Roles and Responsibilities

The following indicates, in general terms, the roles and responsibilities of various players in graduate education at The University of Arizona. It is not an exhaustive list of the many duties and responsibilities of each party, but an overall view of the relationships among the parties.

The Graduate College

The Graduate Dean, working closely with upper administration, graduate council, faculty senate, directors of graduate studies, other faculty, students, advocates for graduate education and sets the direction for the Graduate community. The College provides a wide range of services, financial as well as academic. The Associate and Assistant Deans are responsible for efficient operations and oversee daily operations. Along with the rest of the Graduate College staff, the deans ensure that policies and procedures are up to date, fairly and consistently administered, and consistent with best practices. The Graduate College participates in the national dialogue about graduate education and collects data to monitor the university’s performance compared to national trends. The Graduate College stands ready to help programs and individual students with any issues that arise.

Graduate Council Member

The Graduate Council by-laws define our mission as:

  • To provide a forum in which matters of concern to graduate education may be discussed and the mission of the Graduate College fulfilled.
  • To work with the Graduate College to review, establish, and update policies affecting graduate education.

To do that effectively, council members have to represent the interests of graduate education as a whole and not just their specific programs. The obligations of council members go beyond attending meetings.

Before each meeting, please:

  • Carefully review proposals and other materials
  • Consult with colleagues and students about agenda items

Between meetings, please:

  • Share information, especially the rationale for council decisions.
  • Seek information. Bring to the council the concerns of your colleagues and students.
  • Keep informed about Graduate education, both in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Volunteer for ad hoc committees. The Graduate College will be asking for help on various special projects through the year.

The Council of Graduate Schools suggests the following as important functions of the Graduate College, and we enlist the help of the Graduate Council on all of them:

  • Articulate a vision of excellence for the Graduate community
  • Provide quality control for all aspects of Graduate education
  • Maintain equitable standards across all academic disciplines
  • Definite what Graduate education is and what it is not
  • Bring an institution-wide perspective to all post baccalaureate endeavors
  • Provide an interdisciplinary perspective
  • Enhance the intellectual community of scholars among both graduate students and faculty
  • Serve as an advocate for Graduate education
  • Emphasize the importance of adequately training future college and university teachers
  • Develop ways for Graduate education to contribute to and enhance undergraduate education
  • Support Graduate student services
  • Serve as an advocate for issues and constituencies critical to the success of Graduate programs

Graduate Council By-Laws
Council of Graduate Schools, “Organization and Administration of Graduate Education,” 2004.

Director of Graduate Studies

Each academic program should have a faculty member who is designated as the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). This person is responsible for the administration of the graduate program, often working with a faculty committee or the entire faculty. In smaller programs, the department head may also serve as the DGS. In larger programs, the DGS duties may be split among two faculty, often with one person handling only graduate admissions or with one person focusing on master’s and another on doctoral programs. The DGS supervises the Graduate Coordinator and is the liaison with the Graduate College. Typically the DGS oversees:

  • Graduate recruitment, especially with regard to students underrepresented in the field
  • Pre-admission advising
  • Graduate admissions
  • First year advising until a Major Professor is identified
  • Administration of qualifying and comprehensive exams
  • Appointment of thesis and dissertation committees
  • Allocation of teaching assistantships, fellowships and other student support
  • Appeals, petitions and other degree certification processes
  • Compliance with Graduate College and University policies
  • Communication of Graduate College policies and procedures to students and faculty
  • Graduate curriculum, including proposals for dual degree, graduate certificates, and accelerated master’s programs
  • Departmental Satisfactory Academic Progress Guidelines and Departmental Handbooks
  • Responses to queries from the Graduate College
  • Annual evaluation of student progress

Graduate Coordinator

Each academic program should have a staff member who is designated as the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator is both the students’ and the Graduate College’s main contact for any and all routine graduate issues. This includes recruitment, admissions, compliance with policies and procedures, exams, and monitoring of student progress and paperwork. Graduate Coordinators must work very closely with their Admissions Specialist and Degree Auditor to ensure smooth processing. The department head and the DGS should involve the Graduate Coordinator in planning and evaluating graduate student processes. The Graduate Coordinator needs to be part of a departmental team that works to efficiently serve students.

Graduate College Degree Auditor

The Degree Auditor monitors graduate student academic progress, completion of degree requirements, and thesis/dissertation review. The Degree Auditor also provides training and support to departments as needed.

Typically the Degree Auditor oversees:

  • The approval of Master’s and Doctoral Plans of Study and assist students dealing with concerns about procedures, timeliness and other processing-related matters.
  • Exam paperwork for Oral Comprehensive and Final Oral Examinations and committee composition.
  • Petitions, changes of degree and Provision to Regular Graduate Status Request as well as International Special Student Request forms.
  • Doctoral Applications to Candidacy.
  • Completion paperwork for Master’s and PhD. students.
  • Approval of dissertation and thesis submissions for archiving.
  • Student requests for leave of absences.
  • That departmental contacts and advisors are informed of procedural and policy changes throughout the course of the year.

Admissions Specialist

The Graduate College Admissions Specialist is both the student’s and the Department’s main contact when questions arise during the admissions process, although assistance can be gained from any of the personnel within the admissions area. The Admissions Specialist can assist the department in determining admissibility through comparability of degree, regional accreditation verification of the previous university or college, and calculation of a GPA comparable to a 4.0 scale. The admissions area provides the following services:

  • Assist prospective students with initial questions or concerns regarding application processes and timelines
  • Processing final admission for recommended students by evaluating official, original transcripts for compliance with minimum requirements
  • Preparation and notification to student of formal admission and information on required materials for matriculation
  • Preparation and management of international documents needed at embassies to gain visas for both ‘F’ and ‘J’ student categories
  • Update or change current applications within the UAccess system
  • Management and transfer of standardized test scores into student or applicant electronic files
  • Data management for returning or incoming students regarding SID, PIN, and name corrections
  • Guidance and training in the use of Graduate Program Description Guide
  • Guidance and training for Graduate College hosting of departmental portion of the on-line application
  • Guidance and training for coordinators to better understand and calculate comparable degrees and GPA’s from international applicants
  • Formal Training for access and use of the UAccess database system
  • Management of the departmental permissions in both MyGradColl and UAccess
  • Annual workshop to review and update Department’s on technology, policy, or procedural changes within the admissions area