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Department of Chemistry Graduate Student Handbook 2013 - 2014

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Graduate Program Rules, Regulations and Expectations

The PhD Program

The MS Program

The MA Program

The MAT Program

Chemistry Department's Grievance Procedure For Undergraduate and Graduate Students

 

GRADUATE PROGRAM RULES, REGULATIONS AND EXPECTATIONS

A. The Graduate Program Committee

  1. The Chemistry Department’s Graduate Program Committee (GPC) is the departmental agent for administering the PhD, MS and MA degree programs. Its chair is the Graduate Program Director. The GPC does the following:

    1. administers the placement examinations
    2. makes recommendations for removing placement deficiencies
    3. acts as student advisor and approves the student’s course program until a faculty research advisor is chosen (see below)
    4. monitors the progress and performance of each student throughout the student’s graduate program, by soliciting course evaluations, teaching performance evaluations and research progress evaluations from faculty; (it also solicits teaching performance evaluations from the Director of Undergraduate Laboratories, and research progress reports from the student)
    5. keeps the students apprised of their academic status and, in the case of teaching assistants, of teaching performance
    6. adjudicates all student petitions (petitions should be directed to the chair of the GPC)

  2. The GPC is made up of faculty representatives from the four subdisciplines (analytical, inorganic, organic and physical) and one graduate student chosen by the Graduate Chemistry Club.

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B. University Regulations

  1. GRE aptitude scores are required for regular admission into a graduate program. Students who do not submit GRE scores will be admitted with provisional status; students cannot graduate on provisional status.

    The GPC does not initiate action to relieve provisional status, except to inform the student and the student’s faculty research advisor that graduation is in jeopardy. A request to waive the GRE requirement must be initiated by the faculty research advisor and directed to the GPC. Grounds for waiving the GRE requirement must be given in detail; the GPC will not attempt to develop justification on its own.

    The GPC may then decide to support the request by adding its endorsement and forwarding the request to the Graduate Office. If the faculty research advisor informs the GPC that the advisor does not support a waiver, or if the GPC does not support the research advisor’s request, or if the Graduate Office does not support the GPC-endorsed request, the graduate student will be instructed to register for the GREs. Until the faculty research advisor informs the GPC of the research advisor’s intentions, the student remains in limbo.

  2. Transfer credit is awarded by petition, using a specified petition form. Courses transferred will be above the introductory level in any sub-field; a grade of B or better is required. Transferred courses can be used to fulfill the department’s required number of courses but cannot be used in determining the GPA graduation requirement of at least 3.0; they also cannot be used to satisfy the residency requirement.

  3. A graduate student must remain in good academic standing and must continually make satisfactory progress toward the degree; otherwise, the student may be placed on probation and ultimately dismissed. Good academic standing is defined as maintaining a 3.0 GPA in course work. Satisfactory progress toward the degree is determined by the GPC on the basis of research performance as well as course work. See more details under Satisfactory Progress Towards the Degree.

    Teaching Assistants, in order to remain in good standing, must also perform their teaching duties satisfactorily. Teaching performance is an important part of the student’s training program and the GPC will monitor the student’s effectiveness closely. Unsatisfactory teaching will lead to loss of the assistantship and may lead to dismissal from the program.

  4. New York State funds can be used to support a student for no more than four years in the Ph.D. program. For a student earning both an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. degree at Binghamton University, New York State funds can be used for no more than three years beyond the M.S. degree program.

    A semester of Research Assistantship support is counted in this limitation if a tuition scholarship is awarded; semesters in which any amount of work/study support is received are also counted.

    Formal requests for exceptions will be considered by the GPC only for Ph.D. students, if accompanied by a written statement of justification from the research advisor. The GPC may endorse the request and submit it to the Graduate Office for its approval.

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C. Placement Examinations

  1. Entering students must demonstrate proficiency at the undergraduate level by satisfying a placement requirement. Three options are available:

    1. pass ACS Placement Examinations in the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry;
    2. (Biological Chemistry emphasis) pass the ACS Placement Examinations in any two traditional subdisciplines of chemistry (organic, analytical, inorganic, physical) and and a Placement Examination in biochemistry;
    3. (Materials chemistry emphasis) pass the ACS Placement Examinations in inorganic and physical chemistry, and either a Placement Examination in solid state and materials sciences, or the ACS Placement Examinations in analytical and organic chemistry.

      The biochemistry and solid state/materials sciences placement examinations for students in interdisciplinary programs are comprehensive, making the overall placement requirement comparable for all students.

  2. Deficiencies

    1. A student may not enroll in a graduate course in any subdiscipline area for which the placement requirement has not been satisfied.
    2. All deficiencies must be removed within twelve months after entering the program. Failure will lead to dismissal from the program.
    3. A placement deficiency is normally removed by course work as determined by the GPC. Deficiencies in analytical, inorganic, organic, or physical chemistry are removed by:

      1. receiving a grade of B or better in an advanced level undergraduate course in Harpur College (numbered 300-499),
      2. receiving a grade of S in a remedial tutorial assigned by the GPC.

      Deficiencies in biochemistry, physics or solid state/materials sciences are removed by one or two courses as specified by the GPC on an individual basis.

      Entering students who have already taken the appropriate courses in Harpur College may petition the GPC to have the corresponding placement examination(s) waived. The biochemistry or solid state/materials sciences requirement may be waived if the student transcript shows at least two appropriate courses in Harpur College or the Watson School.

      Remedial course work will match the deficiency as closely as possible. Remedial courses cannot normally be counted in satisfying the degree course requirement, exceptions are indicated in writing by the GPC at the time of placement.
    4. A placement deficiency may also be removed by retaking the Placement Examination successfully after a period of self-study. Placement Examinations are given three times a year: the week preceding the beginning of the fall semester, the first week of the spring semester, and the last week of the spring semester.
    5. Satisfying the placement requirement is to be given absolute priority during the first two semesters in residence and will be the first concern in arranging the student’s schedule.
    6. Students who fail all Placement Examinations upon entering will automatically be placed on probation; failure to remove at least two deficiencies by the end of the first semester will result in dismissal.

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D. Research Advisor

  1. Selection of a faculty research advisor by the end of the first semester is recommended, and is required within the first twelve months after entering the program.

  2. At the time of selecting a faculty research advisor, the student must have no more than one placement deficiency.

  3. “Selection of Faculty Research Advisor” forms are available in the Department Office. The student is required to make appointments with at least three faculty members in order to discuss research possibilities with them. The faculty members may be selected on the basis of research descriptions found in the department graduate brochure or other sources. Consulted faculty must initial the form. The student then makes a final selection from among the consulted faculty and returns the form to the Department Secretary for approval by the GPC.

  4. The student shall declare an area of curricular specialization on the same form (analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, materials chemistry). The student may later change the area of curricular specialization upon the recommendation of the student’s research advisor and approval by the Graduate Program Committee. See also Alternative Comprehensive Examination and Area of Curricular Specialization.

  5. The student may not register for thesis or dissertation research until selection of a faculty research advisor is approved by the GPC.

  6. Any student who is unable to find a research advisor, or whose research interests cannot be fulfilled by the current faculty, will be advised to receive a terminal MA degree and will not be eligible for financial support after the third semester of residence.

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E. Research and Publication of Research

  1. Policy on the Responsible Conduct of Research

    The University's Policy on the Responsible Conduct of Research can be found at http://research.binghamton.edu/compliance/policies.php. The policy defines research misconduct as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, conducting, or reporting research and creative scholarly activity. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

    Allegations of research misconduct are reported to the Vice President for Research who has primary responsibility for overseeing research integrity.

  2. Policies on Intellectual Property

    The University's Patent and Inventions Policy and Computer Software Policy can be found at http://research.binghamton.edu/innovation/policies.php. All persons using the facilities of Binghamton University must abide by these policies. These policies define what intellectual property is, that in most cases the State of New York owns the intellectual rights, and describe the rewards due the inventor of intellectual property.

  3. Ethical Guidelines for the Publication of Research

    The Chemistry Department requires all students to follow professional and ethical guidelines for publication of research as asserted by the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS guidelines related to publication can be found at http://pubs.acs.org/ethics/ethics.pdf.1 These guidelines will be shared and discussed with all graduate students through the Graduate Seminar course (Chemistry 592). Students that do not adhere to these guidelines will be subject to penalties, which may include a recommendation to the Graduate School for dismissal from the program.

    1The American Chemical Society's Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research include the following text:

    "The co-authors of a paper should be all those persons who have made significant scientific contributions to the work reported and who share responsibility and accountability for the results. . . . The author who submits a manuscript for publication accepts the responsibility of having included as co-authors all persons appropriate and none inappropriate."

    Graduate students are required to sign a statement that they have read, understand, and agree to these policies and guidelines.

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F. Policy on Sexual Harassment

the University's policy on sexual harrassment cant be found at http://www2.binghamton.edu/affirmative-action/harassment.html and at http://www2.binghamton.edu/student-handbook/sexual-harassment.html.

The State of New York has defined sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s education, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment. The University regards any form of sexual harassment as a violation of the standards of conduct required of all persons associated with the institution. Accordingly, those inflicting such behavior on others are subject to the full range of internal institutional disciplinary actions.

Graduate students are required to sign a statement that they have read, understand, and agree to this policy.

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G. Course Requirements

Most of the basic courses in a student’s program should be taken during the first year of residence.

Upon petition to the GPC, graduate courses previously taken elsewhere, or in another graduate degree program at Binghamton, may be used to satisfy the Chemistry Department’s course requirement in the MA and PhD programs. This procedure is not the same as receiving transfer credit. Only those courses for which transfer credit has been approved by the Graduate Office will appear on the student’s transcript.

Courses presented to satisfy degree requirements must have a grade average of at least 3.0.

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H. Satisfactory Progress Towards the Degree

All students are expected to make satisfactory progress toward their degree. This includes progress on research, publications, presentations, and department activities as directed by the research advisor. Specific expectations in each of these areas vary depending upon the nature of the research program and should be discussed with the advisor regularly during the course of the student’s graduate work.

The Department seeks to achieve an average time to degree of not more than 5.0 years to the Ph.D. The following represents typical departmental expectations for satisfactory progress towards the degree and is designed to help meet the time to degree completion.

Graduate students are expected to:

  1. Attend the department seminar program whenever possible throughout their career. Attendance is mandatory for all graduate students without ABD status and at least 50% of the colloquia for students who have ABD status.
  2. Work in the laboratory on their research throughout the year, even when classes are not in session, as long as the campus is open and accessible. This includes winter break and summer session when large blocks of time become available for graduate students to make substantial progress on their work.
  3. Get permission from their research advisor, the instructor of the course for which they are teaching assistants, and/or Coordinator of Instruction Laboratories if they are going to be away from the lab for a period of time. This includes winter or summer vacation time.
  4. Discuss with their research advisor the amount of vacation time per year. As a representative example, two weeks of vacation time is recommended by many faculty.
  5. Publish their research results together with their research advisor. The number of publications will vary by discipline and research group.
  6. Communicate with their advisor and the department on any other items that may impact their satisfactory progress or time to degree completion.

For Ph.D. students, satisfactory progress toward their degree also includes completing degree requirements in a timely fashion.  See the following sections of this handbook for more details:

  1. Comprehensive Examination.
  2. Oral Examinations .
  3. Dissertation Prospectus.
  4. Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy (ABD status).

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THE PhD PROGRAM

Summary of Requirements

  1. Normally six to eight courses (24 to 32 credits), two of which may be from the fields of biology, mathematics or physics.

    Biological Chemistry emphasis: at least three courses in chemistry, and the remainder from the fields of biological sciences and other sciences (physics, computer science, geology, mathematics or engineering), as approved by the faculty advisor for individual student programs, for a total of six to eight.

    Materials Chemistry emphasis: at least three courses in chemistry, including Chem 544, and at least two courses from the fields of Materials Science and engineering, geology, physics, or engineering, as approved by the faculty advisor for individual student programs, for a total of six to eight.

  2. Except for the Biological Chemistry emphasis, passing of three out of eight cumulative examinations in a specialized area, followed by an oral examination in the specialization. For the Biological Chemistry emphasis, passing a written examination, as described below, followed by an oral examination.

  3. One semester of Chemistry 592 (Graduate Seminar).

  4. Two semesters of Chemistry 593 (Frontiers in Chemistry).

  5. Completion of original research in a specialized area of chemistry.

  6. Submission of a written dissertation and an oral defense of the dissertation.

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A. Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination consists of two parts, a written requirement and an oral requirement.

  1. For all students except those in the Biological Chemistry emphasis program, the written examination requirement consists of a series of cumulative examinations (cums).
    1. The student may choose to take cumulative examinations in any one of the following areas: analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, or materials. See also Alternative Comprehensive Examination and Area of  Curriculum Specialization.
    2. Students who enter with a bachelor’s degree must begin cums no later than the beginning of the third semester of residence; they may start earlier if the placement requirement has been satisfied.

      Students who enter with a master’s degree must begin cums no later than the beginning of the second semester in residence.

      Students must notify the GPC in writing that the student intends to begin the cum sequence in a particular area; this must be done at least two weeks before the date of the first exam.

    3. Ten cums are offered annually, four each semester and two in the summer. A student not in residence during the summer may be excused from the summer cums, but otherwise the student must take the cums in uninterrupted sequence. Failure to appear for a cum will be recorded as a failed cum. The GPC, under extreme extenuating circumstances, may excuse an absence, but only upon written petition by the student in advance of the scheduled exam.
    4. At least two but no more than four cums each calendar year will be “take home” exams. Subdisciplines will announce take home exams three weeks in advance of the exam date. They will be distributed at noon on the specified Thursday and collected at noon the following Monday. Students may be required to answer all of the questions on a take home exam. Take home exams will require a critical analysis of original literature in the field of specialization.
    5. Exams which are not take home exams will be no longer than three hours and will not require a student to answer more than 75% of the questions (i.e., three out of four, three out of five; not four out of five).
    6. Exams will be prepared by two or more faculty in a subdiscipline and may cover several topics in a subdiscipline. Questions from the current literature may appear. Each question will be labeled with its relative point value. Evaluation of each exam will be by two or more faculty in a subdiscipline.
    7. No more than two take home exams will be counted toward the three passes required. Students who do not pass the required three out of eight exams may petition the GPC to continue in the program. The GPC, after reviewing the student’s record and conferring with the student’s faculty research advisor, will make a recommendation to the department faculty.
    8. If a student satisfies the cumulative requirement in one area of specialization, then changes area of specialization, the cumulative requirement remains satisfied.

  2. For students in the Biological Chemistry emphasis program, a written examination will be administered by an Examination Committee, consisting of at least five tenured or tenure track faculty members, including at least three chemistry tenured or tenure track faculty members, one of which must be tenured and not the student’s dissertation research advisor. Two members will be tenured or tenure track faculty members from the Biological Sciences Department. The committee will be chaired by a tenured chemistry faculty member other than the dissertation research advisor.

    If the student fails the examination, the student will have the opportunity to take a second written examination within six months. Failing the written examination a second time will be grounds for dismissing the student from the Ph.D. program.

  3. Oral Examination

    1. The comprehensive oral examination is normally held within three months after the cumulative examination requirement is satisfied, but need not be taken before the end of the second year.
    2. For all students except those in the Biological Chemistry emphasis program, the Examination Committee will consist of at least four tenured or tenure track faculty members, including at least three chemistry tenured or tenure track faculty members, one of which must be tenured and not the student’s dissertation research advisor. The committee will be chaired by a tenured chemistry faculty member other than the dissertation research advisor.

      For students in the Biological Chemistry emphasis program, the Examination Committee will be the same as the Committee that administered the written examination.

      For students in the Materials Chemistry emphasis program, one member of the examination committee will be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member outside the Chemistry Department but in the Materials field.

    3. The student should confirm the membership of the committee with the dissertation advisor and Graduate Program Director; arrange for a date and time acceptable to committee members; reserve a room for the examination with the department secretary; deliver an abstract (of approximately one page) to the committee members one week before the scheduled date; and deliver to the department secretary a copy of the abstract, a list of the committee members, and the date, time and room number. The secretary will prepare a notice of the examination, send copies to all department faculty members, and post notices in public places in the department.
    4. Following the preliminary oral examination, the Examination Committee will provide the student with a written evaluation of the student's performance. If the student fails the examination, the Examination Committee will advise the student to receive a terminal Master's degree and the student will not be eligible for further financial support.

  4. Alternative Comprehensive Examination and Area of Curricular Specialzation

    A student may, together with the student’s faculty advisor, prepare a proposal, with justification, for an alternative comprehensive examination and area of curricular specialization and submit the proposal to the GPC for its approval. If approved, the research advisor and the student nominate a guidance committee of at least five faculty members, including at least three chemistry faculty members. The committee will be chaired by a tenured chemistry faculty member other than the dissertation research advisor. After approval by the GPC, the guidance committee becomes responsible for administering a comprehensive examination of the approved format, and for monitoring the student’s progress toward the degree.

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B. Dissertation Prospectus

A dissertation prospectus, appropriately approved, in writing, by the student’s examination committee members, must be submitted to the GPC within one month or no later than the beginning of the next semester, whichever comes first, after a successful completion of the comprehensive oral.

The dissertation prospectus may be written either in narrative style or as an outline. It is typically two pages long, including the committee signatures, but may be longer.

The dissertation prospectus is not intended to be an abstract of the final dissertation. Rather, it is to reflect the current status of the dissertation research.

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C. Admission to PhD Candidacy

After the student passes the oral examination and submits an approved dissertation prospectus, the student is admitted to Ph.D. candidacy and achieves ABD (All But Dissertation) status. It is expected that the student will achieve ABD status by the beginning of the sixth semester. All students must achieve ABD status by the beginning of the seventh semester, and will be eligible for no more than one credit of tuition scholarship in the seventh semester and later semesters. Moreover, failure to achieve ABD status by the beginning of the seventh semester will be considered unsatisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree and will jeopardize further Teaching Assistantship support.

In special circumstances, two credits of the Graduate Seminar requirement and two credits of the Frontiers in Chemistry requirement may be postponed until after admission to candidacy.

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D. Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee is normally the same as the comprehensive oral examination committee.

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E. Oral Progress Report

Satisfactory progress toward the degree will require the student to present an oral progress report to the Dissertation Committee at a time to be determined by the Dissertation Committee. A normal timeline would require one progress report per year following the oral examination.

Following presentation of the oral progress report, the Dissertation Committee will provide the student with a written evaluation of the student's performance with the aim of advising the student how to progress. The Committee will also determine the date of the next required oral progress report.

Failure to present a progress report at the scheduled time or an unsatisfactory evaluation of any oral progress report will reflect unsatisfactory progress toward the degree and may result in termination of financial support. The Examination Committee may also advise the student to receive a terminal Master's degree.

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F. Dissertation Defense

  1. The dissertation defense committee will normally include the Dissertation Committee plus an outside examiner. There will be at least one tenured chemistry faculty member who is not the dissertation advisor. The committee will be chaired by a tenured chemistry faculty member who is not the dissertation advisor.

  2. Outside Examiner

    The Dean of the Graduate School, acting upon a recommendation from the Department, adds an outside examiner to the examination committee as the representative of the faculty of the Graduate School. The outside examiner is either a Binghamton faculty member from a related area outside the student's major program, department or division or someone from a related discipline outside the University. Normally, the outside examiner will have no involvement in the supervision of the student's dissertation. The outside examiner reads the dissertation and participates fully as a dissertation-examining committee member during the dissertation defense. The outside examiner's function on the examination committee is to render an independent judgment and to assure that the dissertation satisfies Graduate School standards.

    At least one month prior to the defense, a graduate student, after a discussion with the dissertation advisor, should establish that the proposed outside examiner is willing to serve on the committee. The graduate student should then complete a Request for Approval of Nomination of Outside Examiner form which can be found on the Graduate School web site at http://www2.binghamton.edu/grad-school/manual/policies-doctoral.html#205. The graduate student should obtain the signature of the Graduate Director on the form, submit the form to the Graduate School and provide the department office with a copy.

    If the nominee is from another institution, the Graduate Director should forward the nominee's academic credentials, including a vita, to the Assistant Dean for Administration at the Graduate School to be evaluated. The program director should also include a brief statement (one paragraph) that explains the relevance of the nominee to the student's dissertation research topic and the nominee's experience in evaluating doctoral research (e.g, as outlined in the description above regarding criteria for appointment). The Dean then invites the nominee or another faculty member to serve as outside examiner. The nomination should be submitted to the Graduate School no later than one month before the defense.

  3. For guidelines for preparing and submitting a thesis or dissertation, please visit the Graduate School.

  4. Copies of the dissertation must be delivered to the members of the dissertation defense committee at least two weeks before the defense.

  5. The student should arrange for a date and time acceptable to committee members; reserve a room for the defense with the department secretary; email the department secretary with a list of the committee members, the title of the dissertation, an abstract, and the date, time and place of the defense. The secretary will prepare a notice of the defense, send copies to all department faculty members, and post notices in public places in the department.

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G. Submission of the Dissertation to the Graduate School

The Student must turn in the final copy of the approved dissertation to the Graduate School no later than one month after the date of the dissertation defense or by the end of the semester (Fall, Spring or Summer) in which the student defended, whichever comes later, unless the Dissertation Committee specifies otherwise

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THE MS PROGRAM

Summary of Requirements

  1. Four graduate courses (16 credits), at least three of which ordinarily are in chemistry, with the balance in related courses approved by the GPC.

    Biological Chemistry emphasis: at least two courses in chemistry and the remainder from the fields of biological sciences and other sciences (physics, computer science, geology, mathematics or engineering), as approved by the GPC for individual student programs.

    Materials Chemistry emphasis: at least two courses in chemistry, including Chem. 544, and at least two courses from the fields of materials science and engineering, geology, physics, or engineering, as approved by the GPC for individual student programs.

  2. One semester of Chemistry 592 (Graduate Seminar).

  3. Two semesters of Chemistry 593 (Frontiers in Chemistry).

  4. Completion of an acceptable research thesis (Chem 599).

  5. Passing an oral examination on the subject of the research thesis. The thesis defense committee will consist of at least three faculty members, including at least one tenured chemistry faculty member who is not the thesis research advisor. The committee will be chaired by a tenured chemistry faculty member who is not the thesis research advisor. In interdisciplinary programs, one member may be from another department.

  6. A total of at least 30 graduate credits obtained under the above requirements.

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THE MA PROGRAM

Summary of Requirements

  1. Six graduate courses (24 credits), at least four of which are in chemistry, the balance to be related courses approved by the GPC.

  2. One semester of Chemistry 592 (Graduate Seminar).

  3. Two semesters of Chemistry 593 (Frontiers in Chemistry).

  4. Completion of an acceptable research project (at least four credits of Chem 597).

  5. Public presentation of a seminar on the subject of the research project.

  6. A total of at least 32 graduate credits obtained under the above requirements.

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THE MAT (CHEMISTRY) PROGRAM

Summary of Requirements

  1. All of the general MAT requirements determined by the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (see University Bulletin).

  2. A minimum of 12 credits of graduate level chemistry courses.

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CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT’S GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE FOR UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS

The following grievance procedure is a two-stage process to resolve alleged unfair grading procedures or alleged unfair disciplinary action taken by a faculty member against a student, or other matters not already addressed by existing grievance procedures (cf. appendix). The first stage is comprised of several INFORMAL STEPS designed to reach mutual agreement between the parties. In the second stage, FORMAL STEPS are undertaken in which the complaint is considered by a GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE.

I.  Informal:

  1. The grievant should attempt to find satisfaction first by discussing the matter with the faculty member involved.

  2. If no mutually agreeable resolution is reached during stage IA, the grievant may seek mediation through the Department Chair (or the Undergraduate or Graduate Director, who may serve as the Chair’s designee). If the Chair or Chair’s designee is the respondent, that is, the person against whom the grievance is directed, then to avoid a conflict of interest the Undergraduate or Graduate Director may serve as the mediating agent.

  3. When complaints and concerns are resolved through the informal process to the satisfaction of both the grievant and the respondent, any written materials that may have been part of mediation shall be destroyed. The department shall keep the original of any written agreement signed by both parties.

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II. Formal:

  1. Filing a Grievance:

    • If the above-mentioned informal procedures do not result in a resolution, the grievant may file a formal written complaint, submitted to the Department Chair (or Undergraduate or Graduate Director if the Chair is respondent.)
    • A formal complaint must be filed before the end of the semester following the semester during which the incident being grieved occurred. This time frame is in keeping with the university policy that “graded work not returned to students should be kept for one semester following the end of the course, to allow a means of evaluating the work of students who ask that a grade be reviewed.” Summer and winter terms do not count as semesters.
    • Within ten working days of the receipt of the written complaint, the Chair (or designee) will forward a copy of the formal complaint to the respondent(s), and may forward a copy to the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs (or Dean’s designee). The Chair also forwards copies to the members of the Grievance Committee along with a request that they convene a meeting.

  2. The Grievance Committee:

    • The Grievance Committee shall be a departmental standing committee composed of four faculty and two students. The committee shall determine its chair.
    • The Grievance Committee Chair will schedule the hearing within 30 working days from receipt of the complaint at a time which does not preclude the attendance of either party – save that the period between the end of the spring term and the beginning of the fall term shall not be counted and the first 15 working days of any semester shall not count toward the 30 days. Should either party be away from the University and out of the area throughout this period, the hearing may be postponed until a later date in the semester. Under exceptional circumstances, such as the absence of the grievant or respondent from campus for the full semester, either party may participate via teleconference or video conference.
    • Parties will be provided at least five working days notice of the hearing date. If both parties waive this notice requirement, the hearing can be scheduled earlier.

  3. The Hearing:

    • The grievant and the respondent have the right to challenge the impartiality of any member of the committee. The other members of the committee shall decide by secret ballot whether that member shall be disqualified for that hearing. The grievant and the respondent have the right to bring one person (who is present in a non-participating capacity) to the hearing.
    • A quorum shall consist of a majority of the members of the Grievance Committee with the proviso that at least one faculty and one student be present.
    • Both parties shall be present during the hearing and may participate in parts one and two of the hearing. If either party is not present and there is reasonable doubt as to whether the notification of the hearing was received, the hearing should be postponed and a second notification should be made. At the beginning of the hearing the Chair should introduce all those in attendance, ask if anyone has questions about procedures, and assure both the grievant and respondent – that both may participate in parts one and two and that the hearing will not conclude until they are both satisfied that they have had ample opportunity to speak.
    • The hearing shall consist of at least two parts:

      1. The initial presentation of the grievance by the grievant followed by discussion focused on the grievance.
      2. The presentation of the respondent’s response to the grievance followed by discussion focused on clarifying the response.

    • The Hearing should be tape recorded and written Minutes should be made with sufficient particularity to allow for review by the appeal agent. The Minutes will be released to the grievant and respondent involved in the case upon request, with the understanding that the Minutes will be treated confidentially.

  4. Deliberations and Recommendation of the Grievance Committee:

    • The deliberations of the Committee will take place after the hearing and shall be put in the form of a written recommendation to the Chair (or the Chair’s designee if appropriate) of the department. The decision regarding the recommendation will be based on an open vote by all members of the Committee in attendance. The recommendation shall be based on a vote of the majority of the members present. Those members of the committee who do not concur with the majority decision have the right to append a minority report to the recommendations.
    • In order to ensure a free and fair discussion, deliberations of the Committee will take place in closed session. No one other than Committee members shall be present during deliberations, and no new evidence may be introduced at that time. The Chair of the Committee shall provide the Department Chair a summary of the Committee recommendation and its rationale.
    • Within five working days of the hearing the Committee Chair will send a written report of the committee’s recommendation to the Chair of the Department. The Department Chair will make his/her decision and within 10 working days after receipt of the Committee’s recommendation shall notify all parties, including the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. This written decision will include a description of the appeal process:
    • Within twenty working days of notification of an action at the department/program level either party may appeal to the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs (or Dean’s designee), or in the case of a graduate student, to the Graduate Council Grievance Committee. (Graduate Grievance Procedures are outlined in the Graduate School Manual). The Assistant Dean may establish an ad hoc committee to hear the appeal. For undergraduate students the Dean shall serve as the second and final level of appeal. A student may appeal beyond the Dean to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs if the appeal is based on due process. Under special circumstances the Dean may serve as the first level of appeal.

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APPENDIX

Categories of Grievances at Binghamton

  1. NON-ACADEMIC: “The University conduct system handles charges brought against any University student or student organization for alleged infractions of the Code of Student Conduct. In addressing charges, it is the responsibility of the hearing body to determine whether the alleged behavior constitutes a violation of the Code of Student Conduct… Allegations of misconduct must be submitted in writing to the appropriate administrative office (community administrator for residential life cases, director of the Office of Student Conduct for other cases). Sufficient information is required to support an allegation of misconduct before the request for charges is accepted.” [Code of Student Conduct, Section IV, “Code of Student Conduct Procedures.”]

  2. CONTRACTUAL: Faculty/Professional and Classified Staff Grievances: All Union agreements provide the procedure for grieving disputes concerning the interpretation, application or claimed violation of a specific term or provision of the contract, as well as for a claim of unjust discipline.

  3. DISCRIMINATION: Binghamton University has adopted the discrimination complaint procedure established by the State University of New York for "investigation and resolution of allegations of unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation." The Affirmative Action office handles these complaints. Initial claims of discrimination may be handled in the department. However, formal charges of discrimination should be directed to the Affirmative Action Office. [SUNY Discrimination Complaint Procedure, Document 6501.]

  4. ACADEMIC:

    1. Academic Dishonesty: The University’s academic honesty policy is articulated in the Student Academic Honesty Code, which is printed in the University Bulletin. This code is implemented and enforced by the Colleges. The Harpur College Academic Honesty Committee oversees academic honesty procedures, as well as the investigation of honesty infractions in Harpur College courses.
    2. Professional Standards Committee: This Faculty Senate Committee is charged to: “1) in cases which are not matters of grievance of discipline under provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, to consider all sides of issues involving professional conduct, and to seek a resolution or to recommend appropriate action to assure high standards of professional conduct” [Faculty By-Laws, Appendix, Title B]
    3. Student Discipline Inside the Class: “Any instructor may exclude from attendance any student who, in the instructor's judgment, has seriously impaired the class's ability to achieve the objectives of the course. On the other hand, disciplinary action by a faculty member that the student considers arbitrary or unjust may be appealed. Schools and departments have established procedures for student grievances.” [Faculty-Staff Handbook, Article VII, Title B, “Student and Classroom Discipline.”]
    4. Complaints Concerning Grades: “If a student has a complaint about a grade or other academic grievance, the first step is to talk to the instructor involved. If the matter is not settled satisfactorily, the student should contact the department chair or division director about the complaint and submit the complaint through the formal grievance procedure established by the department. The department decision may, if the student still feels aggrieved, be appealed to the appropriate dean.” [Faculty-Staff Handbook, Article VII, Title C.11.]

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Last Updated: 6/25/14