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 plans, the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, the Department Chair, the Director of Composition, one elected faculty member, and two elected graduate student members.

  • Approves admission of graduate students
  • Approves dissertation proposals and preliminary exam proposals
  • Oversight of process for screening and selection of teaching assistants and graduate school fellowship nominees by TA and Fellowship Subcommittee(s) *
  • Nominates candidates for graduate fellowships (TA and Fellowship Subcommittee) * 
  • Approves the graduate schedule for each academic year
  • Reviews and approves recommendations for changes in policies

*TA and Fellowship Selection Subcommittee: Each Plan Advisory Committee serves as the TA and Fellowship Selection Subcommittee for applicants in its plan, to screen and recommend teaching assistantships, as these become available, and to screen and recommend graduate fellowship nominations submitted to the Graduate School for the graduate plan. 

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, second language certification, program of study forms, all doctoral milestones, stepping-out forms, exam warrants, graduation applications 
  • Assists with graduate student requests for exceptions to Graduate School requirements
  • Provides guidance concerning academic progress
  • Organizes meetings and activities for PhD students relating to the job search
  • Serves as liaison between faculty and graduate students 
  • Reviews the graduate schedule for each AY in consultation with plan coordinators 
  • Serves as Chair of GPC 

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 graduate plan
  • Recommends candidates for new TA positions and Graduate School fellowships
  • Approves preliminary examination materials for students choosing rationale format option
  • Oversees matters pertaining to the plan

NOTE: Each graduate plan has an Advisory Committee. All have a graduate student representative on the committee.