UCSB Academic Senate

Courses and Instruction

Request for the Approval of Graduate Instruction

Teaching graduate courses is a privilege reserved for Academic Senate faculty and granted only to others by exception. Exceptions are granted by the Chair of the Graduate Council based on the merits of each case presented by the academic department involved.

The review process described here applies to any non-Academic Senate member nominated to teach a course numbered 200 or higher, regardless of the content of the course and without regard to whether the graduate course is to be taught concurrently as an undergraduate course. This policy applies to all graduate courses at UC Santa Barbara.

Council reviews the following academic appointment titles when a request is made for approval to teach graduate courses:

  • Lecturer titles (except when Lecturers with Security of Employment [SOE] or Potential Security of Employment [PSOE])
  • Adjunct faculty of any rank
  • Visiting faculty (other than UC faculty) of any rank
  • Teaching Associates

Request for exceptions require:

  1. Completion of a Request for the Approval of Graduate Instruction Form.
  2. A current curriculum vitae for the nominee.
  3. A memo of justification from the chair of the unit responsible for curriculum decisions that explains the unit's need and the merits of the nominee's credentials to teach the course(s) in question.
  4. The appointment letter sent to the unit's control point (e.g. the dean of the college/school).
  5. Course evaluations in cases where the nominee has previously taught at UC Santa Barbara and renewal of teaching privileges is being sought.

In the memo of justification for the request, the unit chair should address each of the following:

  • The staffing context in which the request is being made.
  • The teaching, research, or creative activity, and publication strengths of the nominee relative to the course in question.
  • The prior experience of the nominee in teaching graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Any professional background and experience the nominee may have as a practitioner that may be relevant to the course in question.

The period of approval granted by the Chair of the Graduate Council is dependent on the merits and individual's qualifications presented in each case. Requests involving the first-time appointment of a lecturer who has not previously served as the instructor for graduate courses will normally be approved for one year only, unless the person's credentials are outstanding.

Departments are asked to submit requests for the approval of graduate instruction as far in advance of the quarter of proposed appointment as possible, and allow four weeks for review. An absolute minimum of seven days before the beginning of a quarter is required. Last-minute requests may not be approved unless the department shows acceptable cause why the appointment request could not be made on time.

Nominee Credentials and Professional Equivalency

The Graduate Council usually requires that faculty nominated to teach a graduate course hold a terminal degree-e.g., and Ph.D., Ed.D., or M.F.A. appropriate to the course(s) in question. The Graduate Council feels it is important that someone who is to be entrusted to teach graduate students has direct experience in the rigors of conducting and publishing extensive research or of producing evidence of significant creative activity. In either case, the nominee must have finished the dissertation or other work required for a terminal degree. Only in rare cases will persons who lack a terminal degree in the relevant discipline be allowed to teach graduate courses.

In cases where the nominee does not hold a terminal degree, the Department must provide additional justification as to how the individual’s qualifications are appropriately suited for the course in question. The Department should discuss the nominee’s professional equivalencies, skills, or expertise, and how these are evaluated in the context of the field.

Graduate Students Teaching Graduate Students

Graduate Council is in principle opposed to graduate students' teaching other graduate students, and all requests will be rigorously evaluated. The core concept of this policy is that students should not evaluate their peers. At times, however, the Graduate Council receives requests from departments to allow graduate students to teach graduate courses. These requests will be granted after the most stringent examination, which will be conducted under the following guidelines:

  1. No request will be approved if a ladder faculty member is available to teach the course.
  2. No request will be approved if visiting faculty members who have been approved to teach graduate courses are available to teach the course.
  3. No graduate student in a graduate student teaching title may teach or grade other graduate students whose degree qualifications are the equivalent to her or his own-i.e., a student with a master's degree who is enrolled in a doctoral program cannot teach or grade other students in that program, nor teach or grade doctoral students in other programs.
  4. Occasionally, a graduate student who is enrolled in a master's or doctoral program may teach an upper division undergraduate course in which graduate students are enrolled. If these graduate students have the equivalent or higher degree qualifications than the teacher, or if these graduate students are in the same graduate program as the teacher, responsibility for grading these students must be assigned to a member of the departmental ladder faculty.

Repeat requests from the same Department or School to have graduate students teach graduate courses will lead the Council to examine whether the graduate program in question is viable or not.