In July, the Graduate Student Services and Progress (GSSP) staff joined ASR's Office of the Registrar, and they've been as busy as ever. A team of three, their main responsibility is upholding the integrity of graduate and professional students' records. This is done by processing forms that mark student degree progress, such as filing masters theses and keeping track of doctoral oral and written exams.
Unlike undergraduate studies, graduate programs are not completely coursework-based, but rather self-designed with the guidance of an advisor to meet individual research needs. In addition to verifying that graduate students have completed the necessary steps for their degree, the GSSP staff also collaborates with the graduate education transition team to ensure a smoother flow of policies and processes, as responsibilities once housed in the Graduate School continue to shift to the colleges and ASR.
The team currently serves 10,000 students and over 150 graduate programs. Each year, they process 3,000 graduate degree plans. Stacia Madsen, coordinator of doctoral degree services, reviews roughly 700 doctoral dissertations for formatting consistency per year; Amber Cellotti, coordinator of master's and certificate degree services, handles the paperwork for 1,700 master's degree students that graduate each year; and Renae Faunce, coordinator, Graduate Student Services, reviews Graduate Degree Plans, manages committee workflows, and answers graduate education policy and procedure questions.
Recently, the team worked with members of the graduation education transition team to complete the committee and adviser assignment workflows. These new workflows replaced processes for initiating and updating graduate and professional students' committee information and graduate students' adviser assignments. In addition to creating new workflows, the GSSP team also worked on the redesign of the Graduate School website.
Right now, the GSSP staff is meeting with different colleges on campus to review graduate education policies to clarify roles and responsibilities as they relate to policy and procedure. Based on feedback they receive, the team will determine how to best support colleges and programs as they transition into their new roles now and in the future.
In addition to their day-to-day responsibilities, settling into their new space in Williamson Hall has sometimes been a challenge. "We're getting used to the new office environment and how we allocate tasks," Amber said.
But they've taken the changes in stride. To accomplish so much, the team supports each other and is very collaborative, adopting an integrative approach to different tasks.
Having a passion for what they do also makes the job easier and more rewarding. "We're supporting students who are going to make a major impact on the world," Renae said. "They're doing groundbreaking work, and we make it easier for them to focus on that and not have to worry about administrative stuff."
Amber Cellotti, coordinator, Master's and Certificate Degree Services
Stacia Madsen, coordinator, Doctoral Degree Services
Renae Faunce, coordinator, Graduate Student Services