Policy Changes 2016

 
Policy on Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions (approved Feb 4, 2016)

Graduate credit taken in residence at an international institution or at a regionally accredited U.S. institution may be transferred when recommended by the student’s major professor, advisory committee, graduate coordinator, and when also approved by the dean of the Graduate School. Such transfer credit must fall within the time limits of the degree. Students seeking transfer credit must provide documentary evidence showing that the course is comparable to similar graduate courses at Auburn University and relevant to the student’s plan of study. Students must also provide an official transcript showing credit earned for the course. No prior commitment is made concerning whether transfer credit will be accepted. A student must earn at least 24 semester hours, or half of the total hours required for a master’s degree, whichever is greater, at Auburn University. A program that requires 30 hours of credit will be limited to 6 semester hours of transfer credit. The total number of credit hours that may be transferred from another accredited institution towards a doctoral degree varies by program but must be less than 50% of the credit hours listed on the Plan of Study. Such transfer credit 1) must fall within the time limits of the degree; and 2) must be approved by the advisory committee and the dean of the Graduate School. In the case of graduate degree programs offered through joint, cooperative, or consortial agreements, the student must earn a majority of credits from the participating institutions. No transfer credit will be approved without an official transcript. No course on which a grade lower than B was earned may be transferred. Additionally, credit will not be allowed if the combined GPA on graduate work taken at other schools is less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, nor may transfer credit be used to improve the GPA on courses taken at Auburn University.

Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program may use a limited amount of course work taken at another accredited university to meet certificate requirements, with the approval of the program faculty and the Graduate School.*  The total number of credits transferred shall not exceed 40% of the total required for the Certificate.  Total credits allowed to transfer may be less as determined by the Certificate Program.  Such transfer credit must fall with the time limits of the certificate program.  Students must provide an official transcript showing credit earned for the course and documentary evidence that the course is comparable to similar graduate courses in the certificate program at Auburn University.  No course on which a grade lower than B was earned may be transferred.

*A student may not use the same graduate course for both undergraduate and graduate credit.

 

Revised Policy for the Master’s and Doctoral Advisory Committees (approved March 3, 2016)

 

Doctoral Degrees

Advisory Committee and Plan of Study.  After the student has enrolled in the doctoral program, an advisory committee should be selected by the student, major professor and department/program head or chair. The advisory committee is responsible for developing the student’s Plan of Study and conducting the doctoral general and final examinations. It should consist of at least four members of the Auburn University Graduate Faculty. Additional voting members may be appointed to the committee (including no more than one non-Auburn University faculty member, who must hold the terminal degree in the field). A majority of the Auburn University affiliated committee members, including the major professor, must be members of the Graduate faculty at Level 2. The major professor must also be a graduate faculty member in the department/program granting the degree. The formal appointment of the advisory committee occurs when the Plan of Study is approved by the Graduate School. The Plan of Study should be prepared by the student and the advisory committee and filed with the Graduate School at least one term prior to the term in which the student plans to graduate. The Graduate School recognizes that changes may be warranted, and a form is available for amendments as required by student needs, research interests and course availability.


Master’s Degrees

Advisory Committee.  The student works under the direction of an advisory committee composed of three members recommended by the appropriate department/program head or chair. Two must be members of the Auburn University graduate faculty. The committee chair (or one of the co-chairs) must be a graduate faculty member in the department/program granting the degree. This committee will approve the student’s program of study, conduct required examinations and direct the required field project or thesis. Students in a teaching field (e.g., music education, science education, foreign language education) work under a committee composed of at least two members from the College of Education and one member from a related academic field.

Sexual and Gender Based Misconduct Policy Training for Auburn University Graduate Assistants (approved June 7, 2016)

The Graduate School requires that all Graduate Assistants (including Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, and Graduate Extension Assistants) have approved AU Sexual and Gender Based Misconduct policy training as a condition for continued appointment. The specific form of the required training will be determined in consultation by the Graduate School and the Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity. The policy is effective beginning August 1, 2016.

Graduate Assistant Performance Improvement and Administrative Action Policy (approved August 2, 2016)

FAILURE TO SATISFY PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

Performance Improvement Meetings – In addition to regularly scheduled performance reviews, when a supervisor determines that a graduate assistant is failing to meet satisfactory performance standards, the supervisor will meet with the assistant. Together, they will review the duties and responsibilities expected of the graduate assistant, and the supervisor will identify those areas in which the performance of those duties and responsibilities is judged to be unsatisfactory. The supervisor will then advise the graduate assistant that if his or her performance does not improve to a satisfactory level within a time period specified by the supervisor, the assistantship will be terminated. The time period established by the supervisor should provide a sufficient and reasonable time for the graduate assistant to demonstrate a satisfactory level of performance. In some instances, the graduate assistant’s failure to meet satisfactory standards of performance may be disruptive of the educational process (e.g., failure to appear for a teaching assignment, or failure to grade examinations in a timely fashion). In such instances, the graduate student should be advised that any subsequent failure to meet satisfactory performance standards may result in termination of the assistantship. As soon as possible following this meeting (generally within three working days) the supervisor will provide the assistant with a written summary of the meeting, including notice of areas of unsatisfactory performance and the time period specified for improvement to a satisfactory level. A copy will be sent to the department chair for review/approval and to the dean of the Graduate School.

Termination of an Assistantship — If a graduate assistant fails to meet acceptable standards of performance as prescribed in the performance improvement meeting, the supervisor will notify the department chair. The department chair will schedule a meeting with the supervisor and graduate assistant as soon as possible, generally within three working days. At that meeting, the graduate assistant’s performance will again be reviewed. If it is concluded that the graduate assistant has failed to meet acceptable performance standards, the department chair may terminate the graduate assistantship appointment. The department chair will provide a written notice summarizing the meeting and the action taken to the supervisor, graduate assistant, the dean of the college, and the dean of the Graduate School within five working days of the meeting.

ACTS OF MISCOUNDUCT AND UNPROFESSIONALISM – Acts of misconduct or unprofessionalism may require prompt action. Such acts may include, but are not limited to

  1. Refusing to obey reasonable and necessary instructions or job assignments, insubordination, or using abusive or unprofessional language in the workplace.
  2. Indulging in offensive or obscene manner.
  3. On University property, drinking intoxicants or using illegal drugs.
  4. Stealing or misappropriating University property or property belonging to students or university employees.
  5. Scientific misconduct

Appropriate actions include termination of an assistantship, suspension of an assistantship for a specified period, and reduction of the FTE and/or benefits associated with that assistantship.  If a supervisor believes a graduate assistant has engaged in such an act of misconduct or unprofessionalism, the following steps are to be taken.

For incident(s) of unprofessional acts or behavior which violate accepted norms of professional conduct, the supervisor will provide notice of the proposed administrative action to the graduate assistant and document the situation in a written report.  In such cases, the graduate assistant may be placed on immediate administrative leave with pay from the assistantship duties, at the discretion of the supervisor. The report will be provided to the department chair to whom the supervisor reports, who will schedule a meeting with the supervisor and graduate assistant as soon as possible, generally within three working  days. At that meeting, the incident(s) will be reviewed and the proposed administrative action may be affirmed, amended, or overturned by the department chair.  The department chair will provide a written notice summarizing the meeting and his/her decision regarding administrative action to the supervisor, graduate assistant, the dean of the college, and the dean of the Graduate School within five working days of the meeting.

Additionally, for misconduct covered by the Student Code of Conduct or the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the case will also be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Acts of misconduct may include, but are not limited to, theft, fraud, physical altercation, and sexual harassment, as defined in the Student Code of Conduct and the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Supervisors and students should be aware that termination or reduction of the FTE of an assistantship, will have large financial impacts, which can be particularly problematic for a student if termination or FTE reduction occurs before the last class day of a semester. A description of the rules regarding graduate assistant benefits, including tuition fellowships http://graduate.auburn.edu/current-students/guidelines-for-graduate-tuition-fellowships/#1460317892963-152df5d5-786c and health insurance http://graduate.auburn.edu/graduate-student-health-insurance-program/ at the indicated links.

Appealing  Action Regarding an Assistantship  —  If a graduate assistant wishes to appeal a decision of administrative action regarding an assistantship, including termination, he/she may file a written appeal within five working  days of receipt of the department  chair’s written notice with the dean of that college. The graduate assistant will be notified in writing of the result of the appeal within five working days of the submission of the written appeal. The decision resulting from this process is final and not subject to further appeal.

Types of Graduate Assistantships (approved August 2, 2016)

 

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs)

A Graduate Teaching Assistant must meet eligibility requirements and be supervised by an appropriate graduate faculty member.  The GTA’s primary responsibility is to support the instructional mission of the University.  For a student to be classified as a GTA, at least 50% of the student’s responsibility as a teaching assistant must be devoted to the direct instruction of students, typically in a classroom or laboratory setting.* The GTA’s responsibilities may also include, for example:  advising or mentoring of students; proctoring exams; grading papers, homework, and/or projects; preparing instructional materials; or providing other general assistance in the instructional process. GTAs may not be given duties to support faculty research or duties primarily clerical in nature.  Whatever their instructional responsibilities, GTAs must be supervised by a faculty member who is responsible for monitoring and evaluating their performance at least on an annual basis.  GTAs who have no prior teaching experience must be given some form of training before being allowed to teach.  Any GTA with primary responsibility for a course must have a minimum of 18 semester hours of graduate course credit in that field of instruction.

*GTAs are not permitted to serve as instructor of record for courses numbered 6000 or above, although they may assist with laboratories for such courses.  Additionally, they may not teach or assist with a course in which they are enrolled.

 Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs)

A Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) must meet eligibility requirements and be supervised by an appropriate graduate faculty member.  The GRA’s primary duty is to engage in original, professional-level research under a faculty member’s supervision in the course of obtaining a graduate degree. The faculty supervisor determines the students’ specific duties and is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the GRA’s performance at least on an annual basis.

 Graduate Extension Assistants (GEAs) 

A Graduate Extension Assistant must meet eligibility requirements and be supervised by an appropriate graduate faculty member or extension agent.  GEAs are responsible for various kinds of extension work and interaction with the public.  The various branches of the Extension Service award these assistantships.  A faculty member or extension agent should be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the performance of GEAs at least on an annual basis.

 Graduate Assistants (GAs)

Graduate Assistants must meet eligibility requirements and be supervised by a faculty member, administrator, or other appropriate university employee.  GAs are responsible for duties other than teaching, research, or extension.    These responsibilities can be varied and could include performing administrative duties not related to the GA’s field of study or the instructional or research missions of the university.  Whatever their responsibilities, GAs should be supervised by a faculty member, administrator, or other appropriate university employee who is responsible for monitoring and evaluating their performance at least on an annual basis.

*Tuition waivers for graduate assistants not engaged in teaching, research, or extension are subject to taxation and income tax withholding.

 

Second Master’s Degree Policy
Approved by the Graduate Council October 5, 2016

For a second master’s degree, the student fulfills all requirements applicable to any other master’s degree, including the thesis, if appropriate. The student may, on recommendation of the advisory committee, transfer a limited number of credit hours from the previous master’s degree. At least 24 semester hours, or 50% of the total hours required for the degree (whichever is greater) must be unique to each degree and be taken at Auburn University.

Last modified: March 8, 2017