Administrative Responsibilities & Resources

Description of Responsibilities of and Resources for Graduate Program Directors

Most graduate programs in departments and institutes are led by a Graduate Program Director, who is central to the success of these programs. Directors of graduate programs work with the graduate faculty, the chair or director of the academic unit, and the Graduate School to develop graduate curricula and courses, recruit and facilitate the admission of graduate students, manage graduate assistantships, and mentor graduate students. They may also develop and manage the budget for the academic unit’s graduate program, promote scholarship, and serve on the Graduate Council. Directors of graduate programs coordinate these efforts with the chair or director of their department or institute. (Brief version from Faculty Handbook)

The Graduate School, Baylor University

The position of graduate program director (GPD) is central to the success of that graduate program. This document outlines the general responsibilities and duties of a GPD and addresses the resources (including remuneration) that should accompany these responsibilities. The GPD coordinates these efforts with the chair or director of that department or institute.

Administrative Responsibilities of Graduate Program Directors

Program Curriculum and Courses

  • work with graduate faculty to develop and revise curriculum and courses
  • stay abreast of developments in the discipline and guide program accordingly
  • enhance program by monitoring and improving applicant quality, time to degree, annual number of graduates, etc.
  • maintain Graduate Catalog materials as pertains to program
  • maintain program's web site and social media


  • develop and distribute recruiting materials via email, program website, relevant professional listservs, etc. with the goal of attracting outstanding candidates
  • staff program booths at conferences, and consider staffing with current students in the program
  • travel to other campuses as necessary to recruit
  • speak to groups of prospects
  • respond to inquiries from prospective applicants
  • follow-up, nurturing of prospects via mail, phone, sponsor campus visits (recruitment weekends, etc.)

Management of applications

  • direct and manage admissions procedures within program
  • follow through with admission recommendations to Graduate School
  • maintain all graduate student records

Management of Graduate Assistants

  • assign duties to graduate assistants (scheduling of teaching, research, other services)
  • assure that graduate assistants are adequately trained and mentored to fulfill their assignments
  • assess work performance of graduate assistants

Mentoring / Intellectual Community

  • facilitate arrival of matriculating students by providing information regarding housing, registration, financial arrangements, I-9 forms, etc.  Consider connecting incoming students with current students
  • provide orientation (both academic and social) for incoming students
  • serve as resource for academic advisement, especially before major professor assumes this role
  • oversee constitution of students' advisory committees
  • provide information regarding internship/practicum arrangements
  • oversee administering of qualifying exams, oral exams, internship and practicum exams
  • oversee dissertation/thesis process in program
  • provide information regarding employment opportunities following graduation, maintain contact with graduates
  • serve as advocate for graduate students, individually and collectively, within program, assuring fairness of treatment; involves interaction with program's representative to the Graduate Student Association
  • responsible for discipline/sanctioning of graduate students, according to university policies and procedures
  • work with graduate students to develop, maintain, and enhance a vibrant intellectual community


  • manage graduate budget: work with Graduate School and Department to ensure compliance with recommended stipend levels, fund graduate program-related activities (e.g., social events, recruitment events, colloquia)

Promotion of Scholarship

  • serve as an example of scholarship by publishing regularly and with students
  • when advisable, support research and publication endeavors for graduate faculty
  • serve on dissertation and thesis committees
  • provide information about internal and external funding opportunities suitable for graduate students
  • encourage graduate student participation in professional meetings
  • assist in securing funding for graduate students to participate in professional meetings
  • pursue assorted activities, such as organizing academic symposia

Representative of Program in Various Forums

  • within the University:
    • advocate graduate education
    • serve as member of Graduate Council
    • serve on standing and ad hoc committees of Graduate School
  • beyond the University:
    • participate in regional and national meetings

Other Responsibilities

  • support any other activities appropriate for enhancing the graduate program
  • promotion of community among faculty and students
  • liaison between Graduate School and graduate faculty (re:  policies/procedures), provide information as requested by Graduate School (e.g., student publications)
  • ensure program, students, and faculty are following all University policies and procedures
  • work with Graduate School to lead PhD Program External Review process, as applicable


Resources for Graduate Program Directors

All Graduate Program Directors must be on Graduate Faculty.

In order to attract and retain capable faculty who will pursue the above responsibilities enthusiastically, certain resources must be provided. The level of resources made available to GPD should vary by the size and complexity of the graduate program, just as it does for department chairs.

The Graduate School maintains a Box folder and a handbook for Graduate Program Directors.

Resources for service as GPD provided by the school or college may include the following:

  • an administrative stipend,
  • a reduction in other responsibilities (teaching, service, but not in scholarship because the GPD ought to serve as a model) is appropriate
  • assignment of a program assistant to process correspondence, forms, manage files, etc.


Appointment and Evaluation

Appointment of the GPD is made upon the recommendation of the Dean of the school or college in consultation with Dean of the Graduate School and the chair of the department.  For institutes, the director of the institute generally serves as the GPD.

Appointment as GPD is usually for a term of 3 years, although the GPD may be removed at any time within the term.  Terms are generally June 1 – May 31. The Graduate School will reach out at the end of each GPD’s term to ask if there is a request for a new GPD or a renewal of a 3-year term.

Renewal of the appointment is at the discretion of the dean. Decision to renew is based on annual evaluations submitted by the department chair and the Dean of the Graduate School to the dean of the college or school in which the department is located. Evaluation criteria are described in the "duties and responsibilities" section of this document.


Updated 2022

Baylor Graduate School

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