Executive Officer Essentials

Program Administration Overview

The Graduate Center’s doctoral programs and the Liberal Studies master’s program are administered by an Executive Officer (EO) appointed by the President after consultation with faculty and students in the program.  The EO is the chief academic and administrative officer of a program with delegated authority to initiate and enforce policies and actions concerning the operations of the program, under guidelines established by the Graduate School Governance, the program governance, and the CUNY Board of Trustees (BOT Bylaws Article IX Section 9.4).

The EO is responsible for ensuring that the academic and administrative policies of the Graduate Center and the program are applied fairly and supportively to each applicant and to each student enrolled in the program, and to the program’s faculty and staff, in accordance with the governance and bylaws documents cited above, and published principles established by the program’s executive committee. With the Provost’s approval, the EO may appoint a Deputy Executive Officer. (One course each semester for the Deputy EO counts against the program’s annual course limit.)

As required by the Graduate School governance, each program has an executive committee and a minimum of four standing committees:  faculty membership, curriculum and examinations, admission and awards, and elections.  All committees have elected faculty and student members and the EO is an ex officio member of all program committees.  Other committees may be established under the program’s governance. 


The President appoints the Executive Officer for a term not exceeding three years.  In accordance with the Graduate School governance (Section 3.4B), the President solicits nominations and counsel from the individual members of the program’s faculty and students matriculated in the program.  The Executive Officer may be reappointed.

College-based faculty members who accept assignment as an Executive Officer are released by the college full-time for the term of this service, and the college receives funds for one line in the Allocation System


Student Admissions and Fellowships

  • The EO is responsible for matters related to the admission and enrollment of new students into the program.  The EO works with the Office of Admissions to promote the program and assists in the development and implementation of recruitment and outreach planning. For further information, contact the Office of Admissions at 212-817-7470 in Room 7201. 
  • The EO, in consultation with the program’s Admission and Awards Committee, is responsible for distributing the program’s financial-aid resources, including fellowships and grants. Most programs are assigned a maximum number of admissions per year and each program has a set number of student fellowships. See the Prospective Students section on the GC web for further information regarding admission requirements (FAQs), application deadlines, transfer of credits, financial assistance FAQsfellowship packagesGC housing and other pertinent matters.
  • The Graduate Center is bound by the Council of Graduate School resolution that applicants to graduate programs cannot be required to accept or decline a financial aid offer before April 15. The link to the resolution can be found here. This resolution applies to offers of financial support not admission; however, you should also make sure there are not additional conditions for your discipline required by accrediting organizations. You cannot require applicants to accept or decline a financial offer before April 15 but this should not discourage you from being in touch with applicants to whom you are making offers or might make offers to sound them out about their interest. 

Student Recruitment and Retention

Student Well Being

  • The EO is responsible for ensuring that mentoring and socialization into the program and the discipline occur for all students. Fostering positive faculty-student relations and student life under CUNY consortial arrangements within the complex New York City environment is a challenge overseen at the program level by the EO and Deputy EO.  It includes ensuring proper academic advisement, monitoring student progress, interpreting policies and procedures, and identifying solutions to problem situations.  The EO is the principal link between students and faculty and the academic and administrative offices of the GC. See Student Life for a variety of resources including information on health services and health insurance. See Ombuds OfficeCounseling Services, and GC Student Intervention Team (GCSIT) for assistance in problem situations.

Student Success

  • The EO mentors students in the program and monitors their academic progress (see GC Student Handbook);
  • EOs should review the Academic Calendar each semester, particularly with regard to important cut off dates for students such as the last day to register for classes, last day to change levels or add/drop courses, and dissertation deposit deadlines.
  • The EO is responsible for ensuring program adherence to the Graduate Center’s Academic Policies and Procedures (see this section in the Student Handbook)a series of mandatory protocols that address student issues ranging from email usage, withdrawal, grade disputes, advancement to candidacy, academic termination, faculty conduct and auditing courses, to academic honesty (cheating, plagiarism, falsification of records, etc.), data requests, disability accommodations, leaves of absence and so forth.
  • Student Appeals Policies and Procedures, Student Complaint Procedures, and Other Institutional Policies are described at length in those sections of the GC Student Handbook, which has both a table of contents and an index to aid in locating specific information.   If questions of procedure or policy application arise, the EO should contact StudentAffairs@gc.cuny.edu or call 212-817-7400.
  • The EO is responsible for managing student fellowships, including new and ongoing Graduate Assistantships. Graduate Assistant appointments are managed by Anne Ellis in the Provost’s Office (aellis@gc.cuny.edu or 212-817-7284.) Fellowship stipends, tuition awards, and tuition remission, as well as loans, works study, and federal aid, are managed by the Office of Financial Aid (financialaid@gc.cuny.edu (212) 817-7460.) See Financial Assistance.
  • The EO should refer to the Fellowships and Financial Aid page for policies including what students need to do to get paid, satisfactory academic progress and withdrawals, fellowship deferrals, and combining Graduate Center funding with external awards.
    • Note that if a GCF leaves the Program the EO should work with the financial aid office to transfer the remaining semesters to a Tuition Fellow (TF) in the same cohort.  If it is not possible to transfer the fellowship to a TF in the same cohort, the fellowship cannot be transferred but the funds can be used to support other Tuition Fellows.  If a program has no Tuition Fellows, funds can be used for 6th year students without other support. For CSSs in their first year, EOs can reallocate funds to students in the program.  For fall appointments decisions must be made prior to July 15 and for spring appointments decisions must be made prior to November 1.
    • If a student chooses to transfer programs, their original fellowship will not transfer with them. They will be considered for new fellowship out of new program allocation but only for remaining years of 5-year funding. Student support cannot exceed 5 years from recruitment packages. The originating program can reassign the Graduate Assistantship B and the University Fellowship funds to students within the program following approval of the Fellowship and Financial Aid Office as well as the Provost's Office.
  • Please note that students have a cap of $55,000 per year in Graduate Center institutional funds. This includes combinations of awards/multiple fellowships and graduate assistantships paying through the Graduate Center.
  • Awards cannot officially be made to students until the EO submits the request on the appropriate Fellowship or Graduate Assistant Nomination forms provided by the Provost’s Office and Financial Aid. The various forms are available from the Office of Financial Aid, or from Anne Ellis, in the Provost’s Office (aellis@gc.cuny.edu).
  • The EO is responsible for making students aware of deadlines and fellowship rules. EOs should remind students to check their Graduate Center email addresses regularly. EOs are responsible for forwarding announcements to students and faculty.
  • The EO is responsible for making sure that students meet Satisfactory Progress benchmarks and reviewing Satisfactory Progress holds issued by the Registrar’s office each semester.
  • The EO works closely with the registrar on matters including registration, advisement pins; attendance; class schedule; satisfactory progress reviews; grades; transfer credits; doctoral levels/advancement to candidacy; En-route MA degrees; Leaves of Absence; withdrawal from Program; and course withdrawals. Vin DeLuca, vdeluca@gc.cuny.edu, x 7500 additional information
  • The Office of Career Planning and Professional Development supports the Graduate Center’s doctoral and master’s degree students as they work to achieve their career goals.  Students and recent alumni can schedule one-on-one advising sessions for help preparing CV’s, resumes, cover letters, and other job search documents, for practice interviewing, and for assistance in determining a general career strategy.  In addition, the office offers a range of programing throughout the academic year, both in person and in webinar format.  Students can join the office’s email lists to receive timely notices about job opportunities, fellowships, and events of interest.  Jennifer Furlong, the director, is happy to work with individual EO’s to develop department-specific programming.  She can be reached at JFurlong@gc.cuny.edu or 212-817-7416. All of this information (and more) can be found on the website.


  • The EO determines the courses to be offered each semester, after consultation with representative groups of faculty and students, and assigns faculty to teach these courses. The EO is responsible for maintaining the program’s assigned course limit for the academic year. Doctoral and master’s courses offered at the GC location, campus-based GC doctoral courses, and CUNY campus master’s courses in which a minimum of 5 or more (12 or more for team-taught) GC matriculated doctoral or master’s students are registered for credit, will count against the program’s limit. Independent Study courses and Deputy EO units are also included in each program’s limit. See Course Limits for additional information.
  • Units correspond to workload units for participating GC-based and campus faculty.  The Graduate Center has agreed to translate 1.0 unit as 3.0 hours for the purpose of workload in CUNYfirst. Dissertation Supervision (90000) and Executive Officer administrative units are always excluded from each program’s limit. Workload is not determined by the number of credits a course may have. See Courses for additional information.  Contact provost@gc.cuny.edu for questions regarding course units and workload.
  • The EO must confirm arrangements for participation of college-based faculty by sending a letter/email each semester to the academic dean and the department chair of the appropriate CUNY college. See Campus-Based Faculty for further information.
  • The EO is responsible for ensuring that GC-based faculty members meet their minimum workload requirements each year.See Faculty Workload for further information.
  • The EO is responsible for the annual evaluation and of staff (the Assistant Program Officer, as well as reviewing the evaluations of college assistants and adjuncts). The Office of Human Resources will notify Executive Officers when such evaluations are due.
  • The EO is responsible for submitting multiple position reports completed by GC-based faculty. A faculty member’s primary employment responsibility is to The City University of New York, and s/he is bound by its policies, including those related to consulting and other outside work.  Such outside activities must be reported on a form provided by Human Resources each year.

Program Governance

  • The EO is responsible for seeing that program elections are conducted as prescribed by the program by-laws. Guidelines for election of faculty and student program representatives to Graduate Council are described in Sections 2.1.A-E of the Graduate Council Bylaws.  All matriculated students are eligible to be elected to the Council. Faculty members or students on leave of absence are not eligible to serve.  Faculty members vote for faculty representatives only; students vote for student members only.
  • The EO is responsible for ensuring that faculty and students follow program governance guidelines. This document should be reviewed annually. Any updates/changes are sent to the Committee on Structure for consideration by Graduate Council.
  • The EO, as chair of the Executive Committee, calls meetings of the program faculty at least once a year, and student meetings at least once per semester. The EO presides at meetings of the program’s faculty, Executive Committee, and Faculty Membership Committee. See section 3.6 of the Graduate Center Governance Document for information about.
  • The Faculty Membership Committee reviews the program’s faculty each year. If the committee recommends removal of any member, that person must be given one year’s advance written notice of such removal, with a copy of the communication sent to the GC Provost. If a faculty member resigns or retires, the Office of the Provost should also be notified. See Sections 6.1 & 6.2 of the Graduate School governance for guidelines regarding faculty membership in doctoral, master’s, and certificate programs. For information regarding Emeritus status in doctoral programs see Professor Emeritus.
  • The EO provides guidance to the program’s faculty members regarding their responsibilities for course syllabi, office hours, submission of grades, and good supervisory practices. See Doctoral Faculty for further information.
  • The EO attends meetings of the Graduate Council, the Council of Executive Officers and the EO Discipline Custer Groups. The Council of EOs functions as an advisory body to the President and includes other members of the administration in meetings with the President. The discipline cluster group meetings provide a forum for EOs to discuss problems, comment on current policies and practices, and to make suggestions.
  • EOs are encouraged to meet regularly with chairs of CUNY college departments in the program’s discipline to discuss a variety of issues, including procedures for making new faculty appointments useful both to the college departments and to the Graduate Center. In accordance with CUNY Board of Trustees policy, the EO should try to ensure that CUNY college department chairs give preference, when recruiting part-time faculty, to qualified students enrolled in CUNY doctoral programs.
  • The EO may recommend Visiting Research Scholar candidates to the Provost for the Exchange Visitor Program which provides research opportunities for qualified students, professors, research scholars, and specialists.

Program Operations

  • The EO is responsible for the program’s staying within budget allocations, following purchasing and other budgetary guidelines, and meeting all expenditure deadlines. Visit the Finance and Administration office for information.
  • The EO is responsible for appointing a person to maintain and update the program’s website. Program events should be entered on the GC’s digital signage. Guidelines and information for this, as well as for appropriate style, use of the GC logo, graphic standards, social media, and website identity, are available on the Communications & Marketing website.
  • The EO, in conjunction with the Program’s Curriculum Committee, is responsible for submitting any curriculum changes or additions to the GC’s Curriculum and Degree Committee, this includes new courses, requirement changes, credit changes, and bulletin changes. See Curricular Changes for more details and FAQs.
  • The EO maintains a program handbook/information listing for the use of students and faculty, accessible on the program’s website.
  • The EO ensures that information on all faculty and student awards, honors, special fellowships, and grants, is forwarded to the Provost provost@gc.cuny.edu and to Communications & Marketing comms@gc.cuny.edu. Give advance notice to Communications & Marketing of any special program events, such as colloquia or conferences.

Faculty Evaluation, Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Guidelines

Faculty Recruitment Procedures

  • The EO should consult the following document for faculty recruitment guidelines. See Faculty Recruitment.


International Travel

  • The EO ensures that all students in the program abide by the requirements for mandatory notification and mandatory travel insurance for international academic travel for independent research, internships, language study, practicums, conference attendance/presentation, or job interviews, regardless of the source of funding. For information and guidelines, see International Travel Requirements for Current Students.

Human Subjects/IRB

  • The EO ensures that all students and faculty in the program abide by CUNY’s Protection of Human Subjects/IRB (Institutional Review Board) regulations. Any student research at any point in the student’s enrollment, as well as dissertation research, must be certified either as IRB-approved for human subjects or not involving human subjects or data from human participants. For further information contact the GC’s Human Research Protections Program Coordinator at 212-817-7525 in Room 8309.

Diversity and Title IX awareness

  • The EO is responsible for ensuring adherence to the policies administered by the Office of Compliance and Diversity.  These include GC recruitment, hiring, appointment, and equal opportunity policies and procedures and compliance with human rights related laws and regulations. The Chief Diversity Officer/Title IX Coordinator also provides training on search procedures, human rights policies, Title IX awareness and compliance. The Chief Diversity Officer develops and administers the GC's Affirmative Action Plan, and investigates human rights complaints (i.e., sexual harassment, discrimination, etc.), and administers the procedures for addressing internal discrimination. Before initiating any search, the EO should contact the Office of Diversity and Compliance.
  • The EO is responsible for promoting CUNY and the Graduate Center’s creation and maintenance of a safe environment in which students, faculty and staff can learn and work free from discrimination, gender-based harassment, fear of sexual assault or violence.
  • CUNY has designated all EOs as “responsible” employees who are required to report any incident of sexual or gender-based harassment to a Title IX representative, regardless of the complainant’s desire to maintain confidentiality. To the extent possible, information will be only shared with persons responsible for handling the Grad Center’s response.
  • Harassment is unwelcome conduct that may include sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Harassing conduct, also implicated by sexual assault, domestic and intimate partner violence, or stalking on any CUNY campus, creates a “hostile environment” which, when sufficiently severe or pervasive, may limit or interfere with a student’s ability to participate in educational activities, or an employee’s ability to perform his or her job.If any one of these situations or behaviors is observed, or there are complaints, the EO or other person with supervisory responsibility is required to contact one of the following:  Title IX Coordinator, Director of Public Safety, or the Vice President for Student Affairs.  For further information see Title IX Awareness
  • The EO is also responsible for ensuring that program faculty and other staff members do not engage in intimate relationships with students for whom they have a professional responsibility, including undergraduates, graduate and professional students, and postdoctoral fellows.
  • “Professional responsibility” for a student means “responsibility over academic matters, including teaching, counseling, grading, advising for a formal project such as a thesis or research, evaluating, hiring, supervising, coaching, making decisions or recommendations that confer benefits such as admissions, registration, financial aid, other awards, remuneration, or fellowships, or performing any other function that might affect teaching, research, or other academic opportunities.”(Excerpted from CUNY Manual of General Policy, Article VII. Student Affairs and Special Programs, Policy 7.1342 Sexual Misconduct, X. Rules Regarding Intimate Relationships)

Workplace and Domestic Violence Prevention

  • The EO must know and ensure adherence to CUNY’s Workplace Violence and Domestic Violence Prevention policies.  Links to each policy can be found on the Workplace Violence Page.
  • Adherence includes addressing any instance of Workplace Violence or Domestic Violence by consulting the Director of Public Safety or the Assistant Vice President of Faculty and Staff Relations and taking steps to ensure a safe environment for classes and program activities.  The EO must also take and advise other Program faculty and staff to take mandated Workplace Violence Training.

Academic Personnel Actions

  • The EO is responsible for overseeing Academic Personnel Actions at the Program level in compliance with CUNY’s policies and Graduate Center procedures.  Committees charged with considering academic personnel decisions must operate in confidence when considering appointments, reappointments, promotions and leaves. The EO is charged with communicating decisions on such actions and ensuring adherence to Program and GC Governance plans. The EO is also responsible for ensuring that new tenure track faculty are provided with opportunities to take contractually mandated Reassigned time.  See the  Academic Personnel Policy.

Data Integrity

  • The EO must know about and ensure adherence to the CUNY Policy on Acceptable Use of Computer Resources. Note that CUNY may copy hard drive contents without notice to preserve evidence or protect the integrity of its systems at any time, and may access emails on individual CUNY computers to comply with public Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests.
  • The EO is responsible for abiding by the Freedom of Information Law requirements. The GC Provost’s Office is responsible for ensuring compliance with these regulations. Lynette Phillips, Esq., has been designated as the GC’s Records Access Officer. Requests for access to records, defined as any information kept, held, filed or produced by, with or for the GC, must be made in writing. Contact lphillips2@gc.cuny.edu when FOIL requests are received and for further information.
  • The EO is responsible for protecting student rights with respect to their education records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Under FERPA, students may: 1) inspect their education records within 45 days of a request to do so; 2) request the amendment of their education records which they believe are inaccurate or misleading 3) consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education records; 4) appeal any alleged denial of FERPA rights; 5) file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. Contact Lynette Phillips, Esq. lphillips2@gc.cuny.edu when requests under FERPA are received.
  • The GC has designated the following directory information as publicly available: student name, enrollment status and major field of study. By filing a form with the Registrar’s office, any student or former student may request that no information be released without his or her prior written consent. See Students’ Rights Concerning Education Records in the Student Handbook for further information.

Contact Us

Rachel Sponzo

Associate Director of Student Research Fellowships, Provost's Office; Associate Director of Student Research Fellowships, Academic Affairs