Evaluation of Graduate Students

Each year students are evaluated to determine whether they are making satisfactory progress towards their degree. Except for first-year students who have an assigned mentor, evaluations are completed each spring by the chair of the supervisory committee in consultation with the supervisory committee (if formed) and after speaking with the student about her/his accomplishments and future plans. The supervisory committee chair writes a letter to the graduate coordinator stating whether the student is making satisfactory progress in these areas:

I. Course work: including maintaining a 3.0 GPA; limiting the number of incomplete grades to only 1; taking an adequate number of courses.

II. Supervisory committee composition and meetings: M.A. students by the end of the first year and Ph.D. students by the end of the second year are expected to create a supervisory committee, and to arrange meetings with that committee at least once each year.

III. Progress toward the degree: making progress towards defining their research interests and funding opportunities; fulfilling degree requirements (including language acquisition as negotiated with the supervisory committee); completing qualifying exams; undertaking field research and specialized training; etc.

IV. Professional development: Students are expected to develop papers for presentation at national and international meetings as well as seek to publish their work during their graduate career.

If a lack of progress is indicated on the evaluation, the supervisory committee chair, in consultation with the supervisory committee, graduate coordinator, and the student, should indicate what actions must be taken by the students and the deadline for completing those actions (e.g., within one semester) to avoid sanctions. Failure to meet criteria for satisfactory progress may result in suspension of fellowship and assistantship support as specified by the Graduate School, and dismissal from the graduate program.

Failure to form and maintain a supervisory committee under the guidelines stated in the Graduate Catalog and in the time frame indicated above shall be considered unsatisfactory progress and enrollment in the program will normally be terminated by the chair of the department, in consultation with the chair of the supervisory committee and the graduate coordinator.

Retention of Financial Awards: The retention of fellowships and assistantships is predicated on satisfactory academic progress as well as satisfactory performance of assigned tasks. If academic progress is not being made or assigned tasks are not being carried out in a satisfactory manner, the department can and will withdraw an award. Students who earn less than a 3.0 GPA in two consecutive semesters may be terminated from the department’s programs.

Evaluation of Assistantships: One unsatisfactory evaluation will precipitate a stern warning from the graduate coordinator, a supervisory chair, or another designated faculty member. Two unsatisfactory evaluations may result in termination of departmental funding, as determined by the department chair in consultation with the graduate coordinator.

Unsatisfactory Progress: The Department will dismiss from the program students not making satisfactory progress toward a degree. The grounds for dismissal include the following:

1. Failure to establish a supervisory committee with the numbers of faculty members and within the time frames specified above.

2. Failure to have a program of study approved by the supervisory committee and/or its chairperson.

3. A graduate GPA of less than 3.0 for more than one semester.

4. Failure in two qualifying exams, or a second failure in a single, previously-failed qualifying exam area. In that case, the supervisory committee will assess whether the failed qualifying exam(s) is (are) of sufficient quality to count as the final written and oral examinations for the non-thesis Masters option and, thus, enable the candidate to receive a terminal MA.

5. A determination by a majority vote of the supervisory committee that satisfactory progress has not been made in course work, language acquisition, or toward the successful completion of qualifying exams or dissertation. Students may not re-constitute an established supervisory committee to avoid a negative vote. If a vote is taken but a majority does not vote to dismiss the student from the program, the committee as a whole, or members of it, may advise the student to reconfigure the committee or to consider a voluntary withdrawal from the program.

6. A judgment by the supervisory committee meeting in the final examination that the dissertation is unacceptable.

7. The passage of five years from the date of admission to candidacy without the submission of an acceptable dissertation. ( See Graduate School Catalog.)

8. A confirmed case of plagiarism or academic dishonesty in any assignment during the course of the program.

The chair of the department and/or the graduate coordinator shall inform students in writing when a determination of unsatisfactory progress and a corresponding termination decision has been reached.

Rules on Grades and Dismissal: Grades below “B” in either the M.A. or the Ph.D. program indicate a failure to master material at an acceptable level. One grade less than “B” will precipitate a warning from the graduate coordinator, a supervisory chair, or another designated faculty member. Two grades less than “B” (either in the same semester or in different semesters) constitute evidence of unsatisfactory progress, and a meeting with the supervisory committee to consider dismissal from the program is in order.

The Graduate School permits students to carry incompletes into one new semester. If incompletes are not made up during the next semester in residence, they will turn into failing grades. A student carrying two or more incompletes at the beginning of the fall semester will, in most cases, lose an assistantship for that semester and remain ineligible for an assistantship until the incompletes are removed.