Graduate Department Representative Position
The purpose of the GDR (Graduate Department Representative) is to act as a liaison between faculty and students within the department at GSAS, as well as disseminate information between students across departments and disciplines. It provides a formal avenue for graduate student voice, both within your individual programs and departments and then with GSAS administrators, Grad Council, and other university committees or task forces. It is not comparable to a graduate assistant or student worker position; it is also not synonymous with being a union representative. GDR job responsibilities should not exceed 4-5 hours of work each month, including departmental / all-GSAS meetings.
Each PhD GDR serves for a 2 year term; each Masters GDR serves for a 1 year term. The terms run for the academic year. Ideally, each department has a minimum of two GDRs (with a maximum of no more than 3). If a department would like to nominate more than three students, they can pay for additional GDRs out of their Graduate Tuition Remission (GTR). The process of nominating / electing a GDR is up to the individual department (an election is not required; processes could include student-run elections, faculty nominations, or a combination of both). Each summer, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs will send each department admin and Director of Graduate Study a reminder to begin the GDR search process.
We keep an updated list of current GDRs on the GSAS website.
Main Responsibilities of GDR
- If department faculty leadership decides to extend an offer to attend portions of departmental meetings, the GDRs will attend in order to discuss issues of interest and concern to graduate students.
- Meet with faculty outside of faculty meetings and discuss improvement to graduate student life.
- Act as conduit between graduate students and faculty for individual concerns.
- Share information with GSAS students about campus resources and events including upcoming union negotiations, GSA elections, the counseling center, Ombuds, etc.; disseminate this information in your department (via email, Slack, or other means).
- Attend monthly meetings with Becky Prigge, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, and all other GDRs across divisions.
- May consult with the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs on GSAS-wide programming, such as Wellness Day and community-building events.
- May organize social events such as happy hours and virtual events on Zoom for graduate students.
- May meet with prospective students.
- May participate in coordinated communication efforts within the department as needed.
- May hold departmental town halls to discuss student concerns once a semester and work with faculty to propose solutions.
- May participate in or assist with department orientation event.
- Fill out the GDR Hand-Off Document to transition new GDRs.