July 26, 2023
On March 23, 2023, the WSU Faculty Senate approved the Graduate School Policies and Procedures effective Fall 2023. The Faculty Senate approval request passed as detailed in the meeting minutes of March 23. Some time-sensitive changes are summarized below.
Major Change 1: Establishing the Faculty of the Graduate School
The prior policy of using the program bylaws to define the faculty who may chair, co-chair, or serve on their students’ graduate advisory committees tended to silo programs from one another by not promoting interdisciplinary collaboration across programs through their students’ independent projects. Consistent with many other institutions, the Graduate School has established a Faculty of the Graduate School rather than defining graduate faculty at the program level. Once WSU faculty members are appointed to the Faculty of the Graduate School, they may serve in their designated capacity on any student’s committee (irrespective of program) if the committee composition:
- is approved by a designated program signature authority on the student’s Program of Study (or Committee Change Form), and
- meets the minimum requirements of the Graduate School regarding committee composition.
The Faculty of the Graduate School includes three categories based on the appointment type of WSU faculty:
- Graduate Faculty (tenure-track faculty, active or emeritus; appointed by the vice provost for graduate and professional education. Graduate Faculty reappointment will occur annually after verifying the faculty member’s continued appointment at WSU. Tenure-track emeritus faculty will maintain Graduate Faculty membership),
- Associate Graduate Faculty (career-track faculty; appointed via nomination by the department chair or school director and approved by the vice provost for graduate and professional education, with a renewal process every five years), and
- Auxiliary Graduate Faculty (adjunct or adjoint faculty; appointed via nomination by the department chair or school director and approved by the vice provost for graduate and professional education, with a renewal process every three years).
Graduate program bylaws may limit Associate Graduate Faculty and Auxiliary Graduate Faculty participation in advisory committee roles in their program. Endorsement by a signature authority on Programs of Study or Committee Change forms will enforce any program limitations to committee composition that are more restrictive than the Graduate School’s policies.
The Graduate School will verify that the appointed members of a student’s advisory committee include members of the Faculty of the Graduate School and that the committee meets the minimum Graduate School requirements for committee composition per current Policies and Procedures.
The Graduate School will verify committee composition and program-allowed committee roles based on myWSU Faculty List. Any limitations set forth in the graduate program bylaws will be self-governed by the graduate programs and verified by the Graduate School using myWSU Faculty List.
To ease this policy transition, the Graduate School has created an OBIEE dashboard of the Faculty of the Graduate School by program. Instructions for accessing this dashboard and validating myWSU Faculty List are described in the Graduate School Knowledge Base. To ensure accuracy on new Program of Study requests, program coordinators and directors must review and submit requests for change to their program graduate faculty through myWSU Faculty List as soon as possible.
Terms for existing graduate faculty who are now either Associate or Auxiliary Graduate Faculty will have starting dates reset to August 16, 2023, so the soonest that renewal will be required is August 2026.
Major Change 2: Establishing or revising program bylaws
All programs must update graduate program bylaws as changes to the WSU Graduate School Policies and Procedures require. However, new bylaws or revisions do not require external approval by the WSU Faculty Senate’s Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). Although the GSC will no longer review bylaws, the Graduate School provides guidance in the Knowledge Base that may be used by programs when creating or updating their bylaws. The Graduate School will review program bylaws upon request, and it is expected that programs will submit their most current bylaws to the Graduate School annually for archival purposes only.
Graduate Student Handbooks
The Graduate School has provided a summary of requirements appropriate for all program handbooks in the Knowledge Base. Once updated, Graduate Program Handbooks may now be linked to Fact Sheets. The Graduate School will provide further guidance on program handbooks upon request, and it is expected that programs will submit their most current handbook to the Graduate School annually for archival purposes only.
Graduate Program Fact Sheets
Graduate Program Fact Sheets may now be updated directly by programs. Program directors and coordinators may reference instructions in the Knowledge Base or contact the Graduate School through the Jira portal for assistance. With the new Fact Sheets, in addition to descriptive information about the degree, programs may define:
- The number of students, number of supported students, and number of program faculty.
- If appropriate, define the number of plan “core” faculty.
- Set English proficiency exam scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or sub-scores) for international students who have not met any of options A, B, or C as detailed in Language Requirements. Note that the required proficiency scores cannot be lower than the minimums set by the Graduate School.
- Set program-specific admission test requirements such as Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Programs must not use or list minimum scores for standardized tests as an admissions requirement.
Please note that some Fact Sheet fields are empty, so we urge programs to update Fact Sheets as soon as possible. If you cannot log into the Graduate School Fact Sheet website, please request access through the Service Desk Jira portal.
As an academic service organization, the Graduate School will continue to make improvements to better serve WSU’s graduate programs on all campuses. Suggestions for improvements may be sent directly to me.
Thank you from the Graduate School!
Tammy D. Barry