Academic Staff & Faculty Responsibilities: Doctoral Research Assistant
The position of Doctoral Research Assistant is a form of graduate assistantship for advanced graduate students engaged in doctoral level studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Doctoral Research Assistant (DRA) positions are appointments that require 20 hours per week of research work in conjunction with a UIS faculty member. Doctoral Research Assistants are required to be admitted to and enrolled in the doctoral program on the University of Illinois at Springfield campus. The procedures and criteria for hiring and evaluation of Doctoral Research Assistants in the Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) Program are outlined below.
DRA positions may be developed by any department or academic unit at the University of Illinois at Springfield. However, if a DRA position is created by a department other than the public administration department (PA) and is supported by grants or other funds, the DRA positions must be approved by the PA department prior to implementation.
The purpose of the Doctoral Research Assistant position is to support doctoral students financially and professionally in their development as researchers as part of their doctoral studies by providing them opportunities for experience as members of research projects in conjunction with UIS faculty. The doctorate is a research-oriented degree, requiring both theoretical and methodological knowledge and a commitment to research in the field both during and after doctoral studies. The DRA position is intended to complement the student’s course work and dissertation activities.
- To recruit outstanding students to the Doctor of Public Administration program on the UIS campus.
- To provide doctoral level research and appropriate learning experiences through working with UIS faculty members.
- To provide financial support to assist doctoral students in completing their doctoral degrees in a timely fashion.
- To provide the PA faculty with doctoral level research assistance.
To be considered for a Doctoral Research Assistant appointment, the applicant must:
- Possess earned baccalaureate, master’s or JD degrees;
- Be admitted to the DPA program at UIS, or be enrolled in the DPA program at UIS. While applications may be considered simultaneously for admission to the doctoral program and for a position as a DRA, no one may be appointed as a DRA unless he or she is admitted to and enrolled in the DPA program at UIS.
- Meet specific criteria for particular DRA positions.
- Doctoral Research Assistants are required to enroll in at least eight hours of course work or at least four hours of dissertation during each fall and spring semester in which they are employed as DRAs. DRAs may enroll in up to eight hours of course work in summer semesters. Tuition waivers cover up to 12 semester hours per term for a maximum of 32 credit hours per academic year.
- DRAs are expected to work half-time during the academic year (August 16 – May 15), which is equated to an average of 20 hours per week. Generally DRA workloads would not exceed 20 hours per week, but under some circumstances an overload in one week could be balanced by a lighter load in the preceding or following week to average 20 hours per week. A Doctoral Research Assistantship is an academic appointment; DRAs are not expected to work on holidays or days on which the campus is closed and do not have to make up time for those days. Accommodation should be made in accordance with University policy for religious holidays that are not campus holidays, upon proper prior notification by the DRA to his/her supervisor.
- Each DRA will complete a work plan for the academic year in conjunction with his or her supervisor. This work plan must be approved by the DRA’s supervisor, the public administration department chair, the dean of the college, and the Associate Chancellor for Graduate Education and Research. The work plan is due in the Office of Graduate Studies by September 15. If a DRA begins in the spring semester, or if the work plan needs to be amended for the spring semester, the new or amended work plan is due in the Office of Graduate Studies by January 30. This work plan should reflect the research activities planned by the DRA and his/her supervisor and indicate both the activities planned and the research and learning outcomes of the work to be done. To the extent possible, the work plan should include outcome measures of performance and achievement.
- DRAs will be evaluated at the end of each semester. Evaluation deadlines will be established by the Office of Graduate Studies. The mid-year evaluation at the end of the fall semester should be formative, assessing progress toward reaching the goals for the year. The evaluation at the end of the academic year should be summative, including an assessment of the student’s performance for the year and the level of achievement of the goals, objectives, and activities, using the criteria and outcome measures included in the work plan. These evaluations must be approved by the DRA’s supervisor, the PA department chair, the dean of the college, and the Associate Chancellor for Graduate Education and Research.
Nature of the DRA Assignments
Since Doctoral Research Assistant assignments are intended to give DRAs experience in scholarly research activities as well as to assist faculty members in their scholarship, the assignments should involve research and other scholarly activities, rather than primarily administrative work. The nature of the scholarly research may include routine administrative tasks that are appropriately performed by the DRAs to assist in the projects, but such tasks should always be assigned in conjunction with a research project, applied research or analytical project, or other scholarly activity. Some DRA assignments also may include teaching activities.
Application and Appointment Procedures
- Applicants for admission to the DPA program who are simultaneously applying for a DRA position must complete the DRA application form along with the Application for Graduate Study at UIS. For consideration, the applicant’s file must be complete, including all requirements for admission to the doctoral program as well as the DRA application.
- Applicants for a DRA position who are already admitted to and enrolled in the DPA program must complete the DRA application form for consideration.
- DRA applications received by March 15 will receive first consideration for a fall semester appointment; applications received by October 30 will receive first consideration for a spring appointment.
- Representatives of the DPA committee interview DRA applicants in person or by telephone. The DPA Program committee evaluates DRA applications and makes an initial recommendation to hire to the full PA faculty. Upon faculty approval, the PA department chair makes a formal recommendation to the dean of the college.
- Once the department appointments are recommended, the PA department chair will write a memorandum requesting permission to hire the selected applicant(s) for DRA position(s) for which funding is available. This memorandum should be addressed to the dean of the college, the Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity, and the Associate Chancellor for Graduate Education and Research. The dean will review and approve the recommendation and submit the request to hire through the Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity to the Associate Chancellor for Graduate Education and Research for approval.
- The number of DRA appointments available will be determined by the available funding for DRA appointments from appropriated funds, grant funds, and any other sources. Appointment of DRAs supported by appropriated funds are allocated to the PA department.
- Upon approval by the dean, the Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity, and the Associate Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research the applicant may be offered a position as a Doctoral Research Assistant, according to University procedures.
- DRAs may be reappointed annually as long as funds are available, they are performing satisfactorily in their DRA assignments, they are registered for prerequisite courses, doctoral courses, or dissertation in each fall and spring semester in which they are appointed, and they are making satisfactory academic progress including maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0 and, for students who have advanced to candidacy, are making satisfactory progress toward completion of their dissertations. An individual may not be reappointed to or continue in a DRA position after the semester in which his/her dissertation is completed.
- Upon recommendation by the DRA’s supervisor, recommendation to reappoint a DRA will be made by the PA department chair to the dean, Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity, and the Associate Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research, in accordance with the deadlines established by the Office of Graduate Studies. A memorandum of reappointment which includes provision for such approvals should be forwarded in a timely manner for each DRA for whom reappointment is recommended.
- Formal appointment and reappointment letters and campus appointment procedures will be completed by the dean’s office, after the above procedures have been followed and permission to hire has been given, upon notification by the PA department chair that an individual has accepted the informal offer of a DRA position.
- Compensation for DRA positions includes a stipend, paid monthly, for the nine-month academic year (or the semester if a DRA is appointed for only one semester of an academic year), plus a tuition waiver for up to twelve hours during each regular semester and up to eight hours for the summer session, not to exceed 32 hours per academic year.
- The PA department is responsible for working with appropriate offices on campus, including the dean’s office, graduate studies office, financial aid, accounting, human resources, and others as necessary to assure that all appointments, evaluations, reappointments, tuition waivers, etc. are completed in a timely manner.
- URL: http://www.uis.edu/dpa