Constitution of the Graduate School
- Article I: Name and Purpose
- Article II: Chief Administrative Officer of the Graduate School
- Article III: The Graduate Faculty
- Article IV: The Graduate Board
- Article V: The Executive Committee
- Article VI: Standing Committee
- Article VII: Policies and Regulations of the Graduate School
- Article VIII: Amendment
April 27, 1970
As Amended January 1971
As Amended June 1976
As Amended October 1981
As Amended November 1989
As Amended February 1999
As Amended February 2001
As Amended May 2001
As Amended December 2003
As Amended November 2005
As Amended September 2007
As Amended November 2007
As Amended September 2008
As Amended May 2017
As Amended April 2021
Section 1. Name. This organization shall be known as the Graduate School of The University of Maine. It shall consist of the Graduate Faculty and the administrative leadership for graduate education.
Section 2. Purpose. The purpose of the Graduate School of The University of Maine shall be to foster academic achievement beyond the baccalaureate degree. The Graduate School shall promote excellence in all graduate programs of The University of Maine, through research and creative achievement, public service, and standards of scholarship that reflect Maine’s outstanding legacy of contributions to science and the environment, government, business, education, and the humanities. In advancing this purpose, the Graduate School shall be the University’s advocate for responding to the growing needs of Maine and the world in extending the frontiers of human knowledge.
Article II: Chief Administrative Officer of the Graduate School
Section 1. Duties. The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Graduate School or his/her designee shall preside at meetings of the Graduate Faculty and shall serve as the chairperson of the Graduate Board, the Executive Committee of the Graduate Board, and the Curriculum Committee. S/he shall promote the effectiveness and prosperity of the Graduate School and discharge such other duties as may be assigned by the Graduate Faculty or by the President and the Provost. S/he shall report annually to the Faculty of the University on the state of graduate education at The University of Maine through the Graduate Board. S/he shall report to the President on the condition and needs of the Graduate School, with such recommendations as seem proper.
Section 2. Selection. The CAO shall be selected by the President. The term of appointment of the CAO shall be at the pleasure of the President and the Board of Trustees.
Article III: The Graduate Faculty
Section 1. Purpose. The Graduate Faculty should be engaged (1) in extending the limits of current human knowledge, (2) in interpreting and reinterpreting the past and present experience of humankind, and (3) in creating in these and other ways an intellectual climate in which both graduate and undergraduate scholarship may flourish.
Section 2. Jurisdiction. The Graduate Faculty shall have jurisdiction over:
a. admissions to the Graduate School.
b. designation of courses carrying graduate credit.
c. establishment of requirements for advanced degrees.
d. all students who pursue graduate study.
e. recommendations to the President for presentation to the Trustees of all students who have completed degree requirements.
f. all matters pertaining to graduate study which are not otherwise delegated and which are within general University policy. This jurisdiction may be delegated to the Graduate Board, but it may also be exercised directly at any meeting of the Graduate Faculty.
Section 3. Membership. The Graduate Faculty governs the process which determines eligibility for membership.
Categories of Membership
Full Graduate Faculty. Full members of the Graduate Faculty must hold formal faculty appointments at the University of Maine as defined in this document or must be a full member of an established, multi-institutional graduate faculty group. Full members of the Graduate Faculty who possess doctoral degrees may serve on University of Maine master’s and doctoral committees, either as the chair or as a committee member. A Full Member of the Graduate Faculty possessing a master’s degree may not chair a doctoral committee, but on the recommendation of the unit graduate committee and with the permission of the Graduate School, may serve as a member of a doctoral committee, if the individual possesses a specific area of expertise essential to the makeup of the committee. Full members of the Graduate Faculty may also advise graduate students in non-thesis programs. Although it is expected that Full Members of the Graduate Faculty shall possess the highest level of achievement in scholarship, graduate teaching, and public service, each institutional unit shall set the specific criteria for appointment of its faculty.
Associate Graduate Faculty. Members of the Associate Graduate Faculty are individuals at the University of Maine, who do not meet all the criteria for appointment as Full Graduate Faculty but who have significant qualifications for graduate instruction. Associate members of the Graduate Faculty possess all the privileges of Full Graduate Faculty members with the exception of chairing student committees, although Associate members may serve as co-chairs of committees. Associate members of the Graduate Faculty who do not hold doctoral degrees may serve on doctoral committees only on the recommendation of the unit graduate committee and with permission the Graduate School.
UMS Graduate Faculty. UMS Graduate Faculty are tenured or hold tenure track faculty appointments at a University of Maine System institution other than the University of Maine. Should two or more UMS academic units wish to enter a Cooperating Departments Agreement (2019-21 AFUM contract, Sec 7) at the graduate-curriculum level involving a UMaine degree program, UMS Graduate Faculty may be assigned UMaine graduate level (500/600) classes. The absence of a Cooperating Departments agreement does not preclude other UMS courses at the 400 level and higher from being accepted in transfer towards meeting UMaine graduate degree requirements. Recognizing the varied missions of the 7 UMS institutions with regard to teaching and scholarship, UMS Graduate Faculty would not necessarily be active participants on student thesis and dissertation committees. However, those faculty members whose academic and research engagement enable them to make an active contribution to a graduate student’s research may serve on a committee, as well as co-chair, or if meeting the program’s criteria for Full Graduate Faculty, chair a committee at the discretion of the graduate program and the University of Maine Graduate School.
External Graduate Faculty. Members of the External Graduate Faculty are individuals who do not hold appointments at the University of Maine. External members of the Graduate Faculty possess all the privileges of
Full Graduate Faculty members with the exception of chairing student committees, although External members may serve as co-chairs of committees. External members of the Graduate Faculty who do not hold doctoral degrees may serve on doctoral committees only with permission of the Graduate School.
Graduate Instructors. Graduate instructors must have earned at least a master’s degree. Graduate instructors may teach graduate-level (500 and 600) courses but may not advise graduate students or serve on graduate student committees.
Emeritus Graduate Faculty. University of Maine faculty members who have retired and been formally appointed as Emerita/us Faculty by the University of Maine and who held graduate faculty status before retirement may be appointed as Emeritus Graduate Faculty. Emeritus Graduate Faculty possess all the privileges of Full Graduate Faculty members with the exception of chairing student committees, although Emeritus members may serve as co-chairs of committees. Emeritus members of the Graduate Faculty who do not hold doctoral degrees may serve on doctoral committees only with permission of the appropriate college dean and the the Graduate School. Emeritus Graduate Faculty members who were chairing graduate committees at the time of retirement should assist the Graduate Coordinator, other members of the student committee, and the student in selecting an appropriate co- chair from the Full Graduate Faculty.
Ex officio members. The CAO of the Graduate School may appoint appropriate persons holding administrative positions as ex officio Graduate Faculty members. The Graduate School’s administrative leadership and all department chairpersons and graduate coordinators shall be ex officio members unless holding a different category of graduate faculty appointment. Individuals appointed as ex officio members normally do not serve on graduate committees.
Appointment and Reappointment
In keeping with the University of Maine’s mission as a land-grant and sea grant institution, individuals considered for appointment to the Graduate Faculty shall demonstrate substantial achievement in each of the areas of scholarship, graduate teaching, and public service.
Appointment. Faculty may be appointed to any of the seven categories of membership. Recommendation for membership on the Graduate Faculty is subject to the approval of the appropriate institutional unit committee, unit head, dean(s) (if appropriate) and the Graduate School. New tenure-track University of Maine faculty members may be granted an initial appointment to the Graduate Faculty at the time of hire that shall extend up until the completion of review for tenure or separation from the University. University of Maine faculty who are granted a promotion and/or tenure shall be immediately eligible for reappointment for a five-year term to the Graduate Faculty provided that have satisfied the criteria listed below (under Reappointment).
For all other appointments, each institutional unit shall develop a peer review process similar to that employed for decisions of promotion and tenure. Criteria used in this process should take into account the level of responsibility expected of Graduate Faculty in different categories of membership and will include specific expectations related to scholarship, graduate teaching, and service. For appointment as a Full member of the Graduate Faculty, achievement in scholarship must include peer-reviewed publications, presentations at professional meetings, or other creative work appropriate for Graduate Faculty members in each individual institutional unit. These criteria shall be reviewed by the appropriate college dean (or by the CAO of the Graduate School for multi-college, interdisciplinary graduate faculty groups) and by the Executive Committee of the Graduate Board. Graduate Faculty appointment criteria may undergo periodic re-examination by departments and graduate programs. Any resulting changes shall again be reviewed by the appropriate authorities listed above.
Reappointment. The normal term of membership for all categories of Graduate Faculty shall be for five years and shall be renewable. Individuals who do not possess all of the qualifications normally expected for reappointment as Full or Associate Graduate Faculty members may continue serving for the duration of current committee appointments. Reappointment to the Graduate Faculty is contingent upon meeting the appointment criteria of the faculty member’s institutional unit and the following conditions:
a. demonstrated record of service on graduate student committees, including attendance at scheduled committee meetings;
b. success in advising graduate students (for example, completion rates of advisees); and
c. record of compliance with established University of Maine and/or departmental policies.
In reappointing individuals to the Graduate Faculty, each institutional unit should review the performance in the above three areas. Documentation related to the Graduate Faculty member’s performance in these areas should be submitted with reappointment materials upon request from the Graduate School.
Appeals process. Individuals who are denied appointment to the Graduate Faculty may appeal the decision at each successive level (see Section 3 – Appointment) up to the Graduate School. If the Graduate School denies the appeal, the matter shall be referred to the next meeting of the Executive Committee of the Graduate Board with an explanation of the referral. The Executive Committee may then approve a referred application, with an affirmative vote of a majority of those present required.
Section 4. Institutional unit graduate committee. Each institutional unit of the University offering a program leading to an advanced degree shall have a unit graduate committee. That committee shall be the executive committee of the Graduate Faculty of the institutional unit. The department chairperson shall be an ex-officio member of this committee. The size of the committee, the method of selecting members, and the general range of its functions shall be determined by the Graduate Faculty of the institutional unit. In those cases involving interdisciplinary graduate programs, an interdisciplinary graduate committee, approved by the Graduate Board, shall be responsible for the initiation of the appointment of any additional faculty members to the Graduate Faculty.
Section 5. Graduate student committee membership. Only Full members of the Graduate Faculty may chair graduate student committees. Full, Associate, External, and Emeritus members of the Graduate Faculty may co-chair or serve on graduate student committees in accordance with the responsibilities established in Section 3 under membership, but on the recommendation of the unit graduate committee and with the permission of the Graduate School, ex-officio Graduate Faculty may serve as committee members.
Article IV: The Graduate Board
Section 1. Responsibility and Authority. The Graduate Board as part of the responsibilities delegated to it by the Graduate Faculty shall:
a. determine rules, procedures and policies of the Graduate School (with an affirmative vote of two-thirds of those present required).
b. recommend approval of new courses and programs (with a simple majority of those present and voting required.)
c. act on routine matters not resolved by the Executive Committee.
d. refer matters to the Graduate Faculty or to the Executive Committee.
e. carry out any special instructions of the Graduate Faculty.
f. ratify all amendments to the Constitution of the Graduate School.
Section 2. Membership. The Graduate Board shall consist of the Graduate School’s administrative leadership, members elected by the Graduate Faculty, the President of the Graduate Student Government or his/her designee, the Graduate Student Board of Trustees representative, and the President of the Faculty Senate of the University of Maine or his/her designee as a liaison between the two bodies. The Senate representative must be a Full Graduate Faculty member in good standing and may also be a designated representative of one of the graduate programs. The CAO shall serve as chairperson. A staff member of the Graduate School shall serve as Secretary.
Section 3. Graduate Board Representation. For purposes of representation, the Graduate Board shall be apportioned to conform as closely as possible to the following guidelines:
a. One representative for each graduate institutional unit.
b. A graduate institutional unit offering more than one degree program and having more than 30 Full Graduate Faculty members whose appointments reside within the graduate institutional unit may request additional representation from the Graduate School.
c. Interdisciplinary graduate degree programs may request separate representation from the Graduate School.
d. Four representatives from the College of Education and Human Development.
The representation formula will be reviewed as needed by the Executive Committee of the Graduate Board.
Section 4. Election to Graduate Board. The Graduate committee of each institutional graduate unit shall elect a member when necessary. Vacancies occuring between regular elections shall be filled by special elections consistent with the general rules for election.
Section 5. Term of Office. Representatives to the Graduate Board shall serve three-year terms.
Section 6. Meetings. The Graduate Board shall meet regularly during the academic year. Meetings may be called by the Graduate School or at the request of five members of the Graduate Board.
Section 7. Substitute Members. Members unable to attend shall designate substitutes, who shall have full voting rights for the member they replace.
Section 8. Quorum. A quorum shall consist of two-thirds of the elected membership (or their substitutes) of the Graduate Board
Article V: The Executive Committee
Section 1. Responsibility and Authority. The Executive Committee shall operate within the policy guidelines of the Graduate School. It shall not make policy. The Executive Committee shall:
a. act as an advisory body to the CAO of the Graduate School.
b. resolve individual admissions problems and academic appeals.
c. hear and resolve appeals on appointments to the Graduate Faculty
d. advise the CAO on awarding scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships.
e. establish the agenda for meetings of the Graduate Board.
Section 2. Tenure and Election. The Executive Committee shall
include the senior leadership of the Graduate School and shall have representation from each of the five academic colleges and from interdisciplinary graduate programs. The faculty members shall be elected by the Graduate Board from its own membership following nomination by the Executive Committee; it is the intent of the Graduate Faculty that the Executive Committee be broadly representative. Board members shall have completed at least one year of a current term on the Graduate Board before election to the Executive Committee. They shall be elected for a one-year term and are eligible for re-election. A staff member from the Graduate School will serve as Secretary of the Graduate Executive Committee.
Article VI: Standing Committee
Section 1. The Curriculum Committee.
a. Purposes and Responsibility. The Curriculum Committee of the Graduate Faculty shall have the specific responsibility of studying all proposals for new and modified graduate courses and degree programs, and recommending action to the Graduate Board. Petitioners dissatisfied with the action of the Graduate Board may appeal the decision to the Graduate Faculty.
b. Membership. The Curriculum Committee shall include five members of the Graduate Faculty; it is the intent of the Graduate Faculty that the Curriculum Committee be broadly representative. The CAO of the Graduate School or his/her designee shall be chair of the Committee. Faculty members shall be appointed by the Graduate School for two year terms. Representatives from the Library and the Office of Student Records shall serve as ex officio members.
c. Procedures. The Curriculum Committee shall determine its own procedures. Proposals for new and modified courses and degree programs shall be presented to the Graduate School, which will then submit them to the Curriculum Committee. After consideration, the Curriculum Committee shall report its recommendations to the Graduate Board. Specific information relative to procedures shall be circulated to all members of the graduate faculty through the Graduate School’s website. Any changes in procedures shall be noted at a fall meeting of the Graduate Board.
Section 2. Other Standing Committees. The Graduate Faculty may create such other standing committees as it may deem necessary.
Article VII: Policies and Regulations of the Graduate School
A document, Policies and Regulations of the Graduate School, shall be maintained by the Graduate School and distributed to all members of the Graduate Faculty. Changes in Policies and Regulations of the Graduate School shall be made by action of the Graduate Board or the Graduate Faculty. As revisions are made they shall be distributed to the Faculty.
Section 1. Proposal. Five or more members of the Graduate Faculty may propose an amendment to the Constitution by presenting it in writing to the Graduate Board.
Section 2. Ratification. The Graduate Board shall consider the proposal at a meeting open to all Graduate Faculty. Unless the amendment is disapproved by two-thirds of its members, the Graduate Board shall vote on the amendment by written ballot at its next scheduled meeting. The proposed amendment shall become a part of the Constitution when approved by at least two-thirds of the Graduate Board membership voting.