Stephen F. Austin State University

Graduate Faculty Membership

Membership on the graduate faculty is required for those faculty who are active in at least one of the areas of responsibility for graduate education at SFA. These responsibilities include teaching graduate courses in the area of one's expertise; directing theses and dissertations, as well as serving on thesis and dissertation advisory committees; serving on the University Graduate Council; and serving on the University Research Council. A member of the graduate faculty is appointed for a five-year term by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs upon the recommendation of the department chair, academic dean, University Graduate Council, and Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research.

Responsibilities of Membership on the Graduate Faculty

Membership on the Graduate Faculty at all levels carries responsibilities as well as privileges. All members are expected to: maintain an active program of scholarship and remain current in the literature, methodologies, and techniques of their respective disciplines; contribute to the establishment of appropriate standards for admission and retention of qualified students into the graduate programs of the University; contribute to the establishment of appropriate criteria for conferring graduate degrees; contribute to the development of quality curricula; promote the highest standards of student scholarship; and contribute to the establishment and maintenance of an environment of learning and achievement among graduate faculty and students.

Types of Membership, Criteria for Selection, and Privileges

  1. Full Member
    1. Criteria for Selection:
      1. Terminal degree or the equivalent* in the person's area of faculty appointment.
      2. Five years of service as an Associate Member at SFASU or five years of service as a graduate faculty member at another accredited institution.
      3. Appropriate level of professional or scholarly/creative activities in discipline (as evidenced by some of the following: consultancies, performances, published and unpublished work, work presented at professional meetings, grant applications, faculty development, serving as an officer in a professional society, graduate courses taught, theses directed, etc.).
      4. Appointment at the rank of assistant professor or above.
    2. Privileges:
      1. Serving an unspecified term subject to review every six years.
      2. Teaching graduate classes in the member's area of expertise.
      3. Directing theses and dissertations, serving on thesis and dissertation committees, and comprehensive examination committees, in the member's area of expertise.
      4. Being eligible to serve on the Graduate Council.
      5. Being eligible to serve on the Research Council.
      6. Participating in all other ways in graduate education.
  2. Associate Member
    1. Criteria for Selection:
      1. Terminal degree or the equivalent* in the person's principal area of faculty appointment.
      2. Appointment at or above the rank of assistant professor or equivalent as certified by the dean of the college.
    2. Privileges:
      1. Serving a five-year term subject to review the fifth year.
      2. Teaching graduate courses in the member's area of expertise.
      3. Serving on thesis and dissertation advisory committees and comprehensive examination committees.
      4. Directing theses and dissertations in the member's area of expertise, provided the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research gives special permission.
  3. Limited Member
    1. Criterion for Selection:
      1. Achievement of professional accomplishment of an unusually high order, or the attainment of professional expertise by virtue of training and experience, that is otherwise unavailable in the graduate faculty of the applicant's department.
    2. Privileges:
      1. Serving a two-year term or five-year term as recommended by the respective department. Renewal subject to review by the Graduate Council.
      2. Teaching graduate courses in the member's area of expertise provided the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research gives permission.
      3. Serving as a member (but not a director) of a thesis or dissertation committee.
      4. Participating in the evaluation of a student's credentials for a graduate degree, including serving on a comprehensive examination committee.
  4. Adjunct Member (To be used for persons with limited affiliation with SFASU). Note: retired SFASU faculty members will normally retain the graduate faculty status achieved at the time of retirement and thus should not be considered adjunct.)
    1. Criteria for Selection:
      1. Terminal degree or the equivalent* in the person's area of expertise.
      2. Five years of experience in the area of expertise or service on a thesis or dissertation advisory committee or on a comprehensive examination committee.
    2. Privileges:
      1. Serving a five-year term.
      2. Teaching graduate courses in the member's area of expertise. Serving as a member and/or co-director (but not as director) of a thesis or dissertation advisory committee.
      3. Participating in the evaluation of a student's credentials for a graduate degree, including serving on a comprehensive examination committee.
  5. Emeritus Member
    1. Criteria for Selection:
      1. Graduate faculty membership at time of retirement from SFASU.
      2. Appointment to emeritus faculty status.
    2. Privileges:
      1. Serving an unspecified term subject to review only as requested by the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research.
      2. Continuation of membership held immediately prior to retirement (Full Member Emeritus, Associate Member Emeritus, Limited Member Emeritus).
      3. Performing duties as specified by the department chair and approved by the Graduate Council and the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research.

*Note: In exceptional circumstances, special training in recognized institutions (such as conservatories or research institutes) or the attainment of nationally recognized licenses/certificates may be judged to satisfy the requirement for advanced degrees. Extensive practical experience in activities related directly to one's faculty appointment and resulting in wide recognition at the regional and/or national levels may also satisfy the requirement for advances degrees.

Graduate Faculty Review Process

Graduate Faculty Review Process

Membership on the graduate faculty is required for those faculty members who are active in at least one of the areas of responsibility for graduate education at SFA. These responsibilities include teaching graduate courses in the member's area of expertise; directing exhibitions, theses and dissertations, as well as serving on exhibition, thesis and dissertation advisory committees; serving on the University Graduate Council; and serving on the University Research Council. A member of the graduate faculty is appointed initially for a five-year term by the Vice President for Academic Affairs upon the recommendation of the department chair, academic dean, University Graduate Council, and Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research.

Membership on the graduate faculty carries with it the responsibility for active participation in the graduate program and for maintaining the highest possible level of professional competence in the member's discipline. As a means of maintaining high standards, the university requires full and associate members to undergo a review of their performance every six and five years, respectively, starting from the date of their initial appointment or reappointment. The review procedure will be initiated by the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research, who will ask each faculty member scheduled for review to prepare and present information pertinent to the review (see Graduate Faculty Membership Application form). First appointments will be initiated by the department and must include similar information.

Each faculty member reviewed shall be evaluated by all members of one's academic department holding full or associate status on the graduate faculty. The evaluation shall be with regard to one's contribution to graduate education at SFASU, professional and scholarly/creative activities, and the programmatic needs of the department. Each faculty member will submit a written recommendation to the department chair that the candidate be reappointed for a full term on the graduate faculty, be appointed to a two-year term, or be removed from the graduate faculty. For those being evaluated who are currently serving as associate members and who are recommended for reappointment, a recommendation will be submitted as to whether they should continue to serve as an associate member or as a full member on the graduate faculty. For departments with fewer than five associate or full members on the graduate faculty, the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research shall appoint faculty from a closely related department or departments in order that information prepared by the faculty member is reviewed by at least five members of the graduate faculty.

In addition, the department chair, academic dean, University Graduate Council, and Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies will, in order, review the material and make recommendations to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will make the decision on renewal.

Recommendations may be for:

  1. Appointment to a five- or six-year term (as appropriate) at the current level*;
  2. Promotion of an Associate Member to Full Membership;
  3. Appointment to a two-year term at the current level;
  4. Non-reappointment to the graduate faculty.

*Note: A faculty member may request reappointment to a level lower than the one currently held.

If a recommendation for a two-year appointment is made, this should serve as a probationary period and a warning that activity must be increased within this two-year period or membership on the graduate faculty may be withdrawn. Under normal circumstances, an individual will be granted one probationary period.

When a recommendation for non-reappointment is made, a faculty member may file an appeal. An appeal of a decision to remove a person from graduate faculty status must be filed within thirty days of notice of the decision to remove the faculty member and should follow the policy, Resolving Faculty Disagreements in Issues Other Than Termination and Non-Renewal of Contracts (E-26A).

Non-reappointment to the graduate faculty may be for any of the following reasons:

  1. Omission of supporting evidence for review;
  2. Lack of maintaining appropriate levels of professional or scholarly/creative activities in one's discipline; or
  3. Inactivity in graduate education. (Note: This criterion does not apply when opportunities to be active in graduate education at SFASU do not exist.)

Graduate Faculty Membership Application and Renewal Form

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Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012