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### Enhancing Graduate School Governance: Inclusion of Graduate Students

Princeton graduate students will now be included in the decision-making process concerning graduate education and student affairs, thanks to a recent faculty vote.

The Princeton faculty, on April 1, approved the Graduate School’s proposal to incorporate graduate students into all four of its governing subcommittees. These subcommittees, part of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School, are tasked with evaluating and providing recommendations on academic policies, curriculum development, fellowship programs, and student life and discipline. Previously, these subcommittees consisted solely of Princeton faculty members.

Rodney Priestley, the dean of the Graduate School, expressed enthusiasm about this significant alteration in Graduate School governance. He emphasized the importance of collaboration with students and enhancing shared governance as key priorities during his tenure. Priestley stated, “We believe this change will enhance the quality of graduate education at Princeton, and I am delighted that the faculty shares this view.”

Beth Lew-Williams, a history professor and member of the Graduate School Policy Subcommittee, welcomed the prospect of graduate student involvement in discussions on policies directly impacting their educational journey. She highlighted the opportunity for faculty to gain insights from students’ perspectives and for students to actively contribute to the governance of the Graduate School.

The Graduate School’s governance structure is overseen by the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School, comprising 45 faculty members serving as Directors of Graduate Studies for various advanced degree programs. The committee’s work is predominantly carried out through its four subcommittees, which now include graduate student representation. Lisa Schreyer, the deputy dean of the Graduate School, explained that these subcommittees delve into specific issues before presenting recommendations to the dean or the entire Faculty Committee.

The four subcommittees are as follows:

  • The Policy Subcommittee, responsible for proposing and reviewing policies and procedural changes affecting all graduate students, as well as assessing new advanced degree program proposals.
  • The Curriculum Subcommittee, which evaluates academic program requirements, permanent course offerings, and course modifications.
  • The Fellowship Subcommittee, tasked with assessing candidates for prestigious fellowships and competitive external grants.
  • The Student Life and Discipline Subcommittee, which addresses student life matters and serious academic or behavioral disciplinary issues.

Each subcommittee, currently comprising four to eight members, must include faculty representatives from the four academic divisions. While three subcommittees are chaired by the dean of the Graduate School, the Curriculum Subcommittee is chaired by the deputy dean.

Both the Graduate Student Government (GSG) and the Graduate School will appoint four students to serve on the subcommittees, aiming to strengthen the GSG’s role. Schreyer noted the forthcoming collaboration with the GSG to establish the student selection process and advance this inclusive initiative, with student terms commencing in the upcoming academic year.

Princeton’s graduate students already participate in various University committees, including the University Priorities Committee and the Council of the Princeton University Community, among others. Priestley emphasized the existing avenues for students to shape their Princeton experience and highlighted the expanded partnership through graduate student involvement in the Graduate School’s governing subcommittees.