Dean of the Faculty

The selection, teaching, advising, and evaluation of graduate students is the shared responsibility of the faculty. The Director of Graduate Study (DGS) coordinates this effort within the department and serves as the point of contact with the Graduate School. The DGS is appointed by the department chair, usually for a term of three years. Because graduate programs vary in size and structure, the specific roles and responsibilities of the DGS should be determined by the voting members of the department. In general, the DGS is responsible for assisting the department chair in overseeing the graduate program and serving as the liaison with the Graduate School. Although not directly responsible for all aspects of the graduate program, the DGS assists the department chair in developing a plan for distributing those duties equitably among the faculty and in coordinating this work in the department. The distribution of responsibilities may involve the appointment of individuals or committees with specific responsibilities, such as a graduate committee, director of admissions, graduate admissions committee, or job placement officer.

The DGS has principal responsibility for:

  • ensuring that all entering students have advisors and facilitating their transition to advisors appropriate to their area of specialization
  • coordinating the oversight of graduate student progress including the issuing of annual academic standing letters as well as mid-year reports for first-year students and updates for students on warning
  • communicating Graduate School policies and initiatives to the faculty and the graduate students in the department
  • ensuring that the graduate program handbook is up to date
  • providing brief annual reports to the Graduate School on the program
  • assisting the department chair and the department administrative staff in preparing for and
  • participating in the annual meeting with the Graduate School to assess the performance of the
  • program and to discuss plans for the upcoming admissions cycle
  • assigning, in consultation with the department chair, Teaching Assistant, Teaching Assistant II,
  • Teaching Fellow, Research Assistant, and other programmatic responsibilities associated with
  • student appointments
  • serving as a liaison between graduate students and the department faculty (e.g. meeting regularly
  • with graduate program student representatives)
  • mediating and adjudicating conflicts between students and faculty in the program, with
  • appropriate assistance from the Graduate School
  • reviewing requests for graduate student leaves of absence, transfer of graduate credit, extensions
  • of deadlines, and changes of degree status, in collaboration with the faculty advisor and the
  • Graduate School
  • serving as the program representative to approve and support student applications for funding and
  • fellowship opportunities outside of the program

Additional Responsibilities in a Graduate Program: In addition to the functions of the DGS, a number of other activities are generally important to a strong graduate program. While some of these responsibilities may be performed by the DGS—and frequently have been in the past—there is no reason that they must be. These areas include

  • graduate admissions and recruitment
  • orientation for incoming students
  • professional development programming
  • career placement support