Academic Policies and General Information
Rights and Responsibilities of Graduate Students
Students have the responsibility to familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures of the University, the Graduate College, and their department or program. Students are primarily responsible for knowing the degree requirements and following the policies that govern their academic program. If students have questions or concerns about individual policies and procedures, they may contact their advisor, their program or department chairperson, or the Graduate College Office, which is the ultimate arbiter of policies and procedures.
University policies and those of the Graduate College are contained in The Cat's Tale and the Catalogue, respectively. In cases of conflict, the Graduate Catalogue supersedes academic policies in The Cat's Tale.
Unless a department or program employs an alternative approved procedure, each graduate student will have a faculty advisor to advise on matters of course selection, research direction, and overall guidance from admission to the Graduate College to completion of degree requirements. The initial advisor is assigned by the Department Chairperson or the Graduate Program Coordinator prior to or shortly after enrolling in the Graduate College. If an initial advisor is not assigned by either of the above parties within two weeks after the initiation of course work in a given graduate program, the student is encouraged to contact the Graduate College. Many times, one faculty member serves as an initial advisor for several students, and the advisor may change as the student's program and research interests develop.
Another common model, especially in doctoral programs, is a Studies Committee comprised of faculty who share a student's scholarly and professional interests. The committee meets regularly to discuss the student's progress and consult with the student regarding academic development.
While there are a variety of advising models, in each case students have the right to consult regularly with their academic advisor or studies committee.
Professional Ethics and Academic Honesty
Graduate students are required to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism as students, researchers, and teachers, and the University, in order to encourage a positive atmosphere in all phases of academic learning, teaching and research, created specific guidelines and policies regarding academic honesty. They are outlined in The Cat's Tale and are also available from the Office of the Provost.
No member of the University community may sexually harass another. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education;
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.
Any University of Vermont student having a complaint of sexual harassment should notify the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity; students may also contact the Vice President for Student Affairs. If a student has personal concerns regarding sexual harassment, confidential counseling can be arranged through the Counseling and Testing Center. Policies and procedures governing complaints of sexual harassment are available in the office of each dean, department head, and chairperson as well as in the Bailey/Howe Library.
The University community will not tolerate discrimination. Information and resources may be found at The Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Office website.
The Graduate College is ultimately responsible for grievances regarding policies and procedures related to graduate education. A grievance properly begins within the student's department by an appeal to a program director or chair. If this does not resolve the grievance, the student can present the grievance in writing to the dean of the unit in which the program resides, and thereafter to the Dean of the Graduate College. Grievances must state clearly and precisely the basis for appeal and provide supporting evidence that a student's rights have been jeopardized. The Dean may recommend that the grievance be reviewed by the Graduate College Executive Committee. The Dean is the final arbiter of Graduate College regulations. Students retain the right to appeal the Dean's decision to the Provost. Specifically excluded are grievances that contest grades on grounds other than due process, or grading that is arbitrary and capricious.