TCR Grad Blog

Graduate director's blog for the Technical Communication and Rhetoric Program at Texas Tech University

Posts Tagged ‘policy’

May Seminar Attendance Policy Revision (21 April 2012)

Posted by Joyce on April 21, 2012

Effective immediately, online doctoral students are required to attend their first 5 May Seminars. Attendance after that point is optional, but highly recommended. “Attend” means coming to Lubbock for the entire 2 week period and participating in professional development, writing, and other knowledge-sharing activities. Your attendance will be documented in your annual review folder, and it is up to you to demonstrate compliance with this policy. If you graduate before attending your fifth seminar, you are clearly waived from this requirement. All students must continue to have an annual review conducted by video conference with their committee during the seminar period.

This policy is meant to supplement existing policies regarding continual enrollment in the program. In other words, students are still required to be continually enrolled in coursework at a level of 4 courses per year while they are taking coursework, and 3 semesters of post-coursework registration in either 7000 or 8000 courses. If students need to request a break in their continual enrollment, they still need to petition the faculty formally, per our existing policy that allows a one-time stoppage for up to one calendar year for good reasons (typically economic hardship and health issues). If you are awarded such a waiver, your “First 5 Seminar” requirement will resume when you return to the program.

We are also ceasing our incentive program that reimburses students’ final May Seminar registration fee after they have successfully defended. Students who have already attended a May event, and who have continued to come to each May Seminar will be grandfathered and will receive a reimbursement if they continue to attend every May until graduation. New students (i.e. those who will be attending their first May Seminar in 2012) are not eligible for this grandfathered policy.

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Dissertation and Defense Expectations Clarified

Posted by Joyce on February 17, 2012

After a year of discussion and revision, the TCR faculty is implementing a clarification of our expectations about dissertation quality, development, and defenses. This “Best Practices” document, along with the dissertation defense routing form, has been developed to clarify the program’s expectations for you, the committee, the dissertation, and the defense.

Please see the following documents:

Best Practices for TCR Dissertations and Defenses

TCR Dissertation Defense Routing Form

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Grad Applications Reviewed Yearly, effective immediately

Posted by Joyce on October 4, 2011

Effective Fall 2011, the graduate program will no longer take applications twice a year. Beginning with the January 15, 2012, deadline, we will look at applications ONLY every January 15th. This new policy applies to online and on-campus programs, to the MATC and PhD equally.

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Fee Bill Anxiety and Routine Fixes

Posted by Joyce on May 10, 2010

Just about the time everyone registers, then I begin getting panicked emails that the fee bill is wrong.  Yes, it’s wrong, but don’t panic and don’t write me to fix it when you’ve just registered because part of the process involves reversing certain charges.

There are two groups who see corrections to their fee bills after registering. In order to reverse charges that aren’t supposed to be there, you first have to register, so if you’re sitting on a permit and haven’t registered, you need to do so, because that’s the only way to get an accurate fee bill eventually.

The first group are GPTI’s and fellowship/scholarship recipients. Those who are non-Texans first get their statuses treated as if they were Texans, and everyone gets some fees reduced. This waiver is something that the graduate assistant (Mary Valdez) does, and will process a week or two before your payments are due.

The second group are the online doctoral students who are non-Texas residents. Through agreement with various powers that be, this group of students pays no tuition, but pays instead a special instruction fee. When they first register, a 3-hour class looks monstrously over-priced, and it is because the tuition hasn’t been reversed yet. This reversal is something that the DGS (me) does usually a couple of weeks before the payments are due.

In both cases, the key is to relax and wait for the waivers to be applied. If you absolutely must pay your fee bill (because you’re a Type A personality or you just like spending money), that’s fine — you’ll receive a credit or a reimbursement after these fees have been reversed.

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Graduation and Commencement Un-Yoked

Posted by Joyce on April 22, 2010

After 6 months of working, writing, and persuading, we have succeeded in making it possible for a student to participate in commencement in a different semester from their graduation. According to Vice Provost Stewart:

At a recent Academic Council meeting we agreed that graduates can Commence a term later than their graduation, for good cause.  Such good cause ought to be the call of the college(s) involved.

The Arts and Sciences dean wrote  to me, saying that he is completely supportive of this policy, which means that your academic college meets the Provost’s terms.  And the dean of the Graduate School is similarly supportive, writing, “Graduate Enrollment Management will reflect the modification for August graduation.”

What this means is that you may ask to do commencement in August, for example, if you defend and graduate in May, a policy that may make it easier for you to schedule the ceremony around your family vacation or other obligations.

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Posted by Joyce on April 9, 2010

Although we don’t like to give incompletes as a general rule, the faculty is definitely mindful of the things that happen to students in the course of pursuing their degrees, things like sickness, major family changes, loss of job, and so on.  If you feel an incomplete is warranted, you need to meet with your professor to talk about work completed, the nature of your request, and your plan for finishing the work.

If your professor feels your request is warranted, the next step is for both of you to establish a plan of completion:  identify the deliverables remaining, set dates for completion, discuss expectations of interaction with you, agree on consequences for NOT meeting these agreements, and so on.  Your instructor will need to submit a grade of “i” and turn in an “incomplete grade” form that they can find at the Grad School’s “Forms” page.

Your faculty prefers (if at all possible) for you to have your incompletes finished before you commence another class.   Thus, an incomplete granted in late April might come with the expectations that you’re going to either take the summer to finish, or you’re going to be done by June 5th (more or less) so that you can start a summer course free of the burden of an unfinished class.

Our policy is that you cannot take new classes with outstanding incompletes, and I will audit our enrollments as we near the start of a semester to make sure no one is starting a new class with incompletes hanging around their necks, and I’ll drop those students who haven’t erased  their pending work.

When you have turned in your work, please allow your instructor a few weeks to evaluate it and to issue you a letter grade.  They can’t change the grade in Raiderlink, but will need to get a Change of Grade form (again from Raiderlink, Faculty Services tab) and submit it to the Grad Director and the Grad School.  If your work has been turned in, but your transcript still shows an “i”, just let me know (or have your instructor email me) and you’ll be free to register.

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Maximum “Transfer” Hours

Posted by Joyce on July 28, 2009

After a few years of queries, I’ve learned definitively that at least 30 new hours must be taken by doctoral students. Why is this important? If you got your master’s from Texas Tech, and perhaps have 36 good hours that plausibly ought to apply to the doctorate, we’re only going to be able to take 30 of those hours. In other words, whether you transfer in to Texas Tech or transfer within Texas Tech, you will take at least 30 new hours of doctoral coursework, and perhaps more, depending on the quality and grades of prior graduate work.

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Continual Enrollment for Online Doctoral Students

Posted by Joyce on May 2, 2009

Based on a couple of situations that arose in the past year, the TCR faculty met on May 1, 2009, and crafted the following policy that provides for breaking your continual enrollment based on extraordinary circumstances such as illness or losing your job.

For those of you in the online PhD program, you know that when we write you with our acceptance letter, we make it very clear that you’re expected to do the following things: take 4 courses per year, come to every May Workshop until you graduate, and maintain continual enrollment. This language isn’t just our program’s internal policy; it’s also the way we redefined “doctoral residency” with our graduate school when we proposed the program. And this redefined residency is then the basis for calling you “full time students” at a level of 3 hours per semester instead of 6 hours. So the requirement is good for you in multiple ways.

The faculty had its own reasons for wanting you to make good progress in coursework, based on our history with other online students and our concern that without such a requirement, you might take 5 years to complete coursework, thus harming the quality of the degree. So it’s a good policy from our perspective.

We knew that our policies would need to be modified based on emerging realities. Thus we have agreed that if you need to break continual enrollment, you can request a hiatus of no more than 12 months by petitioning the TCR faculty in writing, explaining your extraordinary circumstances in detail. We envision that reasonable requests will involve serious illness or serious, unforeseen economic hardship (such as being laid off), but other rationales may be persuasive. If your petition is accepted, the faculty will readmit you at the end of the period requested; if you do not return to continual enrollment at that point, you will be dropped from the program and will have to reapply and compete with all the new potential students applying at that time. If your petition is rejected, you will need to maintain continual enrollment or be dropped from the program. You may receive only one such a hiatus, which may include only one May Workshop.

This policy is effective immediately.

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