November/December 2006

The December 2006 Commencement is rapidly approaching and I encourage each of you to attend and bring other faculty members with you. Commencement is a very special time for our graduates and their families, and I hope you will join your colleagues in recognizing our graduates and celebrating their accomplishments. A new musical composition for graduate commencement will be played for the first time. See you there!

Announcements & Deadlines:

Call for Nominations for Graduate Student Awards
Nominations for the 2006-07 graduate student awards (outstanding dissertation, service, teaching, college, etc) are due January 26, 2007. Please review the list of awards, nomination criteria and further details on submission requirements at

Graduate Preview Weekend nominations are being accepted
The nominated individual should have submitted an application for graduate study and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident residing in the United States. Graduate Preview Weekend is February 15-18, 2007. For more information, contact Marilyn Kershaw, Director of Graduate Student Recruiting at 1-2494 or at

VT National Capital Region Orientation: 1/13/07, Northern Virginia Center

Temporary Expedited Admissions Status 1/8/07-1/22/07
Occasionally, students learn about a course that they’d like to pursue at the last minute. This paper application can only be used for students who wish to apply within one week before classes begin and up to the last day to add courses. It is a one-time status and allows registration for no more than 6 credits in the semester when the student applies for this status. For more information contact GSSO, 703-538-8327 in the National Capital Region or Jacqueline Nottingham , 540-231-3092 in Blacksburg.

New Fellowship
The David W. Francis and Lillian Francis Scholarship Fund was established to provide graduate fellowships in research emphasizing longer, safer and healthier lives. The disciplines designated in the endowment include agriculture, engineering, bioinformatics, plant pathology, wood science and forest products, veterinary medicine and biotechnology. The Francis Research Fellowship includes a stipend of $18,000 plus tuition for one academic year. One research fellowship will be awarded each academic year. PhD students whose research emphasizes “longer, safer and healthier lives” and are in their final year of research are eligible for the Francis Research Fellowship. Doctoral students should be nominated by their department. The nomination packet should include a letter of support from the academic unit, a letter from the faculty advisor(s), a description of the student’s academic work, and a synopsis of the student’s research and its relevance to promoting “longer, safer and healthier lives”. Nominations are due by February 1 and should be submitted to Karen P. DePauw, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies & Dean of the Graduate School.

Policies & Procedures Reminders/Updates

Academic units are encouraged to remind students that they should enroll in courses prior to the start of the semester and adhere to the drop/add deadlines set by the university. Departments should refrain from enrolling students so that we can avoid unnecessary drops/withdraws. Only under unusual circumstances will graduate students be allowed to add a class after the add deadline.

Instructors of record for graduate courses
Graduate School policy requires that graduate courses (4xxx, 5xxx, 6xxx) be taught by faculty members holding the appropriate terminal academic degree (e.g., PhD). Graduate students (including staff working for graduate degrees) can teach undergraduate courses but are not authorized to teach graduate courses. Please note this requirement in planning course offerings in the future.

Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies

The commission approved a revision to the Applications and Admissions Statement, as follows:

Applications and all related materials for admission should reach the Graduate School Office at least eight weeks before the beginning of the semester in which enrollment is requested. Consideration for admission to the Graduate School is contingent upon receipt of:
1) An official academic transcript showing courses taken and degree(s) earned.
2) Evidence of a Bachelor’s degree from a four year or equivalent (e.g., see Bologna Process) accredited college or university.
Documentation of at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average (on a 4.0 scale) for the last half of the credits earned for the undergraduate degree; or, the completion of 12 graduate course credits with at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average

New degrees
The commission forwarded the new degree proposal, Doctor of Philosophy in STEM Education: Engineering Education, to the University Council. Currently, the commission is in the final stages of review for the degree proposal, Master of Arts in Foreign Language, Culture, and Literature.