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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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


section II, article 1

Orientation activities always begin on the start date indicated in your Emory offer letter – this is quite a bit earlier than the first day of classes! In Fall 2021, orientation starts on August 13th.


Orientation Overview

New scholars are required to attend orientation for both the chemistry graduate program and the Laney Graduate School before the start of classes.

Advanced students may be required to attend orientation activities to complete program requirements that were missed or not offered during their own orientation.

​​​​​​​All orientation activities are mandatory. Scholars who do not participate may forfeit their August stipend payment and/or be excluded from rotation activities.

Orientation Content

Orientation will include the following:

  • program requirements, including rotations
  • mail and keys
  • Emory ID cards and building access
  • payroll and compensation
  • facilities and stockroom
  • safety training
  • TA training
  • course selection/academic advising with faculty
  • cohort team building
  • strategies for success in graduate school
  • peer mentoring and graduate organizations

Orientation Schedule

An orientation schedule will be provided to scholars by the graduate program coordinator prior to the start date in their Emory offer letter. In turn, scholars are asked to submit a photo and short bio to the graduate program coordinator before orientation begins.

For more information about the schedule for Laney Graduate School orientation activities, please visit their website.

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Next: Research Rotation Program

Goals for Graduates

section I, article 3

The James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies at Emory University is committed to education that provides scholars with deep and broad expertise in their chosen fields, creativity to cross disciplinary boundaries, courage to challenge convention, and confidence to ask unexpected questions and articulate bold new perspectives.

Graduates of the PhD program in chemistry should be able to:

  • Pose a research question and formulate an investigative approach using current research methods in chemistry.
  • Conduct and communicate independent, original research in chemistry.
  • Critically evaluate the research literature in chemistry.
  • Communicate concepts and procedures in chemistry effectively — to peers, scholars, the scientific community, the lay public, and granting agencies.
  • Apply their education to careers and, more broadly, to challenges and opportunities in the world around them.

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Next: Communication Guidance

Graduate Program Administration

section I, article 1

Core Administrators

Simon Blakey, Director of Graduate Studies
sblakey@emory.edu| Atwood Hall 630

Kira Walsh, Outreach and Communications Manager 
kwalsh6@emory.edu  | Atwood Hall 380C

Laura Hilado, Graduate Program Coordinator
laura.adelyn.carol.hilado@emory.edu   | Atwood Hall 380K

Information for additional Department of Chemistry staff and faculty can be viewed on the People page of our main website.

Working With the Graduate Admin Team

Your core graduate administrators work as a team. If you have a question or concern, you can reach out to any member of the admin team for support. Our team approach controls for different schedules and even different personalities as well as conflicts of interest. Any member of our team can assist you with:

  • advising questions and concerns, including student progress issues such as milestones, probation, and group changes
  • understanding graduate program policies and procedures
  • support for graduate student organizations/student life

Unless you ask for confidentiality, your graduate admin team may discuss issues shared with any one of us in our regular meetings. You may request anonymity from a member of the admin team for any issue. We are mandated reporters for Title IX concerns or in cases where we feel that a member of our community may be a danger to others. If you have a issue that you feel cannot be productively addressed within the graduate admin team, you are encouraged to contact other Emory administrators within or outside chemistry. See our Grievance Policy and Resource Guidance for more information.

While any member of our admin team can assist you, our expertise is generally as follows:

Director of Graduate Studies
  • Primary research advisor for first year scholars; advising support for advanced scholars
  • TA assignment and management of rotation/group selection
  • Signatory for graduate program on chemistry and LGS forms (submit forms to Graduate Program Coordinator)
  • Instructor of record for CHEM599R/CHEM799R
Graduate Program Coordinator
  • Point of contact for graduate program forms/signature requests
  • Graduate hiring, stipend changes, and paycheck questions
  • Graduate orientation and enrollment
  • Milestone and defense announcements
  • Program-level PDS support
Outreach and Communications Manager
  • Recruitment and retention programs
  • Special projects/outreach
  • Advising for program customization, including petitions, change of program, grievances

Core Chemistry Offices

Chemistry Main Office, Atwood Hall 380
Core Office Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm, Monday through Friday

Chemistry Stockroom, Atwood Hall 109
Core Hours: 7:00am-12:00pm

Core hours are subject to change. Changes will be advertised to the community via chemistry list servs.

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Next: How to Use This Handbook