Graduate Student Handbook
This Graduate Handbook is offered as a general guide to the program's requirements, policies and procedures. If you have any questions, contact the graduate director or graduate assistant to be sure that you are planning your graduate career in conformity with department requirements and expectations.
You may browse the handbook below, or download a PDF version of the Graduate Student Handbook.
CONTENTS OF THE HANDBOOK
I. ABOUT THE PROGRAM
V. REQUIREMENTS AND COURSE/RESEARCH CREDITS POLICIES
VI. QUALIFYING PAPERS
- 2019 COHORT AND THEREAFTER – THE 3-6-9 PLAN
- 2013-2018 COHORTS
- SIGN ON AND SIGN OFF MEETINGS – ALL STUDENTS
APPENDIX A: M.A.-P.h.D. TIMELINE
APPENDIX I: SUMMER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS
Gretel Weiss Graduate Student-Faculty Collaboration Grants
The Department offers small grants of $4000 to faculty and students to collaborate together on a research project, with the ultimate goal of producing an article or book chapter co-authored by the faculty member and the student. The awarded funds are used exclusively to employ graduate students. A call for proposal is typically issued in February for awards granted in the next fiscal year.
Summer Session Teaching
Students with prior teaching experience (i.e. those who have taught at least one course as an instructor or teaching assistant) are eligible to be considered for teaching a summer course for the department. Summer session courses, which have the same number of credit hours attached to them as a regular session course, are offered on an intensive track. All of these courses are online and offered in both synchronous and asynchronous format. In addition, there are several different time periods (some more condensed than others) over the summer when they are offered. The classes are typically small and provide an excellent opportunity for students to gather teaching experience. The department offers a teaching training session each spring; students may also find offerings through the TA Project run by the School of Graduate Studies. Calls for teaching during the summer session are typically issued in January.
Faculty Research Assistance
Faculty members sometimes have research funds available to support graduate students during the summer months.
Selection Process for the Jason B Phillips Memorial Lecture
Jason B Phillips was an outstanding graduate student in the Sociology department who tragically died in June 2019 several months before defending his dissertation. The department established a memorial lecture in Jason’s honor to recognize his special qualities: His commitment to graduate students and the graduate program in all forms; his collaborative and generous spirit, where colleagues come together to support one another and provide constructive criticism with the goal of improving our work, be it research or teaching; and finally, his dedication to community.
The Memorial Lecture is an annual event, bringing the entire department together each year in Jason’s name, to support a senior graduate student as they complete their dissertation. The selected student is invited to present their work to the department, for which they receive an honorarium.
Preference is given to:
- An outstanding advanced graduate student engaged in mixed methods research
- A student who is underrepresented in the academy – e.g. first generation, student of color, international student
- A student who best embodies the excellence of Jason's research, with preference for those who work in the area of Criminology and Social Control when possible
Process for Selection:
- In early summer, the GPD/Chair asks faculty to nominate their students who are expected to defend their dissertation in the coming year.
- Faculty wishing to nominate a student should include a brief description of the student’s research, future plans and a CV if possible.
- Once the nominations are received, the graduate program committee reviews all nominations and makes a selection.
- The Chair issues an invitation to the selected student and arranges the lecture as part of the upcoming fall colloquium series.
APPENDIX G: SHARING NEWS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
We would like to institutionalize the process for sharing news and accomplishments of department members. For all news (awards, publications, media coverage, defenses, etc) that faculty and graduate students may typically share with the department chair and/or GPD, please use this form. It is quick to complete—just provide a description of the news item, any relevant attachments (links or photos), and state where you'd like to share it (newsletter, department email, Facebook, Twitter, Website). The information you put in the form will be sent to the newsletter email account so that it's all collected in one place. The email account will be checked on a regular basis and news shared according to the expressed preferences.
Please don't feel shy about telling us your news. It's really important for the department to keep track of this information. Just as importantly, we want to acknowledge and celebrate every single one of your accomplishments.
APPENDIX F: PRINCIPLES FOR MANAGING DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS AND CLASSROOM DIALOGUE
Adapted from Materials developed by the University of Memphis
In our graduate and undergraduate courses, we are likely to engage ideas and materials that can be controversial. You may be exposed to arguments and analyses in the readings, lectures, discussions, and class activities with which you disagree and/or find upsetting. You are encouraged to voice your opinions about these issues, but we also expect you to support your arguments with evidence. Together, we need to strive to create and sustain a comfortable learning environment for everyone in the course by sharing ideas, observations, and questions respectfully and honestly. Such an environment is only possible when instructors and students treat each other with mutual respect.
The following ideas and practices will help us create a constructive and respectful learning environment.
- We are all knowledgeable in different ways. We all have something to teach each other and something to learn from each other. Instructors have the additional advantage of knowledge that is based in the research literature and pedagogy.
- No one is to be blamed for the circumstances of their existence that are beyond their control. We cannot be blamed for repeating misinformation we have learned in our social locations but we can hold each other accountable to not repeat misinformation after we have learned otherwise.
- Every person in the classroom is responsible for being an active learner and participant. This responsibility includes but is not limited to the need to participate in class discussions. It also includes the responsibility to respectfully challenge ideas and arguments that appear questionable and/or reproduce injurious ideas of inequality and difference.
- Learn to appreciate different personalities. Try to draw out those who are quieter than others but respect people’s comfort levels and learn to recognize active listening. Those who are more assertive should try to recognize and refrain from dominating the conversation.
- Everyone is encouraged to rethink the assumptions and knowledge we bring into the classroom. Approach your own learning with an open mind and seriously consider ideas and arguments that challenge or complicate long-held assumptions.
- Respect each person’s experiences, and never demean or trivialize another’s life experience. Do not tolerate words or actions that result in hostility in the classroom.
- When confronted with information or ideas that seem questionable, ask for clarification and additional information before drawing conclusions and criticizing others’ statements. Be accountable to the instructor and classmates by raising concerns directly with the individual at hand.
- Each class is a learning community with a unique dynamic. Faculty welcome thoughtfully considered critical feedback and constructive suggestions for change to enhance the classroom community and learning experience. We encourage students to actively participate in this dialogue and will respect students’ input.
- Power imbalances, between faculty and students, and among students, inevitably make their way into classroom dynamics. Some hierarchies, such as those between faculty and students, are part of the learning process. But faculty and students should also be mindful of abuses of power. Should such an abuse occurs, individuals are first encouraged to approach the party in question. In the event that an aggrieved party (or parties) feels uncomfortable doing so, there are departmental structures in place, such as ombudspersons, who will hear such complaints.