The Criminology, Law and Society department at George Mason University requires an annual Student Activity Report (SAR) for doctoral students. One purpose of the SAR is for the department to better track students’ progress and their accomplishments. Other purposes are that the SAR is an excellent mechanism for students to track their own progress, prepare them for their next position, and to provide normative expectations for students in the George Mason CLS doctoral program. Every year the faculty complete a similar (but more detailed) Faculty Activity Report, which has been essential to meeting the goals we set for ourselves.
The annual reporting period for the SAR is from June 1 to May 31. The SAR survey, which is completed online, is open from June 1 to August 1, and is due by August 1 every year. PhD students are also required to submit their CV and completed worksheet to the Director of Graduate Programs, along with their completed SAR.
Minor revisions are typically made to the annual SAR, based on student feedback. The SAR typically asks about degree progress (where the student is in the program; e.g., taking courses, working on dissertation proposal, etc.); conference attendance and presentations; publications and grant/awards submitted; teaching and service-related activities; and department/University events attended. Students also have the opportunity to share challenges they faced and their plans for the upcoming year.
The Student Performance Committee (comprised of three graduate CLS faculty members) reviews submitted SARs and provides brief feedback to students. Students are assessed as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. Students who do not submit their SAR are automatically assessed as Unsatisfactory. An Unsatisfactory has implications for students, such as possible denials of timeline extension support requests, receipt of departmental funding, etc.