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Resignation and Dismissal Policies

Notice of Resignation

When a student completes their degree or decides to leave Iowa State before completion of their degree, they should fill out a Notice of Resignation form and return this to their supervisor.   This form will allow your supervisor to know the last day of work, reason for leaving, any additional comments you wish to make, and your forwarding address.  This form can be found here:   The student should also let contacts in their department and in their major (the BCB program coordinator) know as well.  Students may download an Employee Separation Checklist found here:  This form will provide reminders about items such as the turn-in of keys, paying outstanding bills, returning car tags, and where to have W-2s mailed. 


Continuing registration as a graduate student at Iowa State University is contingent upon maintaining good standing in a graduate major. The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program expects BCB students to complete their degrees in a satisfactory and timely manner. However, there are certain situations that may require severing the relationship between a student and the BCB program.

Dismissal Criteria

A student may be dismissed, that is, removed from the degree program and not permitted to register as a BCB student, for the following reasons:

• Failure to progress satisfactorily in his/her degree program

This may be evidenced by a lack of research progress, a lack of aptitude or a failure to maintain satisfactory academic standing, as defined by the Iowa State University Graduate College Handbook.

• Lack of a major professor

Because graduate degrees in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at ISU are centered about a mentored research project, it is impossible to complete a degree without a research mentor (major professor). To maintain good standing and earn a degree in BCB, a student must have a BCB faculty member serving as major professor.

A student admitted to BCB on rotation has up to 12 months (Ph.D.) or 6 months (M.S.) from the date of entry into the program to find a faculty member willing to serve as his or her major professor (unless otherwise designated at the time of admission). If the student desires assistance, the BCB Chair will help the student search for a major professor; however, final responsibility for finding a major professor rests with the student.

Occasionally, a faculty member who has agreed to serve as a major professor becomes unable or unwilling to serve. A faculty member who wishes to terminate service as major professor for a BCB student may do so by notifying the student and the BCB Chair in writing. A student who has lost his or her major professor has up to three months (after the date the BCB Chair was notified) to identify another BCB faculty member willing to serve. (In BCB, the co-major professor usually would be the logical choice to replace the major professor; if he or she agrees, a new co-major professor should be appointed.) The BCB Chair will help the student search for a new major professor, if the student desires.

• Academic dishonesty

The proper conduct of science requires the highest standards of personal integrity. Because of this, the University and BCB consider dishonesty in the classroom or in the conduct of research to be a serious offense. Students accused of academic dishonesty will be dealt with according to the procedures outlined in the University Catalog and the Faculty Handbook. Possible punishments can include dismissal from the program and expulsion from the University, depending on the severity of the offense.

Dismissal Procedures

A student’s POS committee – or, if the student has no POS committee, the student’s major professor, temporary advisor, or a member of the BCB Supervisory Committee – can recommend dismissal of a student for any of the reasons listed above. Recommendations for dismissal are made to the BCB Chair and are acted on by the BCB Supervisory Committee.

Procedures for dismissal are as described in the ISU Graduate College Handbook. Before a dismissal is decided, the BCB Chair must give the student a written notice explaining why dismissal is being considered. The BCB Chair must also discuss the situation with the student – as well as with the POS committee, major professor, temporary advisor, and/or Supervisory Committee – in an attempt to find a satisfactory resolution. This discussion constitutes the “informal conference” as described in the Graduate College Handbook. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached and the Supervisory Committee votes to dismiss the student, either party may bring the issue to the attention of the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for a decision. The student may appeal the decision of the Associate Dean, as described in the Graduate College Handbook.

Responsibilities of BCB and the Major Professor

It is the responsibility of BCB to counsel students who are having academic difficulties, to help students search for an acceptable major professor or, if students are unable to overcome these difficulties, to help the students identify and apply to other appropriate degree programs. It is the responsibility of the major professor and his/her department to seek funds for a student’s assistantship and for the conduct of research.

Relationship between Status in BCB and Termination of Financial Support

Although students in BCB are normally supported on graduate assistantships, this is not a requirement for continued participation in BCB. Students not on assistantship will continue to have regular status in the major so long as they remain in good standing and are registered.

Because assistantship support at Iowa State requires that a student be a member of a graduate program, dismissal from BCB requires that assistantship support be terminated unless the student is able to transfer to another graduate program at ISU.

Students with any doubt about their assistantship status should discuss their situation with their major professor, the department or program providing their assistantship support and/or the BCB Chair. For further information on termination of assistantship appointments, see the Graduate College Handbook.

Appeal Process

The University has established appeal processes for student grievances. These vary depending on the nature of the grievance, and are described in the Graduate College Handbook. Generally, these procedures begin with the program chair or the appropriate Department Executive Officer. It is usually best for all parties if a satisfactory resolution can be reached without initiating a formal appeal process. The Associate Dean of the Graduate College is available to consult informally with students and faculty.