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Graduate Assembly Proposal

Below is a draft of the proposal to create the Graduate Assembly. In the end, this will find it's way into the Department Constitution. If you have feedback on the way the Assembly will be structured or run, please contact Greg or post comments. We'll discuss this formally at the next Assembly meeting in April.

Graduate Assembly

The graduate students of Writing Studies propose the creation of a governing body of graduate students: The Graduate Student Assembly. The body's charge is to serve as a forum for graduate student concerns and procedures, which may include making and voting on proposals, planning events, as well as electing representatives to the Graduate committee, Department Assembly, Faculty meetings, Hiring committees, and other ad hoc departmental committees. The Graduate Representative, elected by the assembly to serve on the Graduate Committee for a one-year term, will chair meetings and request agenda items. Other administrative positions will be created as needed. Proposals from the Graduate Assembly will be brought to committees by elected representatives who are charged with informing the rest of the graduate students about policy changes. The Graduate Assembly will meet at least twice a semester.


It would seem a shift to move from having a graduate student member of departmental and graduate committees to a graduate student representative.

--A graduate student member serves on their own; they serve on equal footing with faculty members: they represent only themselves, where faculty represent (typically) only themselves.

--Electing student members to these positions creates an additional complicating function: to represent the body of students. Not only does this function to complicate a student's role on a committee (do they vote for the job candidate that they like, or that they poll the students about?).

If the goal of being on a departmental or search committee is to experience that kind of professional work, then serving as "elected representative" is counterproductive.

Finally, I can imagine two dozen graduate students I've known since leaving UMTC whom I would never have wanted to work with on a committee; committees should be selected at least in part based on the mix of folks. Elections may make that harder or more complicated.

Just two cents from an alum who is nonetheless excited about the growth and change.