae of the desired committee member to the program director. With approval of the program director, the nomination (with accompanying CV or other documentation of expertise) is forwarded to the dean of the Graduate School for final approval.

iv. Guidelines for Minimum Requirements. Through program bylaws, faculty specify qualifications and mechanisms for approval of individuals to participate as graduate faculty, to serve as chairs or co-chairs of advisory committees,and to serve as committee members for that program. Guidelines for minimum requirements should include the following:

  • Evidence of continuing scholarly or creative work within the past five years.
  • Evidence of substantial involvement in graduate education within the past five years, e.g., by directing graduate student research and/or graduate teaching. New faculty members without previous involvement in graduate student advising can satisfy this requirement by having a named mentor. The role of the mentor is to help the new faculty member advise and direct graduate students, so each must possess an advanced degree appropriate to the program.
  • The master’s advisory committee must have at least three members.Unless specified otherwise in the approved program bylaws, the chair must be a WSU tenure-track faculty member and a member of the graduate faculty of the student’s programs. In all cases, one member of a master’s advisory committee must be a WSU tenured/tenure-track faculty member and a member of the graduate faculty of the student’s program(see exception in Chapter 14, Professional Master’s Degree Programs). All advisory committee members must hold a degree of comparable level to the degree sought by the candidate. Career-track, adjoint, and adjunct faculty who are active participants within a graduate program may serve on, co-chair, or chair an advisory committee if they are approved in the program bylaws and hold a degree of comparable level to the degree sought by the candidate.
  • A Ph.D. advisory committee must have at least three members.Unless specified otherwise in the approved program bylaws, the chair must be WSU tenured/tenure-track faculty member who is a member of the graduate faculty of the student’s program. In all cases, two members of a Ph.D.advisory committee must be WSU tenured/tenure-track faculty who are members of the graduate faculty of the student’s program.
  • All Ph.D. advisory committee members are normally expected to hold a Ph.D. On a case-by-case basis, the dean of the Graduate School may approve research active faculty, with other doctoral or equivalent degrees, to serve on a Ph.D. advisory committee.Career-track, adjoint, and adjunct faculty, who are active participants within a graduate program,may serve on, co-chair, or chair an advisory committee, if they are approved in the program bylaws and hold a Ph.D. (exceptions must be approved by the dean of the Graduate School).
  • An Ed.D. advisory committee must have the same committee structure as a Ph.D. committee, except that committee members are expected to have an Ed.D. or Ph.D. degree. On a case-by-case basis, the dean of the Graduate School may approve research active faculty, with other doctoral or equivalent degrees, to serve on an Ed.D. advisory committee.
  • Exceptions to these minimum requirements can be made on a case-by-case basis upon request of the program director to the dean of the Graduate School.
  • There are potential conflicts of interest when a recent WSU graduate serves on the advisory committee of another student. For three years after graduating from WSU, new faculty will require approval from the dean of the Graduate School to serve as an advisory committee member. The dean will assess the overlap of the new graduate with former students and faculty to ascertain where there may be perceived conflicts of interest.
  • See Chapter 7 (Master’s Degree Requirements),Chapter 8 (Doctoral Degree Requirements), Chapter 13 (Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Requirements) and Chapter 14 (Professional Master’s Degree Requirements)for additional information on advisory committee structure and membership.

Considering the minimum qualifications stated above, the criteria for participation of graduate faculty, types of graduate faculty participation, and descriptions of graduate faculty roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined in the bylaws of each program. The research and scholarship basis for participation in graduate education is essential and units should use the annual review process to monitor and refine individual faculty roles in this endeavor. The program director annually submits to the Graduate School a list of all graduate faculty actively participating in the program for inclusion on the program fact sheet.

The dean of the Graduate School has the authority to remove a faculty member from a student’s advisory committee after consultation with the program/department chair, the dean of the college and the provost when it is in the best interest of the student and the program.

 

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