Procedures for Evaluation of the Progress of Graduate Students

Policy Memorandum No. 1

Recommended by the Commission on Graduate Studies and Research, May 10, 1977
Approved by University Council: October 17, 1977
Approved by the President: October 17, 1977
Effective: Immediately

BACKGROUND

During the past two years the University Council, the Commission on Graduate Studies and Research and the Faculty Senate examined the university's needs with respect to (1) an academic appeals system for graduate students and (2) a policy for the evaluation of the progress of graduate students. The Commission on Graduate Studies and Research dealt with the two issues separately. The university's "Graduate Student Appeals Procedure" was finally approved in October 1976 and is outlined in the new FACULTY HANDBOOK.

Our new policy which stipulates Procedures for Evaluation of the Progress of Graduate Studies is the result of long and careful study by the Commission on Graduate Studies and Research, the Faculty Senate, and the University Council.

With respect to this new approved policy, I would like to convey the 'sense' of the recommending agencies. The intent is not to insist upon absolute uniformity in procedures.

When developing procedures for use in the annual evaluation of the progress of graduate students, departmental Graduate Advisory Committees should recognize that the new policy permits flexibility. Departments should formulate review procedures, which call for annual evaluations, that are meaningful and suitable to their particular circumstances. A copy of each departmental procedure should be on file in the Office of the Provost.

Approved Policy: Procedures for Evaluation of the Progress of Graduate Students

Graduate education is a complex activity involving a higher order of student-faculty relationship than is ordinarily found at the undergraduate level. The teacher/student relationship of the undergrduate years is replaced by an evolving partnership of apprentice and mentor, and the development of research sophistication is frequently fostered by intimately shared experiences.

It follows that the evaluation of the graduate student's program is, and must be, dependent in large part upon the judgment of his major professor, augmented by the collective judgment of the members of his assigned committee. To be sure, the University, through the agency of the Graduate School, can define minimal entrance standards and can prescribe general rules governing eligibility for continuation. But the crucial agency in student evaluation is the department in which the student's work is centered, and the crucial evaluator must be his faculty advisor.

It is important, therefore, that each graduate student be fully informed, not only of the University's expectations but of the department's expectations as well. It is incumbent upon each department to prepare, in outline form, a statement for each of its graduate degrees. Such a statement should cover such items as course requirements, the nature and timing of oral and written examinations and the nature of the evaluation that will be given to the thesis. A copy of each departmental statement should be on file in the office of the Graduate School and should be made available to each student at the time of matriculation.

Evaluating the Progress of Graduate Students

The academic standing of each graduate student should be reviewed at the close of each quarter. Grade reports present the basic information to all parties, and these reports are reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School who takes any necessary action in consultation with the department head. (This is current practice.)

Each department is responsible for developing procedures for their graduate advisory committee to use in annual evaluation of the progress of each graduate student. Overall evaluation (including QCA, research progress and the assistantship status) should be conducted by the student's advisory committee at least once a year. For those students who have not yet established an advisory committee, the evaluation should be conducted by the department head or a designated department committee. An indication of the results of the evaluation should be placed permanently in the student's folder and the student should be informed of the results of the committee's annual evaluation. Normally the graduate student would not be present during the actual evaluation process.

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President's Policy Memorandum

URL: http://purl.vt.edu/vtdocs/policies/ppm01