The relationship between a graduate student and his or her primary faculty advisor is central to the student's success in completing program requirements, earning his or her degree, and embarking on academic or other employment. Listed below are basic responsibilies of each party in this relationship, as well as minimum standards for maintaining contact. The key to successful advising relationships is clear and regular communication on both sides, preferably face-to-face but also over the phone or email.
If you are a graduate student:
As a graduate student, you have several responsibilities within the advising relationship:
- To maintain regular contact with your primary faculty advisor. Frequency of contact with your advisor will vary depending on where you are in your program: completing coursework, preparing for the Advising Meeting, drafting the POS, preparing for the Candidacy exam, drafting a dissertation prospectus, writing a dissertation, preparing for the job market. In general, though, you should be in contact with your primary faculty advisor at least once a semester. Keep your advisor up-to-date about your progress and about your changing research, writing, and teaching interests.
- To let your advisor know if you have questions about program requirements, or if you have concerns about your academic performance, your progress toward degree, your teaching, or your ability to balance work with other parts of your life.
- To let the Director of Graduate Studies know if you have concerns about your relationship with your advisor, or if you would like to change advisors. The DGS is also available to discuss program requirements, progress toward degree, or other concerns.
If you are a faculty member:
As a member of the graduate faculty, you also have several responsibilities within the advising relationship:
- To maintain regular contact with your graduate advisees at every stage in their programs. At a minimum, you should make contact with each of your advisees at least once a semester. You continue to be responsible for your advisees even when you are off duty or away from Columbus.
- To read your advisees' Graduate Reports while they are in coursework.
- To observe your advisees' teaching in at least one class.
- To let your advisees know if you have concerns about their academic performance, progress toward degree, choice of research topic, time management, teaching effectiveness, preparation for the academic job market, and so forth.
- To let the Director of Graduate Studies know if you have serious concerns about an advisee's academic performance, progress toward degree, teaching, or general well being.
- To assign a grade of "U" (Unsatisfactory) for MA portfolio, candidacy exam, or dissertation research hours if an advisee makes no demonstrable progress during a given term.
Note: If your student's research involves talking to living people (e.g. conducting interviews, survey research, or ethnographic fieldwork), he or she will need to be aware of Institutional Review Board (IRB) regulation of research on human subjects. Most kinds of humanistic research are eligible for exemption, but both students and their advisors will still need to undergo a brief certification and to file an application to have the specific project exempted. For more information, see the website of the OSU Office of Research. (Be aware that the regulations were originally intended to prevent abuses in medical and experimental research, so the CITI certification training will seem strange. Humanists are not expected to modify their research to make it more "scientific," but will need to show that they have thought through the ethical and interpersonal implications of their research process.)
Faculty are required to write Graduate Reports for all students in their graduate courses who are enrolled in the English department’s programs, including students taking courses for S/U grades. (There is no need to write reports for students from other departments.)
These reports provide students with a detailed assessment of their performance, and they assist students’ faculty advisors and the Director of Graduate Studies in advising. Ideally, Graduate Reports should be submitted by the beginning of the following academic term.
Effective Graduate Reports are typically no more than one single-spaced page. They include:
- a brief paragraph stating the topic, objectives, and requirements for the course;
- one or more paragraphs detailing the faculty member’s assessment of the student’s performance in class discussion, in required presentations, and in written or other creative assignments; and
- the student’s grade on the major project and the student's final grade for the course.
Graduate Reports are reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies and then placed in students' academic files in the Graduate Studies Office. They can be read only by the student, the student's official faculty advisor, and the DGS.