Date Established: December 2019
Categories: Graduation, Commencement Ceremonies
Responsible Offices: Academic Affairs, Graduate School, Registrar
Date Last Revised: December 2019
The purpose of this policy is to define the terms of eligibly for the current graduating class—undergraduate and graduate—who are invited to participate in the annual May commencement ceremonies.
Policy Statement: Buffalo State deems commencement the most auspicious occasion of the academic year and values the tradition of honoring the graduating class during the annual commencement ceremonies each May at the close of the spring semester as identified in the Academic Calendar.
The baccalaureate graduating class includes the most recent August, December, and January graduates and current May degree candidates for bachelor’s degrees. Undergraduate certificate students are not included. Seniors may apply for their degrees using self-service Banner for the term they intend to graduate when they have 102 earned credits.
The Graduate School graduating class includes recent August, December, and January graduates and current May and August candidates for all master’s degrees, certificates of advanced study, and graduate certificates. Post-baccalaureate students are not included.
Members of the graduating class who plan to participate in commencement and have their names printed in the program must have active degree applications on file by the posted deadlines of their respective levels to be included in commencement communications and ceremony registration. Diplomas and certificates are not distributed at commencement. They are mailed to graduates by the Registrar’s Office or the Graduate School after the respective office has awarded the degree or certificate.
Background: The intent of this policy is to define and clarify for students, families, faculty, and staff which cohorts of students are eligible to participate in the annual May commencement ceremonies. Further, to emphasize the distinction between graduating and participating in the commencement ceremony. To reduce the number of students prematurely participating in commencement, thereby increasing graduation rates, whereas students have participated in the commencement ceremony prior to being eligible as a member of the graduating class and then not returning for their final semester or two to complete their degrees. Families can be unaware that their student participating in the commencement ceremony is not currently a degree candidate and has additional requirements to meet. Faculty and advisers are not always aware of what terms constitute the graduating class and therefore may have difficulty addressing relevant student advisement questions.
Applicability: Undergraduate students and graduate students.
The Registrar’s Office (staff may include registrar, degree coordinator, diploma coordinator) is responsible for identifying the members of the baccalaureate graduating class who are seniors in good standing or recent graduates and are eligible to participate in commencement according to the current semester graduation terms of inclusion as stated in this policy.
The Graduate School (staff may include the degree coordinator and the executive assistant to the dean) is responsible for identifying the members of the Graduate School graduating class who are students in good standing or recent graduates and are eligible to participate in commencement according to the current graduation terms of inclusion as identified in this policy.
The Academic Affairs Office (commencement director for academics) is responsible for working with each office and information technology staff to draw the relevant data for executing communications and commencement ceremony protocol with the graduating class, downloading data in the proper format for the commencement program, as well as distributing related data to the Events Management Office and other commencement ceremony planning departments and staff.
Information Technology (lead programmer/analyst) works with Academic Affairs to revise annually the commencement report RG_37 to capture the data for the current graduating class. Registrar and Graduate School Staff review and confirm accuracy of annual RG_37 coding updates via initial reports.
DOPS 1:04:00 Collegewide Degree Requirements for Bachelor’s Degrees
DOPS I:16:06 Dean’s Honors List
Graduate Catalog: Graduation/Commencement
Office Name: Registrar’s Office
Office Address: Moot Hall 210
Office Name: Graduate School
Office Address: Cleveland Hall 204
Office Name: Academic Affairs Office
Office Address: Cleveland Hall 519
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