Graduate Student Senators are selected as departmental representatives for one of 62 graduate or professional degree programs. Senators represent over 6000 graduate and professional students who have diverse perspectives, values and educational backgrounds. Departmental representation is based on enrollment numbers. Each department is guaranteed one Senate representative, however programs with more than 50 graduate students are allowed two representatives. The Senator selection process for each degree program may vary, but Senators share a common interest and passion for improving the graduate and professional student experience at the University of Tennessee.
The Graduate Student Senate provides a platform for representatives with diverse perspectives to communicate, interact and collaborate. While graduate and professional degree programs result in specialization, platforms that foster connection, such as GSS, are key to maintaining a cohesive graduate student body which has a sense of place and togetherness. Senators find areas of shared passion or difficulties and develop initiatives to enhance the graduate student experience. Senators relay important information discussed during Senate meetings to the graduate and professional students they represent. As a representative for their departments, Senators also voice the opinions of the graduate and professional students within their department during Senate meetings.