Outline for Directors of Graduate Studies

  1. Rules

    1. The Graduate Catalog remains in force as rule book. Give it a good read!
    2. SIGS Minimum Guidelines are another set of rules that must be followed: Minimum Guidelines
    3. A&S has its own set of Minimum Guidelines for graduate education
    4. Departments and programs are expected to have their own minimum guidelines, which may mimic the A&S rules or be stiffer still. It is important that these rules be clearly posted on the departmental www site and that they be made known to students.
  2. Offices and Contact information

    1. Dr. Pfeffer has an office in Bingham Humanities 328A; she also has an office in Gardiner 10B (garden level). Dr. Pfeffer’s email is pfeffer@louisville.edu.
    2. Rick VanIttersum, her staffperson, has an office in Gardiner Hall 10A (garden level). His phone number is 852.3397; his email is rick.vanittersum@louisville.edu
    3. Dr. Pfeffer receives mail sent to her departmental address (CML) or to the dean’s office.
    4. There also exists a graduate education email box <asgrad@louisville.edu>.
  3. Degree Programs

    1. Every department in A&S has least one graduate degree.  Graduate students in A&S departments are officially enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences, not SIGS nor GA.
    2. Some departments have degrees that combine undergraduate and graduate work.
      1. Students taking undergraduate courses that will apply also to the graduate degree are expected to complete graduate-level work in those (frequently cross-listed) courses.
      2. For students who complete these degree programs, it is strongly recommended that a Transfer of Credit form be completed (see below), so that the Registrar can recognize the undergraduate courses as forming part of the graduate degree.  It is available on line at: https://graduate.louisville.edu/forms/Transfer of Graduate Credit Form.pdf
    3. Some departments have doctoral degrees.
    4. There also exist a growing number of certificate programs in A&S, some based within a single department; others interdisciplinary.
  4. Admissions

    1. Someone from a department must complete the Admission Referral Form available at: http://uofl.louisville.edu/graduate/grf/
      1. A student can be admitted in good standing = application is complete.
      2. If student is admitted with provisions (essentially, an incomplete application, missing pieces, such as letters of recommendation, transcripts, test scores if required), DGS needs to keep track of the missing pieces, confirming that they do arrive.
      3. Once “cleared” (=all the missing pieces have arrived), notify Libby Leggett <melegg02@louisville.edu> in SIGS and Mary Sandy Otto <msotto01@louisville.edu> in Registrar’s office.
      4. A student can be admitted as a probationary student, under “special conditions” which must be made clear to the student in the letter of admittance. Examples can include a requirement to take certain preparatory course work in the first semester or to complete some other requirement specific to this student.  This category can be useful for a student who does not meet all the normal criteria for admission.
    2. Department sends a letter telling students they’ve been admitted (once all processes are completed).  Although SIGS offered to send letters in the past, they are ending that practice.
      1. Letter should include:
        1. Student’s ID number
        2. Student’s residency status for tuition purposes (resident or non-resident)  Note that SIGS determines residency; do not send the letter until that status has been determined!
        3. Information regarding admissions status:
          1. provisional?
          2. probationary?
          3. normal?
      2. Copy of the letter should stay in the department
      3. An e-copy of this letter should be sent to A&S Advising <asgrad@louisville.edu> or Rick VanIttersum (rick.vanittersum@louisville.edu) for e-files.
  5. GTAships

    1. Technically separate from admissions
    2. GTA letters of offer have contractual status. Be sure to include:
      1. Something about the benefits of the GTAship (salary and tuition remission, at a minimum)
      2. Details about what the GTA has to do
      3. What constitutes failure by the GTA to meet obligations, with specific mention that these actions can lead to loss of GTAship
  6. Other Important Items

    1. SIGS has a forms www page, with these forms available on-line (https://graduate.louisville.edu/forms) :
      1.  GA Waiver Request
      2. Listserv Removal Request
      3. Nomination Form for Graduate Student Award or Honors
      4.  Ph.D. Qualifying Comps Exam Results
      5. Results of Ph.D. Qualifying Comps Exam
      6. Recruitment Visit Evaluation Form
      7. Request to Schedule Thesis/Dissertation Final Oral Examination
      8. Transfer Credit Form
      9. Thesis/Dissertation Advisory Committee Appointment
      10.  Tuition Remission Form
    2. Thesis/Dissertation Advisory Committee Appointment
      1. Principal Advisor must have mentor status in A&S
        1. The master list of mentors is maintained by Dr.  Pfeffer and she  can answer questions about who is on the list. Her staffperson, Rick VanIttersum can also answer questions about who is on the list.
      2. All committee members must be members of Graduate faculty in A&S
        1. Committee members not in A&S need ad-hoc appointments to graduate status in A&S
          1. The chair of the department should write a letter to Dr. Pfeffer requesting an ad hoc graduate appointment for these faculty. Attach a current CV to the memo.
          2. UofL faculty, if they are NOT A&S faculty members, need ad-hoc appointments within A&S if they are to serve on a thesis committee.
            1. Medical School faculty, for example, may hold graduate status in that School, but this does not grant them that status within A&S.
      3. Send the committee form to Dr. Pfeffer for college signature
    3. Thesis/Dissertation Final Oral Examination Schedule
      1. Confirm that the principal advisor holds mentor status.
      2. Send form to Dr. Pfeffer for college signature.
      3. Complete the online form including all committee members:  
      4. It has been noted that a student is capable of completing this form without any departmental signature. SIGS has been notified of this concern; we can hope they will address it.
    4. Change of grade
      1. Please remember to indicate why the grade change is requested, e.g. completion of work, recalculation of grade by faculty member.
      2. Send the form to Dr. Pfeffer for college signature.
      3. Grade change forms cannot be used to change incomplete (I) or deferred (X) grades into withdrawals (W).  Please see next section on late withdrawal.
    5. Independent Study forms
      1. Complete upper part of form.
      2. Get signatures in department or program.
      3. Be sure to assign a title to the course. Remember that titles can have no more than 24 characters (spaces count).
      4. Send to Dr. Pfeffer for college signatures.
    6. Late withdrawal/add petitions
      1. Students who request late withdrawals need good advising. If these students are receiving funding, it is important that their status (full vs. part-time) not change as a result of the schedule change
      2. Graduate students do NOT complete the forms for late drop/add used by undergraduate students.
        1. Petition forms are available on the A&S Graduate Education page, http://louisville.edu/artsandsciences/academics/graduate-education/online-forms-and-resources.html
        2. Graduate students should write an explanation for the request, with written support from a faculty member or DGS (if appropriate), and/or 3rd party documentation from physicians, counselors, or other individuals as needed.
        3. Send the form and supporting documentation to Dr. Pfeffer for review. 
  7. Variances

    1. S.I.G.S has posted online the form for requesting variances: https://graduate.louisville.edu/forms/Variance Request Form.pdf
      1. The student or DGS can begin the form on line (much depends on what the variance is for), but it will need to be printed for subsequent signatures and approvals.
      2. Please include a brief statement of support/objection as appropriate.
      3. Please include additional information as needed, including transcripts, statements, course syllabi, or 3rd party documentation.
    2. Leave of Absence
      1. Students need to initiate this form, giving reasons for leave and specific dates requested.
      2. Leave of absence can be a useful tool in dealing with time to degree (approval stops the clock).
      3. Students will need to follow procedures when they come back to class/the U.
    3. Time Extension
      1. Students need to provide strong reasons explaining why they have not completed their degrees within the allotted timeframe.
      2. DGS can add supporting arguments.
      3. Students should also spell out how much more time they need.
      4. Not all requests are granted.
    4. Transfer Credit
      1. In the case of students transferring into A&S, the DGS should request the transfer of credit after completion of the first semester of UofL course work.
      2. Be sure to attach to the variance form a copy of the transcript showing courses; there is also a form from the Registrar’s Office that needs to accompany the variance request.
        1.  There is a SIGS-imposed time limit on transfer of credit, intended to assure currency of previous course work.
        2. As of Fall 2009, coursework has to be no more than 3 years old at time of matriculation.
        3. Exceptions can be made, but will require strong arguments for currency of the coursework in question.
      3. The Transfer of Credit form is available on line at: https://graduate.louisville.edu/forms/Transfer of Graduate Credit Form.pdf
    5. Overload
      1. Students need to explain why they need the overload and how extra coursework will not impede their progress.
      2. The DGS might add a word here too, noting the student’s GPA, for example.
    6. Residency
      1. This request has nothing to do with where the student lives and everything to do with how many hours of coursework have been completed at UofL for a UofL degree.
    7. Masters Time Limitation
      1. Normal time to degree for the Master’s is 6 years.
      2. Students need to provide strong reasons why they haven’t completed their degree within that time frame.
    8. Other
      1. This option demonstrates that this form can be used for many things. Permission to do something out of the ordinary might constitute an example of “Other.” Make a strong case and see how SIGS rules.
  8. Graduate Orientation

    1. A&S assigns to departments the responsibility to provide discipline-specific appropriate orientation for new and continuing students.
    2. SIGS continues to provide some new student and new GTA training before the beginning of the Fall semester.
    3. It is recommended that departmental orientation occur no later than the week immediately before the beginning of the Fall semester.
    4. Departments may wish to consider the need for another orientation session before the beginning of the Spring semester. If not needed, such orientation need not occur.
  9. Dismissals and Probation--official notification comes from the Dean of A&S.

    1. Probation
      1. If a department seeks to place a student on probation, give the Assistant Dean the arguments (e-mail will work).
      2. Be sure to provide a mechanism by which the student can come off probation, e.g.
        1. Raising GPA
        2. Passing exams
      3. If the dean supports the request (the usual case), the dean will write a letter to the student, incorporating both the rationale for probation and the mechanisms for coming off probation.
    2. Dismissal: Only the dean can dismiss a student.
      1. Provide Dr. Pfeffer with reasons why a department seeks to dismiss a student. Some examples of reasons:
        1. Poor grades
        2. Dangerous lab activities
        3. Failure to pass comprehensive exams
        ii. The dean’s office will draft the dismissal letter and send it to the student.

  10. Academic Dishonesty

    1. Procedures for dealing with academic dishonesty vary from faculty member to faculty member and from department to department. Regardless, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty should be discouraged at all times. UofL policy is stated in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (Sections 5. and 6.) and is available online at: http://louisville.edu/dos/policies-and-procedures/code-of-student-rights-and-responsibilities.html
  11. Grievance Procedures

    1. Graduate students in A&S work through departmental and college processes before taking their case to SIGS and its grievance committee. Information on the procedure can be found at: http://louisville.edu/graduatecatalog/academic-grievance-procedure/
    2. The University’s student grievance officer is Brenda Hart <brenda@louisville.edu>.
  12. College Print Materials

    1. The College prepares an A&S Graduate Student Handbook for all new students.
    2. The College prepares a flyer promoting combined degree programs for those departments with such degrees.
  13. College World-Wide-Web Site

    1. Graduate education has its own home at: http://louisville.edu/artsandsciences/academics/graduate-education
    2. College also has an email account for graduate education <asgrad@louisville.edu>
  14. Feedback

    1. Dr. Pfeffer is open to feedback on any and all matters
      1. What information needs to be available and/or posted?
      2. What can the college to do help graduate students?