Graduate faculty appointments

Purpose

Graduate faculty are responsible for advising Ph.D. students, directing and guiding their dissertation research, and helping them develop a diverse skill set in preparation for independent scholarship. Only faculty members who have active graduate faculty status may serve as dissertation advisors.

Graduate faculty appointments are available only in units offering graduate academic programs, and faculty members should seek appointments in their home units. Faculty in units without graduate academic programs ordinarily do not need these appointments. A graduate faculty appointment in the home unit allows service on the dissertation committee in another unit, provided the other unit has approved such service.

Graduate faculty appointment is required in order to serve on the Graduate Council and to be nominated for the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award.

Statement of graduate faculty responsibilities

Approved by the Graduate Council April 15, 2020.

Graduate faculty are responsible for advising and mentoring Ph.D. students and helping students develop a diverse skill set in preparation for independent scholarship. Only those faculty members who have active graduate faculty status may serve as dissertation advisors. The Graduate Council has developed a list of best practices to guide faculty and student expectations about the mentoring role of the graduate faculty advisor. Graduate advisors are expected to:

  • Help students to become immersed in active research and scholarly pursuits and facilitate mentees' pursuit of relevant research opportunities including conferences, performances or exhibitions, publication opportunities, service learning opportunities and more.
  • Become familiar with best practice resources in mentorship.
  • Guide and mentor students in a culture of responsible research and ethical practice, including the requirements of the IRB and/or IACUC and the required Responsible Conduct of Research course
  • Support and advise students as they pursue internal and external funding.
  • Support students in developing their teaching and pedagogical skills. This might include connecting them with teaching opportunities, attending a class they teach and providing feedback, recommending relevant training through the Office of Teaching and Learning or similar.
  • Become familiar with and be able to advise students about all the required steps in the Ph.D. process, including: the plan of work and transfer of credits, qualifying exams, candidacy, dissertation prospectus, conflict of interest, final defense and time extensions.
  • Participate actively in the annual review and individual development plan with all student advisees each year and help guide them as they consider their professional goals, whether those are within or outside academia.
  • Become familiar with and connect students to resources on campus that can support their academic success, mental health and wellbeing including: CAPS, Academic Success Center, Writing Center, Campus Health Center, Childcare Resources and the W Food Pantry. The Dean of Student's Office provides a comprehensive guide to student life wellness.

Appointment term

The length of an appointment is five years.

Appointment criteria

  • Ph.D. or other earned terminal degree in the field of appointment or closely-related field
  • Evidence of peer-reviewed scholarly achievement in the last four years
  • Faculty appointment within unit
  • If faculty in units without graduate academic programs are asked to co-direct a student's dissertation, they should seek a graduate faculty appointment through the student's unit.

Appointment procedures

  • The program prepares a Graduate Faculty Appointment Recommendation form and attaches the nominee's current signed and dated professional record.
  • The chair evaluates the nominee's credentials, signs the form and submits it with the professional record to the dean of the school/college.
  • The dean reviews, signs the form and submits the packet to the Graduate School
  • The dean of the Graduate School makes the final decision on the appointment.
  • The Graduate School's roster of graduate faculty is updated periodically.
  • Questions? Contact the Graduate Council Office at 313-577-8050.

Foundational principles of graduate faculty criteria​

Minimum criteria

The Graduate School Criteria Statement summarizes the minimum criteria required for appointment to graduate faculty. Units may include additional criteria.

Research and scholarship productivity indicators

Quality research/scholarship is foundational to graduate education. Although research productivity may be evidenced in various ways, publication in refereed professional journals, books and monographs, juried/reviewed performance in the arts, and receipt of external grants are nationally accepted indicators for most disciplines. It is also a nationally accepted principle that faculty members should themselves have demonstrated research proficiency and be at the forefront of their fields in order to direct Ph.D. dissertation research.

Peer review

The best measure of a faculty member's research/scholarship proficiency and the mastery of current methodology is for their work to be accepted for publication or funding, having successfully undergone peer review.

Currency of research and scholarship

Since the knowledge base and research methodology within a discipline are subject to continual expansion, currency in research involvement is also required of faculty engaged in directing graduate student research. Faculty whose own work is on the frontiers of research can lead the student into productive and publishable areas of discovery. It is understood that the frequency of publication will vary among disciplines; however, an active research program should result in at least three refereed publications every four years.

Purpose of criteria statements

The dean of the Graduate School is ultimately responsible for appointments to graduate faculty, and the Academic Standards Committee (formerly Credentials Committee) of the Graduate Council serves as the primary advisory body to the dean on graduate faculty issues. The purpose of the Criteria Statement is to provide guidance in the decision-making process.

Clarity of standards

The Criteria Statement should be viewed as a clear expression of expectations for faculty interested in attaining graduate faculty appointments and does not attempt to accommodate every possible contingency. It is recognized that, on occasion, some exceptions to policy may be appropriate, including considerations related to tenure and promotion practices. With suitable documentation, such exceptions may be granted.

Appeal process for denied appointments

  • Department Chair or Dean submits appeal memo
  • Academic Standards Committee rewiews the CV
  • The case will be presented by two members of Academic Standards to the full committee
    • Department chair or designee is invited to be present to provide context
    • Academic Standards Committee votes
    • Majority of voting members required to approve
    • Committee members from the same department must recuse themselves; others may recuse themselves if they feel conflicts of interest are present
  • Decision relayed with memo identifying the criterion/criteria that are ground for non-renewal
  • Faculty may reapply for reinstatement of graduate faculty status upon substantive changes in the criteria identified