Maintaining Records and Monitoring Progress
Maintaining Student Records
Accurate records are necessary if the DGS is to be effective in counseling students and monitoring progress. In addition to a file for correspondence and information about the student, the DGS should maintain a running cumulative record of the student’s accomplishments, which includes the following information:
- Courses taken and grades received
- Transfer credit – what and how much
- Number of hours taken each semester
- Cumulative hours earned
- Dates when language requirements, if appropriate, were met
- Results of preliminary and qualifying examinations
- Number of incompletes
- Record of financial aid
- List of Ph.D. Committee members
- All communications with the student from DGS, adviser, Graduate School
About one month after the beginning of each semester, the Graduate School sends to the DGS a copy of an updated transcript that the Graduate School has generated for each student in his/her program. This should be used by the DGS to monitor the student’s progress and help make decisions about the next semester’s registration. Also, if the department sends a request to the Graduate School, the DGS can be added to their students’ records to access by AAI (Access to Academic Information), which allows the DGS to monitor this information online.
Monitoring Student Progress
As information is added to the student’s record, the DGS will need to review the record to determine if progress is satisfactory and that no problems have arisen. Again, this should be done at a meeting with the student and his/her adviser. Has the semester’s work been satisfactory? Have there been delays in meeting requirements? The Graduate School also reviews student progress each semester. Students who have failed to maintain standards may be placed on academic probation or dismissed by the Graduate School.
Careful attention should be made to the following when reviewing students’ progress:
Grade point average. Average should be B (3.0) or above. A student will receive a letter from the Graduate School placing him/her on probation if his/her cumulative GPA falls below a 3.0. If this continues through the next semester and in consultation with the DGS, the student may be dismissed
Number of hours completed. Attention should be given to the number of hours in formal course work – seminars, classes, and dissertation research credits. If the student has more hours than required, he/she should be discouraged and prohibited from registering for more coursework. It is an unnecessary expense for the student or the department/program.
Language Requirements (if required). The DGS should ensure that meeting the language requirements is not delayed so that it interferes with the completion of graduate studies. The results should be conveyed to the Graduate School as soon as completed so they may be posted on the student’s transcript.
Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination is a major step in a Ph.D. program, but students’ apprehension must not permit an unreasonable delay in taking the examination. A student should pass the Qualifying Examination no later than the end of their fourth year (8 semesters) of graduate studies. Requests for an extension of this deadline should include an explanation of the need for an extension, and must be approved by the Graduate School.
The recommendation for appointments to a student’s Ph.D. Committee is the responsibility of the DGS, the student’s adviser and the student. Members of the Ph.D. Committee should be Graduate Faculty. All Ph.D. committees appointed must be comprised of at least 4 faculty members, three from the student’s department and one from outside the department. There may be more than 4 members on a committee. The Graduate School may approve one non-Graduate Faculty member to serve on a committee. This requires a letter of justification, i.e., why this person should be on this committee, and a copy of the proposed committee member’s curriculum vitae. It is very important for the Graduate School to receive requests to appoint the Ph.D. Committee and schedule the qualifying examination at least two weeks before the date of the examination. This is necessary in order to approve and appoint the committee and to verify the status of the student. A student must have completed his/her 24 hours of didactic coursework and must have passed the language requirement, if required, before taking the exam. The results form indicating the outcome (pass or fail) should be sent to the Graduate School immediately after the examination. The Qualifying Examination results form must be signed by the DGS. A student is usually given two opportunities to pass the examination. If unsuccessful on the second attempt, the student is officially dismissed from the Graduate School unless he/she has been given the option of receiving a Master’s Degree.
Progress on the dissertation. After the qualifying examination is passed, there is a four-year (8 semesters) limit for completing the dissertation. An extension beyond this time can be sought and given with the approval of the Graduate School. The DGS should determine that adequate progress is being made through reports from the adviser and the Ph.D. Committee and conferences with the student. The Ph.D. Committee should check the dissertation progress at least semi-annually and report to the DGS any concerns.
The DGS must maintain continuing relationship with the out-of-residence Ph.D. candidates to remind them of deadlines for completing the work and to encourage the committee to read and return materials quickly.
It is also the responsibility of the DGS or the Chair of the Ph.D. Committee to notify the Graduate School of the date, time, and place of the defense and the title of the dissertation. Since this is a public event, information about the defense should be provided at least two weeks prior to the examination to allow time for posting and circulating the information throughout the university. It is also important that the DGS ensure that the signed results form be sent to the Graduate School immediately after the Dissertation Defense. Once the student submits an Intent to Graduate form, the Registrar of the Graduate School will send a form for the DGS to complete to ensure further that the student has indeed met all the requirements of the program and the Graduate School and is eligible for graduation. There are three graduation dates – May, August and December. Those students receiving degrees in August and December may participate in the May graduation ceremony.