Department of Philosophy
Graduate Student Handbook
In support of their graduate studies, graduate students may be offered a graduate assistantship or fellowship. Students with assistantships of fellowships receive a stipend and the University pays their instructional and general fees. In return, graduate assistants are contractually obligated to perform certain duties in the university, such as assisting instructors, serving as a research assistant, and so on. Summer assistantships are available. There are also a limited number of fellowships that do not require service to the university. These “non-service” fellowships are available awarded on a competitive basis to students in the last year of their Ph.D. studies who are Only those making good progress on the dissertation are considered.
An assistantship may be awarded to students in the Ph.D. program who meet Graduate College minimum criteria and who are deemed worthy of such support by the department's Graduate Committee. If additional funds are available, master’s students may also be offered assistantship support.
To retain an assistantship, a student must remain in good academic standing and satisfactorily fulfill their assistantship responsibilities. For students who have not yet received the M.A., good standing requires maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 in graduate work. For students who have received the M.A. and are registered as PhD students, good standing requires maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 in graduate work. Students in the Ph.D. program are supported for a maximum of five years. However, in special cases a sixth year of funding can be added upon the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Support after the first two years requires passing the M.A. examination. Students must apply for the sixth year of funding, but it will be awarded provided the student is in good standing and is making normal progress toward the Ph.D.
An assistantship contractually obligates the student to perform duties in the university. It is current department policy to award assistantships at the .50 time rate. This entails that graduate assistants are contractually obligated to work between eighteen and twenty hours per week.
Students with an assistantship receive a stipend for the work they perform. In addition, they receive from the Graduate College a waiver of most tuition and fees. Each assistantship is awarded a waiver of tuition covering the Ohio Instructional, Non-resident and General fee (up to 18 credits/semester) during the semester of the assistantship. Assistants are also provided tuition and fee waivers covering Ohio Instructional and non-resident fees (up to 15 hours/semester) for the summer semester following an appointment during the academic year, but the summer General fee is not waived.
The Graduate Committee has a small number of “non-service” fellowships to award for the sixth year of the Ph.D. program. Such fellowships carry a stipend but do not require service to the university. In order to be eligible, a student must be in the fifth year of the Ph.D. program, must meet Graduate College minimum criteria, must be making normal progress toward the degree, and must be well advanced in his or her dissertation work.
Graduate students on stipend may be assigned any of the following duties to fulfill their contractual obligations: 1) working with instructors (as graders, as discussion leaders, as section leaders and the like) in large introductory classes, i.e., introduction to philosophy, introduction to logic or introduction to ethics; 2) working with instructors in larger sections of more advanced undergraduate courses, typically in applied philosophy, e.g., medical ethics, business ethics, philosophy of death and dying or the philosophy of law; 3) teaching independent sections of introductory courses; 4) teaching independent sections of more advanced undergraduate courses; 5) serving to support the research of faculty; or 6) serving to support administrators in the department (e.g., working with the library committee) or affiliated centers.
Students in the Ph.D. program may have been awarded a full five years of support. Continuing support is of course contingent on students’ (1) continuing to make satisfactory academic progress toward the M.A. and then the Ph.D. and (2) continuing to perform their contractually assigned duties satisfactorily.
The Philosophy Department acknowledges its responsibility to monitor satisfactory performance of contractually assigned duties by its assistants since the latter are funded by the state of Ohio and since they provide professional service to Bowling Green students and faculty.
The performance of students with teaching assignments is monitored by supervising faculty through regular consultation with those they are supervising and through periodic classroom visitation. Where serious problems are identified, faculty have the responsibility to confer with the students and, where appropriate, to report unsatisfactory performance to the Chair and the Graduate Committee. Comparable supervisory responsibility falls upon those working with graduate students with research and administrative assignments. In any case, where unsatisfactory performance is identified, remedial measures are recommended, and if unsatisfactory performance persists, non -renewal of a graduate student contract may be recommended.
Although assistants are asked to indicate preferences in their duties, there are several overriding principles which are employed in making these assignments. To ensure that teaching, research and administrative assignments are performed responsibly and ably, students are assigned duties within their capabilities (as judged by faculty to be assisted, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair). Students with minimal backgrounds in philosophy or with a need to improve English language skills are assigned non-classroom duties until they are deemed ready for such assignments. In general, it is desirable to have students involved in instruction at the introductory level before assigning them to upper level courses. It is required (save in extreme circumstances) that students serve as assistants in large format introductory classes before attempting independent teaching. It is highly desirable that students be given a variety of assignments in the course of their studies rather than repeating assignments. Students who are puzzled about the rationale leading to particular assignments in their own cases in particular semesters should seek information from the Chair.
Teaching by graduate assistants is monitored by supervising faculty. In the case of large courses, students are monitored by those in whose courses they are assigned duties (e.g., managing logistics, grading, discussion leading and the like). Where students have responsibility for running discussion sessions, supervising faculty are expected to visit each section at least once during the semester to observe their assistants. Supervising faculty are expected to provide help and guidance in developing in their assistants the abilities to perform their assigned duties effectively. This expectation entails that faculty will meet regularly with their assistants to discuss course objectives, assistant responsibilities and the like.
In the case of students teaching independently, they are to do so under the guidance of a supervising faculty member. In the usual course of events such students are to teach courses following rather closely the syllabi of faculty who have previously taught the course (and ideally who have previously supervised the students in a large class format). Where there are departures from this norm, students are to discuss their syllabus and other course preparations with and secure approval of plans from the supervising faculty member. Independent student teachers, too, are to be visited in class at least once during the semester. Though students given such assignments are considered to have proved themselves to have many of the requisite teaching abilities, supervising faculty are still expected to provide help and guidance in further development of student teaching abilities. When supervising faculty visit sections or classes taught by graduate students, they should consider factors such as the following (where applicable) in assessing the teaching they observe:
1. Conveyed the interest of the topic.
2. Showed sensitivity to the students who were not speaking.
3. Kept the philosophical point of the discussion clear.
4. Helped students to overcome student-expressed confusions.
5. Helped students to express their ideas clearly.
6. Paced the introduction of new ideas well.
7. Related new ideas to central points.
8. Answered questions as clearly and simply as possible.
9. Explained content accurately and clearly.
It is Department policy that all instructors (including those teaching discussion sections of large lecture courses) have their students complete course evaluation forms during the last week of classes. Graduate teaching assistants may also want to seek mid-semester feedback from their students as well.