Leave Policies

Section VI, Article 5

Personal Leave

Graduate scholars are entitled to two weeks (ten business days) of personal leave each year. Personal leave should be scheduled in consultation with the primary research advisor. Leave scheduled in conflict with coursework or TA assignments should be rare. It is the scholar’s responsibility to inform all potential stakeholders of their plans to take leave. Scholars are reminded that, in addition to the primary research advisor, this may include:

  • lab members
  • collaborators outside of the lab
  • committee members
  • classroom instructors
  • TA supervisors

Scholars are NOT required to provide a specific reason for leave, such as details of their health status or personal vacation plans.

Holiday Leave

In addition to two weeks of personal leave, scholars may take leave on Emory University’s ten observed holidays. These included:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year’s Eve

When these holidays fall on a weekend, scholars should refer to the the Emory Human Resources Holiday Schedule to determine the observed date of the holiday. The chemistry graduate program does not observe the Winter Recess listed on this calendar.

Sick Leave

Scholars may take advantage of personal leave when unable to perform job duties due to an illness, whether their own or a dependent’s. Scholars may request additional sick leave in consultation with their primary research advisor. Documentation may be requested. In the event of a need for significant leave–defined as more than three weeks of combined personal leave plus additional sick leave–scholars may be asked to apply for a formal leave of absence from the Laney Graduate School

Leave of Absence and Parental Leave

Scholars may request a leave of absence or parental leave from the Laney Graduate School. The first step to pursue either type of leave is to request a meeting with a member of the graduate admin team. Scholars are not required to inform their advisor of an initial meeting to discuss possible leave, but leave requests must ultimately be discussed with the advisor prior to submission of the formal request to LGS.


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Research

section III, article 2

Research is a daily practice for most scholars and the constancy of research effort can make it difficult to recognize growth. Course grades and milestones are intended to help scholars assess their skills, celebrating accomplishments and setting goals for improvement.

Research progress for chemistry graduate scholars is assessed through:

Scholars should also seek regular feedback from their primary mentor, lab members, and others within their professional network. Research effort requires perseverance and customization that cannot be fully prescribed by the graduate program on the scholar’s behalf. Setbacks and failures can be progress. Activities that scholars may draw on to enhance their research effort include, but are not limited to:

  • conference attendance
  • conference presentations
  • regular attendance at department seminars
  • attendance at industry Q&As
  • PDS activities through LGS, including career coaching, proposal development support, and writing groups
  • reading the literature
  • independent study
  • supplemental courses, “short” courses”, and other training

Research Effort and Assessment Through Coursework

Scholars should enroll in research credit to reflect their research effort throughout their time in the chemistry graduate program. The appropriate courses are:

  • CHEM 599R (pre-candidacy)
  • CHEM 799R (post-candidacy)

The research credit guidance below should be used to determine how many hours of research credit are appropriate in any given semester. Scholars may not enroll in more hours than indicated by this guidance and are encouraged not to enroll in less hours in most cases. In extraordinary circumstances, scholars may petition the DGS to increase or decrease research credit.

Research Credit Guidance for First Year Scholars

First Semester: 0 hours of CHEM 599R (research effort will be evaluated via enrollment in CHEM 504: Rotations)

Second Semester: 3 hours of CHEM 599R

Research Credit Guidance for Advanced Scholars

Engaged in Full Time Research, no Advanced TA: 12 hours of CHEM 599R/799R
Engaged in Research & 10 hours Advanced TA: 10 hours CHEM 599R/799R
Engaged in Research & 20 hours of Advanced TA: 9 hours CHEM 599R/799R 

Research Grades

The Director of Graduate Studies is the instructor of record for all research coursework. Grades are determined via a mid-semester and end-of-semester assessment provided by the primary research mentor. Specifically, scholars performance will be assessed as falling into one of the following categories:

  • Progressing well, no concerns (on track to receive an “S” grade)
  • Some concerns will need improvement (possible “U” grade)
  • Major concerns, needs significant improvement (probable “U” grade)

At mid-semester, scholars who receive an assessment of “some concerns” or “major concerns” are advised to request a meeting with both their primary research mentor and the DGS to discuss strategies for improving their research performance.

At the end of the semester, scholars must receive a final assessment of “progressing well, no concerns” to earn an “S” grade in CHEM 599R/799R . Otherwise, scholars will receive a “U” grade in research and be placed on probation.


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Next: Teaching

Reimbursements

section V, article 3

brief summary


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Leave Guidance

section VI, article 5

brief summary


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Petition Policy

section VI, article 3

A petition is an opportunity to request an adjustment to your “Path to the PhD.” Using our formal (and simple!) process rather than an email helps us to track your request and respond appropriately.

What are petitions for?

Your graduate handbook is a living document – its meaning and effectiveness may shift according to the people who put its language into practice. You may encounter a unique situation that is not covered in the handbook or your interpretation of handbook language at some point in your career might be ambiguous.

In this case, you might consider submitting a petition to the graduate committee.

Petitions are intended to allow graduate scholars to seek adjustments and/or clarifications of handbook policy to customize their path through the chemistry graduate program. Common examples include petitions to waive specific program requirements or adjust program deadlines.

What are some specific reasons why I might submit a petition?

  • Petition to extend a milestone deadline
  • Petition to deviate from the format or content required for a milestone
  • Petition to change rotation groups
  • Petition to change research groups
  • Petition to receive an M.S. degree on the way to the Ph.D.
  • Petition to change your program status and leave with a terminal M.S.
  • Petition to waive a program requirement
  • Any request for a change or clarification of program policy that is not a grievance

How do I know if a petition is appropriate?

Before submitting a petition, you are encouraged, but not required, to consult with your P.I. or with any member of the graduate admin team for clarification of questions related to program requirements.

Please note, there is a difference between a petition that requests a change or clarification to a program requirement and an academic grievance, such as a grade dispute. A grievance indicates that you disagree with a policy or decision. Please review the handbook Grievance Policy to ensure that you understand the difference.

How do I submit a petition?

You can submit a petition to the graduate committee by using the Petition to the Graduate Committee online form. Be prepared to describe what you are requesting as well as the reason for the request. If you are asking for a deadline extension, you will be required to indicate the exact date of the new proposed deadline. A petition is not anonymous and may be discussed within the graduate committee or with any member of the graduate faculty whose expertise is required to conduct a thorough review. You are encouraged, but not required, to notify affected faculty, including your P.I., of a petition prior to submission.

If you have questions about the petition or grievance policy or would like to discuss a petition before submitting this form, please contact any member of the graduate team.

Do I need to add any supporting documents to a petition?

There is a space in the online petition form to include a file. PlEASE upload any documents here you wish the committee to review as a single PDF. You may include a doctor’s note, if you wish, but do not include detailed personal/medical information. Other forms of documentation may include:

  • A letter from your advisor in support of your petition
  • A syllabus, transcript, and/or other documents to demonstrate proficiency when asking to waive program requirements
  • In the case of a change of group request, a research summary of work completed in the current group
  • In the case of a milestone extension request, a timeline to completion or other outline of your plan to achieve the milestone

How long does it take to receive a response to a petition?

Petitions will receive a response within two weeks (ten business days.) The graduate program will address petitions as quickly as possible, but expects that scholars will consider their path through the program in advance of major milestones to anticipate petitions.

Emergency petitions may be submitted via the same form as regular petitions. In this case, you must indicate the reason for the late petition and the date by which a response is requested. Emergency petitions will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances, such as professional or personal challenges of an unforeseen nature. Please plan ahead. That said, do not hesitate to request the assistance and information you need to progress through the graduate program no matter the timeline.


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Next: Changing Research Groups

Communication Guidance

section I, article 4

Email Policy

Email is the primary medium for official communication between scholars, faculty, and staff in the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. Official Department of Chemistry communications will be sent to your emory.edu address. Time sensitive communications will be sent to your email with the expectation that they will be reviewed within 24 hours or less.

Department Calendar

Events of interest in the department, including weekly seminars, are posted on the Trumba calendar that appears on the front page of chemistry.emory.edu. Scholars are encouraged to subscribe to this calendar. Events are also posted throughout the department and announced via email. 

Scholars may submit events to the department calendar using this online form.

Communicating Public Events

For any event that is open to the public, it is the scholar’s responsibility to advertise the time and place of the event by submitting the event to the calendar via the form on the department website. Events must be advertised at least one week in advance. An unadvertised defense, report, or other event may be considered incomplete.

The following events are required to be “open door”:


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Next: Safety

Resource Guidance

Appendix A

Emory University offers a number of resources to scholars enrolled in academic programs. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with these resources by reading your email, exploring university websites, visiting university offices in person, and beyond.

The following list should not be considered exhaustive. It is provided as a resource to help you begin the process of learning what resources the university has to offer.

Please review the department website at http://chemistry.emory.edu to ensure you are familiar with chemistry-specific resources. Each member of staff has a short description next to their name describing key responsibilities in the People directory. In addition, the faculty diversity and safety liaison and the directors of academic programming will be identified in the People directory.

Within the graduate program structure, you are encouraged to consider the DGS, Graduate Program Coordinator, and Communications and Outreach Manager as a resource team. Most academic process questions and signature requests will be addressed by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Office of Equity and Inclusion

  • University Title IX
  • Discrimination and harassment management
  • Affirmative action plans and implementation
  • Educational programming
  • Best practices for searches and hires
  • Access and disability services

Office of Respect

  • Sexual violence awareness and prevention
  • Victim support (Note: Scholars who have been victimized are encouraged to contact the Office of Respect for victim advocate assistance prior to OEI if they can safely do so. If scholars are engaged in an active Title IX investigation, the Office of Respect can only play a limited role.)

University Ombuds Office

  • Problems, conflicts, or concerns from students affiliated with any academic division of Emory University. Problems, conflicts, and concerns can be academic or non-academic in nature.
  • Confidential discussion except where reporting is required by law, such as in cases of sexual assault of misconduct or when, in the judgement of the Ombudsperson, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

Environmental Health and Safety Office

  • Safety concerns, questions, and complaints
  • Anonymous reports: Emory Trust Line

Laney Graduate School (LGS)

  • Scholars may consult the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement for academic and non-academic concerns, and/or if it is not clear which resource would be appropriate.

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Grievance Policy

Section VI, Article 2

Scholars that have a grievance related to some aspect of their experience in the chemistry graduate program should address a comprehensive written account of the grievance to the Director of Graduate Studies. The Graduate Committee will consider the grievance on the basis of the written complaint. The student will also has the option of presenting their case to the committee in person. As part of the decision-making process, the Graduate Committee may consider other sources, including, but not limited to, the research advisor and the Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate Committee will then inform the student of their response to the grievance.

If it is impossible to resolve the grievance within the Graduate Committee or within the broader framework of the Department of Chemistry administrative structure, the Director of Graduate Studies will forward the grievance to the Associate Dean of the Laney Graduate School. From this point forward, the grievance will be handled according to the procedures outlined in the Laney Graduate School handbook. If the issue is with the Director of Graduate studies, the scholar should go directly to the Associate Dean of the Laney Graduate School or the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.

The grievance process is primarily appropriate for academic complaints, broadly defined, related to coursework, exams, milestone requirements, laboratory environment and training, etc. While the graduate program takes the perspective that all aspects of a scholar’s Emory experience may impact their academic work, there are certain instances where it is most appropriate or even required that a student reach out to a particular office to officially pursue a concern, complaint, or resource. Scholars should familiarize themselves with the resource list in the next section of the handbook for assistance in determining the appropriate office for handling a non-academic concern. If a scholar cannot determine where to bring a complaint or grievance, they are encouraged to contact any member of the graduate program team or, if the issue cannot be comfortably discussed within this structure, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs of the Laney Graduate School or the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement.


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Next: Petition Policy

Probation and Appeal Process

Section VI, Article 1

We want all scholars to succeed. If you are concerned about falling into probationary status, be sure to communicate with the Graduate Program Coordinator and your research advisor to determine your best path forward.

Causes of Probationary Status

Scholars whose work causes them to fall into probationary status will receive notification from Laney Graduate School. Scholars who receive a semester or Cumulative G.P.A. of < 2.7 will fall into probationary status. In addition, scholars will receive a “U” grade for the following courses (thus falling in to probationary status) when they fail to meet a program requirement:

  • CHEM 504 for failure to complete rotations or join a group.
  • CHEM 798 for failure to complete the Second Year Qualifying Exam (failure to successfully re-test by the end of the summer term will result in termination from the program).
  • TATT 605 for unsatisfactory TA performance.
  • CHEM 599 (pre-candidacy) or CHEM 799 (post-candidacy) for insufficient research progress.
  • CHEM 599 (pre-candidacy) or CHEM 799 (post-candidacy) for failure to meet a milestone requirement or submit an annual report.

Scholars in probationary status are not eligible for merit awards or LGS Professional Development Support (PDS) funds.

Review Process

All scholars will be reviewed at the end of each semester by the faculty. Scholars who fall into probationary status due to a negative review will be informed of their status in writing by the Laney Graduate School. Consequences of a negative review may include:

  • Withdrawal of financial support
  • Repetition of research, coursework, and/or examinations
  • Termination from the program

Appeal of Probationary Status

Scholars in probationary status may petition for one additional semester to improve their record by following the departmental appeal process.

  1. Write a letter to the Graduate Committee detailing any extenuating circumstances that contributed to the probationary status and requesting a one semester extension.
  2. Ask the research advisor to submit a letter of support, including a plan for ongoing financial support.

The Graduate Committee will review appeals and make recommendations. Scholars may petition for a maximum of two semester-long extensions.

Termination

Scholars whose appeal is not approved will be recommended for termination from the program by no later than the end of their second semester on probation.


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Next: Grievance Policy

Merit Awards

section V, article 2

While they cannot self-nominate, scholars are encouraged to make their research advisors aware of awards for which they may be eligible. The Department of Chemistry awards outstanding scholars a total of over $15k each year above and beyond stipend funding.

Quayle Outstanding Dissertation Award

One award $6000

Awarded to the PhD scholar with the best PhD dissertation, defended in the 2019/20 academic year. Nominations are restricted to one scholar per research group. Nominations consist of a letter from the primary nominator (the scholar’s research advisor), and a supporting letter from an additional expert in the field. Letters should address the exceptional nature of the scholar’s research

Quayle Excellence in Research Awards

Six awards, $1500 each

Recognizes excellence in research.

  • Two awards will be given to students completing their second year.
  • Two awards will be given to students completing their third year.
  • Two awards will be given to students completing their fourth year.

Nominations should include a faculty nomination letter and a 1-page research summary written by the student highlighting their major research accomplishments. A student may only receive one “Quayle excellence in research award” during their time at Emory (i.e. student receiving a second-year award, is not eligible for this award in their third or fourth years).

Quayle Early Innovator Award

One Award, $1500

This award specifically recognizes students who have made significant contributions to developing a new line of research/project, significantly beyond work that was undertaken in the group before their contribution. The nomination should include a faculty nomination letter and a 1-page research summary, written by the student, that emphasizes their individual contribution to developing a new line of research.

Quayle Citizen Scholar Award

One Award, $1500

This award specifically recognizes a student who has demonstrated excellence in research, and made a significant contribution to community building, outreach, broadening participation, public education and/or scholarship. The nomination should include a faculty nomination letter, a 1 page research statement (written by the student), and a 1 page outreach statement, written by the student, outlining the contribution to community building/outreach/broadening participation/public education/scholarship.

Quayle Teacher Scholar Award

One Award, $1500

This award specifically recognizes a student who has demonstrated excellence in research, and also a commitment to mentoring others/education. The nomination should include a faculty nomination letter, a 1 page research statement (written by the student), and 1 page mentoring/teaching statement (written by the student).

Quayle Spectrum Scholar Award

One Award, $1500

This award is given in acknowledgement of a graduate scholar whose personal and professional efforts over the past school year have contributed to diversity, inclusion and community engagement in the Department of Chemistry and/or the university more broadly. The nomination should include a description of specific actions undertaken by the student in support of full engagement. Nominations may come from any member of the chemistry community.


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Next: Reimbursements