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Role of the DGS

The role of the director of graduate studies is to oversee all aspects of graduate work within a program, and to manage the relationship between the program and the Graduate College. The director of graduate studies is responsible to the unit executive officer (department head, chairperson, or dean) and to the Dean of the Graduate College with regard to graduate affairs.

In each department or unit housing a graduate program, a director of graduate studies and an alternate director will be appointed annually by the Dean of the Graduate College upon the recommendation of the unit's executive officer. The director and alternate director must be members of the graduate faculty. Letters requesting recommendations for the appointment of the directors of graduate studies will be sent to the unit executive officers late in the spring for the subsequent year.

The alternate director shall act for the director when the latter is unavailable, and one or the other must be available on campus during the summer months. In programs involving several units, the chairperson of the coordinating committee appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College serves as director of graduate studies for that program. The director of graduate studies and the alternate shall be members of the Graduate Committee of the unit.

The Graduate Office 

The director of graduate studies, working with the unit executive officer and the Graduate College, oversees and directs the work of the graduate office for the program, with specific responsibilities as follows:

  • To organize and coordinate the recruitment of graduate students, and to ensure that appropriate informational material is available.
  • To ensure prompt review of all applications for admission and financial award (fellowships, assistantships, tuition and fee waivers) by appropriate faculty groups. To keep applicants informed of the status of his/her application. To ensure that special efforts are made to attract the most promising applicants.
  • To advise the department head/chair on the appointment of an advisor for each graduate student, preferably prior to the student's first enrollment but certainly within the student's first term of residence. To assist new graduate students in arranging a program of study and ensure that the student receives continuing advice and counsel from the appropriate faculty group.
  • To monitor, with the major advisors, the academic progress of all students in the program. To review the academic progress of all students at least annually. To inform the student in writing as to progress and performance, and to communicate with the Graduate College on dismissals for violation of program rules. To communicate with the Graduate College concerning students on academic probation or limited standing, and concerning recommendations to change a student's status (e.g., limited to full standing). To maintain student records within the program.
  • To publicize and implement program requirements with regard to the timing and conduct of both program examinations and examinations required by the Graduate College. The DGS should be consulted on appointments to preliminary examination committees and thesis defense committees. Effort should be made to see that the preliminary examination is taken within a reasonable time after the beginning of study.
  • To maintain a list of faculty advisors and of preliminary examination and thesis committees for each student.
  • To inform all students and their advisors of the policies, rules, and procedures of the Graduate College, particularly as they may be expanded from those published in the Graduate Catalog.
  • To ensure that all student petitions to the Graduate College include adequate academic or reasonable personal explanations for each request, that the views of the student's advisor are included, and that they are accompanied by necessary supporting documents.
  • Whenever possible, to conduct exit interviews with all students who withdraw from the University to determine the reasons for withdrawal.
  • To maintain up-to-date records of employment of degree recipients.
  • To maintain program records which contain all the information required for IBHE and Graduate College program reviews.