Updated August 2010; revision about General Exam March 2014; major editorial revision pending
This handbook is intended as a guide to the policies and procedures of the graduate programs in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES). It explains the Department's rules and procedures, gives you some idea of the way things work, and describes what is expected of you while you are a graduate student here. We urge you to read this entire handbook because it will help you in acclimatizing to the culture of graduate school and the EES Department.
Much of the information in this handbook is available other places, such as the College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Handbook, the University catalog, or the department office. However, for EES policies and procedures, this web document and its PDF representation are the document of record. We hope that having this information in one place will help you get a quick start and give you a convenient reference when you have questions and are tired of asking other people who will undoubtedly refer you back here anyway. Updated versions of this handbook can be found following the links provided on our home page at http://www.ees.lehigh.edu
Lehigh University and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences reserve the right to change at any time the rules and regulations governing or otherwise affecting graduate students. In the event of programmatic changes, a student may adopt the revised curriculum or, to the extent it remains possible, retain the program to which they matriculated.
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences studies fundamental processes and interactions of the Earth system across a broad range of temporal and spatial scales. Our research is driven both by curiosity and societal needs. We apply and integrate multiple scientific methodologies, including observational, experimental, theoretical, and numerical approaches in addressing scientific problems that span traditional Earth Science disciplines. Our scholarship generates new knowledge that is applicable and recognizable at the global level by drawing on the diversity of faculty expertise and a strong graduate program that we view as a crucial part of our goal to continually grow our intellectual footprint. Students who graduate from our program develop the critical thinking, mathematical, and writing skills to succeed in scientific and other careers.
Below, we list the full-time faculty and their main research interests. More detailed information about faculty and staff research interests, faculty publications, research facilities, and course work and training can be found throughout the EES web site and on personal faculty web pages, which are accessible through the Directory page, e.g. www.ees.lehigh.edu.
Research scientists play an important role in the department, as their duties are fully devoted to research. They serve as an important resource for graduate students and can provide additional perspectives about research and career opportunities. See the website for a list of research scientists.
The Department has four permanent support staff: Nancy Roman and Leigh Anne Fernandes in the main office, Joe Seem for general departmental support, and Bruce Idleman for support of three research labs. George Yasko, affiliated with the Environmental Initiative as well as STEPS builidng operations, also has lots of interaction with people in EES.
Joe Seem (Departmental Support Technician) - Joe's duties amount to providing support for the Department's infrastructure and teaching mission. This includes keeping an eye on the Department's collections, coordinating or doing the maintenance on equipment (including departmental A/V), assisting with some fabrication of new equipment, coordinating departmental safety, coordinating use and upkeep of shared labs, and keeping an eye on the facilities and appearance in STEPS. Joe is approachable and a great resource, but his list of duties extends even beyond what is listed here, so don't cry wolf unless your situation is truly desperate!
Bruce Idleman (Senior Research Scientist) - Bruce has the primary responsibility of providing technical support to the geochronology lab (Zeitler), the stable isotope lab (Bebout), and the paleomagnetism lab (Kodama). He is a fabulous source of informal advice about programming, digital electronics, hardware interfacing, equipment fabrication, and high vacuum techniques. He's a good geologist, too. Even if he can't help you, there is a good chance he can point you to the person, place, or catalog that will solve your problem.
Nancy Roman (Academic Department Coordinator) - Nancy is responsible for managing the department finances and coordinating the flow of paper and information into and out of the office. She handles payroll, making sure you get paid. She is the person you go to for all the dozens of forms you will fill out during your stay at Lehigh, she makes sure you get paid, she wrangles with Banner, and she makes sure you get paid. Get the picture?
Leigh Anne Fernandes (Department Secretary) - Leigh Anne handles most of the front-office business including things important to you like copy cards, mailings, supplies, etc., and she schedules meetings, meeting rooms, and the like. She also maintains departmental mailing lists, so anything you need to e-mail to the Department can be sent via Leigh Anne. Leigh Anne will make your life go smoother.
George Yasko is the Lehigh Earth Observatory technician and is primarily responsible for the equipment maintained by ongoing LEO projects. George knows a great deal about most of the equipment in the Department, and when something belonging to LEO breaks down, he should be consulted before you call for service.
Collectively, our staff represents one of the finest, most professional group of people you are likely to find in the academic environment. Nancy and Leigh Anne run the front office in a helpful, welcoming way, and the technical staff members provide reliable project support. The faculty members ask that you keep your interactions with the staff professional and respectful. The investment of kindness and respect will help you considerably in the long run. And you WILL get paid on time.
The EES Department offers graduate programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences. These degrees are meant to emphasize and reinforce the Department's belief in an important and growing trend in ecology, environmental science, and geology: namely the blending of expertise and perspectives from many disciplines. In the end, it is the strength of training, the quality of student performance, and the significance of research results that do far more to distinguish a scholar than any degree name.
Research is an integral component of all EES graduate programs and leads to an M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation prepared under a research supervisory committee, which is chaired by a departmental faculty research advisor. An advising commitment by one or more faculty members is required for graduate admission. Any student unaware of who their advisor is by the time they matriculate, a highly unlikely situation, should find out right away. Graduate students may change advisors only with mutual consent of the current and proposed advisors.
The University has outlined the general academic requirements for M.S. and Ph.D. students in its Graduate Student Handbook, and EES has additional departmental requirements that must also be fulfilled. It is the student's responsibility to insure that all graduation requirements are met. This is really for the student's protection - most members of the faculty have only a perilously incomplete recollection of all the graduation requirements.
In order to be counted for graduate credit, courses from other departments must be at least 200-level. For Ph.D. students, courses in the EES Department that are below the 200-level do not count for graduation; for M.S. students, courses below the 300-level do not count. Note that the supervisory committee may require a student to take courses that make up for deficiencies in the student's preparation even though credit cannot be received for them.
Courses completed in which a student receives a grade lower than C- do not count towards the graduation requirement. If a student accumulates more than 12 credit hours (typically equivalent to four courses) of grades lower than B- (the Four-C Rule), he or she will be barred from registration and dropped from the program. The University requires a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 for graduation as a graduate student.
Graduate school is expensive and life is short; a professional and dedicated effort is expected from each student. EES faculty are committed to helping students finish within the shortest amount of time consistent with sound graduate training.
M.S. Time Limits. An M.S. student has a maximum of six years in which to finish the thesis. An M.S. thesis of typical scope can be completed in 21 months (four semesters plus one summer), and financial aid awards are based on this expectation. Extensions past the maximum of six years may be requested from the University Graduate and Research Committee, but there is no guarantee that an extension will be granted. Financial aid will most likely not be available beyond the first two years.
Ph.D. Time Limits In the case of a Ph.D. student entering with a B.A. or B.S., the student has a maximum of ten years to complete the requirements for the degree. The expected time for completion, however, is four to five years.
In the case of a Ph.D. student entering with a M.S. degree, the requirements for degree must be completed in seven years. The expected time for completion is three to four years.
Extensions past the maximum in either case may be requested from the University Graduate and Research Committee, but there is no guarantee that an extension will be granted. Furthermore, funding for Ph.D. students becomes much more stringent after the first few years of work.
Each M.S. or Ph.D. student must have a supervisory committee of which one member is the advisor who must be a member of the Department faculty. The committee functions as an advisory board for the thesis or dissertation research and should be formed as early as possible after a student and their advisor have settled on a general research problem. Generally speaking, a student should assemble a committee and have a meeting no later than the middle of the second semester. Ph.D. students are required to have the first committee meeting by the end of the second semester as part of Ph.D. qualification requirement. Students must meet with their committee at least once a year to keep them informed of research progress and to get input from them. It is advised that students meet with their committee at least once a semester and consider sending out additional progress reports or research news by e-mail. All committee members must hold doctoral degrees; EES graduates are excluded from supervisory committees for five years following their graduation.
At the M.S. level, the committee must have at least three members, at least two of whom must be Lehigh faculty or research scientists.
Ph.D. committees consist of at least four members. One member must be from outside the EES Department, and at least two must be Lehigh faculty or research scientists. Adjunct faculty members are considered outside members rather than Lehigh faculty when serving on graduate supervisory committees. The Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Research approve the Ph.D. committee composition on authority of the University Graduate Committee as part of the process of admission to candidacy (see below). According to the College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Handbook, the Ph.D. supervisory committee has six specific functions that should be considered: "The committee is responsible for assisting the student in formulating a course of study, satisfying specific Departmental requirements, preparing for final examinations, submitting a suitable dissertation proposal, overseeing progress in research, and evaluating the completed dissertation" (Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements).
Note: Be sure to review general EES and Lehigh requirements and expectations for all graduate students (see above).
3.5.1. Academic requirements. Course work for the M.S. must include a minimum of 30 credit hours in courses numbered 300 or higher (200-level or higher for courses taken from other departments). Eighteen of those credits must be at the 400-level, of which three to six credits must consist of thesis research. Students will not be allowed to register for more than six thesis credits; recognize, however, that the overall thesis effort is likely to far exceed normal credit-hour compensation for course work (i.e. 3-4 hours of effort per week for 14 weeks per credit hour). Note also that until the thesis proposal has been approved, students may not register for more than one credit of thesis research per semester.
Of the eighteen credits that must be completed at the 400-level, 15 of those credits (including the 3-6 thesis credits) must be completed within the Department. An additional three credits, at the minimum, must be completed within the Department at the 300- or 400-level. The remaining credits needed for a 30-credit minimum may be fulfilled by any 300-level or above course in the EES Department or any 200-level course or above in another department.
If a deviation from the number of mandatory EES credits is required by a student for the purpose of taking classes in other departments that are necessary for their specific program, the student may petition the Department to waive the Department credit minimums. Students should plan the program with their advisor in time to make the petition if such action is anticipated.
All M.S. students are required to take one of the Department's four core courses: Tectonic Processes, Paleoclimatology, Ecosystem Processes, or Physical and Chemical Processes at the Earth's Surface (all four are 400-level courses).
3.5.2. Program. At least three weeks before the end of the second full semester, pending the completion of 18 credits, the M.S. student must:
After approval by the GIC, the proposal and program are submitted to the Office of the Registrar. The GIC provides departmental oversight and may offer nonbinding comment to the candidate and committee on the course program or research proposal.
3.5.3. M.S. thesis regulations. M.S. students in the EES Department are required to complete a thesis in order to graduate. The typical M.S. thesis should yield the equivalent of one manuscript suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The thesis work carries a maximum of six 400-level credits. The final thesis must be in the form specified by the University; they are very picky about format, so students should be sure to find and follow the thesis submittal instructions provided by the CAS Graduate Programs Office (GPO). A copy of the thesis must be prepared for the EES Department chairperson and the thesis advisor. It is also appropriate to offer a copy of the thesis to each member of your supervisory committee. In order to submit the thesis and complete requirements for graduation, the student must in their final semester:
Once the thesis is submitted, the CAS Dean will review the submission for completeness and then release the thesis to the Registrar's Office. If there was an error and the submission is not complete, the student will be notified of how to rectify the issue before release of the thesis. At this point, the Registrar will verify the receipt of the thesis and clear the student for graduation, provided all other requirements have been met.
3.5.4. Thesis presentation and Defense.
The Department requires that M.S. students defend their thesis as a requirement for graduation. The defense consists of a formal presentation of the major findings of the thesis project in seminar format to the Department followed by a period of questioning from the supervisory committee. The seminar should be about 30 minutes long to permit time for general questions afterwards. A faculty moderator, in addition to introducing the student, will enforce this time limit and field questions from the audience at the conclusion of the seminar. The faculty moderator must be solicited by the presenting student ahead of time and cannot be the thesis advisor. After a short break at the conclusion of the seminar, the student and their supervisory committee will reconvene to address the committee's questions concerning the research. This portion is also open to the public and lasts as long as is necessary.
The defense is required prior to final approval of the thesis by the advisor and the department chairperson, which means that the presentation must be scheduled during the academic year, well before the deadline for submission of the completed thesis to the Registrar. The student should meet early with the committee responsible for scheduling the research seminars and arrange a date for the presentation. The presentation and defense are made before the final draft of the thesis is approved so that any improvements that come to light during the final reading and presentation may be incorporated into the final draft. Supervisory committee members must receive a complete draft of the thesis, signed by the faculty advisor, at least one full week prior to the scheduled defense. By signing the thesis draft, the advisor is certifying the expectation that the defending student will complete all degree requirements in time for the next graduation. Also, an abstract of the thesis must be given to the Academic Department Coordinator or Department Secretary at least one week prior to the defense for posting.
Note: Be sure to review general EES and Lehigh requirements and expectations for all graduate students (see above).
3.6.1. General. Lehigh's Graduate Student Handbook outlines three well-defined requirements regarding minimum residence, tuition, and registration for a Ph.D. student. The residence requirement stipulates that the student must complete either two semesters of full-time study, or 18 credit hours within a 12-month period. The requirement is intended to encourage a period of concentrated study and intellectual association at Lehigh. The tuition requirement states that the student must pay tuition for a minimum of either 48 or 72 hours of credit, depending on whether one begins with an M.S. or B.A./B.S. The tuition requirement is waived if a student has paid full tuition continuously during one's entire program at the rate of nine credit hours per semester. Ph.D. students are required to complete a minimum of 2 years of study, so it is theoretically possible to earn a Ph.D. with as few as 36 credits. There is also a registration requirement: following the completion of 48 or 72 credits respectively, a Ph.D. student must register twice each calendar year for not less than three credits. Once admitted to candidacy, this requirement drops to one credit twice each year and is known as 'maintenance of candidacy.'
3.6.2. Admission to Doctoral Candidacy. In order to be admitted to candidacy in the EES Department, a Ph.D. student must:
The application for candidacy must be turned in to the Associate Dean of Graduate studies and Research and includes:
3.6.3a. Qualifying Exam Rules and Procedures.he Earth and Environmental Sciences Department requires all students to pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam whose protocol and guidelines are described below.
Exam Rationale: The qualifying exam is the first department-wide milestone in the doctoral program. The exam is intended to assess a student's preparation and intellectual ability, particularly reasoning skills and quantitative ability. Passing the exam provides the advisor and research supervisory committee with an affirmation that the student is up to the challenge of a doctoral degree program.
Exam Timing: Students entering the EES doctoral program must take the exam by the end of their first semester. The exam will be given on one date per semester, between weeks 10 and 13, coordinated with the other students taking the exam in that semester.
Examining Committee Composition and Exam Structure: The examining committee for a given year will consist of two EES faculty, appointed by the department chair. One faculty member is designated as chair of the committee. If one of the members cannot fulfill the obligations of the committee, then the department chair appoints a substitute.
Common Section: The examining committee solicits questions from the department faculty and considers this input in the design of a series of questions that assess whether a student has the skills to conduct research and understands scientific methodology. Particular skill areas could include quantitative analysis and interpretation of data, research design and methodology, formulating and testing hypotheses, and technical writing. These questions are given to all students taking the exam in a particular semester, so they must be applicable to the complete range of research disciplines in the department, even when only one student may be taking the exam. These questions should not be designed to test spontaneous recall of facts, definitions, or disciplinary content.
Disciplinary Section: The student's advisor designs and submits a section to the committee for inclusion in the exam that probes how well the candidate understands the most important disciplinary knowledge. The disciplinary content section is given only to the advisor's student. These questions may test spontaneous recall of facts, definitions, or other disciplinary content.
Exam Format: The exam should be designed to be completed in a single day and can include up to an hour of break, with four hours allocated for the common section and two hours allocated for the disciplinary section. The student may not have access to resources such as other students, textbooks, notes, or the Internet during the exam, but may have access to word processing and spreadsheet software.
Qualifying exams are primarily a written exercise. Exams may also include an oral component, either to clarify written answers or assess technical skills such as field or laboratory abilities. An oral component may be required either by the advisor or the exam committee. If the oral component is to clarify written answers, both exam committee members and advisor must be present at the oral session. For oral components that assess technical skills necessary for a discipline, the advisor designs, coordinates, supervises, and grades the exercises.
Exam Scoring: All questions and all answers will be sent to all committee members, including the advisor, within 2 days of the exam date. Each of the exam committee members will score each common question as passed or not passed. The advisor will score the disciplinary section as passed or not passed. The results of this preliminary scoring must be communicated to the exam committee chair before the committee meeting.
Exam Outcome: The examining committee plus the advisor will meet as a group within one week after the scheduled exam to discuss and collectively review the student's performance. The committee must decide the outcome of the examination by majority vote. Possible outcomes include Pass, Fail with retake, or Fail. A failed exam will result in termination from the degree program at the end of the semester in which the exam was taken. A fail with retake requires the student to take a second qualifying exam in the following semester. For the retake exam, the student may be required to complete either the common section or the disciplinary section, or both sections. Possible outcomes of the retake exam can only include Pass or Fail.
The examining committee may postpone the exam decision by majority vote if continuing the examination orally is necessary to fairly evaluate the student. The continuance decision should be rendered within one week of the initial exam date and the exam continuation should occur within two weeks of the initial exam date, with a decision rendered within three weeks of the initial exam date.
A member of the examining committee will prepare the draft report of exam outcome, and circulate it for approval to the entire exam committee, including advisor. When the full committee and advisor are in agreement with the content of the letter it will be presented to the candidate and copied to the GIC for inclusion in the student's departmental file. The final letter should be agreed upon within one week of the committee reaching a decision on the exam outcome.
3.6.3b. Qualification Rule and Procedure. All Ph.D. students need to pass the Ph.D. qualification evaluation by the end of second semester to continue their Ph.D. studies. The Ph.D. qualification rule encourages Ph.D. students to focus on their scholarship and research earlier on in their program and to put together high quality graduate symposium presentations and research proposal for the general exam. The decision for Ph.D. students to continue their studies at the end of the first year will be made by the supervisory committee, in consultation with the advisor and the GIC. The Department recommends that new Ph.D. students should meet with their advisor at the beginning of the first year to discuss their academic preparation.
There are three major components to the Ph.D. qualification rule and procedure:
3.6.4. General exam. The general examination consists of a public oral defense of the written dissertation proposal, which is prepared after consultation with the advisor and supervisory research committee. The defense will be scheduled on a date during the academic year mutually acceptable to the student and the committee but not later than the last day of classes in the student's third semester. The scheduling of the defense should be cleared with the Department's seminar coordinator to avoid conflicts. A majority of the committee must attend, at least three hours must be set aside for the examination, and the exam should not start later than 1 pm. The final draft of the dissertation proposal must be made available to the committee members and the defense publicly announced at least one week prior to the defense; the announcement must include the proposal summary.
The defense opens with the student making a 45-minute presentation. After the presentation, the public has an opportunity to ask the candidate questions for 10-15 minutes and then a short recess is called so that those wishing to leave may do so. Upon reconvening the defense, which remains open to the public, the research committee will orally examine the student on issues raised by the proposal and on other issues that the committee members consider appropriate. At the close of the examination, the committee will meet in private to consider whether the student's proposal and defense were adequate. Examination results must be made in writing and copied to the students file.
The examining committee may:
In the event that a re-examination is required, University rules require that it must occur no sooner than five months after the original examination and no later than the beginning of the fifth semester. The general examination must be passed no later than seven months before graduation. All of the above procedures apply to the re-examination except that a third examination is not an allowed outcome; the student must pass, with or without conditions, or fail the second examination. Failure results in termination of the student's degree program at the end of the current semester.
3.6.5. Course requirements. All Ph.D. students are required to take a minimum of six courses at the 400-level. One of these courses must be selected from the Department's four core courses: Tectonic Processes, Paleoclimatology, Ecosystem Processes, or Physical and Chemical Processes at Earth's Surface. Otherwise, course selection and the distribution of credit hours between dissertation credits and coursework credits are up to the student's committee. Depending on the results of the qualification evaluation, the Department faculty may recommend particular courses in areas where they feel the student's preparation is deficient, but it is the supervisory committee that has final control of the student's program.
3.6.6. Teaching requirement. This requirement may be met by activities related to either undergraduate labs or recitations in which the principal activity of the TA is instruction rather than grading or logistical support. The ideal TA experience would integrate a number of aspects of teaching including lectures and/or demonstrations, student assessment, and grading.
Fulfillment of this requirement will be scheduled by mutual agreement between the student, principal advisor, and the GIC. Requests to satisfy this requirement must be made to the GIC by October 1 for spring TA assignments and April 1 for fall TA assignments. The GIC will act upon the request based on the department's anticipated teaching need and the availability of tuition credits. The GIC will also certify that the TA assignment fulfills the requirements. The instructor of the course in which the student is involved will certify that the student has satisfactorily completed the TA duties and has met the teaching requirements as listed below. The completed original certification form is kept in the student's file. It is important that students discuss this requirement with their advisor early in their program and plan for its fulfillment.
3.6.7. Language requirement. Although there is no departmental foreign language requirement, the Ph.D. committee may require the student to demonstrate competence in any language important to the student's Ph.D. program.
3.6.8. Dissertation requirements. The dissertation must 'treat a topic related to the candidate's specialty in the major subject, show the results of original research, provide evidence of high scholarship, and make a significant contribution to knowledge in the field.' A general rule of thumb is that a typical dissertation is the equivalent of three publications in peer-reviewed journals.
After the advisor approves a complete dissertation draft verifying the expectation that the student will complete all requirements by the next graduation date, it is submitted to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at least six weeks prior to the expected graduation date. This submission gives the College a chance to verify that rules concerning dissertation format have been followed. After revisions are made subsequent to the defense and approved by the advisor, the final draft of the dissertation must be electronically submitted to the Assistant Dean at least two weeks before the expected graduation date (check the official deadline!). Students must complete copyright and NRC forms at this time. Two unbound copies of the dissertation must be given to the College office, along with the receipt for the $90 submission fee. One of the copies must have the original signatures of the committee members. The University has very definite requirements outlining the form of the dissertation, and they must be strictly followed.
3.6.9. Presentation and defense of the Ph.D. dissertation. Candidates for the Ph.D. must publicly present and defend their dissertations. The presentation and defense (hereafter referred to as the defense) must occur while classes are in session during the Fall or Spring semesters and before the dissertation is signed or accepted. A Department faculty member who is a member of the student's committee but not the principal advisor moderates the defense. The responsibility for soliciting a moderator and scheduling the defense lies with the student who must determine a mutually agreeable date in consultation with the Department's seminar series coordinator and the committee members. All members of the committee should be present for the defense, but if great distance or other circumstances prevent a committee member from attending, the advisor will raise the absent member's comments or questions on the dissertation at the defense. In no case may the defense take place with fewer than three committee members in attendance.
The defense must be announced publicly at least one week prior to its occurrence, thus the student must provide the Academic Department Coordinator with the dissertation abstract more than a week in advance. The defense will be scheduled no later than 1 pm on the selected date. A copy of the final draft of the dissertation (i.e., the draft that the student, in consultation with the advisor, intends to submit to the Dean's Office, pending alterations dictated by other members of the committee or by points raised during the defense) must be provided to each committee member at least one week in advance of the scheduled defense. Note that more than a week may be required to adequately accommodate an absentee member who needs time to read the draft and submit questions for the defense. Note also that this draft must truly be in final form, including such details as title page, table of contents, other tables, and figures, in full accordance with the instructions of the University.
The defense presentation may not exceed 45 minutes, and the faculty moderator strictly enforces the time limit. Following the presentation, questions from the public are entertained and then the defense is adjourned for a short break. After the break, the defense reconvenes, remaining open to the public, and the candidate responds to questions posed by the committee and any other interested persons, defending the methods, findings, conclusions, and other aspects of and any other interested persons, defending the methods, findings, conclusions, and other aspects of the dissertation. The faculty moderator will continue to oversee this portion of the defense, which has no time limit. Once the moderator ensures that all committee members are satisfied with their opportunity to interrogate the candidate, the candidate is excused and the committee determines the outcome of the exam as either "Pass" or "Not Pass." This outcome is reported on a Dissertation Defense Form, available in the department office. Committee members attending the defense must sign this form, which should be filled out by the candidate and given to the moderator prior to the defense. All committee members, including those absent on the day of the defense, must sign the cover sheet of the dissertation before it can be handed in with the completed dissertation.
A student admitted or working toward an M.S. degree within the Department may wish to apply for admission to the Ph.D. program. This action should be well rationalized because, for most students, completing the M.S. degree has great value in professional development marketability. To transfer to the Ph.D. program, a first year M.S. candidate must submit to the Graduate Coordinator a letter requesting admission to the Ph.D. program and briefly outlining the intended research, along with a current transcript and a letter of endorsement from the intended advisor. Applications from second-year M.S. candidates must describe the intended project and its relationship to ongoing M.S. research, as well as provide information about research committee changes and an expected timetable for completion of the Ph.D. All candidates must have an interview with the GIC after materials have been received. Submitted applications will be evaluated and the Graduate Coordinator will notify students of the outcome.
A first-semester M.S. candidate accepted into the department's Ph.D. program takes qualification evaluation and general examination for the Ph.D. as normally scheduled (see Section 3.6).
A student admitted to the Ph.D. program in the second through fourth semesters of their M.S. program must pass the qualification evaluation (see Section 3.6) within two weeks of being accepted into the Ph.D. program and complete the general exam by the end of the subsequent semester.
For a student completing an EES M.S. degree and then wishing to remain with EES for a Ph.D., application should be made by the end of their third semester. The application should consist of a letter of intent and a recommendation from both the M.S. advisor and the proposed advisor. In the case that the M.S. advisor and the proposed Ph.D. advisor are the same individual, another EES M.S. committee member should write the second letter of reference. The student's EES academic file is considered as application material in this case. Students should be aware that financial aid is often committed several semesters into the future and that the Department may not always have the ability to support students whose programs are extended by transfer to the Ph.D. degree program.
Graduate students preregister for the upcoming semester near the end of each semester. Preregistration is handled online via the Registrar's home page. Students new to the system need to log on initially with your social security number and birth date as the login ID and password. Students will then be asked to change their password once logged onto the system. To complete registration, all students need to obtain an alternate PIN number. That number is provided to the GIC chair or the Department Secretary and will be distributed to students when they have confirmed their course schedule with their advisor and the GIC chair. M.S. students should review course requirements for graduation (see section 3.5.1) when selecting courses each semester.
Important: If a student's summer is not bracketed by full-time spring-semester registration and full-time fall-semester preregistration, lenders may seek payment of any student loans that are outstanding. If a student is rostering fewer than 9 credits and is an RA or TA, full-time certification is required. The department office has the full-time certification forms.
The Department imposes a restriction on registration for thesis credits: an M.S. candidate may register for only one such credit (appropriate for proposal preparation) prior to the approval of the proposal by the student's supervisory committee. Registration for additional thesis credits requires an approved proposal. A normal full-time graduate student load in EES is 3 courses totaling 9-10 credit hours per semester; however, a graduate student my roster a maximum of 15 credit hours at one time.
The signature of the EES Graduate Coordinator and the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Research is required to certify full-time status of students rostering fewer than 9 credit hours. To be certified as full-time with fewer than 9 credits, a student must have established degree candidacy and accumulated enough credits for graduation. Salary earned by RAs or TAs that is not certified as full time is subject to FICA taxes under current tax law. The IRS considers graduate students employees of the University rather than students.
3.9.1. External support. Funding for research is available from a number of sources, such as GSA, ESA, AAPG, and Sigma Xi. Some funds support all types of research while others are more specific. These are only a small fraction of available funds, so students should keep their eyes and ears open for funding opportunities by checking the bulletin board outside the Department office, scanning issues of newsletters and magazines like EOS and Geotimes, searching online, etc. Fund sources that are found but not applicable to one student may help another out, so students should share their findings. Remember: what goes around comes around. Some application deadlines change year to year, while others remain relatively constant. Some application forms are available in the Department office or through the graduate student responsible for research funding information.
Most external funding agencies require letters of recommendation. Students should be sure to prepare proposals in sufficient time to have the letters prepared by their advisors or recommending faculty. Sigma Xi requires recommenders to be society members. GSA requires that anyone recommending more than one candidate rank the investigators and projects relative to one another.
In 1989, Sigma Xi sent out a letter listing the most common reasons why applications were denied funding. These shortcomings should be avoided in any application for funding:
In addition to these small grants-in-aid programs, we encourage M.S. candidates (and require Ph.D. candidates) to pursue funding through the various graduate fellowships offered through NSF, NASA, and EPA. Also, NSF offers Dissertation Improvements grants to Ph.D. students for their research. Announcements are made periodically when these organizations make a call for these proposals.
18.104.22.168 Grant management. Some granting agencies will make awards directly payable to the student recipient (e.g., AAPG, Sigma Xi, GSA), whereas others make the awards to the institution (e.g. DOE, EPA, NSF). Fiduciary responsibility for the grant lies with the award recipient, which means if the check is made out to the student, the student has the responsibility. The granting agency will require that the recipient reports to them what the grant allowed the student to accomplish and how the money was spent. It is important that obligations to the granting agency are met; future access to these funding sources by other EES students depends on responsible grant management. Students must provide the Department with copies of their grant reports. Student recipients should consider opening a separate bank account to help manage self-generated grants.
3.9.2. Department support. Limited EES support is available for field and laboratory research. Department support should be treated as a safety net of last resort. To apply for EES research support, students must submit to the GIC chairperson a short proposal signed by their advisor and explaining their objectives and the significance of such. The proposal should be no more than two pages of narrative text plus figures, references, and a detailed budget. The advisor's signature signifies that there are no funds available for the budgeted items. It is not necessary to have an approved thesis proposal to apply for funding as a first-year student, but funds are withheld from M.S. candidates until the research proposal is approved. Ph.D. candidates may receive departmental support once prior to proposal approval.
You may be considered for Departmental support once a year; M.S. students may receive support once and Ph.D. students may receive support up to three times during their degree program. The deadlines for proposals are typically in the mid-fall and mid-spring semesters and are always announced beforehand. Shortly after the proposal deadlines, the GIC will act on the requests. If your research is conducted during the year you may apply for Departmental support at an earlier date. M.S. candidates are eligible for these awards only prior to their fourth academic semester and Ph.D. candidates are eligible prior to their eighth semester if entering with an M.S. or tenth semester if entering with a BA/BS degree. The maximum you may request without external matching funds is $1000. Up to $1000 additional may be requested if the additional amount is matched by student generated external grant funds. Students must have applied to and received the grant funds themselves in order to be eligible for the match of up to $1000 from the Department, funds in the student's name but obtained from by an advisor are not considered for matching. Automobile mileage reimbursements are limited to $0.15/mile, and living costs (for both meals and housing during field work away from Lehigh) are limited to $20/day. Thesis preparation materials or per diem expenses during manuscript preparation are not fundable from Departmental research funds. Photocopying, postage, office supplies and the like are also not fundable.
All students who receive Departmental funds are required to submit to the Academic Department Coordinator a short (<1 page) summary of the work accomplished over the funding period. In addition, an account of expenditures must be kept and receipts/bills submitted following completion of the funded research or prior to a subsequent application for research support. No thesis or dissertation will be signed until the expenditures are approved and grant summaries have been submitted.
Please check with the GIC for up-to-date information on graduate funding support, as budgets caps and the timing of RFP's can change.
Financial aid is available to students in the form of teaching assistantships (TA), research assistantships (RA), graduate assistantships (GA), fellowships, and scholarships. Fellowships, TAs, and RAs may only be held by full-time students. Sometimes, a small raise in stipend is provided to students receiving these forms of aid after they have submitted an approved thesis proposal (M.S. students) or attained candidacy (Ph.D. students).
The Department offers both half-time and quarter-time teaching assistantships. The College pays the tuition for a teaching assistant (TA): up to nine credits per semester for half-time and up to five credits for quarter-time, but only as needed. The TA receives a monthly stipend for the 9-month academic year, late August to late May. Responsibilities for a TA vary depending on the course or courses they are assigned, and may include grading homework sets and exams, setting up and teaching labs, and running field trips. TA duties are assigned and evaluated by course instructors. The Graduate Student Handbook says that half-time TA's should provide 20 hours per week of service to the University. Quarter-time TA positions involve 10 hours per week of work. Some students may be awarded TA tuition credits (> 3 - 9 credit hours tuition) in exchange for quarter-time TA service.
A TA position can be demanding work, but it can also be satisfying if you do a good job of it. Overall, the students in the course are appreciative of your efforts, as are the faculty you assist. It can be challenging to balance the time required for your TA responsibilities, coursework, and thesis research, but it is a rewarding and important role that should be taken seriously.
4.2.1 Competency in Spoken English. Note that the University requires that a foreign student whose native language is not English must pass a test of spoken English before serving as a TA. A non-native speaker can be a TA at Lehigh if they score 230 or higher on the Lehigh speaking exam. If the student passes the test with a score between 200 and 230, they can be a TA while concurrently taking an ESL class. A score of less than 200 prohibits TA support. The ESL (English as a Second Language) Department offers several courses for foreign applicants. It is advised that such courses are completed in the summer prior to the beginning of the student's first semester in residence.
4.2.2 Teaching evaluations. TAs may conduct student evaluations of their teaching mid-semester to help improve their effectiveness. EES graduate students have designed a standard form for this purpose (Appendix 6). TAs are also evaluated by students when the course and instructor are evaluated at the end of the semester. Instructors will evaluate TAs on TA evaluation forms (Appendix 7) at the conclusion of each course and place the form in the student's file.
A Research Assistant (RA) position tuition and stipend are paid much like a TA's and at about the same rate. The chief difference lies in the responsibilities, which for an RA involves various tasks on a particular research project assigned and evaluated by a principal investigator (usually one's advisor). The RA will do well to recognize that the faculty member has already done a lot of work to get the money to pay for a research assistant. He or she has had to write a proposal and submit it to an outside organization, which has decided after peer review that the proposal is worth funding. The responsibility associated with an RA is not to be underestimated. Often, research work assigned to an RA will support research related to the RA's thesis or dissertation, but this need not be and is not always the case.
Fellowships also include both tuition and stipend. Competition for fellowships is especially keen; the Department nominates one or more students annually to compete for several Lehigh University and CAS Fellowships and awards two internal Kravis Fellowships. There are no specific responsibilities associated with a fellowship, as they are an acknowledgement of prior academic performance. Thus, the student is free to spend one's time working on research. University and College fellowships must be awarded to incoming students for their first year of study, and this is generally true for EES fellowships as well. Students are encouraged to apply for externally funded fellowships.
Scholarships consist of tuition credits only - no stipend is included. The Department has a limited number of scholarships to award annually. The Department usually tries to combine a scholarship award with a stipend package that does not fund tuition, but occasionally the scholarship is all there is to offer.
Various College (e.g. Dean's office, Athletics) and University (e.g. Greek Affairs, Residential Life) departments and organizations (LEO) offer Graduate Assistant (GA) positions. These are generally well advertised, and the awards involve work that is not strictly research related, and can cover a wide range of teaching, supervisory, consulting, or service work.
Faculty members occasionally have short-term projects for which they can pay students an hourly wage. Sometimes these jobs are widely advertised, and sometimes they are not. It may be a good idea for students to let the faculty members know that they are interested in such work if it becomes available. There are also loan programs with specially discounted interest rates for full-time students. Such loans usually do not require any payment of interest or principal until some time after graduation as long as full-time registration is maintained. Loans are entirely up to the student; neither faculty members nor the Department have any say in your decision. Contact the Graduate School or a bank for more information.
4.7.1. Outside employment. Students receiving academic-year financial aid must receive advisor permission before considering other simultaneous outside employment. The final approval for TAs to work beyond their normal 20 hours per week rests with the Dean. The Dean will grant permission under the following guidelines:
As explained in section 3.3 (Time Requirements), the amount of time that the University allows you to pursue your graduate degree is longer than the time that you are likely to be supported. Aid awarded by the Department or the College (upon the Department's recommendation), is limited to four semesters for an M.S. candidate, eight semesters for a Ph.D. student entering with a BA/BS, and six semesters for a Ph.D. with an M.S. This includes all sources of funding except for an RA, the duration of which is determined by the advisor's patience or success in obtaining grant money, whichever runs out first. An M.S. candidate may, with the support of the advisor, present a case to the Department faculty for extended support (up to one semester) with the understanding that no guarantees of extended support are made, circumstances must be extenuating, the student must have sought other means of relief, and the primary purpose of our limited financial aid packages is to support graduate students who are making good progress in the expected time frame. The request for extended support must include a letter from the student that outlines the request, the extenuating circumstances, efforts to obtain support from other sources, and a timetable of work to date and for the completion of the thesis. Extended support - if any can be offered in a given case - will not necessarily be for an entire semester. Circumstances must be expected to vary, both in terms of students' relative needs and in terms of options that may be available to the Department for extending support. In any case, duration and amount of support will be restricted to conserve Departmental resources. These principles and procedures also apply to a Ph.D. student who wishes to receive consideration for extended support, with the exception that extended support may be requested for up to two semesters.
When a student receives an offer of financial aid, it must be noted carefully that continuation of aid is contingent on two factors: availability of aid and the student's performance. Owing to factors beyond the student or faculty's control, there can be no guarantees that aid will be available when needed to continue a course program (even if the student is still within the normal time limits for aid). It is rare that aid would have to be cut off for this reason, and the College, the Department, and individual faculty make every effort to see that it doesn't happen. Nevertheless, students should be aware that it is possible. Student performance, however, is very much under one's control. The faculty are likely to withdraw aid packages if a student fails to maintain a 3.0 grade average, fails to adhere closely to the thesis timetable (e.g. Appendix 1), or otherwise shows a lack of commitment to his or her own professional development. These factors are the chief bases for evaluation when the Department considers continuing financial aid, and students making satisfactory progress (courses and research) will be given preferential consideration for the available aid packages. Recognize that faculty expectations of student performance are quite high, and students cannot afford a single weak semester.
TA performance is judged by course instructors and by students in the courses taught and is documented on TA evaluation forms and student evaluations, respectively. RA and Fellow performance is judged by principal advisors.
Additionally, all graduate students are evaluated by the GIC each February. The review process is an important component of the faculty's efforts to ensure the integrity and success of the graduate program. As part of the review, students must prepare a report, which is due to the GIC by the end of February, that is described below. This annual report will be part of evaluation process for Ph.D. qualification in EES (see Section 3.6).
Directions for the preparation of the annual student evaluation report: Provide information for each of the items listed below and choose a format that will allow you to easily update your future activities and progress. Your typed report must be signed by your advisor, so leave time in case revisions are required. Note that this signature only indicates that your advisor has seen your evaluation, it does not necessarily certify that your performance is satisfactory.
The EES Department houses a wide range of the equipment necessary for research in the varied fields of earth and environmental science. Below is a brief synopsis of the more significant facilities and equipment found in our new science building (STEPS). As one might assume, the details of this list will change as equipment is upgraded and acquired. If you have a question, ask.
6.1.1 Access to facilities and equipment. In general, most equipment is available for the use of EES graduate students. EES facilities are distributed in many kinds of labs: instructional, communal, or individual. Before long, you'll learn what's where.
If you want to use an item of equipment or a laboratory, you must first obtain permission from the laboratory's supervisor or coordinator. This is a common-sense policy, deviations from which will not be tolerated. Faculty and staff are willing and interested in furthering your research by offering you research tools, provided you are careful and sensitive to any issues involved in the use of a piece of equipment. Safety regulations may require that use of certain facilities and equipment includes a documented training record; check with supervisors of laboratories or equipment. Note that there are several labs where it might make sense to take the relevant graduate course before seeking to use any equipment. This is due to the complexities of both equipment operation and data reduction. Again, if you are interested or have any questions, just ask.
6.1.2 Etiquette and lab use. In general, when you are using a lab, apply the Golden Rule. Faculty members expect students to maintain an orderly work environment. Your desktop can be as messy as you like, but laboratories, computer facilities, and other areas of the Department are shared. In shared spaces, 'sprawl' is unacceptable out of concerns for safety, integrity of data collection, the needs of other users, and the proper presentation of our facilities to visitors. Do not remove tools or supplies from labs without permission: what might seem like a minor widget to you might turn out to be the linchpin of someone's operation, the loss of which could cause frustrating delay. Finally, if a supply has run low or been used up, or if something appears to be malfunctioning, notify the lab's supervisor whether or not the item is covered in any use-charge arrangement (see below). This will help keep our labs up and running, and avoid expensive and routine-busting rush orders. Again, just apply the Golden Rule.
6.1.3. EES Equipment.The stock of equipment within EES is ever-expanding and ever-changing. You can a list of more major items of equipment in the departmental snapshot, but really, the best way to find out who has what is to talk to faculty, peers, and staff. It is important to remember that Lehigh is a major research university and there is a universe of equipment scattered around campus: don't be shy and let that get in the way of your creativity!
6.2.1.Libraries and Media Centers. Lehigh's library system contains more than one million volumes and is far ahead of most libraries in the transformation from the paper library to an electronic information center. You can access local, remote, and international electronic databases, the system's on-line catalog, and the holdings of more than 13,000 libraries around the world. These can be accessed not only from any one of hundreds of computers in classrooms, offices, and laboratories around campus, but also from your personal computer. Fairchild-Martindale Library is the science and engineering library where earth and environmental science books and journals are housed. There is a computerized catalog system called ASA, which has replaced the card catalog. Linderman Library is the liberal arts library and has recently undergone a spectacular renovation, which is worth a visit. A café in the basement of Linderman is also frequented by EES-ers seeking a mid-afternoon caffeine boost.
The University libraries also house the Media Services group. The Fairchild-Martindale Media Center has the facilities for reviewing audio and video media such as tapes, cassettes, records, slides, and films, as well as a large collection of such media and computer software. Media Production Services, located in Linderman Library, makes audio and video productions, provides photographic services, and does slide preparation.
6.2.2. University Computing Facilities. The University's Academic Computing Center is located across from the entrance to Fairchild-Martindale Library, two floors down from the ground level. The facility contains terminals for access to the distributed computer facilities, which include workstations, compute-servers, microcomputers (PCs and Macintoshes), printers, and plotters. You can pick up the output from your programs, sign up for computer accounts, and get all kinds of instructional material at the computing center. The Computing Center staff runs very helpful seminars on use of the facilities at the beginning of each semester. It is a good idea to find a list of seminar offerings as soon as it comes out because many of the classes require registration, and some of them fill up quickly. A schedule of the classes offered can be found on the network server and can also be obtained from Laurie. In addition to organized instruction, the User Services group is responsible for setting up and managing accounts and for providing consulting services. You do not need any signatures; just take your valid ID card to User Services.
The University supports high-speed networking to offices, labs, and classrooms, as well as providing access to high-performance workstations for computationally intensive tasks. Lehigh is affiliated with the Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center.
To augment our regular degree programs, the department offers and operates additional programs to enhance its intellectual life and to further the professional development of its students. For graduate students, some of these programs are mandatory and some are not. In any case, they will work best for everyone if you become engaged and help make them work.
Most Fridays, the department hosts a research seminar featuring a speaker from outside or inside the department. These seminars are held from 12:10 to 1:00 PM and are preceded by a Department lunch in STEPS. These seminars are important for all the following reasons: they expose members of the department to different areas of geology, ecology, and environmental science, as seen from different academic and business perspectives; they show off the Department to outside visitors, many of whom are distinguished in one way or another (and will likely serve as peer reviewers of grants and proposals, recommenders of prospective grad students, or people involved in national ranking and ratings); and they bring in people that can provide key opportunities for networking for our students. Accordingly, all graduate students are expected to attend ALL LECTURES. Owing to a variety of circumstances, you might miss one or two, but your attendance record must be very good, or the faculty and your student colleagues will recognize it as a lack of commitment to professional development on your part. The Department also sponsors other seminars and brown bags, to which you should be alert. Watch for announcements from other departments and research centers, too.
The Department sponsors an endowed seminar series funded by a gift from Donnel Foster Hewett, who was a distinguished geologist and graduate of Lehigh. The Foster Hewett Lecture features a prominent scientist or group of scientists in a format that changes from year to year. While here, the lecturer(s) spend(s) time meeting with faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates and, of course, deliver one or more lectures. This is your opportunity to meet scientists who are especially well known in their fields, and all graduate students are expected to attend ALL LECTURES (not a hardship, given that there's usually free food, and EES often cancels or adjusts its regular class schedule!).
Around the third week in February, EES devotes an afternoon and evening to a research colloquium designed, organized, and presented by EES graduate students (with the help of a small budget provided by the Department). The colloquium is modeled after a typical GSA, AGU, or ASLO session.
All students must participate with either an oral or poster presentation. The colloquium is held in concert with a Department reception and dinner at a local restaurant. An abstract volume is prepared in advance and published.
Each year the department supports part of the cost of a departmental field trip to an area of particular interest. Past trips have gone to Scotland, Iceland, Puerto Rico, Death Valley, and the Grand Canyon, among other places, for durations of 5-7 days, often over a period like Spring Break. Organization of this trip is often carried out largely by students, although at least one faculty member must be involved in the planning and take part in the trip. The EES chair should be consulted about budget and expenses. The funding of this trip originates from the departmental budget and is intended to introduce graduate students to new field areas and earth science-related processes. Thus it is important that undergraduates participate in the trip and its planning. In recent years our trips have been very successful and visited sites of interest to both geologists and ecologists. Costs of the trip above the subsidy provided by EES have been modest, usually around a few hundred dollars depending on airfare costs and the type of lodging that was used.
You should also keep your ears open for news of informal trips that are run in conjunction with courses or groups of courses, and have openings for interested students. In additional, several faculty and research groups make annual pilgrimages to field meetings.
It is generally the culture in the EES Department that individual faculty try to bring their students to professional meetings. In addition, the EES Faculty feel strongly enough about the merits of attending and being seen at professional society meetings and workshops that subject to the constraints of the departmental budget, each year EES funds are allocated for professional graduate student travel. In collaboration, a committee of two EES graduate students and one EES faculty member of the GIC, administer the fund, establishing guidelines commensurate with funding levels (e.g. matching funds, maximum awards, meeting participation, etc.), setting priorities (e.g. international meetings, regional meetings, workshops, short courses, fieldtrips) and establishing deadlines each semester for proposals. The committee looks favorable on student generated attempts to raise meeting travel support from sponsoring societies and the Lehigh Graduate Student Council. Requests for funding must be signed by the advisor certifying an inability to fully fund the meeting. Funds will be provided for travel, accommodation, and member registration costs only. The Academic Department Coordinator, the applicant, and the applicant's advisor must be notified in writing when funding awards are made and all funds must be settled in accordance with EES and Lehigh University policies.
Graduate students participate in departmental governance in many important ways. Each graduate student is expected to contribute some service to the Department in much the same way that each faculty member contributes services to the Department and University. We refer to these tasks as 'company duties.' Company duties are established by mutual consent of the faculty and graduate students. Elected offices are filled late in the spring semester, while other assignments are announced near the beginning of the academic year.
The following is a list of current graduate student company duties. The GIC or the graduate students may establish additional duties as they see fit; this list is subject to change in some of its details.
Undergraduate and graduate students have often published a monthly departmental newsletter. Graduate student participation is critical to newsletter success. The editor and several of the production staff are graduate students. The newsletter comes and goes, but always rises from the ashes... or will your cohort become notorious for putting a stake through its heart?
Clear expectations (the responsibility of the faculty), a committed effort towards achieving those expectations (the responsibility of the student), and good communication can avoid most problems. In the event, however, that a graduate student wishes to initiate a formal grievance, the following procedures should be followed. Students who experience difficulties should pursue the resolution of conflicts reasonably and before they escalate. Normally, the advisor should be consulted first for graduate students having conflicts with other students, instructors, administrators, or staff. However, in cases of conflict with the advisor, the student should bring their concern to the Chair of the EES GIC. If this does not provide a satisfactory solution, the student should continue to try and rectify the situation first with the EES Chair, and finally the CAS Dean of Graduate Studies, if necessary. EES and Lehigh strive to create an environment in which students, faculty, and staff can learn and work to their fullest potential. Discrimination or harassment of any kind cannot be condoned or tolerated. The Lehigh University policy on harassment can be found at http://www.lehigh.edu/~policy/university/harassment.htm.
Graduate assistants are an integral and important component of the Department's scholarship and educational missions. It is important to maintain open communication between the faculty and staff of the Department and the graduate assistants. Therefore, if circumstances, planned or unplanned, occur which require a disruption of a student's obligations to the department or program, the student should expect to be treated fairly, and both students and departmental personnel must act with consideration for one another. If a graduate assistant (TAs, RAs, GAs, or student on Fellowship) is unable to fulfill the duties of his/her appointment because of illness, injury, or family emergency and the employee is the primary care giver, every effort should be made to assist the graduate assistant in performing the level of duties possible for the duration of the semester. If the graduate assistant cannot perform any duties, the stipend will be maintained for up to two pay periods or the end of the semester or summer pay period, whichever occurs first [i.e. student gets two (2) biweekly paychecks, subsequent to an emergency leave request]. If the circumstances are such that this paid leave is inadequate to provide sufficient time to resume his or her duties, the student may petition the EES chair to grant additional paid leave of absence. Such a request for paid leave for medical or family reasons should be in writing and certification of illness from a health care provider may be requested. In the case of a maternity (pregnancy or adoption) leave, six weeks of paid leave will be provided.
If the source of funding is external to the University, prior to granting the leave, it is the responsibility of the PI to insure the commitments to supporting grant or contract will be fulfilled and that the funding agency rules allow the implementation of such a leave. Ordinarily, funding agencies defer to the policies of the institution, however, in the event the funding agency has different defined policies, the agency policies will prevail. Whether the necessity for a leave can be planned or not, as soon as possible, it is the responsibility of the graduate assistant to request the leave in writing, signed by the graduate advisor. An unpaid leave will be granted for up to one calendar year, during which time, all deadlines for qualifying and general examinations, financial aid limitations, and course requirements will be put on hold.
Extensions to the 7 year (Masters) and 10 year (Doctoral) maximum time to complete degrees are considered by the CAS Graduate Standing Of Students (SOS) committee and Graduate Dean. If it becomes necessary to terminate the funding of a graduate assistant, notification will be provided in writing. It is important to note that graduate assistants are considered students under federal law, not University employees and therefore, the leave policy is a guideline, not a student entitlement.
Your life in EES will not be all about degree requirements, courses, and committees. There's also day-to-day life, getting along, staying safe, and getting the little things done. Below, we cover a few such topics.
There is a telephone located in or near most graduate student offices. The phones are programmed to allow all in-coming calls but only local outgoing calls unless a calling card or account number is used. You should inform your family, friends, and professional associates of the phone number in the office or laboratory where you normally work to keep office reception service to a minimum. Messages taken in the office are left in mailboxes.
The department maintains self-serve, for-fee, fax and photocopy, which may be used by graduate students. The photocopy machine requires a copy card for use. Students purchase cards and refills from the Department Secretary. TAs have access to course copy cards, which are expected be used judiciously.
The Department provides office space for all students in permanent residence and will try to provide space for associate status or continuing students not in residence. Students should expect that their office space will be maintained for a time commensurate with the guidelines of support outlined in Section 4.8 (above).
Keys for inside doors are available from Facilities Services. You can get the necessary form from the department office, and you will be required to place a $1.00 deposit per key. All graduate students are eligible for after-hours building access using their student ID card (see Nancy Roman in the departmental office), and all graduate students receive a graduate key that will open all classrooms, teaching laboratories, and lounges. Students can also arrange for individual keys as needed for research laboratories relevant to their work; this requires the lab supervisor's approval.
The Department maintains Common Rooms available to graduate students. Because these are common areas, everyone must play a role in keeping them clean and presentable.
All cars must be registered to park on campus (Parking Services - Johnson Hall). Graduate student parking permits are issued for varying fees, which may change year to year and depend on the location of the parking space: Mountain Top parking south of Iacocca Hall, Zoellner Arts Center Parking Garage on the lower campus for a covered, reserved space. Graduate students may be permitted to park at Saucon Village Apartments for no charge. Campus bus service is available from Saucon Village and Mountain Top lots; schedules are widely distributed. Obtain parking permit application forms and current parking rates from Parking Services, a division of Transportation Services.
Lehigh maintains a graduate student housing complex of 135 living units available on a yearly lease basis. The Office of Residential Services provides a list of off-campus rentals. Most graduate students live off-campus.
You are represented on academic and student life issues by an elected Graduate Student Council. The council also maintains a graduate student center, plans social events, and disseminates information among fellow graduate students. The Graduate Student Center is currently located in a brick house on the north side of Packer Avenue between Boyer and Birkel Street.
Lehigh operates its own childcare center and provides services for a monthly charge. Financial assistance is available.
Lehigh offers you free inpatient and outpatient health care at its Health Center, staffed by professional doctors and nurses. You can also join a low-cost insurance plan for services not available there, such as X-rays, certain laboratory studies and medications not stocked at the center. The University requires international graduate students to have health insurance coverage.
To keep the doctor away, Lehigh's Fitness Center has the latest exercise equipment. Use is free to students. Swimming pools, gyms, jogging track and many outdoor recreational facilities are also available.
Lehigh welcomes and encourages the international exchange of students and scholars. Your experience as a Lehigh graduate student is truly global, both academically and culturally. There are over 350 international graduate students and 75 visiting scholars from more than 60 nations. The Office of International Education advises on immigration, visa and personal matters. It provides a complete orientation for all new students, an international student handbook, and a variety of cross-cultural programs.
English as a Second Language (ESL). The English as a Second Language Program offers courses for all English language needs. In addition, the intensive English language institute offers a 4 week pre-semester summer program. It is designed to prepare new students for the American university environment. A language proficiency assessment is required for all new international students.
International Multimedia Resource Center. Within this state-of-the-art center is a World View Room and multi-media foreign language computer lab that offer daily news broadcasts from around the world and foreign language programming received via international satellite TV networks.
The use of cell phones, beepers, and pagers is permitted in STEPS, except during classes, seminars and other meetings, during which the device must be switched off unless your buzz or vibrate mode is unobtrusive. Unless you are facing a personal emergency, do not leap out of class to take calls. Please be considerate of office mates and others when answering calls; don't be one of those obnoxious people who are so widely and justifiably lampooned. Keep in mind that EES people have at their beck and call a wide range of hammers, crushers, acids, bases, lasers, microbes, spices, and goo, any and all of which can be used to exact revenge on a misbehaving phone or its user.
We welcome visits by EES kids to see their Mom or Dad's neat equipment and displays and Blinkenlights. If you have children, inevitably the day will come when day care fails and you find yourself stuck. Provided you keep an eye on your offspring and they are well-behaved, there is no issue with occasionally having them accompany you to work in your office; in general, children cannot be in labs that present any hazard (e.g. wet labs). Do keep in mind that EES is an active workplace that is laced with hazards, particularly for young children. Above all, please be considerate to others in the department and in STEPS. While at EES, your fellow students and the staff can not serve as nannies nor take the responsibility of caring for your kids in your absence.
Sorry, but pets are not permitted inside STEPS, no matter how well-behaved and wonderful you think your little beastie is. We have had problems with noise, all manners of 'issue' from all ends of the beast, and damage to offices and labs. Also, there are more people than you might think who have allergies and aversions to animals of various kinds, and it is inappropriate to compromise the workplace. This is a University policy.
9.15.1. Safety training. All graduate students (and faculty) must attend a laboratory safety seminar annually, which are scheduled by the departmental Safety Officer. Attendance is mandatory and must be documented. When in doubt about safe handling of chemicals, waste disposal, radiation safety, etc., ask the Safety Officer or contact Risk Management. Safety Bulletins are routinely posted in the photocopy room, the University Risk Management office publishes a series of Laboratory Safety documents (chemical safety, radiation safety, biohazard safety, etc.), which are useful and available in the Department office. Note that some labs may have special training requirements for safety or materials handling. You bear part of the responsibility for learning if you need such training and for obtaining it. And, of course, you are responsible for putting this training into practice.
9.15.2 Safety and hazardous materials violations. If you observe significant violations of either safe lab practice or the handling of hazardous materials, you must report them to the lab supervisor, the EES safety officer, or the department chair if the lab supervisor is the cause of the problem and is unwilling to respond. This is for everyone's safety, as well as the posterior of both EES and the University. In recent years, the EPA and other government agencies have levied massive fines on the order of 100,000's of dollars against universities for safety violations. Do not think for a minute that in the case of a fine stemming from an EES violation or accident, that the University and the President will hold the bag; it will pass right down the line, and could have a serious impact on both the Department and specific individuals.
9.15.2 Emergency Response. For emergency medical situations that occur on campus, such as in a lab or office, the University's Emergency Medical Services (LUEMS) quick response team can be dispatched through the University Police at 610-758-4200, or 84200 on a campus phone. Members of LUEMS are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while classes are in session and respond to all medical emergencies on campus. They provide state-certified basic life support aid to patients and assistance to advanced life support providers, should transport and hospital treatment be required.
Now that you have been inundated with information, and deadlines, and rules... RELAX! The EES department is a very friendly place, and you will soon get to know everyone here. If there is still a face you haven't placed a name to after awhile, go up and talk to them! Odds are that if they would talk to a freshman undergraduate at the Friday seminar lunch, they will talk to you and are interested in what you contribute to the department. So get involved, get to know your fellow EES-ers, and if you have any questions - ask anybody. Odds are they will direct you back here.