Graduate Faculty Policy

0.      Prologue

As specified in UHAP Policy 3.1.04:

Members of the graduate faculty have special privileges and obligations within graduate education, especially related to thesis, dissertation and other culminating capstone project committee roles and membership, as well as graduate student advising and mentorship. Graduate faculty membership is automatically granted to tenured and tenure-track faculty and continuing-status and eligible academic professionals with faculty titles and may be granted selectively to career track faculty or others. The Graduate College, in coordination with the academic colleges and programs, oversees the criteria, processes, and procedures related to the granting, review, and in rare cases of unacceptable performance, the remediation or removal of graduate faculty membership to ensure the quality of graduate programs and delivery of graduate education

1.      Appointment types

1.1 For Appointed UA Faculty

1.1.1. Automatic Membership: Tenure-eligible/tenured faculty and Continuing Status eligible/Continuing Status academic professionals whose CS/E appointment is tied to a faculty title are automatically members of the Graduate Faculty in the programs where they hold FTE.  [Note that a faculty title tied to a different appointment, e.g. a Career track faculty member, does not grant an individual with a CSE/E appointment that is not a faculty title with automatic membership in the graduate faculty ]


1.1.2. Emeritus Faculty. Faculty who have been awarded Emeritus status by the President of the University of Arizona are automatically members of the Graduate Faculty in their programs, so long as they continue evidence of currency in their field.


1.1.3. Career Track faculty. Career Track may be appointed as members of the Graduate Faculty upon the advice of the program they serve. Once appointed, they are considered regular members for the purposes of committee membership. They may also serve as doctoral committee chairs, provided they have received the endorsement to chair doctoral committees


1.1.4. Multiple Program membership: Faculty members may serve on the Graduate Faculty in multiple graduate programs. For example, a faculty member will automatically be appointed to the GF in their home or hiring unit(s). But they may also be appointed to serve in the GF of programs in other units if recommended by the faculty of that program. 


1.1.5. Endorsement to chair a doctoral committeePrograms may request an endorsement to Graduate Faculty membership that would allow graduate faculty members to chair doctoral committees. Faculty who are endorsed to chair a doctoral committee are expected to demonstrate the following:

  • An extended commitment to serve on a student’s committee 
  • A record of providing mentoring and advising to students. In the case of new and early career faculty, this requirement may be waived.
  • Faculty without the endorsement to chair status may serve as co-chairs with a faculty member who has the endorsement. 
  • Note that the roles of faculty mentor, major advisor, major professor must be members of the Graduate Faculty but they do not require the endorsement to chair unless the same faculty member is actually chairing the dissertation committee. However, it is usually the case that the advisor/major professor is in fact the same person that serves as dissertation chair. 


1.1.6. Invited Committee membersA University of Arizona faculty member who does not normally serve as Graduate Faculty in a particular program may be appointed as an invited committee member for the purposes of a particular student’s committee, like a special member. But unlike special members, Invited Members count as “regular faculty” for the purposes of minimum regular faculty composition on committees


1.1.7. Graduate Faculty who are also students: In special cases where members of the Graduate Faculty enroll in a UA graduate program as part of their professional development, they may be permitted to retain their Graduate Faculty appointment. However, they may not supervise, sit on graduate student committees for, or serve as the instructor of record for students that are peers in the graduate program in which they are enrolled. 

1.1.8. Graduate Course Instruction: Faculty and instructors do not need to be members of the Graduate Faculty to teach Graduate Level classes and may be appointed as needed. However, they must have the minimum qualifications listed at:


1.2       For people without a current UA faculty appointment:

1.2.1.  Retired faculty (not emeritus) and other Faculty who have resigned their positions

  • Faculty who have retired without Emeritus status or who have otherwise resigned from their positions, may at the recommendation of their programs and approval of the Graduate College, retain their status as members of the graduate faculty for a period of up to one calendar year. 
  • After one year, former faculty may serve as special members (see 1.2.2 below). They may co-chair a graduate committee along with a current member of the Graduate Faculty. (Appointment form for special members is completed at the time a student files their committee appointment).


1.2.2    Special Members: Uniquely qualified individuals who are not appointed as faculty at the University of Arizona (for example, faculty at other universities, post-doctoral fellows, visiting researchers, Designated Campus Colleagues, or professionals from outside academia with exceptional knowledge in the area of research) may be appointed as special members to graduate committees. These appointments require special review by the Graduate College. (Appointment for special members is made at the time a student files their committee appointment form.) 

2.      Appointment Terms

2.1       Tenured/Tenure eligible/Continuing status/CS-eligible faculty shall be appointed for the duration of their employment at the University, so long as there are no serious problems with performance.  


2.2       For career track faculty, the term of appointments to the Graduate Faculty is for the number of years between Academic Program Reviews or the duration of the faculty member’s appointment to the university, whichever is shorter, so long as there are no serious problems with performance. 


2.3       Membership in the Graduate Faculty ends immediately when a faculty member is terminated with cause from the University.


(see also sections 1.1.2 and sections 1.2 above)

3.      Appointment and Reappointment Process.

3.1       Appointments to the Graduate Faculty

3.1.1.   Each Graduate Program[1] shall define a set of criteria for the appointment of Career Track faculty to the Graduate faculty. The criteria shall be based on academic qualifications. While the criteria should be rigorous, they should also be as inclusive as possible and value faculty expertise. 


3.1.2    Faculty may be appointed to the GF of any program on campus, if appropriately qualified, regardless of where they hold tenure or FTE.  Faculty may be appointed to multiple programs as Graduate faculty.


3.2       Periodic Performance Review and Renewal.

3.2.1    Faculty are not be expected to do any additional reporting. Status in the GF is reviewed as part of already existing review mechanisms (such as annual peer review, P&T review, APR review).

3.2.2    Unless poor performance merits remediation, or excellence merits an increase in status, then tenured and tenure track/CS/CS-eligible faculty shall be automatically renewed without a change in status. Career track faculty should reviewed at the time of their contract renewal or at the time of the 7 year Academic Program Review, whichever comes first.

3.2.3    In the rare case remediation is required for poor performance the procedures in section 6 shall hold. 


3.3       Other Appointment Provisions

3.3.1    Appointments for Special Member Status or as Invited Faculty Status are made at time the a student files their committee appointment form in GradPath. 


3.3.2    Special member status involves submitting a CV for the external member and requires approval of both the program's DGS and the Graduate College. This approval must occur before the student submits their committee appointment form.


4.      Responsibilities of Graduate Faculty

4.1.      Members of the Graduate Faculty inspire, support and advance the graduate students at the university and in their program(s). To this end, the following are typical responsibilities for members of the Graduate Faculty:

  • Regularly teach, mentor, and/or advise graduate students as appropriate in the program, or as contracted for in the faculty member's appointment in the program, department or school.
  • Regularly serve on some service committees in support of graduate education in the program, college, university and/or the discipline (e.g., curriculum, admissions, recruitment, special trainings and workshops for graduate students, student review, Graduate Council, or disciplinary service that supports students).
  • Remain current with research and/or other scholarly, professional and creative practice in the discipline. 
  • Uphold and maintain the ethical standards of their discipline(s), programs, departments, schools, colleges and the University of Arizona.
  • Provide appropriate supervision and advising on graduate coursework and research.
  • Review graduate student work and provide feedback in a timely manner.
  • Be responsive to communication requests from students and other faculty and program/college administration. 
  • Provide graduate students with information about their academic progress each semester.
  • Help students complete their degrees in a timely manner.
  • Provide appropriate support to current and former students in their professional careers (e.g. providing letters of recommendation, support in creating CVs etc.).
  • Provide a healthy educational climate that encourages learning and professional development and is free from any form of discrimination or harassment. 
  • Demonstrate appropriate use of position and power (e.g. authorship considerations, committee membership, funding decisions, graduate workload).
  • If supervising GAs (TAs and RAs), provide the GA with clear expectations of workload and regular feedback.
  • Foster professional development outside the classroom or laboratory. 


4.2       The role of chair has additional special responsibilities 

  • Assume principal responsibility for advising PhD and/or Master’s students.

  • Commit the time for this work and be accessible to the student. Faculty who plan on leaving the institution, taking a sabbatical or retiring should ensure that they will continue to be accessible to the student if they take on the role of chair.

  • Establish appropriate benchmarks with the student to help ensure timely degree completion.
  • Take primary responsibility for the development and administration of the appropriate examinations, including thesis/dissertation work through completion of the degree.
  • In concert with the student’s committee, oversee and approve the candidate’s comprehensive exams, dissertation/thesis proposal, dissertation/thesis research, and final written dissertation/thesis/creative project. 
  • Uphold the standards and quality expected of graduate students in the specific graduate program and their professional field

5.      Graduate Faculty Performance

Performance in the graduate faculty should be regularly evaluated for all GF members using existing review mechanisms. Quality performance should be recognized and performance that requires improvement should be addressed. Activities within the Graduate Faculty should be considered in all of the following processes:

            -Program internal Annual Peer Review

            -Promotion and Tenure and Continuing status/eligible process

            -Academic Program Review

There is no additional review required beyond these already existing review venues.


6.      Remediation for Poor Performance.

6.1       Remediation at the time of regular review.

6.1.1    Recommendations to initiate remediation procedures or suspend GF privileges. 

During the review of GF during the review processes described in section 5, if the program determines that a faculty member does not currently meet the standards for appointment for membership in the GF,then they may recommend remediation, suspension plus remediation, or not be appointed at all. Such a recommendation is expected to be rare and only result from documented significant and persistent problems. Changes in GF status do not affect tenure or other contractual benefits or responsibilities[PMJ-(1] .

  • Within 30 days of the recommendation, the Faculty member must be informed in writing, with a copy to the Graduate College of the nature of the change of status, the reasons for the change in status and any remediation plan required to restore the status. 


6.1.2    Appeal of Remediation

If a faculty member disputes the outcome of 6.1.1, they may request a formal appeal hearing from an ad hoc appeal committee convened by the Graduate Dean[PMJ-(2] . The procedures for this appeal are outlined in Appendix A.

            Faculty may also request that the Graduate College or similar body (e.g. Academic Colleges) first act as a mediator in an informal attempt at dispute resolution through negotiation and discussion. An informal attempt at resolution does not preclude a formal review hearing. 


6.2       Extraordinary Review and Remediation

6.2.1    Extraordinary Review triggered by student grievances

In the event that one or more formal student grievance procedures against a faculty member is successful (this only applies when the grievances are adjudicated through the formal procedures in, then the Dean of the Graduate College may initiate an extraordinary review of the faculty member’s status in the GF.


6.2.2    Extraordinary review triggered by administrative processes

The Director of Graduate Studies, Department Head, Dean of an academic college, Dean of the Graduate College, or Provost may also request that the Graduate College conduct an extraordinary formal review of a faculty member's status in the Graduate Faculty, provided they have strong evidence of systematic poor performance. (Examples include a clear pattern of student complaints, evidence of a pattern of student neglect or abuse, violation of UA policies, failure to maintain academic standards, failure to meet the terms of a remediation plan or contract, etc.; other situations may also merit review). The Graduate College may also independently initiate such a review if significant evidence merits it. 


6.2.3    Extraordinary review procedures

In the event an extraordinary review is required, then the Dean of the Graduate College shall appoint a committee of members of the graduate faculty to review the case and make a recommendation about the faculty member's GF status. Possible outcomes may include, no change in status, no change in status with a plan for remediation, a temporary suspension of status with a remediation plan, and in extreme cases, revocation of status.  Remediatory or punitive recommendations are expected to be rare and only result from significant and persistent problems. 

  • Within 30 days of the recommendation, the Faculty member must be informed in writing of the nature of the change of status, the reasons for the change in status and any remediation plan required to restore the status. 
  • Such a recommendation is expected to be rare and only result from significant and persistent problems. Changes in GF status do not affect tenure status or other contractual benefits or responsibilities.


6.2.4    Appeal of Extraordinary review

The faculty member may appeal the results of the extraordinary review using the procedures in Appendix A, except instead, the complainant is considered to be the Graduate College and the convening authority for the appeal is the Provost's office. The final decision rests with the Provost. 


6.2.5    Other Venues for Conflict Resolution.


This policy does not preclude investigations, grievances and appeals for faculty through other university venues such as those covered under UHAP: and the Office of Institutional Equity:


Resolution of conflicts may also be pursued through the University Ombuds Office:


Graduate Student grievances and appeals are addressed through the policies at

Appendix A: Appeal Procedures. 

A1. Appeal of Remediation Review

If a faculty member disputes the change of status or remediation requirements set out by the conditions in section 6.1, they may request an appeal hearing from an ad hoc appeal committee convened by the Graduate Dean.

A1.1     The request for an appeal hearing must be received by the Graduate Dean within 30 days of the notification described in 6.1.1. This request must include a detailed explanation of the foundation for the appeal. 

A1.2     The ad hoc committee shall be composed of 5-8 members of the Graduate Faculty writ large. The committee members shall be composed of disinterested parties from outside the unit that initiated the change.

A1.3     The DGS of the program recommending or a representative shall provide a written response to the appeal.

A1.4     All members of the hearing committee and all parties to the appeal will receive a copy of the appeal and the department's response. All parties may present evidence in the hearing. All parties may provide witnesses. Committee members may question anyone presenting evidence during the hearing. Only evidence presented at the hearing and those documents submitted up to the time of the hearing will be considered in the adjudication of the appeal.

A1.5     The burden of proof in the hearing lies with the unit requesting a change or suspension of status. 

A1.6     At the hearing, the appellant will first present his/her case to the hearing committee. They may have one advisor present. That person will play an advisory role only and shall not present or participate in the presentation of the appellant’s case at the hearing. If the appellant elects to have an attorney as an advisor, the Graduate College must be notified at least two weeks before the scheduled hearing.

A1.7     The program or appropriate academic unit shall also present its case before the hearing committee. The appellant and the department or appropriate academic unit shall each have the right to rebuttal. There is an expectation that such interactions will be conducted in a professional manner.

A1.8     If the parties in the hearing fail to behave professionally, the chair of the committee may immediately suspend the hearing.

A1.9     After each party has presented its case and left the hearing room, the hearing committee will begin its deliberations. Additional meetings of the hearing committee may be required for deliberation. Within 15 class days, the chair will communicate the hearing committee's recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate College who will render the final decision. The Dean will inform the appellant and their home department and college in writing within 15 days of the report from the hearing committee and the final decision.

A1.10   The ad hoc committee may recommend reversing the change in status or leave the change in status in place with a clearly articulated remediation plan that will allow the faculty member guidance in how to get their GF status reinstated. 

A1.11   Final decision rests with the Dean of the Graduate College. No further appeal is permitted.

A1.12   If the status is suspended or lowered, the faculty member can petition to the Dean of the Graduate have it reinstated no sooner than 4 academic semesters from the time of the final decision, except where the remediation plan dictates a shorter time-frame. 


A2         Appeal of Extraordinary review

The faculty member may appeal the results of the extraordinary review using the same procedures as in D1, except the complainant is considered to be the Graduate College and the convening authority for the appeal is the Provost's office. The final decision rests with the Provost. 


[1] Or a coherent set of graduate programs that have close intersections and relationships. 


Approved by Graduate Management Team, July 5, 2019

Approved by GPERC, August 15, 2019

Consent given by Dean's Council, October 1, 2019

Approved by Graduate Council, October 4, 2019