The Departmental Graduate Committee
Graduate life in the Philosophy department is overseen, and where appropriate regulated, by the Departmental Graduate Committee. This committee consists of all the departmental faculty members. There is a Graduate Chair (currently Dr. Kathleen Akins), and sometimes an Executive Subcommittee, which the department has authorized to make decisions on routine matters. Any suggestions for improvements to any aspect of our Graduate Program and how it is run are welcome and can be addressed to the Graduate Chair at any time or brought to the department's attention at a meeting by the Graduate Representative. Should you disagree with a particular decision the Graduate Chair makes, you can ask that your case be considered by the Departmental Graduate Committee. Such appeals should be submitted in writing to the Graduate Chair or to the Department Chair. E-mail submissions are both sufficient and preferred.
Many procedures de facto only require that the Graduate Chair be informed, as signified by an approval signature on a form. Such procedures include things like Western Dean's Agreement courses, applications to form a supervisory or examining committee, applications to graduate, etc., and can be handled through our Departmental Secretary. The relevant forms can be found on the Dean of Graduate Studies (DGS) website. Should the Graduate Chair or the Departmental Graduate Committee find any reason to question one of these routine procedures you will be contacted.
Students can find help with procedural issue issues concerning enrollment, fees, forms, printer access, etc. from our Departmental/Graduate secretary (currently Ms. Linda Sheldon).
Issues of course numbers for directed readings courses as well as the mechanics of life in the department ( offices, furniture, etc.) are largely handled by our Departmental Manager (currently Mrs. Laura Bologea).
Appeals, Special Applications
All appeals and applications concerning degree requirements, such as the logic requirement, course credit for previous graduate work, breadth requirements, etc. should go to the Graduate Chair in writing. E-mail is both sufficient and preferred.
Applications to transfer from MA to PhD programs or vice versa are treated within the department in the same way that new applications to the programs are treated (see application procedures).
Source and authoritative version of rules
The regulations and procedures in this handbook are an amalgam of Departmental and Dean of Graduate Studies (DGS) edicts. The two sources are distinguished only where it might be of some relevance to the student (So, for example, most of the degree requirements are departmental. Because they are more restrictive versions of what the University requires, the latter requirements are not enumerated here).
The current document is the ultimate authority on departmental rules, with interpretation to be given by the Departmental Graduate Committee if needed. Departmental rules embellish, but cannot contradict, the University rules as set out in the University Calendar and on the Dean of Graduate Studies website. Interpretation for the university rules is provided by the Dean.
Departmental expectations of Graduate Students
Graduate school in philosophy is a full-time endeavour. There are, of course, financial and family and other personal reasons why a particular person might not be able to concentrate on their studies on a full time basis. The general expectation is, however, that in accepting a place in our Graduate program, a student accepts that graduate education will be the central focus of his or her life . If there is some reason why you must concentrate on some other area of your life for some period, to the detriment of your concentration on your studies, it is important that you discuss this with the Graduate Chair (or someone else in the department) so that our expectations can be adjusted accordingly.
The Philosophy Department considers its Graduate Students to be an essential and integral part of the intellectual and social life of the department. The serious business of teaching, learning and research is not merely enhanced by a healthy, functioning departmental community; such a community is one of the preconditions of much of the work being carried out at all. We strive to include our Graduate Students in as much of the Department's life as possible and, in turn, we would like the students to play and active role in it.
Thus Graduate Students are expected to attend colloquia, to participate in conferences, to present their work at appropriate departmental and other venues etc. We consider these to be an integral part of your philosophical training. And, while we hardly require such participation, we would like to see students take part in such extra-curricular activities as social events, open houses, departmental outings and so on. All of these activities contribute to building a community conducive to a healthy intellectual life.