Graduate School Field Committees

Groups of faculty who are engaged in a common research area that crosses disciplinary or sub-disciplinary lines may seek formal recognition as a Field Committee from the Graduate School. It is assumed that these committees will find ways to sponsor collaborative scholarship by faculty and graduate students through the sponsorship of symposia and lectures, the creation of courses, the direction of graduate student research. The University of Maryland currently recognizes several official Graduate School Field Committees.

The Graduate School supports and encourages intellectual exchange and collegiality among the academic fields and disciplines. These exchanges and interactions distinguish the University from a collection of isolated teaching centers and research institutes, produce advancements in knowledge and intellectual synergy, and promote a dynamic curriculum that reflects the current development of research and scholarship. To foster these activities, the Graduate School encourages the formation of interdisciplinary Field Committees. The purpose of these committees is to enhance collaborative research, foster intellectual achievement, use the Graduate School 's resources to support advanced research, elevate the visibility of the University's expertise in interdisciplinary areas, and attract graduate students.

Requirements for Formal Recognition 

  • A minimum of five Full Members of the Graduate Faculty, representing at least two disciplines or sub-disciplines, must agree to participate.
  • The Field Committee faculty must commit to meeting at least twice a semester.
  • The Field Committee faculty must keep regular minutes of the meetings.
  • The Field Committee faculty must select a spokesperson or convener for the Committee.

Requirements for Offering Courses and Advising Students 

  • A set of regularly taught graduate courses must be identified in the Field Committee area.
  • The department chair of each member of the Committee must agree to the faculty member's participation in the Committee.
  • Approved graduate programs must be willing to admit qualified students who express a prior interest in the Committee, and departments must be willing to consider them for department/University support in an open competition.
  • The spokesperson for the Committee must report each semester to the respective Graduate Program Directors on the progress of graduate students who are affiliated with the Committee.

Available Resources for Field Committees 

  • The Committee may request financial assistance from the Graduate School for brochures and web site development to advertise and promote the field.
  • The Committee may request financial support for speakers, symposia, and other intellectual events from the Graduate School .
  • The Committee may request a sum equivalent to the cost of a course buy-out for the development of a new course to be offered in the field. Funds will be available for up to two years. In order to receive Graduate School funds, a department must be willing to support the course at the end of the two-year period if student demand warrants.
  • The Graduate School will list the Field Committee in the Graduate Catalog.

The Graduate School will recognize Field Committees for an initial period of five years. At the end of that period, the activities and accomplishments of the Committee will be reviewed. If the Committee members and the Graduate Dean are both satisfied that the Committee is able to foster and enhance intellectual achievements, the Committee's recognition by the Graduate School will be extended for another period of five years, at which point it will be reviewed again. The criteria for each review will be the Committee's accomplishments in enhancing collaborative research and intellectual achievement, and its success in attracting and educating graduate students.

Approved by the Graduate Council on March 15, 2005.