Academic Progress and Graduate Assistantship Policy

Graduate assistant appointment papers for students holding positions greater than half time or for students beyond the fifth year in their doctoral programs will require written assurances of adequate academic progress.

In order to maximize the equitable distribution of available graduate assistantships and to accelerate academic progress, it will be an exceptional case for a student to hold positions totaling more than half time (20 hours per week) or to hold positions beyond the fifth year.

These guidelines do not prohibit three-quarter time assistantships, not do they prevent senior students in their sixth year from holding graduate assistantships. They do, nevertheless, define these situations as exceptional, and require a convincing justification.

The guidelines require a proposal from the student and his or her advisor in those cases where an individual aspires either to hold positions in the college totaling more than one-half time or to work in the college beyond his or her fifth year at the doctoral level. These proposals should assess the student’s academic progress, provide a plan for ensuring that all degree requirements will be completed in a timely manner, and assure the college that the assignment associated with the appointment will advance the student’s academic progress. These proposals must be approved by the chair of the student’s home department (not the chair of employing departments). Only one proposal is required for the year.

Department chairs and program coordinators should be certain that students and advisors understand programmatic expectations for acceptable academic progress. As a minimum, the Graduate School’s policy that all degree requirements must be completed within eight years of program entry should be reaffirmed. The annual evaluations that all doctoral students undergo should provide chairs and coordinators with useful information about the academic status of students.

The student initiates the proposal: they have the most at stake (in terms of progress and employment opportunities). Most students who work more than half time combine positions, so that no single employer would know for certain how much their employees were working in the college. Nor would employers know which students had been enrolled in a program beyond five years.

Proposals approved by the department chairs should be forwarded to the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (Michael Sedlak, 207 Erickson Hall) for review and approval before appointment papers will be signed. Departments are responsible for assuring that signed proposals accompany the appointment papers and are submitted in a timely fashion to the associate dean.