Revised May 24, 2017
The Graduate Student Government is the preeminent custodian of, and advocate for, the
graduate student community at the Colorado School of Mines.
The Graduate Student Government wil ensure graduate students and their interests are
represented across the Colorado School of Mines community. The organization wil support
graduate student achievement academical y, social y, and professional y.
Graduate students are a diverse and substantive adult community, with unique concerns
relating to work-life balance, employment security, and institutional policy. Sustainable growth of
our post-graduate experience requires strong communication between graduate students and
the broader community, with continuous improvement in al organizational endeavors.
GSG officers and leaders wil face complex decisions on the path to supporting an
international y-recognized graduate community. These values are intended to provide a
clarifying lens, through which the organization can make consistent and sustainable progress.
Graduate Student Government recognizes four core values: research, academics, community,
We recognize research excel ence as a defining asset for both graduate students and the
institution as a whole, and support campus policies and practices that encourage wel -rounded
young scientists and engineers.
We recognize academic excel ence as a goal for al graduate students, and we support campus
and departmental practices that foster a network of resources for students to accomplish this
goal. Academic excel ence can include but is not limited to: attaining high marks in coursework,
recognition for outstanding achievements, and receipt of scholarships for noteworthy
Inclusion of graduate students within both the graduate and greater Mines communities is
crucial to a successful graduate student experience. This requires support of graduate students’
personal and social lives, cohesive graduate student engagement in departments, col eges, and
across campus, and inclusion in institutional decision making that affects graduate students.
To maintain a healthy Graduate Student Government, it must be sustainable for graduate
student participation and have clearly defined, measurable, and achievable goals. We support
an informed graduate student population, and strive to continual y improve our current practices
and programs. As our relationships with other campus institutions are crucial to our success, we
must maintain robust communication and interaction with Faculty, Administration, and
Undergraduate Student Government.
Organizational Structure and Accountability
As a graduate student government in ever-changing times, the practice of continuous
improvement is fundamental y non-negotiable. That is, current methods and approaches
implemented wil not automatical y be considered the “best way.” GSG seeks continual
refinement of programs and practices, to ensure a more efficient and effective organization.
Graduate students are encouraged to continuously question, refine, and revisit current
The Executive Committee and Council should consider revising and updating this document
annual y to reflect progress towards reaching goals and objectives. The selection of future goals
should also be addressed on an annual basis at the beginning of each academic year, driven by
the current concerns of graduate students. The Executive Committee and Council should take
an active part identifying and pursuing new initiatives as they are incorporated in this document.
Roles and responsibilities are differentiated below, for both the Executive Committee and
Council. Roles define the governing duties assigned to Executive Officers and Council
members, as stated in the Graduate Student Government Bylaws. Responsibilities refer to the
minimum requirements put forth from the Executive Committee and Council to achieve and
Responsibility of Executive Committee
The Executive Committee is responsible for ensuring GSG continuity and standard of
governmental operation are being upheld. Executive Officers are the first line of communication
between graduate students, the administration, and the campus community. Therefore,
Executive Officers should strive to be professional, courteous, and open-minded. The Executive
Committee must be organized in order to effectively and efficiently manage grant programs and
business meetings. Executive Officers must concisely communicate with Council, graduate
students at large, and the Mines community. Executive Officers shal document their activities
and responsibilities related to the GSG and provide guidance to incoming officers to facilitate
transitions upon completion of their term.
Responsibility of Council
Graduate Student Government Council Members represent graduate students across campus.
With the elected position comes the responsibility to ensure concerns of the academic
departments are being properly represented and communicated to GSG Council and the
Executive Committee. As graduate student Representatives, Council members should strive to
be professional, courteous, and open-minded.
This list of goals is not comprehensive, but a place to start when considering what to take on for
the academic year. The GSG Council is responsible for reviewing, amending, and prioritizing
this list annual y—preferably at the start of the year; the Executive Committee is responsible for
assessing the progress toward each goal, updating this plan to reflect any mid-course
corrections, and providing updates to the Council.
In crafting a new goal, the core value(s) it supports should be identified. A brief, one paragraph
description of the goal should be written along with a short but descriptive title. In addition, the
new goal should contain concise discussions of the current status, potential milestones, and
likely partners. The discussion presented along with each goal reflects one potential pathway
toward realization, but alternative and better approaches should be considered prior to action.
This new goal should then be presented to the GSG Council for approval, at which point it shal
be included in this Strategic Plan.
In selecting a goal to proceed, the Executive Committee should draft a plan of action which
details the necessary resources, partners, and evaluation metrics, along with an assessment of
the current state of affairs. This plan should then be used to assign tasks and responsibilities,
such as the formation of a committee.
Short-term (1-year) goals
Develop departmental graduate student organizations (Community)
In order to effectively communicate with and for graduate students, the departments need a
cohesive mechanism with which students can interact with GSG. Having departmental graduate
student associations accomplishes three key items that promote graduate student
representation: forum for communication between graduate students and their representative to
GSG, forum for electing department representative to GSG, and organization to promote social
interaction within a department.
● Current Status: Some departments have a wel -defined graduate student organization
within the department while others do not. Requirements applicable to al departments
regardless of their current structure are not in place.
● Potential Milestones: Define minimum departmental requirements (month 1- 2). Involve
partners who may assist with and promote departmental structure (month 2-3). Stage
implementation of departmental structure (month 3-12).
● Potential Partners: Department heads, department assistants
Streamline communication from GSG (and Mines)
Graduate students are inundated with email communication, as it is an official form of
communication for Mines. The opt-in, opt-out system (http://inside.mines.edu/Mailing-Lists)
adopted by Mines was meant to decrease email traffic. The Daily Blast was created to offer a
summary of al upcoming activities on campus for both graduate and undergraduate students,
and is sent out daily. Often, many events and opportunities offered by GSG and other campus
organizations are overlooked due to the excessive number of postings within the Daily Blast.
Resorting back to direct email lists has been considered and is not a favorable option, as it does
not provide a solution to email inundation. GSG wil continue to post events through the Daily
Blast, however a more efficient means of communicating events and content to the graduate
student population is needed.
● Current Status: A posting within the Daily Blast is the main form of event communication
from GSG to the graduate student population. The campus at large has a community
calendar not widely known or used by graduate students
● Potential Milestones: Incorporate content previously emailed, into the GSG website;
promote the campus calendar and GSG website as main lines of communication; GSG
events added directly to inter-departmental mailings by Program Assistants; utilize
departmental graduate student organizations for direct communication between the GSG
Council and graduate students within their respective departments.
● Potential Partners: Office of Graduate Studies, Undergraduate Student Government.
Foster relationships with GSG Academic Workshop facilitators
The GSG typical y hosts two Academic Workshops per semester. Historical y a financial
planning workshop has been held each semester, and recently the GSG Academic Affairs
Director and the Graduate Mentoring Experience (GEM) Coordinator have developed a
relationship with a member of the Mines community to facilitate two additional workshops on the
“Student-Advisor Relationship” and “Professional Communication.” The GSG recognizes a need
to foster relationships with our current facilitators to provide Academic Workshops that are
valuable for the graduate student community.
● Current Status: GSG typical y hosts two academic workshops per semester, four per
● Potential Milestones: increase number of Academic Workshops to three per semester
and develop program offering consistency (e.g. Fal semester workshops held on the
third Thursday of September, October and November, and Spring semester workshops
held on the third Wednesday of February, March and April); identify workshop topics to
include financial health and planning, professional development, and mentoring.
● Potential Partners: North Star Resource Group for financial health and planning; Diane
Witters of CSM for professional development and mentoring, and the GEM coordinator.
Integrate GEM Program with the GSG
The Graduate Experience Mentoring (GEM) program is integral for graduate students
transitioning to the Mines community and provides leadership growth opportunities for current
graduate students. A closer relationship between GEM and the GSG is necessary to provide
outreach for the graduate student community, achieve the goals of GEM, facilitate efficient
marketing of activities, and streamline budget management.
● Current Status: the GEM coordinator operates independent from the GSG Council, with
minimal support outside of financial provided by GSG.
● Potential Milestones: Incorporate the GEM coordinator as a member of the Executive
Council; host Academic Workshops each semester with topics centered around financial
health and planning, professional development, and mentoring.
● Potential Partners: GSG Executive Council and Academic Affairs Director
Intermediate (3-year) goals
Institutionalize the Graduate Research and Development Symposia
Conference (Research, Sustainability)
The Graduate Research and Development Symposia (GRADS) Conference remains a hal mark
event established by graduate students, for graduate students. GRADS provides graduate
students the opportunity to practice and receive feedback on their presentation skil s in a
professional environment. An institutional support system ensures continuity in annual planning
and col aboration that al ows for continual improvement in the quality of the conference for
students and partners.
● Current Status: The Executive Team and Council volunteers have primarily performed
the planning and execution of GRADS. Communication with the Office of Graduate
Studies, Office for Research and Technology Transfer, and the Alumni Association is
reestablished at the outset of annual GRADS planning.
● Potential Milestones: Create a central transition document that carries the knowledge
developed by previous years’ organizers (year 1). Establish a GRADS guiding committee
of stakeholders that wil provide feedback and aid in networking (Year 1). Designate a
regular meeting schedule (Year 1). Define year-to-year responsibilities for each
committee member, based on each member’s desired level of involvement (Year 1-2).
Pursue broader financial sources, including industry, government, and academia (Year
1). Revisit stakeholders and committee composition, to ensure an optimal balance is
provided for sustainable success (Year 2).
● Potential Partners: Office of Graduate Studies, Office of Research and Technology
Transfer, Alumni Association, Green Center Staff, Conference Services, Research
Council, CSM Foundation.
Increase support of graduate students through awards, recognition, and
grant programs (Academic)
Programs that support graduate students in their research endeavors and personal lives are key
to the GSG mission. Currently lacking within the support programs are those for graduate
student recognition and awards. Recognition awards, such as a Graduate Student Research
Award (similar in fashion to Research Council’s Research Faculty Awards) would acknowledge
graduate student efforts and contributions to the Mines research community. Additional y,
departmental awards of recognition similar to those distributed at E-Days and graduation would
enhance the visibility of graduate student efforts on campus.
● Current Status: Grant programs supporting travel (Travel Grants) and degree completion
(Graduate Continuance Fel owships) are offered. Recognition awards currently in place
are the departmental awards for GRADS presenters.
● Potential Milestones: Investigate current Mines awards and recognition of graduate
students, as wel as programs at other institutions (Year 1). Define nomination,
qualifications, requirements, and eligibility for award program (Year 2). Refine
nomination and selection process (Year 3).
● Potential Partners: Office of Graduate Studies, Office of Research and Technology
Transfer, Department Heads, Faculty Senate
Increase the number of networking opportunities for graduate students with
other graduate students, faculty, alumni, and industry partners (Academic,
With a growing graduate student population, it is important to maintain a similar level of
opportunities for social and professional networking. In particular, there is a need for networking
with other students, faculty, and industry partners.
● Current Status: Social networking with other students is offered through campus wide
social events. Networking events during GRADS provide a forum for networking
amongst interested students, faculty, and alumni.
● Potential Milestones: Investigate partnership potential with the Career Center, Faculty
Senate, and CSM Alumni Association for social and professional events (Year 1).
Organize one or two annual networking events (Year 2). Establish networking event
series, with specific and achievable outcomes drafted for each event (Year 3).
● Potential Partners: Faculty Senate, Career Center
Long-term (5-year) goals
Develop a teaching associate program (Academic)
Opportunities for graduate students to learn, practice, and refine teaching skil s are not widely
available on campus. While some departments encourage and have teaching requirements for
degree programs, most do not. Having a Ph.D. or M.S. in science or engineering from CSM
does not necessarily mean that graduates are prepared to teach at the high school or university
level. Pedagogical opportunities for graduate students in science and engineering should be
abundantly available, as it is those people with advanced degrees who wil teach future
● Current Status: Mines offers a handful of classes related to pedagogy. A few degree
programs have teaching requirements, while others discourage graduate student
teaching. A campus-wide teaching program does not exist.
● Potential Milestones: Year 1: Establish an exploratory committee to identify how each
campus constituency would be affected by, or benefit from, a teaching associate
program. Kickstart a campus-wide association, such as a Future Professor Organization.
Year 2: Investigate teaching programs at other institutions. Find a nearby university with
which to col aborate and design a program by modifying a pre-existing one. Year 3:
Develop procedures and processes for program to suit the needs of our university.
Engage deans and department heads to gain feedback on, and support for, the initiative.
Year 4: Begin implementing the program. Continuously reflect on what works wel and
what needs improvement. Year 5: Based upon the reflections from Year 4, refine
program design as necessary.
● Potential Partners: Office of Graduate Studies, department heads, col ege deans,
Graduate Council, Faculty Senate, TEAM-UP, Trefny Institute, CU Boulder, CU Denver,
University of Northern Colorado
Inclusion in policy dialogues affecting students (Community)
University administration ensures policies and processes are in place that support education.
Often, the administration is provided with difficult circumstances that require difficult decisions.
Complex problems faced by Mines are best solved through col aboration and inclusion of the
constituencies affected. Through col aboration, the constituencies are more likely to develop an
understanding and mutual ownership of the difficult decisions and solutions which wil ultimately
affect them. Further, inclusion of students ensures generational diversity in approaches to
● Current Status: The climate for col aboration and inclusion of students in meaningful
dialogues is sub-optimal.
● Potential Milestones: Seek open communication with key administrators, including
regular meetings with the GSG President along with invitations to GSG Council meetings
(Year 1). Identify critical administrative departments and offices that lack graduate
student feedback in decision-making processes (Year 1). Develop a plan for inclusion of
students (Year 3).
● Potential Partners: Col ege Deans, Office of the Provost, Office of the President,
Planning and Policy Analysis, Human Resources
Establish a graduate student community lounge (Community)
There are few institutional efforts aimed at enhancing the graduate environment or promoting
cohesion of graduate students. Mines policies, processes, and programs are general y aimed at
enhancing the undergraduate experience. Further, the in loco parentis mentality that Mines
promulgates does not align with the needs and expectations of today’s graduate student, with
an average age of 32. In furthering Mines’ aspirations as a world-renowned research institution,
attracting and keeping quality graduate students should be of top priority. In order to attract and
keep high quality graduate students, it is important that Mines communicate to the potential
student pool that graduate students are adults and treated as such at this institution.
● Current Status: The social events currently offered provide a short few hours for social
interaction and often to not align with the volatile schedules of graduate students. The
greatest hindrance to GSG efforts for graduate student cohesion is the lack of an
on-campus environment where graduate students can socialize.
● Potential Milestones: Investigate graduate student spaces at other institutions (Year 1).
Work with institutional administrators to identify potential graduate student spaces, such
as the I-Club or Berthoud Hal vacant parking lot (Year 1-2). Establish timeline/action
plan (Year 1-3). Identify potential funding sources such as GSG, a solicited endowment,
or corporate Sponsorship (Year 2-3). Develop a financial plan and timeline (Year 2-4).
Implement progressive adjustment plan for GSG budget (Year 3-4). Recondition or
construct space identified (Year 5-7).
● Potential Partners: Office of Graduate Studies, Student Life, Finance and Administration,
Capital Planning and Construction, Facilities Management
Goals for future consideration
● Committee reporting
● Department reporting on graduate student achievements and awards
● Interdisciplinary events and research opportunities
● New graduate student survival kit
● Individualized communication of graduation requirements
● Clarity on tax forms and requirements of graduate students
● Continued excel ence with LyX template
● Better documentation for graduation paperwork and procedures
● Multi-university GSG database for best practices, idea sharing, and social site
● Campus-based daycare solution
Short term assessment
The Executive Team and Council require metrics in making progress towards and achieving
each of these goals. Both the Executive Team and Council should complete an assessment at
the end of every semester to gauge progress on each goal as outlined in a given year. The
evaluation should be anonymous to ensure honest and critical feedback.
Long term assessment
In 2012, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved Student Engagement Survey (SES) was
piloted at three universities in Colorado in order to establish a basis for providing insight into the
engagement and satisfaction of graduate students. The intent of this tool is to begin
understanding what areas of the graduate student environment need improvement based on
descriptive data of student perceptions. In the event that the pilot program does not continue in
the future, it may be beneficial to continue annual y surveying graduate students here at CSM
with a similar assessment tool in order to evaluate the utility of GSG and CSM efforts for
continuous improvement of the graduate environment. Questions asked in that survey can be
obtained from the GSG President.