March 2009 Monthly Memo

Graduate Education Week
GEW was a great success once again!  A wonderful series of activities and events were held in Blacksburg and in the National Capital Region.  Please check out the website ( for a complete listing of the events, award recipients, and photos.  And thanks to all who sponsored events and for your support of graduate education at Virginia Tech.

Preliminary/Final Examinations
As we begin nearing the end of the academic semester, we will all experience an increase in the volume of Requests for Final (or Preliminary) examinations.
To help assist in this process, please see the associated Policies section of the Graduate School catalog along with the attached checklist sheets.

By reviewing each examination request and taking care of any trouble situations prior to submission to the Graduate School will help in the efficiency of processing these requests.

ETD Speaker Series
Please share with your students.
Tuesday, April 21st (GLC Rm F) – Getting Your Research Published A panel of faculty across several disciplines will present how to get your thesis or dissertation published.

Degree Completion

Students wishing to complete their degrees in Spring 2009, must defend by May 6th and complete all requirements by June 12, 2009.  For specific details related to commencement participation, where earlier deadlines may apply, see

CGS&P updates
Recent discussions at CGS&P have included the accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Program, implementation guidelines for fair use/copyright in the ETD, changes to the Graduate Honor System constitution.  The UG/G resolution has been forwarded to University Council for action. 

Graduate Catalog/ Policies & Procedures
The 1.0 version of the Graduate Catalog is currently available on line.  Efforts are underway to improve the functionality of the catalog, its contents and the website.  Version 2.0 should be available by early summer at which time additional changes and updates can be made.  As changes are made in the policies & procedures, please make sure that the departmental handbooks are also updated or link directly to the Graduate School Policies.

Annual Reviews of Graduate Progress
Annual Reviews of Graduate Progress for all students in each graduate program are required at the end of spring semester each year (Presidential Policy Memo #229).   A summary of the results for the program and the individual student reviews should be submitted to the Dean’s office of the Graduate School by the end of May.  We encourage saving paper by putting these on a CD.  For more information about reviews, see the item below for Grad Program Directors or contact Anne McNabb (

Information for Grad Program Directors
At the March 19 meeting on Advising, there was a request to supply additional information about annual reviews to the program directors.  The following items are being posted on the Grad Website in the section on Procedural Guidelines (under Academics on the left side pull down menu): the handout used at the Mar 19 advising meeting, a set of good practices for annual reviews taken from different programs at VT during the last three years and samples of review forms and checklists used by departments. We were very pleased to have 31 units (~45 people) in attendance at the March 19 meeting and to have such an active discussion of advising and reviews.

Late Grades Reminder

The Faculty Handbook requires all faculty who have an assigned class to submit final grades by the official university deadline. The Graduate School, because of our position with regards to grade changes, tracks those departments that submit late grades.  The classification of classes most often having a late grade are the research hour sections of  5994 and 7994.  Please make sure those faculty or Graduate Program Directors that are responsible for these sections submit a grade(s) by the required VT deadline. 

Deletion of Untaught Classes from the Graduate School Catalog

It is that time of the academic year when the Registrar’s Office and the Graduate School must enforce Presidential Policy 232.   We will inform the Commission for Graduate Studies and Policies of all the graduate courses at VT that have not been taught in the last 3 years.  The Commission will then vote on their removal from the university catalog.   Emails will be forthcoming notifying all departments about those classes that will be put forward for deletion.