Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)
The purpose of the Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) is to serve as an advisory body to the Graduate School and the Office of Research. Membership consists of graduate students representatives from various departments and graduate degree programs across the university. Members of the GSAC have the opportunity to represent graduate students by participating as members of boards, committees, and councils that deal with topics pertaining to the Graduate School, the Office of Research, and graduate students across all areas of the university.
- Serving as a liaison between the Graduate School, the Office of Research, and the graduate student body. Members of the General Assembly are important to establish open lines of communication between the Graduate School, the Office of Research, and the graduate student body. To accomplish this, appointed GSAC members may periodically attend the weekly Graduate School Cabinet and senior staff meetings, both to present concerns of the student body and to report back to the student body on the activities of the Graduate School and the Office of Research. Toward that same end, the Interim Dean or designee may attend GSAC meetings at the request of its members.
- Serving as an ad hoc advisor to the Dean or Grad School and Office of Research cabinet for special projects occurring within the Graduate School or the Office of Research. The Graduate School and the Office of Research have ongoing projects that are particularly relevant to graduate students, but for which there is often no systematic way to solicit the opinions/feedback of the students. Examples include enhancing the Graduate Student Professional Development series, formulating plans to increase TA/RA/PA pay rates, hiring committees for key Graduate Student Service positions, restructuring of the Graduate School, etc. Elected GSAC representatives may serve on these committees as they occur and are requested by the Dean.
- Serving as a member of the Graduate Assistants Appeals Panel (GAAP). The GAAP was established in 2012 as part of a larger labor grievance procedure for graduate students employed as RAs, TAs, and PAs. Grievance committees consist of two students (at least one of which needs to be from the employment category under review in the GAAP proceedings), two faculty, and the campus labor relations coordinator. These committees serve as the third step in the defined graduate student grievance process. The GSAC provides a pool of members from which the student representatives on the GAAP can be selected to serve for any particular grievance brought forth to the GAAP.
- Serving as a Student Representative on the Graduate Faculty Committee (GFC). Currently, the Graduate Faculty Committee bylaws state that the GFC should have three student representatives appointed by the Student Association (SA). Therefore, the GSAC will coordinate with the SA to ensure that Graduate Students are represented on the GFC and will select members to serve on this committee as needed.
- Other functions. The Graduate School and the Office of Research are interested in working to better the lives of graduate students, enhance their experience at UWM, and ensure that their educational experience here leads to a fulfilling career. While they cannot anticipate all of the needs graduate students might have, GSAC will serve to identify needs specific to graduate students and, in a constructive fashion, make these needs known to relevant administrative entities, and work collaboratively toward feasible solutions for all parties involved.
Structure and Purpose
The GSAC shall have one, large General Assembly constitutive of the entire graduate student population, three standing subcommittees, and an Executive Committee. These bodies will have the following charges and membership:
Purpose: The large, representative body of the General Assembly will be responsible for voting on issues that have widespread impact on the graduate student population across the university. The General Assembly members will also serve as liaisons between the GSAC, The Graduate School, and The Office of Research and their respective programs.
Composition: The General Assembly will, so far as possible, represent the various graduate student population categories. Specifically, representation will cover the various degree-granting programs across the university, as well as the different levels of graduate study (i.e. Ph.D., Master’s and Certificate levels). The General Assembly will elect a chairperson at the first meeting of the academic year, who will serve on the Executive Committee with the chairs of each subcommittee.
Process for securing members: All enrolled graduate students are automatically members of GSAC. In order to encourage participation, at the beginning of each school year, the Graduate School will ask the heads of each program to encourage students from across doctoral, master’s, and certificate programs to attend GSAC meetings. GSAC leadership will also contact graduate students directly to encourage their participation.
Meeting frequency: Twice a semester.
Purpose: The subcommittees will be tasked with specific functions identified by the Graduate School, Office of Research, and GSAC General Assembly. Currently, there are three specific functions to be served: Governance, Special Projects, and the Graduate Assistants Appeals Panel Subcommittees may need to form on an ad hoc basis as the need arises..
Composition: Each subcommittee will consist of six members, with at least one from each of the four academic divisions: Arts & Humanities, Natural Sciences, Professions, and Social Sciences. Each subcommittee will elect for itself a Chairperson, a Secretary, and other specific positions and roles as required.
For the Graduate Assistants Appeals Panel (GAAP) in particular, the composition will be as follows: Chairperson, Secretary, plus four graduate assistants from each of TA, PA, RA appointment group (6 total members).
Process for securing members: The members of the subcommittees will be nominated from the General Assembly membership. Nominations for committee positions may be proposed in advance of the General Assembly vote, or nominations may be made from the floor. Voting will be done by General Assembly members online.
Meeting frequency: As frequently as is determined necessary by each subcommittee.
Purpose: The Executive Committee will coordinate directly with the Graduate School and the Office of Research and also conduct deliberation and decision-making on specific issues that are either not amenable for voting by the larger General Assembly or that must be first constructed as proposals to be later voted on by the General Assembly.
Composition: The Executive Committee will consist of the Chairpersons of each Subcommittee that are currently in operation, as well as the Chairperson of the General Assembly.
Meeting frequency: As frequently as is deemed necessary by the Executive Committee.