Graduate Council

Role of the Council

The Graduate Council is an advisory panel to the Dean of the Graduate School, and may advise the dean on any subject with which he/she deals. This includes, but is not limited to, reviewing requests for new graduate degree programs or changes in existing degree programs, reviewing requests for concentrations, reviewing the rules and regulations of the Graduate School and/or suggesting revisions thereto. In addition, the Graduate Council reviews nominations for Graduate Faculty membership and reviews and recommends certain graduate student awards. A subcommittee of the Graduate Council serves as the faculty advisory committee to the Provost (see PS-36T).

 

Membership on the Graduate Council

The Graduate Council consists of 17 members of the  graduate faculty. The Dean of the Graduate School and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School are ex officio members and attend each meeting. Each member serves a five year term, with the terms being staggered. Members are appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the Dean of the Graduate School.

 

Meetings of the Graduate Council

The Graduate Council generally meets at least once a month during the academic year. It does not normally meet during the summer. The time and place of the meetings are determined each semester to best fit the schedules of the Council members.

 

Previous History

The Board of Supervisors (BOS) requires LSU to maintain a graduate faculty. The BOS designates the categories of membership as Full member, Associate member, and Affiliate member, but does not stipulate the credentials necessary for membership in each category. The credentials that are spelled out in the current Graduate Catalog and Faculty Handbook have been in existence since at least 1974, and probably longer. The BOS does not indicate that review must occur on a cyclic basis, and indeed there was a time when cyclic review did not occur.

On November 14, 1974 James Traynham, Vice-Chancellor for Advanced Studies and Research and Dean of the Graduate School, wrote,

The ultimate responsibility for the quality of the Graduate Faculty, and therefore the quality and reputation of the graduate programs, lies with the department offering the program, and we propose to shift the major responsibility for Graduate Faculty membership from the Graduate Council to the department chairman and faculty.

At that time the departments were requested to submit new nominations for Graduate Faculty status to the Graduate Council, and the Council would accept the nominations as presented.

A subsequent Board of Regents review of programs commended five programs for excellence in graduate education, but also pointed out that some programs were not meeting expectations. Thus, the attempt to place membership on the Graduate Faculty in the hands of the departments was deemed unsuccessful, and on May 3, 1978 Dean Traynham wrote, “The Graduate Council is concerned that some present Members of the Graduate Faculty lack the credentials that are considered necessary for current approval of nominations of persons as Members.” Following this memo, the five-year cyclic review process was initiated. When Carolyn Hargrave became Acting Dean of the Graduate School, she continued with the cyclic review process as shown by her letters to department chairs of August 4, 1978 and November 7, 1978.

The cyclic review process has been in use at LSU for 23 years. It has been a help in obtaining and maintaining our status as a Research I University and now as a Research Extensive University, and it has been a factor in the overall improvement of graduate education on the campus. The present administration of the Graduate School as well as the Graduate Council feel that the university and the faculty are now mature enough to forgo the five-year cyclic review. With this in mind, and after several semesters of discussion, in December 2001 the Graduate Council recommended to the Dean that the cyclic nature of the review should be eliminated and replaced with the procedure described herein. After review and approval by the various campus entities, this policy became effective April 1, 2002.  This process has been in review at various times until recently clarified in the following memorandum of understanding.  The approved policy is summarized therein.

November 30, 2009

From:            David Constant, Interim Dean
                      The Graduate School                                                         

Through:      Astrid Merget, Executive Vice-Chancellor and Provost
                      Office of Academic Affairs

To:                 Michael Martin, Chancellor
                      Office of the Chancellor

Re:                 Memorandum of Understanding of Graduate Faculty Membership

The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to clarify Graduate Faculty membership status for Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.  Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College is engaged with a number of affiliate units in its activities, including but not limited to the Louisiana Transportation Research Center, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, U.S. Geological Survey and LSU Agricultural Center.  The following clarification of Graduate Faculty membership status is based on a recent review of over 200 Graduate Faculty nominations by the Graduate Council, based on votes on membership status of nominations after review by the Graduate Council Graduate Faculty Review Subcommittee, coupled with several discussions with the Graduate School and Office of Academic Affairs.  The policy contained in this MOU was approved by the Graduate Council in its November 2009 regular meeting.

Because Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College recognizes that our students benefit significantly from the exceptional scholars whose appointments reside within affiliate units, our credentialing processes provide for important, substantive and long-term relationships between these scholars and our graduate programs. Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College values these relationships and seeks to strengthen those interactions while fulfilling our accreditation mandates. The current and future basis for maintaining, evaluating and defining Graduate Faculty is found in the Commission on Colleges, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) publication titled “The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement”, 2008 (3rd) Edition, Section 3.7, pp. 28-29.  With respect to Graduate Faculty status at Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Section 3.7 states:

3.7.1  “The institution (meaning Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College – units noted in the first paragraph are not engaged in SACS accreditation processes) employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution.” … “For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and documenting the qualifications of its faculty.”

3.7.2  “The institution regularly evaluates the effectiveness of each faculty member in accord with published criteria, regardless of contractual or tenured status.”

The Graduate School, via the Graduate Council and its Graduate Faculty Review Sub-committee, fully embraces the principles above from SACS in its review and determination of Graduate Faculty membership at regular intervals.  Furthermore, the Graduate School, representing all graduate programs at Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College maintains complete records of the status of Graduate Faculty.  The categories of membership are briefly described below:

Full Member – Determines policies of the Graduate School, engages in all graduate education activities, nominates faculty for Graduate Faculty membership, chairs theses and dissertation committees. Usually new or newly promoted associate professors and full professors (tenured or tenure-track in units offering work for graduate credit).

Associate Member – Engages in all graduate education activities and chairs theses and dissertation committees. Usually new assistant professors (tenure-track in units offering work for graduate credit).

Research Affiliate – May serve on graduate committees but may not serve as sole chair of a committee without approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.  In certain cases of clearly demonstrated outstanding scholarship, the Dean of the Graduate School may provide case-by case or blanket administrative approval for those individuals to chair committees.  May engage in instructional activities at the masters and doctoral levels.  These three-year memberships are available to individuals whose appointments reside in units not offering work for graduate credit or whose appointments are not tenure-track.

Professional Affiliate – May engage in instruction at the masters level. May engage in instruction at the doctoral level, but only with permission of the Dean of the Graduate School.  May serve on masters thesis committees but not normally chair without approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.  An individual who is eligible for Associate or Full Membership is ineligible.  Also, individuals whose professional activities are a function of their LSU employment are ineligible.

A key element in evaluation of faculty for membership includes but is not limited to demonstration of a current and sustained record of scholarly activity, as found in vetting candidates through Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College  in hiring, and promotion and tenure processes.  This review and assessment of qualifications is the sole responsibility of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College and is critical to both the Graduate Faculty and SACS faculty credentialing requirements.  This responsibility cannot be delegated to nor does it extend to units associated with Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College appointments.  All individuals engaged in graduate education are vetted on a regular basis through Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College’s hiring, promotion and tenure, and Graduate Faculty status reviews.  It should be noted that Graduate Faculty status, with its inherent regular review process, is essential at the institutional level for SACS accreditation, “regardless of contractual or tenured status” (Section 3.7.2). 

Therefore, this MOU clarifies Graduate Faculty membership categories as follows:

Associate and Full Memberships of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College Graduate Faculty are only available to faculty with tenured or tenure-track appointments paid in full or in part by Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.  Faculty seeking membership with 100% appointments (tenured or tenure-track) in units not within Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, i.e., not vetted through Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, such as those described in the first paragraph of this MOU, are eligible only for Research Affiliate or Professional Affiliate Membership.  Likewise, individuals with partial or full salary paid by Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College that are not tenure-track are eligible only for Research Affiliate or Professional Affiliate Membership.  In certain cases of outstanding scholarship the Dean of the Graduate School may provide blanket administrative approval for Research Affiliate Members to chair graduate committees.  Also, the Dean of the Graduate School will review nominations on a case-by-case basis, for administrative approval of graduate committee chairs as set forth on page two of this MOU for Research Affiliate and Professional Affiliate Graduate Faculty members. 

Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College maintains strong graduate programs and our students benefit from the scholarly expertise among our faculty as well as those scholars who reside in our affiliate units.  The credentialing process detailed in this memorandum ensures the capability and capacity of faculty to conduct graduate research and education as mandated by the Flagship Agenda and by our SACS accreditation.