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Graduate Faculty Status Policy

English Master of Arts Program

The Graduate Faculty of the English MA Program comprises UMD faculty members with terminal degrees who meet any of the following conditions:

  • who teach 5000- to 8000-level courses in the English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies Department,

  • who were hired to tenured/tenure-track positions in the ELWS Department, which categorically imply the expectation that they could be available to teach graduate-level courses, as well as to supervise Plan B projects, and serve on Comprehensive Exam Committees,

  • whose terms of hire at UMD indicate the expectation of possible graduate-education responsibilities


Individuals join the English MA Graduate Faculty through the following process:

  1. The faculty member is hired by the ELWS Department to teach a course or section carrying graduate credit, or is hired into a tenured/tenure-track position or with a letter of offer that specifies teaching courses that support the English MA program.  

  2. The individual is nominated by a current member of the English Graduate Faculty.

  3. The English MA Director of Graduate Studies confirms that the nominee meets the requirements for Graduate Faculty status.

  4. The nominee provides the DGS with a curriculum vitae to support the nomination.

  5. The DGS circulates the curriculum vitae and a ballot with options indicating "yes," "no," or "abstain" to the voting members of the English Graduate Faculty with a deadline for voting no less than 5 days after circulation.  

  6. After the deadline, the DGS counts the ballots from the voting members of the English Graduate Faculty.

  7. In the vote, the nominated faculty member receives votes of "yes" from no less than half of the returned ballots.

  8. The DGS notifies the nominee of the decision of the Graduate Faculty and, if that decision is positive, invites the faculty member to join the English Graduate Faculty.

  9. The nominated faculty member accepts the invitation in writing.

When these conditions are met, the title "English Graduate Faculty" is added to the elected faculty member's list of titles on the faculty page of the ELWS web site, and the DGS completes any university procedures necessary to list the faculty member as having graduate-education responsibilities with the appropriate roles.

Graduate faculty serve for an indefinite term for as long as they remain at the university and meet the department’s and Graduate School’s requirements for their positions.

Roles and Duties of the English Graduate Faculty Members

English MA Graduate Faculty teach 5000- to 8000-level courses, supervise Plan B Projects, work as program advisors to English MA students, and/or serve on Comprehensive Exam committees as a member or chair.  When asked by students to serve in any of these capacities, faculty members have the right to agree or decline, but graduate faculty are expected to be available regularly to support English MA students in these ways.

Graduate Faculty Status for Non-Tenure-Track ELWS Faculty

When a non-tenure-track faculty member with a terminal degree is assigned by the Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies to teach a 5000- to 8000-level course, the department head will nominate that individual, following the process described above, to the English Graduate Faculty.  If elected, the nominee will be listed with the title "English Graduate Faculty" on the ELWS web site's faculty page, and the DGS will follow any university procedures necessary to list the faculty member as having graduate-education responsibilities with the appropriate roles.

Faculty Participation from Outside the Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies

The university requires that at least one tenured/tenure-track faculty member from outside the MA-degree-granting program serve as an observer on Comprehensive Exam committees to ensure the integrity of the process.

In order to represent outside minors or related fields, these outside faculty members may also serve as examiners on Comprehensive Exam committees or as supervisors of Plan B projects in their areas of expertise outside of English Studies.

These ad-hoc roles do not require or confer graduate-faculty status in the English MA Program.  The English DGS must follow Graduate School policies to ensure that these outside faculty members meet any university requirements for this role, and have received any necessary approvals by the UMD Graduate School.

The selection of all outside faculty members for exam committees or Plan B projects must be approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the MA student's program advisor.