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18 tips from the Expectations for Graduate Education

The Graduate Life Center entrance in springtime against a blue sky with clouds

The Graduate School updated Virginia Tech's Expectations for Graduate Education in Fall 2019. In conversations with students and faculty members, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education found that many did not know about the Expectations, which explain the roles and responsibilities for graduate students, faculty, departments, and the Graduate School to foster and maintain a dynamic and productive academic environment. 

The expectations are listed within six areas: progress toward degree, research and ethics, teaching and training, professional development, assistantships and financial support, and community.  They also include sections on mentoring and about the complaints and appeals process. 

Dean DePauw shared information about the Expectations on social media, with 18 posts on Twitter and the Graduate School's Facebook page. You'll find those posts below. Visit the Expectations webpage for more information. We also have a downloadable pdf version of the Expectations. 

Expectations for Graduate Education post 1: Affirming graduate community builds upon a foundation of "Expectations for Graduate Study" for graduate students, faculty, departments, and the Graduate School.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 2: Degree progress, research and ethics, teaching and training, professional development, assistantship and financial support, and community are shared responsibilities across the Graduate School, departments, faculty and students.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 3: Progress toward degree requires faculty and graduate student to develop a plan with a reasonable time-frame (4-5 years for a full-time Ph.D. ) to reach milestones for degree completion
Expectations for Graduate Education post 4: Communication is important, especially between graduate student and advisor. Meet regularly, communicate often, set milestones, provide updates on progress, and provide timely and meaningful feedback.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 5: Ethics and scholarsly integrity should be discussed by faculty and graduate students. Research, teaching and learning, advising, authorship, data management and more. Discuss early and often.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 6: Graduate School can be stressful, so Graduate Schools need to ensure that policies and guidelines are clear and easily accessible to graduate students and faculty, and not adding to the stress.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 7: We (Department, faculty and graduate students) must remember that graduate students first, with education as a priority. A 20-hour per week assistant ship is important, but kept in balance.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 8: It's Halloween today and I will take this opportunity to remind faculty and students to have fun during graduate study, not just work. Enjoy the journey to the degree.
A screen shot of Expectation for Graduate Education 9: Faculty should model high ethical standards and professional behavior in research, teaching, and mentoring graduate students. Students learn from us
Expectations for Graduate Education post 10: Although the hours devoted to graduate work can be long, long hours shouldn't be worn as a badge of honor. Graduate students and faculty deserve time away from work.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 11: Graduate students will seek jobs within and outside academia. Faculty and Graduate Schools should provide professional development programs for multiple careers and value them equally.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 12: Annual progress reviews are important for graduate students and faculty. Faculty advisors should provide meaningful feedback and encouragement for timely degree completion
Expectations for Graduate Education post 13: Departments and Graduate Schools have a responsibility for providing training for GTAs and GRAs, including inclusive pedagogy, safety, ethics, and more. Provide quality feedback, also.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 14: Authorship should be discussed between faculty and graduate students early and determined according to publishing guidelines. Primary authorship to individual with primary responsibility for research
Expectations for Graduate Education post 15: According to Graduate School policy, graduate assistants (GTA, GRA, GA) are expected to work 20 hours/week maximum, plus classes and research. Faculty and departments need to respect and monitor this policy.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 16: Departments and Graduate Schools should provide programs for mental wellness and food security for graduate students. It's hard to be successful without support.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 17: Faculty, departments, and the Graduate School should use holistic admissions processes to ensure that graduate applicants "are more than a score." Recruit talent and prepare for success.
Expectations for Graduate Education post 18: Expectations for Graduate Education should be articulated, shared with, and followed by graduate students, faculty, departments and Graduate Schools. Helps to foster an affirming, inclusive community