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The Daily Tar Heel

Better research: Granting individual departments within the Graduate School greater autonomy is the right move

Some academic research endeavours take longer than others — which means some graduate students will need more time to complete their theses and dissertations.

So the Graduate School made a wise choice when it decided to allow individual departments to grant semester cap waivers for graduate students.

Now departments will be given the opportunity to grant funding for extra semesters to graduate students who need them.

Prior to this arrangement, doctoral students could not receive funding for their projects after 10 semesters, and master’s students had a four-semester cap on funding.

This move allows each department to exercise greater autonomy when working with their researchers and graduate students.

It’s important that graduate students conduct research at an efficient pace that prevents them from lagging. But this should not come at the cost of thorough and careful analysis.

Besides, advisers and committee members within each department have a better understanding of what’s in the best interest of the school and the student.

Departments work closely with students and know exactly what they need in order to progress with their research.

And this new decision helps out-of-state students as well. The Graduate School grants many out-of-state students a tuition remission, which reduces their tuition to the in-state rate.

These tuition remissions are primarily funded through private donors and research grants.

Now funding will be able to come from the individual departments’ instructional budgets once the funds from private donors and research grants run dry.

Decentralizing power to individual departments provides the flexibility to ensure that the quality of University research is given priority over bureaucratic rigidity.

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