Guidelines for Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs Reporting to the Dean of Science


The Faculty of Science recognizes the value of graduate programs that are of an interdisciplinary nature. Interdisciplinary programs facilitate collaboration and encourage students and faculty to think outside their own area of expertise. 

1. Programs

a) Programs offered at this time are:

  • Data Science
  • Sustainable Aquaculture
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Ecology
  • Computational Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Theoretical Physics

b) Further programs may be added by following normal procedures within the university for approval of new programs of study.

2. Program Administration

a) Each program shall be managed by a Board of Study that shall not exceed seven persons including its Chair.

b) Members of the Board of Study must be tenured, tenure track or adjunct faculty members of Memorial University and shall be appointed to a three year term by the Dean of Science upon the advice of those faculty members who are currently active in the program.

c) At least 60% of the members of the Board of Study must be tenured or tenure track faculty members of Memorial University.

d) Each Board of Study shall have a Chair, or in exceptional circumstances, co-chairs. In the latter case, clear delineation of each co-chair’s responsibility (e.g. administration or academics) shall be agreed in writing with the Board of Study and the Dean of Science at the time of appointment.

e) The Chair of the Board of Study shall be a tenure-track or tenured faculty member of Memorial University.

f) There shall normally be a stipend paid in recognition of the responsibilities associated with being Chair of a Board of Study. Teaching remission does not normally accompany being Chair.

g) Procedures for the appointment and review of Chairs of interdisciplinary programs shall be broadly consistent with those used to appoint and review Heads of Departments as described in Memorial University’s "Policies and Procedures Governing the Appointment, Review, Promotion and Tenure of Academic Administrators"

h) The Board of Study through its Chair shall:

i) be responsible to the Dean of Science (or delegate) for the quality, delivery and administration of the program;
ii) be responsible to the Dean of Graduate Studies in those matters pertaining to graduate students that the University may from time to time assign to the Dean of Graduate Studies;
iii) negotiate commitments of space or other resources needed for the program with the appropriate administrative Head or Dean;
iv) ensure that appropriate Heads and Deans are informed when students arrive on campus, complete or terminate their programs or otherwise change their status;
v) follow practices and guidelines for graduate funding set by the School of Graduate Studies, the Faculty of Science, and as appropriate, Departments within the Faculty.

i) The Board of Study shall:

i) meet formally face-to-face not less than once in each of Fall and Winter Semesters. Formal minutes of these meetings shall be kept that shall be forwarded to the Dean of Science (or delegate) within two weeks from the date of the meeting;
ii) make all normal academic decisions, including those related to recommendations for admission of new students to the program;
iii) recommend student stipends including amounts and sources for the components of individual stipends;
iv) ensure that supervisors and supervisory committees follow all appropriate guidelines for supervision of graduate students (e.g. with respect to holding regular meetings, ensuring deadlines are met, etc.);
v) faculty members holding adjunct, cross, and joint appointments may exercise some fraction of their academic responsibilities within interdisciplinary programs. Such appointments will be made to departments, which will recognize contributions to interdisciplinary programs when making such appointments.

3. Teaching Resources

a) Interdisciplinary teaching shall be considered part of a faculty member’s teaching load.

b) Interdisciplinary Program Chairs shall liaise directly with administrative Heads of the departments from which faculty need to be drawn to teach interdisciplinary courses.

i) This liaison shall occur in a timely way so that teaching assignments in both the home department and in the interdisciplinary program may be made in accordance with the provisions of the MUN/MUNFA Collective Agreement.
ii) The administrative Head of the faculty member’s home department shall record the faculty member’s complete teaching load and shall ensure that it is fair and consistent with customary departmental and program practices and with the Collective Agreement. In this regard, Chairs shall ensure that Heads receive timely and accurate information on any interdisciplinary component of a faculty member’s workload.
iii) Courses that serve the needs of both a department and the program are preferred. Where this is not possible the teaching needs of a faculty member’s home department shall have priority over those of an interdisciplinary program.
iv) Heads of Departments, Chairs, and the Dean of Science will collaborate to ensure best efforts are made to satisfy the teaching needs of the interdisciplinary programs.
v) Heads of Departments, Chairs, and the Dean of Science will collaborate to ensure space and resources for students enrolled in interdisciplinary programs are comparable to those for students in departmental programs.

4. Financial Resources

a) Wherever possible, departments are expected to contribute to interdisciplinary teaching. However, when an administrative Head can show that a faculty member’s contribution to interdisciplinary teaching will be directly responsible for the department’s inability to provide instruction in a specific departmental course, the offering of which cannot be deferred, additional resources for a "per course" appointment will be made available to the department by the Dean of Science.

b) The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is willing to fund per course teaching (or its equivalent within that Faculty) by members of that faculty in an interdisciplinary program. Where the level of participation in a program warrants, the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences has agreed to make an annual allocation (initially, one course unit) to the Chair of the Program, upon annual review near the end of the fiscal year.

c) Similar arrangements for joint funding may be made with other Faculties, as for example with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

d) The Dean of Science will provide a small pool of money annually for purchase of teaching materials (e.g. faculty copies of textbooks) and for program publicity. Authority to expend these funds is delegated to the Senior Administrative Officer in the Office of the Dean of Science.

e) The Dean of Science will make available annually to each of the Boards of Study an amount of money for Teaching Assistantships (TA).

f) All funds allocated for interdisciplinary program activities shall remain in accounts of the Dean of Science and will be paid from those accounts upon recommendation from a Board of Study.

g) Students in interdisciplinary programs shall be eligible to receive travel support for conference presentations from the department of their supervisor and in the same manner as other graduate students in that department.

version 007
15 August 2005