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Timelines, Grievances, Graduate Assistantships

Timelines

It is the student's responsibility to meet associated timelines for university, college, departmental, and individual course requirements. Information about all of these requirements should be obtained through a careful review of the Miami University Graduate catalog, academic year calendars, course syllabi and website. If such information is not found, the student should begin their search for clarity or additional information by contacting, in order, the professor, instructor, or other professional in question, their advisor, the program director, and/or the chair of the department. Students must be aware of strictly enforced timelines associated with graduation: application (through the Commencement office) and payment of fees (Bursar's office). In addition, students must be aware of current requirements for class registration, applications for graduate assistantships and grants-in-aide, and applications for certification and Praxis-II exams.

Grievances
The Departmental appeals procedure indicates that the route of appeals of any nature begins with the instructor in those cases where a student has a complaint relative to a specific course. So, if there are any concerns about the conduct or teaching practices of a given professor, it is best practice and recommended policy that the student or students in question approach the instructor first. If the student(s) could not satisfactorily reach a resolution with the instructor, then they should turn to the program director and/or that individual’s immediate supervisor or advisor. In case of the need for a committee decision the route of appeals begins with the particular committee. Subsequent, sequential steps in the appeal process are as follows: Department Chair, the Coordination and Referral Committee, the department faculty (in total) and the Dean of the College of Education, Health, and Society. There is a grievance procedure outlined in A Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty that is available in the Graduate School office and/or website. In all problematic situations, it is encouraged that any grievances or concerns be resolved on an informal basis, if possible, before moving to formal mediation, due process, or committee procedures.

Graduate and Teaching Assistantships
As a department and program, we are very pleased to have a strong record of providing graduate and teaching assistantships to our students to support their studies. These assistantships are offered on a competitive basis and typically carry a full or partial tuition waiver and a stipend for a specific number of hours of work (typically between 9 and 20 hours) with a faculty member, departmental assignment, or divisional assignment. Students who are awarded a graduate or teaching assistantship either through the department or one of the University divisions will receive a letter of intent from the Graduate School. If you do not receive a letter at the same time as other students have, or if a student has any questions, it is best to seek out information from the dept. administrative assistant, the Program Director, and/or the EDP Department Chair. Serving as a graduate or teaching assistant can add significantly to your graduate education because it enables you to have a range of experiences that cannot be obtained in your classes or practicum sites. Teaching assistantships are given to second year students after a competitive review process to assist in teaching EDP 201, which is a Miami Plan course taught by our department. If chosen as a Teaching Assistant, that student will be given specific guidelines for teaching and evaluation by their coordinating faculty members. Graduate assistants, on the other hand, may be asked to participate in departmental administrative activities and act as informational liaisons between students & faculty. Graduate assistants generally have the following duty types:

  1. Instructional Support: Prepare materials, assist with grading, provide supervision, make class presentations, operate audiovisual equipment, lead discussions, and perform other tasks that assist faculty in providing high quality instruction.
  2. Research Support: Gather bibliographic information, collect data, code and/or organize data, input information on the computer, assist in the preparation of quantitative and qualitative reports, and perform other tasks that enhance the research productivity of their faculty supervisor(s).
  3. Administrative/Service Support: Plan and carry out essential tasks related to the work of a special project, conference, University committee, or community advisory council; prepare and disseminate information for these activities; make arrangements for successful conducting of these activities; assist in the preparation of letters, newsletters, reports, and other documents; and perform other tasks that contribute to the smooth operation of administrative and service activities of the faculty members to which you are assigned.

Although, in the course of any of these assignments, graduate assistants may do typing, copying, delivering of material, or other work of a secretarial support nature, their assignments never consist of these types of tasks only, in isolation from more broadly defined instructional, research, or administrative/service objectives. The faculty member’s responsibility to the graduate assistant includes sharing background information, conveying a clear conceptualization of the tasks, and providing time for performance feedback and discussion so that the assistant is able to integrate these experiences meaningfully into his or her overall educational experiences. If selected as a graduate assistant and informed of your assignment, you are directed to speak to your assigned faculty member within the first day of the start of classes. When you introduce yourself to this person, you should inform them about the number of hours you have been designated to work and discuss your schedule with them. At that time, the faculty member should cover such things as your responsibilities, authorization for keys to his or her office, work arrangements (i.e. desk space, expectations, supplies), and copier access codes. If in the process of working for this faculty member, you experience any difficulties or concerns, including (1) having to work hours in excess of the stated number and/or the limit of 20 hours per week, (2) concerns about your safety, (3) concerns about others’ safety, (4) concerns about the negative impact the GA is having upon your academic work, or (5) any other issues, please do not hesitate to contact the program director. Any questions about graduate assistant expectations or duties should be posed to the departmental Graduate Director.

Assistantships do carry a summer stipend. You have to take a minimum of six graduate hours to qualify for this stipend. It is up to the discretion of the department to assign students summer work based upon distribution of these funds. If this is the case, students will be informed as early as possible to help them develop their summer schedule.

Assistantships are a valued part of our department and our commitment to enrolling and mentoring graduate students. However, they are formative work experiences that do necessitate an evaluative component. Although we try to maintain a student's funding level for their second year, students should know that (a) The assistantships are not automatically renewed or sustained, and (b) students with partial assistantships would be very unlikely to be increased to a full assistantship. A second year graduate assistantship depends first on the continued availability of funds. Second, the student must have demonstrated competence and, if the student is not performing up to expectations, the funding may be taken away or modified. On the other hand, it is equally if not more important to honor the exemplary practices of those GA’s who provide outstanding service, work, and conduct. As such, the department uses an evaluation form, provided twice per year to faculty members by the departmental Graduate Director. These are then turned into the Graduate Director and Department Chair for further analysis. If a student is found to be performing at an unsatisfactory level, attempts at remediation will be made and a plan will be formulated to help that student get back on track. If, after such intervention occurs, the situation does not improve to satisfactory levels, that student’s funding may be in peril. Please review the evaluation form on the next page for more information.