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New Mexico State University
Graduate School


Graduate Faculty Guidelines


December 1, 2008

To:       Faculty, Department Heads, and Deans of the Colleges
From:   Linda Lacey, Dean of the Graduate School

Re:       Revised Guidelines on Graduate Faculty Appointments

The Graduate Council reviewed the Guidelines on Graduate Faculty appointments to reflect the new Promotion and Tenure Policy of New Mexico State University.  The revised guidelines on graduate faculty appointments were reviewed and approved during the March 6, 2008 meeting of the Graduate Council.  The guidelines provide information on the criterion for selection and re-appointment, the length of appointment and the role and responsibilities of members of Graduate Faculty.   To allow time for the sub-committee and the dean of the Graduate School to review the nominations and re-appointment requests, approval letters are mailed to departments and colleges in the months of December, March, June and September.  Copies of the approval letters are sent to the academic dean, the department head and the nominated faculty member. 

The Review Process
Nominations to the graduate faculty begin at the department level. Academic department heads initiate the nomination process and must provide a detailed justification for each candidate, which must be endorsed by the respective college dean. The Sub-committee on Graduate Faculty provides input to the Dean of the Graduate School on incoming nominations and consists of elected members of the Graduate Council. Members usually serve a term of 3 years on the committee, and they must be members of the graduate faculty and tenured faculty of New Mexico State University. Final decisions about appointment to the sub-committee are the purview of the Dean of the Graduate School. Department heads shall place a copy of the notification letter in the faculty member’s departmental personnel file.

Criteria for Selection
As noted above, appointments to Graduate Faculty are the responsibility of the dean of the Graduate School and the sub-committee on Graduate Faculty of the Graduate Council. As indicated in the New Mexico State University Policy Manual, approval of nominations for Graduate Faculty appointments is based on the following criteria: a) creative activity current evidence of scholarly activity as defined by the current NMSU Policy Manual ( Note:  granting of graduate faculty status does not constitute meeting the criteria for promotion or tenure described in the NMSU Policy Manual, both of which are separate processes; b) continual study in their field, and c) successful teaching. It is expected that candidates will possess a relevant terminal degree. Nomination packets for individual faculty members shall include a current curriculum vita that contains all the available information pertinent to Graduate Faculty appointment at NMSU (including a NMSU campus address and contact information). The nominee must also have the written endorsement of their department head and the dean of the college. As a rule, peer-reviewed publications or juried works are considered to constitute the exemplars of creative activity. In disciplines where peer review publications are not the norm or where other means of creative activity are more important, the department head must elaborate on the nominee’s contribution to creative activity in their field of study.

Length of Appointment
Appointment of new members to Graduate Faculty is for an initial period of three years. At the end of three years, the member must be re-nominated and reviewed again. The qualifications of continuing Graduate Faculty members will be reviewed every 3 to 5 years. The intent here is to review the faculty member’s recent scholarly productivity, going back as far as 5 years in the case of more senior faculty and 3 years in the case of less experienced faculty. A Graduate Faculty member who is being considered for continued appointment is expected to show evidence of ongoing creative activity since the last review.

Responsibilities of Members
Members of Graduate Faculty, as indicated in the NMSU Policy Manual, can chair all graduate committees, direct master’s thesis and doctoral dissertations, teach 600-level and above courses, serve as representatives of the dean of the Graduate School, serve on educational specialists’ exams, and serve on doctoral exams. Members’ service may deal with a specific subset of these responsibilities, relevant to a member’s experience, as requested by the department head through the relevant academic dean.

Appointments Outside of Home Department
In order to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching, any qualified member of the Graduate Faculty may join any graduate program within a department. Applicants will be approved by the graduate program to which they are applying, through a process to be determined by that program, before their application is forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School. Individuals accepted for membership in a graduate program will have responsibilities as described in the previous paragraph (“Responsibilities of Members”. – see above).

Emeritus Faculty of New Mexico State University
Newly retired faculty of New Mexico State University can continue to hold their status of Graduate Faculty for the remaining years of their appointment. Once their appointment as Graduate Faculty expires, the department head can request that they be renewed to Graduate Faculty status. The endorsement of the academic dean is required. The nomination must include an updated resume and a statement of the types of service that the emeritus faculty will perform as Graduate Faculty. This appointment could include teaching and serving as chair or member on graduate student committees.

Appointment of University Staff that are not Employed by the Department or not hired in a Tenure Track Position
Usually, individuals nominated for membership in the graduate faculty are expected to hold a tenure track position in a graduate department. Exceptional cases may occur when non-tenure track faculty and professional staff may request graduate faculty status. Both the professional staff and the non-tenure track faculty must have the credentials and have demonstrated creative activity similar to those of tenure track faculty. The nomination of a non-tenure track faculty member or a professional staff member must include a justification as well as a description of the duties on teaching, research, graduate advising, that the nominee will perform. The head of the department where graduate faculty status is requested must prepare the nomination. The dean of the college must endorse the nomination in writing.

Appointment of Non-NMSU Employees
Occasionally, specialized expertise from another institution, industry, government, or other sector, could be an asset to a graduate program. In these cases, the sub-committee of Graduate Council on graduate faculty appointments can recommend, after reviewing the supporting documentation, graduate faculty status be granted by the dean of the graduate school, and that status may or may not be task- or time-limited, depending on the needs of the academic department and the judgment of the dean of the graduate school.

Any exception to the above policy must be approved in writing by the dean of the Graduate School. If you have any questions about these guidelines, please contact the Graduate dean or email the Graduate School through