Department of Philosophy
Graduate Student Handbook
Philosophy graduate students are regarded as members of the Department and encouraged to participate actively in the intellectual and administrative life of the department. Those serving as graduate assistants are colleagues with faculty as contract employees of the university with attendant duties and responsibilities. Graduate students are provided a share in the resources of the department to support their learning, teaching, research and professional development.
All graduate students in philosophy are provided with office space. Officially, the university makes such space available only to those who serve as graduate assistants. The idea is to provide space to enable them to fulfill their contractual obligations as teachers and assistants. The Philosophy Department will make every effort to provide space for all who are members of the philosophical community by virtue of their being enrolled as graduate students.
The first priority in the use of offices must be fulfillment of contractually defined duties and responsibilities, i.e., holding office hours, meeting with students, preparing for teaching, or completing assignments as research or administrative assistants. Students are encouraged to use their offices for study and informal philosophical exchange on the understanding that these latter uses are officially secondary and can be overridden when needs of the first variety arise.
The procedures for assigning offices (followed by the Chair in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies) are simple. Assignments are made bearing in mind the desirability of (a) mixing students from the various classes in the program, (b) mixing students on contract with other full and part-time students not on contract, and (c) ensuring that students away on internship are provided official "home" bases while at the same time avoiding crowding of students present on campus. Adjustments are sometimes made as students request them.
The secretarial pool in the central office is available to graduate students primarily to support them in their capacities as teaching and research assistants. The secretaries will also provide support in the maintenance of computer and copying equipment available for use by graduate students. Research prepared for classes in which graduate students are enrolled (including manuscript preparation, printing and copying) is the responsibility of the graduate student.
The Graduate Secretary works with the Director of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Admissions Officer, and the Graduate Committee and assists them in discharging their duties. The Graduate Secretary can be of enormous assistance to students in navigating through the graduate programs, registering for courses, preparing Tentative Degree Program forms, and, generally, answering questions, including technical questions about the program, the department, and the university.
The Richard Lineback Reading Room is a facility to serve the needs of both faculty and graduate students. The facility includes a good working library in philosophy. It maintains a substantial number of current philosophical journals as well as a number of important reference works in philosophy and allied disciplines. Graduate Teaching Assistants will find a range of introductory texts in philosophy for review in selecting a text or supplementing preparation for independent teaching. A photocopier is on hand to reproduce selected materials which may not be removed from the Library (e.g. journals, reference volumes and classroom). The University’s Jerome Library has a first-rate collection in philosophy.
The Department maintains a number of computers for use by graduate students in the Computer Room including a roughly equal number of Macintosh machines and machines running Windows. These machines are intended to be used only for research and teaching purposes.
The Philosophy Department travel policy provides modest support for graduate students who are on the programs of professional conferences, who have administrative responsibilities in professional organizations or who undertake significant professional development projects. Graduate students should approach the Director of Graduate Studies with requests for travel.
Detailed descriptions of department governance structures, policies and procedures are found in the By-Laws and Policies document, which is available in the central office and on the web here: Department Policies and Procedures. The Chair calls department meetings as business arises which requires the attention of the faculty. Graduate Students elect a representative who is invited to attend these meetings as a voting member of the department. The department has several standing committees, including (a) personnel (faculty hiring), (b) graduate (student recruiting and program development), (c) undergraduate (curriculum and program development), (d) tenure and promotion (restricted to tenured faculty by the University Charter), (e) evaluation (merit evaluation of faculty), (f) library (acquisitions), and (g) professional activities (colloquia and social activities). Graduate students elect single graduate student members of the personnel, graduate and professional activities committees, and a graduate student assistant is regularly assigned to work with the library committee.