The Graduate Council is an Academic Senate committee with jurisdiction over graduate education. It is composed of ten faculty members, the Graduate Dean (ex officio), and two members of the Graduate Student Association. Among other duties, the Graduate Council has responsibility for setting admissions criteria, approving and administering interdisciplinary degrees, reviewing requests for new graduate programs, approving graduate courses, and setting standards for graduate students who wish to be TAs, Teaching Fellows, or recipients of university fellowships. Petitions requesting waivers of requirements, leaves of absence, and extensions of time for degrees must be reviewed by the Council.
Supervised by the Graduate Dean, the Graduate Division carries out the directives of the Graduate Council. The Graduate Division is divided into three sections that serve graduate students:
- Graduate Outreach, Admission and Retention answers inquiries from prospective students, assists departments in screening applicants, evaluates foreign transcripts, and maintains statistics.
- Graduate Financial Support administers fellowships, grants, and fee waivers; handles on-campus employment forms for graduate students; and counsels students on preparation of grant applications and sources of extramural funds.
- Academic Services maintains active student files, processes petitions, conducts degree checks, and interprets academic requirements and policies.
The Faculty Graduate Advisor is an official deputy of the Graduate Dean in matters affecting graduate students or graduate programs in the department. The Graduate Advisor’s signature is the only departmental signature, other than that of the Chair, recognized as official on Graduate Division petitions presented by graduate students.
The Graduate Advisor chairs a committee composed of faculty members appointed by the Department Chair, plus two elected graduate student representatives who participate in policy discussions not related to personnel cases. The committee meets regularly to review all matters concerned with the admission, financial support, teaching assignments, and academic progress of graduate students, as well as to consider any policy issues of concern to the department faculty, the student body, or the Graduate Division. The Graduate Committee is advisory to the Department Chair and to the English faculty as a whole on curricular matters. The committee reviews student reading lists and petitions concerning language requirements, course credits, examinations, and other such matters.
- The selection of advisors. Incoming students will be assigned advisors whose interests appear to match theirs. Both students and advisors may request a change of assignment at any time. This advisor remains in place as a source of advice until the student has found a chair for the second qualifying exam and the dissertation committee. No faculty member should be expected to serve as an advisor to more than five students (including those whose dissertations he or she directs). Advisors on leave for more than one quarter should make arrangements for a temporary substitute.
- The functions of advisors. Advisors must approve their advisees’ course schedules each quarter and must also approve any later modifications (drop/add or grading option change). Advisors should also be consulted about plans for satisfying the language requirements, for selecting a dissertation area and possible committee members, and for scheduling first and second qualifying exams. At the beginning of the fall and spring quarters, students will submit a progress report signed by their individual advisors. This report will be based on a review of the student’s file, on a conference with him or her, and, should both the student and the advisor wish, on a statement of progress written by the student. In any event, the advisor’s report will be made available to the student along with additional comments (if any) by the Graduate Committee. Whether authored by one or more than one person, the report should not exceed one page (a single paragraph will normally be sufficient).
Some problems students face can be addressed outside of the English Department. There are numerous campus organizations that can be of help. These are listed in the Graduate Division's Resources web page: http://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/resources/index.aspx.
Sometimes students experience real problems in their academic work or in academic appointments. Resolutions to these problems should first be sought within the department by using the resources of the Faculty Graduate Advisor, Staff Graduate Advisor and the Department Chair.
The Graduate Division also stands willing to help mediate disputes that cannot be resolved at the departmental level. Call (805) 893-2277 for assistance. There is an established Student Grievance Procedure that can be followed in cases where resolutions are otherwise not possible. These procedures can be found at the UCSB General Catalog.
Disputes with the Dissertation Committee
From time to time disagreements about decisions, deadlines, policies, procedures, and issues of academic judgment may arise between a student and members of their dissertation committee. As in all such disputes, involved parties should, in the spirit of collegiality, attempt to resolve these issues internally.
A student should, therefore, first meet with the chair of the committee (usually her or his advisor) in an effort to resolve the dispute. If the student feels that she or he is unable to do this or if areas of disagreement still remain after this meeting, a written appeal describing the situation and requesting involvement should be addressed within 14 days to the Department Chair. If the Chair is a member of the committee, appeal should be made to the Graduate Advisor, or, if a conflict of interest is also present there, to the department's Graduate Committee as a whole.
The department will act to resolve the issue, or declare it irresolvable, and inform the student in writing within 30 days. If the dispute cannot be resolved within the department, or if the student finds the department’s resolution unacceptable, the student may appeal to the Graduate Dean, who will attempt further resolution. This appeal must be made in writing within 14 days of the department’s decision.
If the Graduate Dean is unable to resolve the dispute to the parties’ satisfaction within 30 days, the graduate student has 14 days to submit a written appeal to the Graduate Council. The Graduate Council must inform the student of its decision within 30 days. In this area, decisions of the Graduate Council are final.