What You Need to Know About Program Governance

Every program at the Graduate Center operates under a governance document which explains how the program should run and how students and faculty should participate in the operations, policy-making and decision-making processes of the program. This document outlines the structure of the program, describes the committees it should have, and may contain an enumerated list of rights and responsibilities for students and faculty. The document holds the program’s Executive Officer (EO) accountable to a clear and open process.

In the 1960s, students fought for the right to participate in the governance of their school and these rights should be protected in governance documents. If students are unable to participate in governance, the policies that get approved can be misguided or detrimental to student progress. For some programs, this document has not been updated since the 1980s and does not adequately protect students rights and responsibilities to help make program decisions.

As students, we need to demand that our programs follow their governance documents and, if they are outdated, update them immediately.
A good, frequently updated program governance document, for example, states that the Executive Committee must hold a meeting open to all students in the program every semester (i.e. an “open meeting”). This meeting is one way students can voice their grievances, make suggestions, or ask questions of faculty and the program’s EO.

How to Update Your Program’s Governance Document

  • Raise the issue with the program Executive Officer;
  • Raise the issue with members of the program’s Executive Committee;
  • Riase the issue with your program’s student association;
  • Raise the issue at your program’s open meetings;
  • Contact the DSC’s Governance Task Force. Communication is confidential;
  • Contact the Graduate Council Structure Committee.

More Information: Links

Program Governance Documents

List of when Governance Documents were Last Updated

Rights of Student Representation

DSC Governance Task Force

Template for Program Governance Documents

Graduate Council Webiste

Graduate Center Bylaws

Sample Pro-student Governance Document

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