Membership and Governance.


Membership and Governance

I. Faculty Membership in the Graduate Division of Religion

Expectations for GDR faculty and GDR affiliate faculty are as follows:

GDR faculty are directly appointed or elected to full membership (see further, Section I.A-B below).  They offer GDR courses on a regular basis, serve as doctoral advisors/first readers, write and/or read comprehensive exams, and serve on dissertation committees and other GDR-related committees, all without additional compensation.  They vote on GDR-related matters at faculty meetings and on GDR admissions decisions.

GDR affiliate faculty offer GDR courses, read comprehensive exams, and serve on dissertation committees, all with Area approval and monetary compensation.  They do not serve as advisors/first readers of dissertations.  They do not vote.

Membership in the faculty of the Graduate Division of Religion shall include:

A. Those who have been directly appointed to membership (i.e., hired as GDR faculty), in which case appointments shall be subject to the procedures prescribed in the Bylaws of the University and in the University Personnel Policy.

B. Those elected to membership by the faculty of the Graduate Division of Religion following their nomination by an Area. Eligibility for election shall be limited persons holding the doctorate (or its equivalent in professional preparation or attainment) and who are, or are to be, involved in some aspect of current GDR instruction. Normally, membership in the GDR should be accorded to those offering graduate-level courses and who are at the rank of Assistant Professor or above. In special circumstances, however, the faculty may elect to membership individuals who do not fulfill all the normal criteria.

C. Ex-officio members, as provided by the Bylaws of the University, i.e., the President, the Provost, the Academic Deans, the Registrar, and the Director of the University Library.

D. From time to time, the Steering Committee of the Graduate Division of Religion may review the list of members of the GDR, removing the names of persons who no longer meet the qualifications for membership.

II. Faculty Meetings of the Graduate Division of Religion

A. Frequency
Business pertaining to the Graduate Division of Religion shall ordinarily be transacted at the regularly scheduled meetings of the Theological School faculty, which are normally held during the first week of every month of the Fall and Spring Semesters.  Special meetings of the GDR faculty may be called by the Dean or Chair of the GDR as need arises.  Special meetings may also be called the written request of twenty percent of the GDR faculty.

B. Quorum
A quorum shall be declared when one-third of the faculty is present.

C. Conduct of Business
The routine business of the GDR faculty shall be carried out through the Dean and Chair of the GDR, the GDR Steering Committee, and the other Standing Committees, operating under the mandate of faculty policy statements.  The Steering Committee shall submit regular reports to the faculty and shall request faculty rulings when the matter before them is not covered by stated policy.

III. Election of the Chair of the Graduate Division of Religion

The Chair shall be elected from among the tenured members of the Graduate Division of Religion faculty, normally for a three-year term, during which time he or she shall be provided with one course release per year, also being released from committee service outside the GDR.  The Chair may be reappointed for an additional two-year term.  Supplemental compensation shall be provided, especially if the Chair is expected to work during the summer months.

Nominations for the position shall come from the faculty of the religion Areas to the GDR Steering Committee: each faculty member shall be invited to propose two names. From among these nominations, the Steering Committee shall, after consulting with the faculty persons in question to ascertain their willingness to serve, recommend two names to the Dean.  The Dean shall select one of these nominees to chair the Division.  Should the Dean approve neither nomination, the Steering Committee shall make a further nomination.

IV. Standing Committees of, or Relevant to, the Graduate Division of Religion

A. Election
Standing Committees shall be nominated by the Dean, in consultation with the GDR Chair and/or Associate Academic Dean, and elected by the faculty.

B. The Standing Committees

1. Steering Committee of the Graduate Division of Religion
The Steering Committee shall be composed of the Chair and the five faculty Conveners of the five Areas that make up the GDR.  The Dean, the Associate Academic Dean, and the Director of Admissions and Placement shall serve as ex officio members of the Committee.  The GDR Administrative Assistant shall provide support for the work of the Chair and Steering Committee, and shall ordinarily serve as Recorder at meetings of the Committee.  The Committee shall meet approximately once a month.  The Committee shall be the clearinghouse for discussion of all Division requirements—courses, comprehensive exams, etc.—with a focus on maintaining maximum flexibility and interdisciplinary exchange among Areas, while also honoring and protecting the integrity of Areas.  The Committee shall help shape the agenda for Theological School faculty meetings as it pertains to the GDR, suggesting items for discussion and making proposals to the faculty that require a vote.

[For Academic Year 2011-12, Steering Committee business will be handled by the Academic Life Constellation of the Theological School.]

2. Committee on Academic Standing
The Academic Standing Committee of the Theological School shall include faculty and student representatives from the Graduate Division of Religion, and shall concern itself with monitoring the academic progress of the students in the Ph.D. programs as well as those in the masters programs.

a. Following the regulations on academic eligibility approved by the faculty (published in the Theological School Catalog and Daniel’s Directory), the Committee shall make decisions on student status: probation, dismissal, and readmission.  The Committee shall also act on student petitions for exceptions to academic regulations or to modify degree requirements.

b. Membership. The Committee shall be composed of not less than three faculty at least two of whom hold membership in the seminary faculty and at least two of whom hold membership in the GDR faculty plus the Registrar of the University, the Associate Academic Dean, the Chair of the GDR, and two elected representatives of the student body, one from the TSA and one from the GDR.

c. Chair.  The Committee shall be chaired by the Associate Academic Dean.

3. Prospectus Committee
The Prospectus Committee of the Graduate Division of Religion shall be composed of faculty representatives elected by the Areas that make up the Division.  The period of service on the Committee shall normally be two years.  The Committee shall elect one of its members to serve as Chair.  The Theological Librarian shall be an ex officio member of the Committee.

a. The purpose of the Committee is to review dissertation prospectuses submitted to it by students.  Written guidelines for the preparation of the prospectus shall be available from the GDR Office, and students shall be required to adhere closely to them.

b. The Committee shall provide an assessment of the prospectus, with a formal evaluation (Approved or Resubmit).  The student shall obtain the signature of the Dissertation Committee Chair prior to submitting the revised prospectus, and supply the entire Dissertation Committee with copies of the revised text.  Even when the prospectus is approved, the assessment may contain suggestions for further development of the research.  Suggested revisions of the prospectus are required in the case of a mandatory resubmission.  The Committee Chair shall return the completed evaluation form to the GDR Administrative Assistant, who shall then send copies to the student and the Dissertation Committee Chair.

c. If the Prospectus Committee still does not approve a resubmitted prospectus, the prospectus shall be referred to the student’s Area.  The Area shall formally review the prospectus and request further revisions if it deems it necessary.  The student may proceed with the dissertation only if or when the Area has approved the prospectus.  The Area shall report its decision to the GDR Administrative Assistant so that it may be entered into the student’s record.

d. The Committee shall meet once a month during the Fall and Spring Semesters, with the first meeting ordinarily held in September and the last in May.  Students wishing to have their prospectus reviewed by the Committee in a given month should submit it to the GDR Administrative Assistant for circulation to the Committee no later than the first of the month.

e. Prior to submitting the prospectus, the student is required to meet with his or her entire Dissertation Committee (as distinct from meetings with individual members of the Committee) to discuss a full draft of the prospectus.  This draft should be submitted to the Committee at least two weeks prior to the proposed meeting.  The student shall be responsible for bringing to that meeting the prospectus approval form, available from the GDR Office, which the Dissertation Committee members sign to verify that the meeting has taken place, and if they are satisfied that the prospectus is ready for submission.  The Prospectus Committee will not ordinarily consider a prospectus when this requirement has not been met.  In cases in which it is impossible for a Dissertation Committee member to be physically present at the meeting, his or her participation or input should be secured by other means (he or she should be invited to participate by conference call, or to submit comments to be a part of the discussion at the meeting).  An e-mail from the absent member approving the prospectus shall suffice in lieu of a signature on the form.

4. Committee on Faculty
The Theological School Committee on Faculty shall deal with all issues pertaining to promotion, tenure, three-year and senior reviews, and faculty accountability for the Graduate Division of Religion.  See the Regulations of the Theological School for complete details.

C. Scheduling
The administrative committees of the Graduate Division of Religion shall confine their meetings to the period beginning August 15th and ending June 15th.  The only possible exception shall be the Committee on Academic Standing, which shall meet as soon as possible after the grades have been turned in (usually June) to review the second semester records of all students.

V. New Programs

New programs for graduate study should originate in the discipline or disciplines concerned, before the faculty of the Graduate Division of Religion takes final action to approve or disapprove the proposed program.  Final approval for a new academic program always rests with the President and the Board of Trustees.

VI. Student Participation in Governance of the Graduate Division of Religion

The Graduate Division of Religion Student Association (GDRSA) is invited to send a representative to regular Theological School faculty meetings, to the Academic Standing Committee, and to other committees as deemed appropriate by the GDR Chair and/or Steering Committee. Further, the GDRSA serves a more general role in expressing and advancing student interests and concerns, and cooperates with the GDR Chair, Steering Committee, and other administrators for the benefit of students.