The University of Texas at Tyler
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Graduate Student Expectations

Best Practice in Graduate Education for Students

The following Best Practices were endorsed by the UT Tyler Graduate Council in February 2009.

A primary purpose of graduate education at The University of Texas at Tyler is to instill in each student an understanding of and capacity for scholarship, independent judgment, academic rigor, and intellectual honesty. It is the joint responsibility of faculty and graduate students to work together to foster these ends through relationships which encourage freedom of inquiry, demonstrate personal and professional integrity, and foster mutual respect.

Graduate student progress toward educational goals at The University of Texas at Tyler is directed and evaluated by an advisor and the relevant graduate committee(s). The advisor and the individuals on the committee provide intellectual guidance in support of the scholarly/creative activities of graduate students. The advisor and the relevant graduate committee(s) also are charged with the responsibility of evaluating a graduate student's performance in scholarly/creative activities. The graduate student, the advisor and the graduate committee(s) comprise the basic unit of graduate education at this institution. It is the quality, breadth, and depth of interaction within this unit that largely determines the outcome of the graduate experience.

High quality graduate education depends upon the professional and ethical conduct of the participants. Faculty members and graduate students have complementary responsibilities in the maintenance of academic standards and the creation of high quality graduate programs. Excellence in graduate education is achieved when both faculty and students are highly motivated, possess the academic and professional backgrounds necessary to perform at the highest level, and are sincere in their desire to see each other succeed.

Graduate students must be viewed as early-stage professionals, not as students whose interest is guided by the desire to complete the degree. Graduate students have made a career choice and must be viewed and treated as the next generation of professionals.

To accomplish this, it is essential that graduate students:

  • Conduct themselves in a mature, professional, ethical, and civil manner in all interactions with faculty and staff in accordance with the accepted standards of the discipline and The University of Texas at Tyler policies governing discrimination and harassment.
  • Recognize that the program faculty provide the intellectual and instructional environment in which the student conducts research, and may, through access to teaching and research funds, also provide the student with financial support. 
  • Expect that their research results, with appropriate recognition, may be incorporated into progress reports, summary documents, applications for continuation of funding, and similar documents authored by the faculty advisor, to the extent that the student's research is related to the faculty advisor's research program and the grants which support that research. 
  • Recognize that faculty have broad discretion to allocate their own time and other resources in ways which are academically productive. 
  • Recognize that the faculty advisor is responsible for monitoring the accuracy, validity, and integrity of the student's research, Careful, well conceived research reflects favorably on the student, the faculty advisor, and The University of Texas at Tyler. 
  • Exercise the highest integrity in taking examinations and in collecting, analyzing, and presenting research data. 
  • Acknowledge the contributions of the faculty advisor and other members of the research team to the student's work in all publications and conference presentations; acknowledgment may mean co-authorship when that is appropriate. 
  • Recognize that the faculty advisor, in nearly every case, will determine when a body of work is ready for publication and an acceptable venue, since the faculty advisor bears responsibility for overseeing the performance of the students and ensuring the validity of the research.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the faculty advisor's professional activities and research prior to presentation or publication, in accordance with existing practices and policies of the discipline. 
  • Take primary responsibility to inform themselves of regulations and policies governing their graduate studies and The University of Texas at Tyler.
  • Recognize that faculty and staff have many professional responsibilities in addition to graduate education.
  • Devote an appropriate amount of time and energy toward achieving academic excellence and earning the advanced degree. 
  • Be aware of time constraints and other demands imposed on faculty members and program staff. 
  • Take the initiative in asking questions that promote understanding of the academic subjects and advances in the field. 
  • Communicate regularly with faculty advisors, especially in matters related to research and progress within the graduate program.

This document was originated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Graduate Council.

The University of Texas at Tyler document benefited from the work of the University of Nebraska Medical Center; the work of the Graduate Council at the University of Oregon; the Graduate School at the University of California-Davis; the Graduate College and Graduate Council at the University of Arizona; the Office of Graduate Studies at the University of Southern California; and the Graduate School at North Carolina State University.