Departmental Responsibilities

The development and maintenance of a high-quality graduate program is of key importance to every department in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. It is, therefore, in each Department's best interest to encourage and support effective graduate advising.

The responsibilities of the Department may be assigned by the Chair in whole or in part to the Graduate Program Coordinator and shared by the Graduate Program Committee. If such a designation of responsibilities occurs, that division of responsibilities should be clearly outlined and publicly available. In the case where the Graduate Program Coordinator is the faculty advisor, the responsibilities of the Graduate Program Coordinator with respect to departmental advising duties will be carried out by the Chair or their designate. Where the Chair is the faculty advisor, their Departmental Responsibilities with respect to advising will be carried out by the Graduate Program Coordinator or their designate. The Department should:

  1. Assist the Advisor and student in determining appropriate deadline dates and regulations associated with review, examination and submission of the thesis or research project as specified in the Graduate Calendar and/or the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and the Department or School.
  2. Make available to faculty and students information about current courses, areas of expertise of faculty members, and pertinent information not already outlined in the Graduate Calendar. This information may be available through the Department website, graduate handbook or occasional flyers.
  3. Ensure that a Co-Instructor is assigned to a graduate course (eg. “reading” course) in situations where the Instructor is also the Advisor to the only student(s) registered.
  4. Set up procedures that match students and advisors, with the matching to be completed as quickly as possible, not later than within six months of initial registration.
  5. Approve the advisory committee/graduate degree program form no later than the 20th class day of the student's second registered semester.
  6. Establish procedures by which the Graduate Program Coordinator and, if appropriate, the Graduate Program Committee can monitor progress of graduate students through reports by the Advisor, student, and appropriate others, and to communicate this progress to all involved parties.
  7. Investigate situations where an Advisory Committee has not met for two or more consecutive semesters. In addition, investigate perceived irregularities in student/Advisor/Advisory Committee relationships.
  8. If a student has received an unsatisfactory evaluation report for two consecutive semesters then the Departmental Graduate Program Coordinator will meet with the student, the Advisor and the Advisory Committee to consider the lack of progress and any possible remedial measures.
  9. Maintain a list of scheduled faculty leaves and, where warranted, assist in making satisfactory arrangements for the advising of the student when the Advisor is on leave or on extended absence from the campus. Depending on the length of absence, it may be necessary to make arrangements for an interim Advisor.
  10. Encourage the interaction of graduate students with other students and faculty, and the development of a professional identity through research seminars, posting of conferences, and other means.
  11. Inform the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies should there be unresolved concerns about either the Advisor's effectiveness or the student's performance.
  12. Allow students to change Advisors if their research interests shift or develop in a new direction and if the change reasonably can be accommodated by the Department.
  13. In the event that an Advisor or Advisory Committee member withdraws because of a conflict of interest, work with all parties to mitigate any negative consequences of the withdrawal.