The system-wide central MEES office will oversee the program.

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1 Framework for Institutional Participation in the University System of Maryland (USM) System-wide Marine, Estuarine, Environmental Sciences (MEES) Graduate Program Following recommendations concerning MEES in the external program review of 2009, the MEES Program Committee and MEES Administrative Council jointly propose the following Framework Agreement for Institutional Participation in MEES. This framework assumes that the governing and administrative bodies for MEES, like those for all other graduate programs, establish standards, policies, and practices for the program that must, at a minimum, meet the standards, policies, and practices of the Graduate Schools of the participating institutions. Due to the inter-institutional structure of the MEES Program, the Administrative Council which serves as the governing body for the MEES Program, may, in consultation with the Program Committee and MEES Director, establish standards, policies, and practices for the program more rigorous than those of individual Graduate Schools, to ensure that MEES is a coherent Graduate Program with uniformity across institutions. The framework also assumes that all individual MEES students must comply with MEES program guidelines. The goal of the Framework Agreement and oversight by the Administrative Council is to achieve consistency with flexibility to ensure both academic excellence and consistent standards in MEES among participating institutions and flexible policies and practices that accommodate differences between participating institutions. I. The MEES Administrative Council will provide guidance and support to the MEES Program, ensuring its excellence, academic integrity, and compliance with the policies of the Graduate Schools of the participating institutions. A. The Council will comprise the Provost or Vice President for Academic Affairs from each MEES participating institution and from the Chancellor s office, or their designated representatives. B. The Council will approve system-wide agreements such as this Framework Agreement and forward them to participating institutions for implementation. C. The Council will contribute to the long term vision of MEES, help set core objectives, and commit institutional resources in support of the program. D. The Council will advise the Dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (CMNS), who will have primary leadership of the MEES program. E. The Senior Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, USM, will be responsible for promoting cooperation among all partner institutions. II. The Dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences will work collaboratively with the other USM institutions participating in MEES to administer the program and implement recommendations from previous reviews of the program concerning governance structure, program scope and focus, and curriculum to ensure the program reaches its full potential. 1

2 A. The Dean will meet at least semi-annually with the Administrative Council to report progress, seek advice, and request support from the members of the Administrative Council. B. The Dean will oversee the operation of the system-wide MEES central office and overall operation of the MEES Program. C. The Dean of CMNS will appoint the MEES Program Director in consultation with the UMCES President and the MEES Administrative Council. D. The Dean will direct the MEES Director to undertake activities and initiatives to continually improve the program and will review the performance of the Director annually. E. The Dean will oversee the operational budget for the system-wide MEES central office. F. The Dean will undertake an external review of the program every ten years. III. The MEES Program will be administered by the MEES Director and MEES Program Committee, with guidance from the Dean of CMNS and the MEES Administrative Council. A. The central MEES administration, including the MEES Director, will be housed in the CMNS at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) campus. B. The MEES Director will be responsible for all MEES policy implementation and administration of applications, students and program issues across all institutions. C. The MEES Program Committee will be comprised of Area of Specialization (AOS) chairpersons and student representatives and will serve as the managing board of the program. D. The Director and the Program Committee will advance policies and strategies to achieve the stated vision of the program. E. The Program Committee and Director will determine course composition and curricular relevance within and among the AOSs. IV. The system-wide central MEES office will oversee the program. A. Applications to MEES Program i. Application deadlines will be set by the MEES Director and Program Committee and shall be honored by all institutional Graduate Schools. In no case shall the deadlines be later than those of the Graduate Schools of participating institutions. ii. The central MEES Administration will coordinate applicant evaluations and forward decision recommendations to the Graduate School of the relevant participating institution. The final recommendation for all admissions decisions to the relevant Graduate School will be made by the MEES Director. iii. Graduate Schools of participating institutions will only accept applicants to MEES if the central MEES Administration recommends 2

3 acceptance and if the applicant meets the institution s admission criteria. B. Student Progress, Requirements and Tracking The central MEES office will receive and provide final approval of the following items: i. MEES student committees, including any changes to membership; ii. Annual student progress reports as required by the MEES program; iii. Transcripts for all MEES students from the institutional Registrar or Graduate School following each fall and spring semester; iv. Evidence of completion of all MEES program benchmarks; v. Additionally, the MEES office will receive all forms and paperwork required and make recommendations to the appropriate Graduate School for final degree clearance. V. Campus MEES Coordinator A. Each institution or campus will appoint a MEES Coordinator. The MEES Director will serve as campus coordinator at UMCP. B. The coordinator shall be provided sufficient support for time and staff, based on student enrollment, to facilitate record keeping and organization (this may include release time, salary adjustment, or other typical academic compensation for formal duties associated with MEES). C. MEES faculty and students will consult with the MEES campus coordinator for MEES-related academic and administrative issues and with the student s Graduate School as appropriate. However, the MEES Director will provide final approval of all benchmarks and milestones and send the appropriate forms and paperwork to the relevant Graduate School D. All academic issues and questions pertaining to MEES students will be initially addressed through the campus MEES coordinator. Campus coordinators will consult the MEES office regarding policy questions, waivers, and other academic matters before forwarding these to the central MEES office or the relevant institutional Graduate School, as appropriate. The MEES Director will provide final approval. VI. MEES Faculty A. All MEES student advisors must 1) hold an appropriate institutional Graduate Faculty appointment, and 2) be a member of the MEES faculty B. The MEES Program Committee (and MEES graduate faculty if required by the institution policy) will approve all recommendations for admission to the relevant institution s MEES Faculty. C. Faculty will be reviewed for reappointment every five years by the MEES Program Committee and recommendations forwarded to the relevant institution s Graduate School, as appropriate, for reappointment to the institution s Graduate Faculty. 3

4 D. Workload recognition for faculty participation in MEES will occur in all departments on home campuses. VII. MEES System-wide Policies A. MEES student time limits, if more rigorous than those of the student s Graduate School, will be followed and enforced at all institutions in accordance with institutional guidelines (if there is a difference, the more rigorous limits will be followed). B. Required annual Student Progress Reports for all MEES students will be submitted to, and endorsed by the campus coordinator and, subsequently, the central MEES Program Office. C. MEES guidelines for course requirements, comprehensive examination (content and procedure), and candidacy will be followed by all MEES students in compliance with the relevant institution s policies and practices. MEES policies, if more rigorous than those of the student s Graduate School, will be followed and enforced at all institutions in accordance with institutional guidelines. D. All waivers of policy or extensions of deadlines must be approved by the central MEES Office/Director prior to forwarding for approval by the relevant Graduate School. E. MEES students will be treated as departmental students within the major advisor s department with regard to academic and financial opportunities and awards, including assistantships. F. The Graduate Catalog at each campus will publish MEES Graduate Program requirements. G. Interactive Video Network classroom(s) will be made available for sharing of MEES courses inter-institutionally with appropriate technical support for faculty members and students. H. Every effort should be made for all MEES students to have Inter-Institutional Enrollment available for all MEES courses, including winter and summer term courses. Registrations should be copied to the MEES Office. Institution Name Signature Position Date 4

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