Graduate students and graduate faculty are expected to familiarize themselves with and abide by the guidelines contained in the departmental graduate program handbook, which provides a detailed account of graduate program timelines, milestones, and procedures. Graduate students are expected to attend all fall and spring cohort meetings, as well as required meetings on other topics, and to use these meetings for further clarification about yearly milestones. Graduate faculty are expected to attend every yearly graduate assessment faculty meeting.
This Statement of Expectations document is supplementary to the departmental graduate program handbook, and clarifies expectations for the roles of advisers, committee members, and doctoral students.
- Expectations of faculty around recruiting: graduate faculty are expected to attend annual recruiting events (and at a minimum, the annual recruiting lunch, dinner, or mixer).
- Expectations of faculty around communication: faculty who are not on leave are expected to respond to current graduate student emails within 4 business days, and are expected to provide timely feedback on exam lists, chapters, etc. (The precise timelines and methods of feedback for exam lists and the chapter meeting are described in the graduate program handbook; for subsequent chapters, the usual timeline for response should be 2-3 weeks after receipt of a draft.) Faculty going on leave are expected to communicate beforehand in written form (e.g., email) with graduate students with whom they are working a communication protocol, including how quickly the faculty member and graduate student will respond to emails, and how quickly the faculty member can respond to drafts. For all faculty, communication between faculty and graduate students should be conducted in professional language. All graduate faculty are expected to respond to all direct inquiries from graduate students in the department (even if only to respond that the faculty member cannot help).
- Expectations of faculty feedback on fellowship applications and job materials: for students in years 1 and 2, the faculty mentor is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on fellowship applications (e.g., Summer Research Fellowships) prior, as well as subsequently, to the initial submission of these documents to the DGS office; for students in years 3+, the dissertation director is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on fellowship applications (e.g., Summer Research, Graduate School, and external fellowships) prior to submission of these documents to the DGS office; in addition, for students in later years seeking jobs, the dissertation director is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on application materials prior to these being vetted by the departmental Placement Officer.
- Expectations of faculty feedback on articles/essays intended for publication: the dissertation director is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on drafts of articles/essays intended for publication.
- Expectations of faculty feedback on pedagogical materials (e.g., syllabi and assignments for Duke courses a graduate student will teach): the dissertation director is expected to provide substantive and timely feedback on pedagogical materials. The dissertation director is also expected to observe the student’s teaching at least once over the course of the program, and to be prepared to write about their teaching for job, fellowship, or post-doc applications.
- Expectations of committee members, especially concerning expectations about dissertations, feedback on dissertation chapters, and writing of job letters: Each dissertation committee member (including the director) should clarify by the time of the chapter meeting expectations about the form of the dissertation (e.g., rough length of the dissertation; extent to which secondary literature should be cited; etc.). The dissertation director should be willing to read multiple drafts of chapters. Other committee members should be willing to read and comment on at least one draft of each chapter prior to receiving the final draft of the dissertation to be defended, should the dissertation director and graduate student wish committee members to do so. Committee members are expected to support a student’s professional development by supplying letters for fellowships, jobs, and other opportunities, provided that the committee member receives chapters from the student in a timely fashion (at least one month before a letter deadline). Every committee member who votes to pass the dissertation should be willing to write a letter of recommendation for the student.
- Expectations of full participation in the graduate program: the graduate program consists of multiple elements, including coursework, TAP-ing, TA-ing, preliminary exams, dissertation writing and completing milestones (including chapter meetings and dissertation defenses). Graduate faculty are expected to participate in all aspects of the program, including, for example, generally allowing students to TAP for undergraduate courses. The DGS will confer with faculty who do not participate fully in all aspects of the program, and may eventually turn to the processes outlined in #8 below if this method is not successful. All graduate faculty are expected to vote according to their own judgment at exams, chapter meetings, and dissertation defenses (rather than, for example, deferring to the dissertation chair’s judgement or wishes).
- Promoting good advising and mentoring: The ability to direct dissertations up to the departmental maximum is a privilege, not a right, and is dependent upon a faculty member adhering to the rules outlined in the departmental graduate student handbook and the expectations outlined in this document. The DGS/Chair and/or DGS and DGS Advisory Committee will document concerns and meet with faculty who do not adhere to these rules and expectations. In cases of serial overstepping of these rules and expectations, the DGS and Chair will reduce the number of dissertations a faculty member may direct (potentially to zero). In the case of any reduction of the maximum number of dissertations that a faculty member may direct, students currently being directed by a faculty member will be allowed to complete the program with that faculty member (unless the student wishes to find another dissertation director).
For graduate students:
- Expectations regarding students’ regular communication with advisers, prompt presentation of written work and other projects, updating of advisers (and committee, where appropriate) on research projects’ progress and timely communication of any impediments to progress, changes in circumstance or requests for support (e.g. letters of recommendation): The specific timelines for submitting exam lists and dissertation chapters, as well timelines for requesting various kinds of leaves (and notifying Duke and the department when a student is returning to the department) are outlined in the Graduate School website, departmental graduate student manual, or both. In more general terms, since faculty and departmental officers often require at least 4 business days to respond to questions or requests—and may require significantly more time to complete a request (e.g. up to one month, in the case of a letter of recommendation)—graduate students are expected to send communications that respect these timelines and time frames. Graduate students are expected to respond—if only by acknowledging receipt—to communications from faculty, departmental officers, and staff within that same time frame (4 business days). Graduate students who have completed preliminary exams are expected to check in with the exam/dissertation director at least once every month (unless otherwise specified by the director: but in no cases should communication happen less frequently than every two months). Communication between faculty and graduate students should be conducted in professional language.
- Expectations of attendance at departmental events: please see the section entitled “Expectations Regarding Information Opportunities for Learning & Professional Development” in the departmental graduate program handbook.
- Outline of students’ service obligations: Please see the section entitled “Pedagogy” in the departmental graduate program handbook, and confer as well with your graduate student and faculty mentors.
- Communicating with departmental officers (DUS, DGS, Chair) and staff: Graduate students are expected to treat departmental officers (DUS, DGS, Chair, Placement Officer) with the same respect accorded their advisors, with regard to attendance at required meetings, timely responses to emails and other communications, and acknowledgement that not all requests can be accommodated.
- Grievances: A graduate student who feels that any rule noted in the Graduate School or departmental graduate program handbooks, or any expectation outlined in the “Faculty” section of this document, has not been followed should first contact the DGS. Should the student feel these conversations have not resolved the problem, or does not feel comfortable contacting the DGS, the chair of the department can also be contacted. (Students should keep in mind that the chair is not charged by the Graduate School with the ability to make changes to, for example, committees, and so cannot necessarily resolve many problems. However, the chair can troubleshoot with students).
Beginning in spring 2021, the annual progress report (APR) will include a section that goes only to the DGS Advisory Committee (and not to the dissertation director); this section can also be used to note and document problems observed by the student. Should the student prefer, this section can be sent only to the chair, or to the Trinity Graduate Dean. (The Trinity Graduate Dean is not part of the Graduate School.)
Should an issue not be resolved by these means, a student may request that the DGS take up the matter with the DGS advisory committee (or chair’s advisory committee minus the DGS, if the student does not feel comfortable taking the issue to the DGS advisory committee).
Students may also at any point file a grievance with the Graduate School, and the procedure for doing so is noted here: https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/academic-policies-and-forms/standards-conduct/student-grievance-procedures