The Graduate Coordinator Role
Graduate College’s Expectations for Graduate Coordinators
There’s a large variety in how different departments are staffed, but there are some common demands for coordinators. Basically we expect coordinators to be both the students’ and our main contact for any and all graduate issues. So from recruitment, to admissions, to compliance with our many policies and procedures, to exams and defenses, the coordinator is expected to monitor students’ progress. That means LOTS of paperwork. But more importantly, we expect coordinators to advise the students, the faculty, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the department head on what needs to be done, when, and how with regard to Graduate College procedures. If coordinators are thorough in overseeing students’ progress, they can identify issues before they become problems. Proactive coordinators prevent many difficult problems. Coordinators must work very closely with their admissions officer and degree auditor to ensure smooth processing. They are responsible not just for adhering to the academic policies and procedures, but also for handling graduate assistantship issues. We consider this a professional position because it goes well beyond ‘paper pushing’. Whenever there’s an issue with a graduate student, coordinators are our first (and often our last) contact. Because faculty, department heads, and Directors of Graduate Studies cannot be expected to be on top of the many policies and procedures, we expect coordinators will be working with them and us to ensure smooth operations. The grad coordinator is the detail person who frees up faculty to focus on their teaching and research. The coordinator needs to be part of a departmental team that works to efficiently serve students. The department head and the DGS should involve the coordinator in planning and evaluating graduate student processes. The Graduate College looks to grad coordinators for input so that we can improve our services. We consider them a part of our administrative team.