GSH APPENDIX H - Graduate Advising Best Practices

Graduate Advising Best Practices Overview - H.1

Graduate advising is best understood as a relationship between graduate student and faculty advisor where both parties can expect that the other party will follow best practices in fulfilling their responsibilities as graduate student or advisor. 

The relationship between a graduate student and advisor is one that can have a great impact on the academic achievements and life of a graduate student. This relationship can greatly encourage the academic pursuits of the graduate student, proving to be one of the most influential interactions of the scholar’s life. A relationship in which mutual expectations are not understood, however, may diminish a graduate student’s potential. 

This document outlines the minimum expectations for best practices in graduate advising at The Ohio State University. It is meant to be a spring board for each graduate program to discuss, develop, or reevaluate its local advising expectations and practices. This document was created in 2012 by the Council of Graduate Students in consultation with the Graduate School and approved by the Graduate Council. 

Communication and Graduate Advising - H.2

As valued members of the Ohio State community, graduate advisors and graduate students should act responsibly and be treated with respect. Regular and clear communication is essential to good graduate advising, especially when students are completing their studies at a distance. It is recommended that as much communication as possible occur in person or over the phone to enhance clarity, reduce ambiguity and misunderstanding, and to resolve conflict. Written communication, e.g., via mail and e-mail, is appropriate, especially to document situations and potentially contentious issues. Problems that arise should be addressed immediately and clearly so that both parties can work to remedy issues in an expedient manner. Graduate students and advisors should recognize that social media can blur the line between professional and personal lives and should be used only if deemed appropriate by both parties. It is recommended that graduate students and advisors meet between weekly to monthly depending on circumstances. The full graduate committee should meet twice a year, or annually in some circumstances. 

Graduate Student Responsibilities - H.3

  • Conduct academic pursuits in an ethical manner and develop professionally. 
  • Uphold Ohio State’s Code of Student Conduct
  • Uphold academic integrity for all coursework, including distance learning courses. Academic integrity is a commitment to five fundamental values of education: honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. 
  • Pursue opportunities that advance career as a graduate student and beyond. 
  • Take ownership of academic progress and perform duties in a conscientious and timely manner. 
  • Keep aware of Graduate School policies by reviewing both Graduate School and local unit handbooks, especially during the periods prior to the start and end of semesters and terms, GA appointment processing, Graduate School fellowship acceptance, administration of candidacy and final examinations, the semester of graduation, and commencement. 
  • Identify and meet all stated University deadlines, policies, and procedures, including those of the Graduate School (e.g., enrollment and graduation deadlines). 
  • Devote significant and productive time toward degree completion. 
  • Stay abreast of requirements for degree completion through active and regular discussions with advisor. 
  • Communicate career goals and concerns related to academic progress clearly. 
  • Initiate communication with the advisor. 
  • Respect the responsibilities of the advisor. 
  • Maintain open communication with advisor. 
  • Communicate need for time off or reasonable accommodations for health conditions and familial responsibilities. 
  • Allow sufficient time for the advisor to provide feedback in advance of deadlines. 
  • Maintain professionalism by keeping up with graduate student responsibilities even when advisor is not present. 
  • Explore and utilize all campus resources that the student may find beneficial to them. Examples of campus resources include, but are not limited to, the Office of Ombuds Services (, Counseling and Consultation Service (, and the Student Advocacy Center (

Graduate Advisor Responsibilities - H.4

  • Conduct advising in an ethical manner, including when recruiting advisees. 
  • Communicates with the co-advisor, the student’s candidacy or dissertation committee and the Graduate Studies Committee regarding the student’s program of study. 
  • Communicate clear intentions, expectations, and requirements to potential and current advisees, including how long the advisor expects to stay in their current position and the amount of funding support available to advisees. 
  • Address problems immediately so both parties can remedy issues expediently. 
  • Maintain open lines of communication with graduate students, including those enrolled in distance programs, and interact with graduate students in a professional manner. 
  • Communicate clear expectations for time to degree completion and publication expectations. 
  • Provide periodic and regular evaluations of progress toward degree. 
  • Provide timely written feedback on advisee’s professional writing (article drafts, dissertation chapter drafts, etc.). 
  • Give students appropriate credit for their work (e.g., as reflected in author strings in journal articles or books). 
  • Aid in preparing students to be the best professional they can be. 
  • Initiate conversations about academic progress and stay current about degree requirements and procedures. 
  • Initiate conversations with advisee about career goals. 
  • Support traditional and non-traditional career goals. 
  • Help graduate students develop professional skills that will make them competitive for employment in their given field. 
  • Encourage students to take part in activities that will enrich their academic development, e.g., by participating in professional conferences and other networking activities. 
  • Respect advisees’ academic and non-academic commitments and responsibilities. 
  • Provide prompt and honest feedback on student’s work. 
  • Allow reasonable time for students to prepare requested materials. 
  • Do not require that a student continue to provide a service (e.g., teaching, laboratory management, mentoring of other students, etc.) under terms that can hinder a student’s degree completion. 

Graduate Program Responsibilities - H.5

Establish graduate advising best practices that pertain specifically to the local graduate program and its graduate degrees. 

  • Maintain an updated graduate program handbook that is aligned with the practices in the Graduate School Handbook, including the steps and processes for students to complete degree requirements and grievance procedures for graduate students and advisors. 
  • Create and maintain an easily accessible online list of information for graduate students that contains links to the Graduate School Handbook and other relevant links (e.g. eRequests and travel requests) and university resources. 
  • Provide yearly written review of performance for graduate students and advisors. 
  • Maintain clear communication with students and advisors and facilitate the communication between students and advisors, particularly during adverse events or tense communications. Enable students to have access to a formal and unbiased grievance and arbitration process. 
  • Hold a yearly orientation to familiarize new students and faculty with the graduate program and the university. 
  • Outline all steps a student and/or advisor may take to resolve issues at the local and/or college level. Many graduate programs have local procedures for resolving grievances, such as discussions with an advisor, supervisor, Graduate Studies Committee Chair, department chair, or college dean.  
Last updated