Welcome to the GSA!

Please see the expandable topics below for general information regarding meetings (what happens during them? what's up with people saying "motion to approve" and "second" all the time?), voting, a description of the GSA officer roles and duties of program representatives (how to become one and general expectations). You may also reference our Constitution for more in depth information on these and other topics. Thanks for your interest in the GSA!

The GSA meets the first Wednesday of the month (August through June) from 5-6 PM. Meetings are open to all students, regardless of whether or not they are a program representative, though a quorum (1/2 + 1 program representatives) must be present for formal proceedings to occur. Only representatives may vote. If you are interested in attending GSA meetings, please email the Secretary (umb.gsa.sec@gmail.com) to be added to the email list! This will allow you to receive each month's meeting agenda and minutes as well as the meeting Zoom link. 

Meetings are presided over by the president and generally proceed in the following manner:

  1. The President will "call the meeting to order", officially signaling the start of the meeting. 
  2. The President will request for approval of the previous month's minutes.
    1. The minutes from the previous meeting are sent to representatives by the Secretary. Representatives are expected to read over them before the start of the next meeting to identify any errors that should be corrected.
      1. Any representative can, at this time, bring up anything that should be updated or amended. These can include issues such as a present representative's name mistakenly left off of or mispelled in the attendance section or an incorrect time listed for an event. If there are substantial changes necessary, the motion to approve the minutes can be postponed until the following meeting to give the officers time to adjust the minutes as necessary and the representatives time to review the changes. 
    2. A representative must begin this process by responding "motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting".
      1. If there are minor identified errors that should be corrected, the representative can instead say "motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting with [brief description of the changes]".
    3. A second representative must then say "second" for the motion to be accepted. The minutes are thus approved and will be posted publicly on the General Body Meetings page.
  3. Reports: Each officer will then provide any updates related to their position and the subcommittees they run. These reports proceed in the following order:
    1. President: typically includes general announcements, like updates to campus policy or changes to the UMB Shuttle operations, for example
    2. Vice President: upcoming GSA socials, USGA updates, etc.
    3. Treasurer: GSA account balance, travel award deadlines and awardees, etc.
    4. Secretary: information regarding attendance, the annual Graduate Research Conference, etc.
    5. Grad Council Representative: updates from the Grad Council, professional development awards, outstanding mentor award, etc.
    6. Public Relations: updates regarding the Grad Gazette and service opportunities
    7. Other reports from supported groups and program reps:
      1. Meyerhoff
      2. NOVA
      3. Graduate School DEI Committee
      4. Program Representative Updates/Questions/Concerns: this newer addition to the GSA agenda is intended to be a space where representatives may more easily (and anonymously, if desired) share anything on their mind with the Executive Board and the GSA General Body (concerns, ideas, upcoming events in their program, etc.). Representatives may type items to discuss in the section of the agenda prior to the meeting. 
  4. Old Business: The President will provide updates on any topics that have been discussed at previous meetings recently
  5. New Business: The President will introduce new topics of concern to the General Body. This can include a variety of topics including campus safety, the UMB shuttle, stipends, etc. 
  6. Upcoming events: Includes details on GSA or related events occurring in the near future.
  7. The President will then request a "motion to adjourn the meeting".
    1. A representative must begin this process by responding "motion to adjourn".
      1. If there are other topics you'd like to discuss as a representative or non-representative attendee, now is your chance to do so!
    2. A second representative must respond with "second" in order for the motion to pass. At this point, the official meeting has concluded and anything else discussed will not be reflected in the minutes.

Each program should in some way determine a program representative and an alternate, either through an election, volunteer or appointment by the Program Director or Coordinator if necessary. For a list of current program representatives, please see the GSA Representatives page. Reach out the Secretary at umb.gsa.sec@gmail.com or your program's listed representative if you are interested in getting involved! As a reminder, you can still attend monthly GSA General Body meetings without being a program representative.

Programs must have a representative to be considered active, which is required for students of that program to apply for GSA travel and other awards. Responsibilities of the primary program representative include:

  • Attend (or send an alternate) to a minimum of 5 monthly GSA General Body each semester to maintain an active status.
    • Multiple representatives (e.g. the primary and alternate) are welcome to attend our meetings, but at least one must be present at a minimum of 5 meetings and only one representative per program may vote.
  • Participate in at least one GSA subcommittee each academic year.
  • Participate in GSA events as needed, for example at the Graduate Research Conference and Orientation events (i.e. leading campus tours, helping with check-in, moderating presentation sessions, helping set up for meals and socials, etc.).
  • Serve as a liaison between students in the program and the GSA.

The following section describes the general duties of each member of the Executive Board. Please see our Executive Board page to read more about the current members!

  • President 
    • Acts as the official spokesperson for the GSA in communicating its decisions and opinions to the Graduate School administration and student body, UMB administration and other relevant parties
    • Chairs the Meet and Confer (M&C) committee with UMB President and Graduate School Leadership
    • Acts as the graduate student representative on a variety of committees as necessary, often including UMB Shuttle Committee, Citizens Advisory Board, University System of Maryland Student Council, etc.
    • Plans and executes the Graduate School's orientation activities 
    • Speaks at the Hooding Ceremony
  • Vice President
    • Chairs the Social Activities subcommittee, which plans and executes typically one GSA social event per semester in addition to the Orientation Crab Feast and social hour
    • Attends monthly USGA meets and communicates news and events between the groups
    • Conducts GSA General Body Meetings in the absence of the President
  • Secretary
    • Responsible for general communications with program representatives, including managing the active rep list, taking attendance at General Body meetings and sending out the meeting agenda/minutes
    • Serves as the chairperson of the annual Graduate Research Conference & Advancement to Candidacy Ceremony and its related subcommittee
  • Treasurer
    • Responsible for managing the finances of the GSA including preparing the annual budget proposal and disbursing awards and reimbursements
    • Chairs the Finance subcommittee, which scores travel award applications
  • Grad Council Representative
    • Represents the GSA at monthly Grad Council meetings (joint meeting between UMB & UMBC Graduate Schools) and conveys information to and from this group
    • Chairs the Professional Development subcommittee, which scores research awards, professional development awards and the outstanding mentor award
  • Public Relations Chair
    • Responsible for maintaining the GSA website
    • Chairs the Communications subcomittee, which is responsible for putting out the monthly Grad Gazette
    • Chairs the Service subcommittee, which plans and executes typically one volunteer event per semester 

The GSA has six standing subcommittees, along with other special interest subcommittees as needed. Each representative must serve on at least one subcommittee during the academic year and each subcommittee must comprise at least three representatives. Subcommittees and their objectives are:

  • Communications: Chaired by the Public Relations Officer, the Communications subcommittee is responsible for the release of the monthly Grad Gazette, including coming up with potential story ideas, writing articles and reaching out to other students and community members to contribute to articles.
  • Finance: Chaired by the Treasurer, this subcommittee scores quarterly travel awards as well as other awards as necessary (i.e. COVID work-from-home award; GSA Global Travel Fellowship)
  • Graduate Research Conference (GRC): Chaired by the Secretary, the GRC subcommittee is responsible for planning, organizing and executing all events for the GRC and Advancement to Candidacy Ceremony that occurs each spring. This can include emailing a list of potential sponsors and faculty judges (in the Fall), reviewing the Abstract Book  as well as day-of tasks such as meeting food vendors and judges, monitoring poster sessions, helping judges with scoring, helping attendees check in, etc. 
  • Professional Development: Chaired by the Grad Council Rep, this subcommittee is responsible for scoring professional development and outstanding mentor award applications. 
  • Social: Chaired by the Vice President, this subcommittee plans and facilitates GSA socials (typically one per semester plus Crab Feast and the Orientation social in August). Tasks include making decisions about social themes, helping with decorations, helping with check-in, contacting food vendors, etc. 
  • Service: Chaired by the Public Relations Officer, the Service subcommittee is responsible for planning and executing a semesterly volunteer event within the Baltimore community for GSA representatives. 

2021-2022 special interest subcommittees: 

  • DEI: Jointly chaired by the Secretary and Grad Council Rep, the DEI subcommittee focused on tracking and organizing the GSA's advocacy efforts related to diversity and inclusion at UMB.
  • Stipend: Jointly chaired by the Vice President and Public Relations Officer, this subcommittee helped research and present data on stipends, benefits and cost-of-living in graduate programs similar to those at UMB.

The most common things that the GSA votes on are student group funding requests and Executive Board positions. Other examples of motions that require a vote are the formation of a new subcommittee and approving (or modifying) the GSA budget. Each of these requires a simple majority vote of the present representatives (a quorum, or 1/2 + 1 of the total representatives, must be present for any vote). Only one representative per program may vote; typically this is the primary representative. The alternate representative may vote if the primary is absent. 

Amendments to the Constitution require a 2/3 majority vote rather than a simple majority.