Graduate Council Bylaws


As approved 21 October 2015


The name of this organization shall be the Graduate Council.


The Graduate Council is an advisory and legislative board on matters of graduate education at George Mason University in accordance with polices set forth by the Board of Visitors. It is the Graduate Council’s purpose to promote excellence in all graduate programs.

ARTICLE III: Graduate Council Structure

Section A: Duties and Responsibilities

1. The Graduate Council, through the Graduate Council Chairperson (Council Chair), shall advise the Provost regarding:

a. academic policies governing graduate education;
b. approval of new and revised graduate courses, programs, and degrees;
c. review and assessment of graduate programs;
d. planning and attainment of graduate education strategic goals;
e. policies and resources for graduate student support.

2. The Graduate Council shall advise the Council Chair on all matters.

3. The Graduate Council shall inform the Graduate Faculty of recommendations that significantly affect graduate programs.

Section B: Graduate Council Chairperson

1.  Appointment:  The Council Chair must be a member of graduate faculty and shall be appointed by the Provost.

2. Responsibilities and Duties:

a. The Council Chair shall have the responsibility of ensuring that Graduate Council decisions are coordinated with George Mason University policies and procedures as set forth by the George Mason University Board of Visitors.
b. The Council Chair shall vote on resolutions only in cases of a tie.
c. The Council Chair’s duties shall include:

i. distribution of both the agenda and relevant information to the members of the Graduate Council in advance of Council meetings;
ii. collection of the reports of Graduate Council committees in advance of Council meetings;
iii. referral of agenda items to committees of the Graduate Council when necessary;
iv. issuing appropriate charges to the committees of the Graduate Council;
v. presiding at Graduate Council meetings;
vi. overseeing the conduct of all votes among the Graduate Council;
vii. additional duties delineated hereafter.

Section C: Graduate Council Membership

1. Representation:

a. The Council shall include the Council Chair and members of graduate faculty from the academic units:  College of Education and Human Development; College of Health and Human Services; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Science; College of Visual and Performing Arts; School of Business; School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs; Volgenau School of Engineering.

i. All academic units shall have one representative on Graduate Council.
ii. Academic units with graduate student populations greater than 1000 shall have two representatives. At the end of each member’s term, student enrollment shall be reassessed to determine eligibility of a second member.

b. The Faculty Senate shall be represented by one graduate faculty member of the Faculty Senate.
c. Graduate students shall have non-voting representation by an approved member of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA).

2. Selection of Membership:

a. Members shall be selected by the faculty of each academic unit in a manner determined by the faculty of that unit. This procedure shall be initiated by the Council Chair during the spring semester in order to fill vacancies occurring on the Graduate Council the following July 1.
b. Council Members shall serve a term of three years commencing July 1.

3. Replacement before End of Term: In the event that a member of the Graduate Council vacates his or her position prematurely, the dean/director of the academic unit concerned shall appoint a member of the graduate faculty to serve that portion of the term remaining until the next July 1, at which time the position shall be filled by the procedure prescribed in Article III, Section C (2) above.

Section D: Graduate Council Committees

1. Graduate Council Ad Hoc Committees: Ad hoc committees may be established by the Council as deemed necessary to discharge its functions and responsibilities. The charge to an ad hoc committee shall dictate terms of office.

2. Membership: Chairs of ad hoc committees must be members of the Graduate Council. Members of the committees shall be appointed by the Council Chair upon approval of the Graduate Council.

Section E: Meetings

1. Schedule: Graduate Council meetings shall be held monthly during the academic year.

2. Quorum: A quorum consisting of two-thirds of the members is needed to conduct Graduate Council business. If a member cannot attend, he or she may appoint a substitute. This substitute may vote on matters before the Council at that meeting.

ARTICLE IV: Adoption and Implementation

The Council Chair shall recommend adoption and implementation of these bylaws which must be approved by the Provost and the President before they take effect.

ARTICLE V: Amendments

Section A: Procedures

1. The motion to amend must be brought forward at a meeting of the Graduate Council. Such motion shall be voted on at a subsequent meeting, and must be confirmed by a two-thirds majority of all voting members of the Graduate Council.

2. A successful motion for amendment shall require the approval of the Council Chair, the Provost, and the President before it takes effect.

Section B: History

Bylaws as approved August 2010: Grad Council Bylaws 2010