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Departmental and University Policies

Office Space Policy

It is the implied, but not guaranteed, intent of the department to provide office space for graduate students during their studies at OSU.

The department attempts to provide each graduate student with a desk in shared office space containing a file cabinet and book shelves.

The general policy of the department concerning assignment of office space for graduate students is determined by (1) the space available, and (2) the situation of the student, i.e., Graduate Teaching Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant, etc. Highest priority is given to the GTA's since they will require office space in order to establish a time and place for office hours for students needing assistance. Second priority is given to GRA's who are assigned to specific research projects within the department. As space is available it will then be assigned to the remaining graduate students.

Use of Equipment and Facilities

It is not possible to similarly equip all projects in the department. Therefore, there may be times when the student may wish to borrow an item of equipment from another project. Student and staff members should take the time to be instructed in the proper use and care of borrowed equipment. They are expected to use good judgment and courtesy in the use of all equipment, and to promptly return borrowed items. Multi-use equipment items (e.g., centrifuges, autoclaves) usually have log books; please complete all entries for each use of the instrument.

Academic Honesty

The very foundation of scientific endeavor is a strong commitment to truth. Students are expected to demonstrate honesty in all aspects of their academic work. Evidence to the contrary, after due process, will lead to termination of graduate studies in Botany/Plant Pathology.


Graduate students should help take responsibility for assuring that laboratory and office doors are locked at night and that windows are secured. This should reduce loss from theft, which has been a problem in the past. Wallets, purses, calculators, and other valuable items should never be left unattended in an unlocked room as daytime thefts have occurred.

Use of Motorpool Vehicles

Only persons who are on the OSU payroll or those who have received special permission through the department and OSU Business Office, are authorized to drive state vehicles. Obtain authorization forms in the main office. If you are uncertain of your qualifications, check with your project leader. Environmental Health and Safety offers SAIFer Driver Classes throughout the year. These are highly recommended. Student driver authorization forms, available in the main office, must be filled out each September. They are available for "per trip" or for one year. Always "drive defensively" and keep public relations in mind. Under no conditions are state cars to be used for personal purposes. In rare cases, a spouse may accompany a staff member or graduate student in a state car, but only after receiving permission from the department chairperson. Under no circumstances should children or pets be transported in a state vehicle.

Travel to Professional Meetings and Field Trips

Graduate students who plan to present a paper or poster, or otherwise participate in a professional meeting can also apply for a small grant from the GSA Travel Fund. Grants up to $200.00 are awarded by the GSA Travel Grant Committee. This is made possible by profits from coffee sales and other grad student fund raisers. Applications are available in the BPP mailroom, or from the BPP/GSA Treasurer.

A University-owned van may be provided for University-related field trips organized by students and staff, if approved by the department chairperson.

See our personnel specialist, for Out-of-State Travel Authorizations for each out-of-state trip -- whether you are seeking reimbursement or not.

Procedure for Applying for Department Travel Funds

Application may be made for travel funds by sending a letter to the department chairperson specifying the following: meeting to be attended, dates, reason for attending, estimated cost and any other available funds.

This award is available only once during a student's graduate program. At present, no deadlines exist for submission of requests but since funds may be limited in any given year, students are encouraged to plan ahead and to make their request by the time any abstract is submitted. When limited funds exist, preference will be given to students near the end of their degree program. Although not required, the support of the major professor for the planned trip will be beneficial if the chairperson must limit the number of awards in a given period. Approval may be indicated by requesting your major professor to sign-off on your request. Funds may be used for registration fees or for reimbursement of travel expenses. If granted for registration fees and then the trip is subsequently cancelled, it is expected that the department will be reimbursed for this expense.

Any graduate student studying under a professor in Botany and Plant Pathology is eligible for travel assistance regardless of actual degree program. However, students enrolled in other programs may request assistance only if their programs or home department does not provide similar assistance to them for travel to a professional meeting. For students whose major is other than Botany and Plant Pathology, the student should request the signature of the program director indicating that travel funds are not available.Questions concerning travel awards may be directed to the department chairperson.

Use of Telephone

University Phone Numbers have the prefix 737 and 713. When calling from one place on campus to another, dial the last five digits of the phone number. When dialing off-campus (local calls), you must first dial the 9, then the seven-digit number. Some Federal agencies located on campus have 750-, 754-, or 757- prefix and are dialed as off-campus numbers. All phone numbers have 10 digits; the 541 area code must be used for Corvallis.

Telephones should be used only for department business. You need an Authorization number or your personal calling card number to make long-distance calls. Check with your project leader for an Authorization number.

Facsimile Machine

A FAX machine for departmental use is located in Cordley 2064. Faxes are to be sent by the individual, but incoming faxes are placed in the individual’s mailbox. There is a fee for personal faxes.

Insurance Coverage

Any graduate student paid with OSU funds has full medical coverage for any type of on-the-job accident. This coverage is provided through SAIF (State Accident Insurance Fund). Accidents must be reported immediately to your supervisor and a form completed within 24 hours. Accident reporting forms may be obtained from the department administrative assistant in the BPP Main Office.

All students not on state payroll who drive OSU vehicles must have a valid Oregon State driver's license and be officially cleared by the chairperson of the Botany and Plant Pathology Department in order to obtain coverage of liability insurance. Forms to be filled out are in the main office. However, there is no University coverage for medical expenses resulting from a non-employee's involvement in an accident while riding in a University vehicle. Any medical coverage must be provided through the student's personal auto insurance and/or the Student Health Insurance Program.

Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) have arranged for major medical coverage through an insurance provider. To enroll in this policy, pick up an application and brochure at the Student Health Center. Insurance is available by the term or on an annual basis. Coverage for dependents is additional. This plan covers all insured students 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world, including vacations. The policy provides added benefits for diagnostic X-ray and laboratory fees for illness on an out-patient basis.

Students should review the Student Health Insurance Program upon arrival at the University and determine whether their present insurance (if available) is adequate.

General medical services for all registered students are provided at the Student Health Center. Charges for this service are included in the regular student fees at the beginning of each term.

Activities such as athletic events in the Recreational Sports Program and those registered at the Student Activities Center, must include accident insurance coverage for participants in the form of student insurance, personal policies, or day-coverage policies for the event. Information regarding insurance may be obtained at the Activities Center.

Exit Interviews

Upon completion of their degree program, all graduate students are asked to fill out an "Exit Interview Form" (available in the BPP administrative office) and schedule an appointment with the department Chairperson. This is your opportunity to share your experiences in the BPP graduate program and to give us suggestions on how we might improve it. We ask that you keep us informed of changes of name and address once you have left the department/university.