VII. Governance & Policies


The faculty governance procedures for the graduate program in ABBS are by the Graduate Program Director, who serves as chair of the graduate faculty committee, which consists of all members of the ABBS graduate faculty. A graduate student representative elected by the students within the program may also attend graduate faculty meetings but is not a voting member regarding policy making decisions. The student representative conveys the opinions of the graduate student body to the faculty. The department head is an ex‑officio member of this committee. Adjunct faculty may be voting members if they serve as Graduate Advisors of students in the ABBS. 


The Graduate Program Director reports to the Graduate School of the University and its designated officers. In addition, the Graduate Program Director is responsible for monitoring compliance with the rules and regulations set by the Department to govern the Graduate Program in Animal Biotechnology & Biomedical Sciences .


An Academic Affairs committee will be convened by the Graduate Program Director on an ad-hoc basis in order to deal with issues as they arise.  The committee will consist of at least three members including the Graduate Program Director.


All requirements described herein are in accordance with and supplemental to those in the Graduate Student Handbook published by the Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts. The graduate program in ABBS operates under the guidelines of the Graduate School. Although rules generated by the individual department may not circumvent those established by the Graduate School, the department may impose requirements in addition to those established by the graduate school. Thus, both sets of guidelines must be adhered to to successfully complete the degree requirements.  The Departmental and Graduate School requirements complement one another as some requirements of the ABBS program will also satisfy the requirements of the Graduate School.

It is to the student's advantage to become familiar with both the requirements in the Graduate School Handbook and Departmental requirements in the ABBS Graduate Student Handbook early in their degree program and to establish a tentative schedule for completing the requirements in consultation with their Graduate Advisor (who serves as faculty advisor and research supervisor) and the Graduate Program Director.


A graduate student may transfer to another lab within the graduate program contingent on another faculty member within the program taking over mentorship of, and economic responsibility for, the graduate student; all data collected by that graduate student prior to the move would remain the property of the lab from which the student is transferring.

If a graduate student transfers to a laboratory that is not part of the particular program, neither the graduate program nor the department bears economic responsibility for support of the student although it is possible that the sponsoring faculty member may become an adjunct member of the department and thus a member of the graduate program. However priority for funding such as through TA’ships will be given to faculty who are members of the department first.


Steps for handling problems arising between graduate students or between a graduate student and their faculty mentor:

The graduate student and or faculty member should first report the problem to the ABBS Graduate Program Director (GPD) or Department Head. 

If the issue is sexual harassment or abuse the student or affected faculty member should be informed of their rights under title IX  including the right to a confidential resource for discussion of the incident(s) and direct support to be removed from the abusive environment.

If the issue is emotional abuse/bullying by a graduate student or faculty member the affected individual should report this to the GPD or Department Head.  Depending on the severity of the problem if it was reported only to the GPD the GPD may request a meeting with the perpetrator and the Department Head to discuss the issue and solutions, e.g., asking a graduate student to leave the program, or reporting a faculty member to a disciplinary committee.

If a graduate student is dissatisfied with mentorship by their principal investigator (PI) the student should bring this up with the GPD or department head who may mediate a discussion between the graduate student and the student's PI to establish mentorship guidelines and/or next steps.

If a graduate student is dissatisfied with the project on which the student is working but has no other grounds for complaint against the faculty member the graduate student should:

Address the cause of this dissatisfaction with their PI and/or dissertation or thesis committee members (if a committee has been formed.) It should be recognized that a faculty member cannot guarantee scientific success of a graduate student, only rigorous training in an area of the faculty member’s expertise.

If the graduate student feels unable to bring up scientific problems with their mentor, the graduate student should bring the problem to the attention of the committee members if a committee has been formed or otherwise to the GPD or Department Head who may discuss it directly with the supervising faculty member and/or mediate a discussion between the graduate student and the student's mentor.