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Graduate Student Committee Service

Contents

Introduction

The Graduate College governs policies defining what constitutes a valid committee for graduate students. This document explains those policies and how an individual would qualify to serve on a student’s committee.

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Graduate Committees

The following graduate student committees are subject to the standard policies of the Graduate College.

Doctoral Comprehensive Exam Committees

Per the degree requirement policies for the Doctor of Philosophy

  1. The committee must include a minimum of four members, including at least three regular members.
  2. A special member may serve as the fourth (or fifth) member of the committee. (See section B for definitions of member status.)
  3. Each committee must have a chair. The chair of the committee must be a regular member.
  4. If there are co-chairs of the committee, one must be a regular member, while the second can be either a regular, emeritus, or special  member.
  5. The committee should include at least one member representing the student's minor area of study.

Doctoral Dissertation Committees (Ph.D., DNP, DMA) 

Per the degree requirement policies for the Doctor of Philosophy

  1. The committee must include a minimum of three regular members.
  2. If there are more than three committee members, those beyond the core of three regular members may be regular or special members.
  3. Each committee must have a chair. The chair of the committee must be a regular member.
  4. If there are co-chairs of the committee, one must be a regular member, while the second can be either a regular or special member.

Master’s Thesis Committees

Per the degree requirement policies for Master's Degrees

  1. The committee must include a minimum of three members, including at least two regular members.
  2. A special member may serve as the third member of the committee.
  3. Each committee must have a chair. The chair of the committee must be a regular member.
  4. If there are co-chairs of the committee, one must be a regular member, while the second can be either a regular or special member.

Master’s students who are not completing a thesis are not required to report a committee to the Graduate College, but must still complete the Master’s/Specialist Committee Appointment form in GradPath to confirm their advisor.

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Committee Member Status

Graduate committee members are considered to be either Regular members, Emeritus members, or Special members.

Regular Members

To qualify as a regular member for service on graduate student committees, a person must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Be currently employed by UA in a tenured or tenure-eligible faculty position;
  2. Be approved by the Graduate College as tenure equivalent for committee service;
  3. Have terminated employment in a tenured or tenure-eligible UA faculty position, but remained employed at UA in another position at 0.25 FTE (full-time equivalent) or above; or
  4. Be retired or departed from employment in a tenured or tenure-eligible UA faculty position or position in which tenure equivalency was granted no more than one year ago. 
    The one-year “grace period” for continuation of regular member status is applied on a term basis rather than by exact date. The grace period is considered to extend through the end of the same term one year later than the term in which the employment was terminated.
    E.g. a tenured faculty member who terminates employment during Spring 2015 may serve as a regular member through the end of Spring 2016.

Emeritus Members

  1. Emeritus members are faculty or continuing professionals who retire in good standing after 15 years or more and who have been awarded Emeritus status by the President of the University of Arizona.
  2. During the first year of retirement, Emeritus members may serve as regular members on a graduate student’s committee, including service as sole chair.
  3. After the first full year of retirement, Emeritus members may continue to serve as Regular members of student committees, with the exception of service as the sole chair.
  4. After the first full year of retirement, an Emeritus member may serve as a co-chair (not sole chair) of a graduate student’s committee.  This arrangement permits the Emeritus faculty member to continue as the student’s advisor serving alongside a current UA employee who can be held accountable for all institutional responsibilities as co-chair.
  5. Emeritus faculty who retain an employment status of .25 FTE or above may be considered Regular members without restriction, so they may serve as sole chair of a committee.
  6. Emeritus status may be for life, but every five years the Graduate College will seek confirmation from the scholar that he or she remains willing to serve on graduate committees.

Special Members

  1. A Special member is a person who does not qualify as a Regular or Emeritus member as defined above, but whom a department deems qualified to serve on a committee or committees based on academic qualifications and expertise in relevant subject matter.
  2. A Special member approved by the Graduate College for committee service may serve on a given committee with approval of the department.
  3. Departments may request approval for a special member to serve on a specific student’s committee, or they may request blanket approval for service on all graduate student committees for a period of five years.
  4. Blanket approval may also be requested only for service on master’s committees if the person is not qualified to serve on doctoral committees. Blanket approval granted to a Special member is not restricted to the department making the request.

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Procedure for Requesting Special Member Status

The department (not the student) requests Special member status for an individual to serve on graduate committees. The special member approval request is normally submitted by the department’s Graduate Coordinator, and the request is received and ruled on by the Graduate Student Academic Services office in the Graduate College.

  1. The request is made using the Graduate College Special Member Request form. where the Graduate Coordinator supplies information about the prospective Special member and uploads his or her CV.
  2. The Graduate College approves a person to serve as a special member if he or she is academically qualified to evaluate graduate student work. (Practical experience, skills or credentials are also considered by the Graduate College.)
  3. If someone outside UA is approved as a Special member, the Graduate College creates a record for him/her in UAccess so he/she can be selected in GradPath to be added to student committees.

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Requesting Tenure Equivalency

  1. A request to have someone approved as tenure equivalent for graduate committee service is initiated by the Director of Graduate Studies or Department Head (rather than the Graduate Coordinator).  The DGS or Department Head makes the request to the academic Associate Dean of the college in which the department is housed.  The college Associate Dean must vet the request to ensure the person for whom tenure equivalency is requested meets the following criteria:
    1. The person’s credentials are on a par with our regular tenure-track faculty in that program.
    2. The person holds academic rank.
    3. The person has continuing, paid status at UA.
  2. Once the college Associate Dean has confirmed the person meets these qualifications, he or she sends a memo via e-mail to the Graduate College Associate Dean to request the tenure equivalency approval, with the person’s CV attached. 
  3. If approved by the Graduate College dean as tenure equivalent, the person may serve on any graduate committee as a Regular member, i.e. in the same capacity as a tenured faculty member.

Further information about tenure equivalency criteria and the approval procedure is included in the DGS Toolkit.

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Approval of Graduate Students’ Committees

Every graduate student committee must be reported and approved on the relevant form in GradPath.  The student designates the committee role for each member listed. The roles are Chair, Co-Chair, Member, Special Member and Co-Chair/Special Member.  A committee must be approved by the student’s department and by the Graduate College, with additional approvals required for some committees.  The specific approvers for each type of committee are:

  • Doctoral comprehensive exam committee: Requires approval from the committee chair (or both co-chairs), the DGS for the student’s major department, and the Graduate College.
    [Note that an upcoming change to GradPath will mean the DGS for the student’s declared minor will also need to approve this committee.]
  • Doctoral dissertation committee: Requires approval from the committee chair (or both co-chairs), the Directors of Graduate Studies for both the student’s minor and major departments, and the Graduate College.
    [Note that an upcoming change to GradPath will remove the minor DGS from approval of the dissertation committee.]
  • Master’s thesis committee: Requires approval from the student’s department Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate College.

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Emeritus and Retired UA Faculty

Emeritus or retired UA faculty members may serve on graduate student committees. Their status for committee service depends on the specific circumstances of that faculty member, as outlined in the Regular, Emeritus and Special member information described above. The options, depending on the individual in question, would be:

  1. Continued service as a Regular member if one of the following is true:
    1. The person remains employed by UA (in a non-tenure eligible position) at minimum 0.25 FTE; or
    2. The termination date of the tenured or tenure-eligible position is within the past year (by term rather than date, as explained above);
  2. Service as an Emeritus member, as described above; or
  3. Service as a special member (with approval requested by the department and granted by the Graduate College) in all other cases.  Note that a committee including a retired UA faculty member as a Special member must still have the required number of regular members per the relevant policy.

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Last updated 23 Feb 2017