Serve as the primary resource for graduate students concerning academic and other requirements and campus resources. Cultivate a climate that encourages students to ask questions and discuss personal situations as appropriate.
Serve as the authorizer for various graduate student decisions and functions, including:
signatory on Graduate School forms, e.g., leaves of absence, extensions, transfers of course credit, reinstatements, readmissions, applications to graduate
signatory on University forms, e.g., withdrawals, course drop/adds, course changes/additions/deletions
approval of student committee makeup, including any fixed term graduate faculty
nominate applicants and act as signatory for University fellowships and funding (both fellowships and funding for enrolled students as well as recruitment fellowships offered in conjunction with graduate admissions activities)
Serve as the program's liaison to the Graduate School for policy clarification, special or unique situations, and general inquiries. Use the Graduate Handbook as a key resource for policy and process information.
Lead efforts to revise, maintain, and evaluate the academic requirements and standards of the graduate degree programs. Often this will include coordinating a graduate affairs or advisory committee with program faculty and graduate student representatives. This role may also involve maintaining an internal graduate program handbook or guidelines.
Coordinate the efforts of multiple area/specialty directors (unique to specific programs), including serving as a resource on policies and procedures.
Work closely with the program student services manager or registrar on policies and procedures to ensure consistency.
Depending on the graduate program's structure, additional responsibilities may include allocation of teaching assistantships, budget oversight for the graduate program, ensuring compliance with funding agency requirements, program review activities, TA training oversight, and alumni affairs.
Finances and Funding
Ensure that graduate students are financially supported through service assistantships within the program or in other areas of the University, or through internal or external nonservice fellowships. Encourage faculty mentoring and information sharing to facilitate full funding of all graduate students in your program.
Coordinate graduate student selection processes for identifying students to be nominated for Graduate School fellowships and awards with limited nominations. Nominate enrolled students for fellowships and awards and applicants for recruitment fellowships. Use the Fellowships and Funding Handbook as a key resource for policy and process information.
Coordinate the graduate program's tuition remission allocation and submission of students to be offered tuition remission and in-state tuition benefits.
Serve as a program resource for information on graduate student residency for tuition purposes. Encourage students who can achieve in-state residency to make timely application for state residency status.
Coordinate efforts to encourage students to apply for external funding and grants, in conjunction with students' primary advisors. Encourage faculty mentoring in grant writing. Serve as a resource for students regarding available funding sources and resources to assist them in identifying funding opportunities and with grant writing.
Responsible for the initial response to most graduate student situations, including grade appeals, grievances, or mentoring/advising issues.
Monitor student progression through key milestones, such as comprehensive exams and proposal defenses. Ensure adherence to University and Graduate School guidelines such as time to degree limits, continuous enrollment, and grade change deadlines.
Support professional development activities for graduate students, including program-specific activities as well spreading the word about University/Graduate School activities. Identify ways to coordinate or assist with career planning at the program level, extending into tracking career placements and alumni affairs.
Serve as a resource for information on health insurance and other benefits, such as maternity/paternity leave policies and procedures.
Strive to maintain balance between your role as a student support resource and your role in protecting the integrity of your graduate degree. In most situations student needs, faculty demands, and overall program requirements will be in alignment.
The DGS does not work in isolation. Most programs have a graduate affairs or advisory committee that assists with difficult issues, appeals, or exception requests. Involve graduate students in these committees when appropriate to secure feedback from all perspectives.
Feel comfortable consulting other DGSs and staff in The Graduate School about unusual situations. There are many campus resources and most situations need not be handled alone.
Communicate with your program's graduate faculty and staff regularly, and rely on them to provide input on student progress and to engage with their students. Solid advising and routine feedback is essential for students to make continued progress. The entire program must be involved in these efforts, especially when dealing with below standard performance.
Consider individual meetings with each graduate student at the beginning of each academic year to maintain connections, check in on progress, and identify any issues. Share relevant information with other graduate faculty. Consider recording notes of these meetings, as they represent a continuous assessment of progress as part of the students' records.
Consider exit interviews with graduate students or exit surveys to identify areas of strength and opportunity for the program. Implement suggested changes accordingly.