Best Practices

“Oklahoma State University Guidelines for Best Practices in Graduate Education”

Graduate education at Oklahoma State University (OSU) is aligned with national best practices articulated by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS).  Similar ideas and themes are shared by CGS member institutions across the country.  Through the Graduate College, OSU is committed to promoting excellence in graduate education and providing opportunities for graduate students and graduate faculty to excel in teaching, research and outreach in a manner consistent with its land-grant mission.
       
The Graduate Education Environment
  • Graduate education on the OSU campuses is focused on preparing the next generation of leaders, professionals and scholars, who will contribute to our educational, cultural, economic, and  social environments. In this setting, graduate students are viewed and treated as professionals in the early stages of their career. 

  • Training occurs in the context of disciplinary and interdisciplinary graduate programs that promote academic rigor, creativity, scholarship, and professional and ethical conduct.  

  • Graduate faculty and students share responsibility in maintaining this environment.  It requires the concerted efforts of both parties to cultivate a relationship that is based on professional and  personal integrity, freedom of inquiry, and mutual respect. 

  • Together, graduate programs, graduate faculty and graduate students work in conjunction with the Graduate College to achieve an academic and research environment that promotes  diversity and excellence in graduate education.  

Graduate Students

  • Graduate students work with graduate faculty advisors and advisory committees to devise a plan of study that allows them to develop the expertise needed to excel in their chosen career  field. 

  • Graduate students work toward completion of their degree in a timely manner. 

  • Graduate students conduct themselves in a professional, ethical and mature manner in accordance with the educational goals and regulations of the Graduate College and Oklahoma  State University. Guiding principles include respecting the rights, privileges and property of others. 

  • It is the responsibility of graduate students to be informed of the regulations and policies governing graduate education at OSU.

Graduate Faculty and Advisory Committees

  • Members of the graduate faculty provide the appropriate intellectual guidance and academic rigor required of graduate studies through their roles as teachers, researchers, mentors and  members of student advisory committees. 

  • Graduate faculty foster relationships with graduate students that are professional, supportive and ethical, in accordance with OSU policies and the professional standards of the respective  discipline. 

  • Graduate faculty serve on graduate student advisory committees without regard to religion, race, nationality, disability, gender, or sexual orientation/identity.

  • Graduate faculty provide students with clear guidelines for performance standards and expectations in all courses and required elements of the degree.  To promote mutual  understanding by the faculty and student, these guidelines are provided in writing and discussed.   

  • Following periodic evaluation, graduate faculty offer timely and constructive feedback to students regarding their performance and degree progress. 

Graduate Programs

  • Each graduate program provides written guidelines that give a clear description of the program requirements, the stages of progress, and the process of assessing progress and dealing  with grievances.  

  • Graduate programs provide the appropriate program and academic resources to students that allows for completion of the degree in a timely manner.

  • Graduate programs provide realistic expectations of current and future financial resources available to students and ensure course offerings that support timely degree completion.

  • All programs perform periodic assessment of student progress.

  • To promote high standards and continuous improvement in graduate education, graduate programs are also committed to regular self-assessment. The University supports assessment  of program outcomes and encourages the utilization of external program assessment opportunities.  

  • Graduate programs promote a collegial academic environment in which faculty, staff and students work together with mutual respect, integrity and collaboration. 

Graduate College

  • The Graduate College actively engages in and promotes graduate education best practices.

  • The Graduate College transparently provides oversight of graduate education and works with disciplinary colleges, academic units and graduate programs to ensure the overall quality  and integrity of graduate education on the OSU campuses.  

  • The Graduate College facilitates an intellectual environment in which graduate students and graduate faculty work together to maximize the creation, acquisition, and dissemination of  knowledge.

  • The Graduate College serves as an advocate for graduate students, graduate faculty and graduate education.  

  • The Graduate College respects the system of shared-governance by graduate faculty through the elected body of the Graduate Council.  

  • The Graduate College supports the professional development of graduate students and graduate faculty.  

  • The Graduate College centrally supports graduate student recruitment, admission, matriculation, graduation and placement.

  • The Graduate College stewards and distributes institutional resources that support graduate education.

 

Endorsed by Graduate Council on April 19, 2013.

 

Graduate Education and Graduate Program Organizational Structures and Functions

Conceptually, the overarching organizational structure for the entities that have responsibilities for OSU’s graduate education enterprise is shown below. This diagram and document illustrates the collaborative, team approach necessary to enabling the success of OSU graduate students and Graduate Faculty. It is a companion to the “Best Practices in Graduate Education” and “Best Practices: Advisory Committees and Defenses” endorsed by Graduate Council on April 19, 2013 and August 28, 2015, respectively, that describes the OSU graduate education environment and rights and responsibilities of graduate students, Graduate Faculty, Advisory Committees and the Graduate College.

OSU GRADUATE EDUCATION 

The structure of a graduate program can support and facilitate degree completion, minimize unnecessary time-to-degree delays, improve the graduate student experience and enhance graduate student and faculty interactions, research and scholarly endeavors. This document presents best practices for the local graduate program structure and selection of personnel. It provides overarching guidance with recognition that graduate programs have unique characteristics steeped in the discipline and depend somewhat on program size and complexity of degree options. For the purposes of this document, it is helpful to understand that Oklahoma State University (OSU) graduate programs vary in size from small (6 – 15 graduate students) to medium (15 – 50) to large (50 – 100) to very large (over 100) and complexity (e.g., 6 – 8 options), particularly in umbrella programs. Customization of the graduate program structure will depend on these and other variables mentioned throughout.
 
Graduate Program Faculty
 
Graduate Faculty Mentors and Graduate Advisory Committees composed of Graduate Faculty members are absolutely critical to the success of graduate students, and their responsibilities are detailed in “Best Practices: Advisory Committees and Defenses” (link). Beyond the Mentor and Advisory Committee, there are three distinct entities that oversee graduate education at the program level: the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPCo), the Graduate Program Committee (GPC) and the Graduate Program Staff (GPS). Members of the Graduate Faculty generally serve in the GPCo and GPC roles. The GPCo, GPC and GPS are further supported by Graduate Council (the elected body representing the Graduate Faculty), Graduate Faculty Subject Matter Groups and personnel, such as the associate dean for graduate studies and/or research in the disciplinary college and Graduate College staff. Other administrative units, such as the Library and Institutional Diversity, Research and Student Affairs Divisions, in the University also provide support for graduate education at OSU. 

Graduate Council

The Graduate Council is the elected body representing the Graduate Faculty and was organized on October 26, 1948 replacing the Committee on Higher Degrees with a chair and vice chair elected from each of the Subject Matter Groups.  

Subject Matter Groups

The organization of the Graduate Faculty into common interest groups was initiated by the Graduate School in June 1948 with the naming of five Subject Matter Groups:  Group I –Biological SciencesGroup II – Humanities; Group III –Physical Sciences and TechnologyGroup IV –Social Sciences; and Group V – Education.  A sixth Subject Matter Group, Group VI – Biomedical Sciences, was organized in June 2002. The organization of the Graduate Faculty into such groups appears to be unique to OSU, as many graduate faculties throughout the country use the disciplinary colleges for graduate faculty grouping. The structure at OSU promotes interdisciplinarity and the cross pollination of ideas. 

The Subject Matter Groups set and implement requirements for Group membership; promote excellence in graduate education; elect officers; hold regular meetings; take action on recommendations of the Graduate Council; and initiate action pertaining to graduate education.

Graduate Faculty

According to the Graduate Faculty Bylaws, the Graduate Faculty have the following responsibilities: 

  • Develop policies, procedures and activities to promote excellence in graduate teaching, research and creative activity; 

  •  Recommend and approve candidates for graduate degrees and certificates; 

  • Review and approve the initiation, modification and discontinuation of graduate degree and certificate programs; 

  • Participate in the academic review process of graduate degree and certificate programs; 

  • Set the policies and minimum standards for graduate admissions and completion requirements; 

  • Set and implement minimum requirements for membership in the Graduate Faculty; 

  • Teach all courses eligible for graduate credit at Oklahoma State University; 

  • Advise and mentor graduate students and their research, scholarly and creative activities. 

Graduate Program Personnel

Graduate Program Coordinator (GPCo)

The Graduate Program Coordinator (GPCo) is the most important administrative position in a graduate program. The Graduate Council passed a resolution on October 26, 2009 entitled “Graduate [Program] Coordinator Requirement” that discusses the importance of this position and recommends….

  • Whereas the title of graduate [program] coordinator is assigned by respective heads of departments, schools, or other academic units,  and 

  • Whereas graduate [program] coordinators must work closely with the Graduate College in matters related to recruiting of potential  students, admission processes, matriculation, advising, completion of graduate degree requirements, and other student services for those  enrolled in graduate programs, and 

  • Whereas graduate [program] coordinators are principal persons of contact regarding course actions, curricular actions, plans of study,  degree requirements, graduation clearance requirements, and other academic services, and 

  • Whereas effective service as a graduate [program] coordinator requires a thorough understanding of graduate policies and procedures, as  well as an understanding of curricular development, and 

  • Whereas graduate [program] coordinators must have the status and authority necessary to effectively liaise with faculty, staff and students,  and to effectively implement academic policies at the department level, 

  • Therefore, be it resolved that the Graduate Council recommends that each graduate [program] coordinator at Oklahoma State University  must be a Member of the Graduate Faculty at Oklahoma State University, employed by the academic unit for which they serve as  graduate  coordinator.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the GPCo is a member of the Graduate Faculty. In rare cases approved by the Graduate College, the individual is a professional staff member. In such cases where the graduate program is research based, the staff member typically holds a doctorate. In other cases where it is a large professionally oriented graduate program, the staff member typically reports to a program director or associate dean of the disciplinary college who is a member of the Graduate Faculty. In cases where the GPCo is a staff member, the utilization of a Graduate Program Committee (GPC) is even more important and expected. The aforementioned Resolution outlines the major responsibilities of the GPCo. In addition, the GPCo should actively participate in Graduate College Graduate Coordinator meetings and attend trainings sessions, such as those for new coordinators and on new software for recruitment, admission and matriculation. The GPCo is expected to provide advice to the GPC and work closely with this committee. Depending on the organizational structure, the GPCo may be responsible for the formal leadership of the GPC.

Irrespective of the size of a graduate program, the graduate coordinator should not also be serving as the administrative unit head. When these positions are the same person, this ensures the situation will be evaluated to the next level when there are concerns, and this also undermines the opportunities for the Graduate Faculty to have a voice. The unit head as an impartial third party has an opportunity to work with the affected parties to resolve the issue within the administrative unit. This separation of responsibilities is considered a best practice. 

GPCo Compensation

The vital work and responsibility associated with serving as the GPCo must be recognized. Like the GPC, the percentage of time devoted to the GPCo will largely depend on how well established the graduate program is, whether any major program changes are being considered, the complexity of the program, the size of the program, the staff support for the program, and the program schedule during breaks and summer sessions. There are numerous models that account for the time and effort devoted to these activities. GPCo service can be recognized as a regular and substantial service contribution as part of the normal faculty workload, through course release, through paid summer salary, through a monthly administrative stipend, or a combination thereof. In many graduate programs, particularly the larger and/or complex ones, serving as the GPCo exceeds the normal service load expected in faculty workload models. Like the GPC, the GPCo assignment should be accounted for in the annual faculty A&D evaluation.

Special Note Regarding Untenured Faculty Members. Ideally, the GPCo role and membership on the GPC should be reserved for those who are tenured faculty members. While untenured Graduate Faculty certainly have a stake and interest in the success of the graduate program and its students, the GPCo and GPC have to make difficult and sometimes controversial decisions in the best interest of the program, students and/or faculty. In these cases, untenured faculty members can be put at risk. Prior to the assignment of an untenured faulty member to the GPCo role or portions of the role, the discussion with deans of the Graduate College and involved disciplinary college should occur. Significant care should be exercised prior to having untenured faculty members serve in these roles.

Graduate Program Committee (GPC)

The importance of the Graduate Program Committee (GPC) in facilitating graduate student and Graduate Faculty success cannot be overstated. GPCs are tasked with leading the graduate education efforts in a program, and therefore, should be representative bodies. GPC are responsible for a variety of tasks from recruiting, to admissions, to developing academic metrics (e.g., entrance, qualifying and comprehensive examinations) to overseeing program assessment (e.g., time to degree and degree completion), to degree requirements (e.g., courses, Plans of Study and number of degree credit hours), to determining exception requests, to mediating disagreements. Their work should be guided by University and Graduate College policies and procedures, Graduate Council, Graduate Faculty Subject Matter Groups, Graduate Program Handbooks, graduate education best practices, (inter)disciplinary norms, and the local needs of the students, faculty and program. 

Unilateral decisions by a single individual, such as the GPCo or unit head, on significant graduate education issues, beyond the usual scope of responsibilities, are not desirable and not considered best practices. The GPC provides a shared governance mechanism with the healthy participation of diverse voices, representing varied opinions and ideas. Ideally, the selection of GPC members would involve significant faculty input in the spirit of shared governance. To aid the functioning of the GPC, program bylaws should be developed and used to support consistency of function of the program across time.

GPC Composition

Individuals serving on the GPC must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The GPC may be led by the GPCo, whose responsibilities are outlined below. Irrespective of the organizational structure, the GPCo should be actively involved and work closely with the GPC. In addition to the GPCo, there should be additional committee members representing the unit. In larger and/or complex programs, such as those with numerous degree options, each subdiscipline or program area may have a representative member selected via election, rotation, assignment or volunteer. Ideally, the GPC would have an odd number of voting members. The composition is affected by whether the GPCo is a voting member; therefore, this should be clarified in the graduate program’s governing bylaws and documents. Three to five members is ideal; other sizes tend to be too small to have adequate representation of ideas and opinions or so large as to be unwieldy, undermining participation. An even number of voting members may create an impassable tie in the case of a vote on an issue.

Given the decision making authority that resides in the GPC committee, regular reports to the larger faculty body in the graduate program are critical. In addition, consideration of major program changes, etc. should involve significant input from colleagues and many decisions should come before the graduate program faculty for a vote.

GPC Service

Irrespective of how the GPC is formed, the workload associated with GPC membership should be accounted for as a significant service contribution. The percentage of time devoted to the GPC will largely depend on how well established the graduate program is, whether any major program changes are being considered, the complexity of the program and somewhat on the size of the program. The assignment should be accounted for in the annual Appraisal and Development (A&D) evaluation for program faculty.  In many graduate programs where there is an expectation of the faculty workload including a service assignment, GPC membership would be seen as a major, standing assignment, when the committee is actively engaged throughout the year.

It should also be recognized that there are issues that do come up in the summer that may require the GPC to meet. This is another reason that service assignment should reflect the quality and quantity of work the committee participates in throughout the entire year.

Graduate Program Staff (GPS)

Typically, a graduate program will have professional staff member assigned responsibilities for providing administrative support for the program. Depending on the program size, this may be a full-time staff member or represent a proportion of a staff member’s regular assignment. For larger graduate programs, a full-time graduate program staff (GPS) member is a necessity. Like the GPCo, the GPS is critical to facilitating the success of the graduate students and the program. Depending on the program structure, the GPS may provide direct support for some or all of the aforementioned GPCo responsibilities from recruiting to matriculation to graduation.  In addition, the GPS should actively participate in Graduate College Graduate Coordinator meetings and attend trainings sessions, such as those for new coordinators and on new software for recruitment, admission and matriculation.

Because the GPS provides the organization structure and local graduate program institutional knowledge and memory, the GPS role cannot be understated. Moreover, the GPS is frequently the first and primary contact prospective and current students will have with the graduate program and OSU. The assignment of the GPS should reflect the professional skills, experiences and qualities necessary to be highly effective in this role.

Disciplinary College Graduate Program Staff

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and/or Research

Each disciplinary college has an associate dean assigned responsibilities for graduate education endeavors. While the titles are varied, most are commonly referred to as the Associate Dean for Research (ADR), given the research-intensive nature of graduate degrees. These individuals are the disciplinary college representatives that serve as an internal advisory group to the dean of the Graduate College. As such, the ADRs share in the responsibilities for administrating and communicating graduate education opportunities to the campus communities. For example, ADRs distribute the disciplinary college allocations associated with the Graduate College programs, such as recruiting funds, Top Tier Fellowships, Stipend Enhancement Funding. In addition, many disciplinary college ADRs regularly convene meetings of college-level graduate councils.

 

Endorsed by Graduate Council on April 24, 2015

 

 

Best Practices: Advisory Committees and Defenses
 
This document is to provide guidance aligned with National best practices about the roles of Oklahoma State University Graduate Faculty in their capacity as Advisory Committee Members and about expectations surrounding academic milestones, such as thesis and dissertation defenses. It is a companion to the overarching best practice principles for OSU graduate education endorsed by Graduate Council in 2013 – OSU Graduate Education Best Practices.
 
The Council of Graduate Schools’ Ph.D. Completion Project identified several best practices for promoting graduate student success. Faculty mentoring is a critical element in graduate student satisfaction and degree completion. A common concern among graduate students, who struggle to finish their degree or who have difficulties along the way, is the lack of effective mentoring. In fact, many graduate students do not receive the level of mentoring that they desire or need. Improving the quality of the graduate student experience through effective mentoring is a National best practice that OSU’s graduate programs are encouraged to achieve. This document provides guidance to Graduate Faculty in their roles as Advisory Committee Members for setting expectations for graduate students.
 
 
Master’s Degrees
 
Advisory Committee Member Composition
Upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Coordinator and approval of the Dean of the Graduate College, an Advisory Committee of no fewer than three members of the Graduate Faculty with committee privileges will be appointed. The Chair of the Advisory Committee need not necessarily serve as the student's Advisor, but must hold an OSU faculty appointment, be a member of the Graduate Faculty with master’s committee chairing privileges, and have familiarity with the academic requirements of the graduate degree sought.
 
Graduate students must work collaboratively with their Advisor, Advisory Committee Chair and/or Graduate Program Coordinator to recommend membership for their Advisory Committee. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to successfully complete a graduate degree with an Advisory Committee composition that is not supported by the Advisor. Recommendations for Advisory Committee membership should be based on expertise of the faculty member and his/her ability to positively contribute to the graduate student’s education and not other intangible factors or perceptions.
 
Graduate Advisory Committee Members’ Role and Responsibilities
Advisory Committee members should actively participate in the academic endeavors of graduate students. It is best practice for Advisory Committee members to regularly meet with the student to provide guidance and input. In many programs, the frequency of the meetings will change as the student moves from coursework to the research, creative component or final report phase. Advisory Committee members should be part of the Plan of Study (POS) development and contribute to the required annual evaluation process. In the case of graduate degrees where there are a series of academic milestones, such as seminar presentations, qualifying or comprehensive examinations and defenses, the engagement of the Advisory Committee is imperative at these stages. More specific roles and responsibilities are detailed below for master’s committees. Please note that this does not negate the fact that graduate students are ultimately responsible for degree progress and completion. Graduate students should consult the members of the Advisory Committee frequently and keep them informed on the progress of their work.
 
Master’s Advisory Committee
Upon recommendation of the graduate program and approval of the dean of the Graduate College, an Advisory Committee of no fewer than three voting members of the Graduate Faculty will be appointed. The roles of the Advisory Committee members are Chair, Advisor and Expert Member(s). The general duties of the Advisory Committee include advising the graduate student and assessing the student’s progress as follows:  (1) meeting regularly, (2) assisting with developing the POS as well as its approval and revisions, (3) assisting with the planning, conducting and/or redirecting of the research, (4) supervising the writing of the research document (i.e., thesis, final report, or creative component), (5) conducting the defense of the research document, and (6) approving the final research document. The student and the members of the Advisory Committee should consult regularly to review the progress of the student’s work.
 
Chair: The Chair’s primary responsibility is to monitor the progress of the student toward degree completion. In the case of research degrees, the Chair is commonly the research Advisor, but this is not a requirement. Irrespective of other considerations, the Chair must have a strong familiarity with the academic requirements appropriate to the degree sought. The Chair must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment, typically a tenure-track appointment in the academic unit in which the graduate degree is housed. The Chair’s duties include convening meetings of the Advisory Committee, as appropriate; ensuring compliance with University and Graduate College policies, procedures and requirements; overseeing the POS and research document submission processes; and ensuring that the research topic undertaken is appropriate to satisfy degree requirements with the results openly accessible. The Chair serves as the representative of the Graduate College and ensures a high level of integrity in the processes that the Advisory Committee utilizes to review and evaluate the student throughout the graduate program. If the Chair is not also the Advisor, the Chair should serve as a liaison with the Advisor with regard to progress of research in fulfillment of degree requirements.
 
When the Advisor is not a member of the OSU faculty, the Chair should ensure compliance with applicable research regulations, such as Responsible Conduct of Research training and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements for research involving human subjects. 
 
Advisor: The Advisor’s primary responsibility is as a mentor. As a result, it is expected that the Advisor establish the closest working relationship with the student. As mentioned previously, the Advisor is typically the primary resource for the graduate student in identifying potential committee members for the student’s Advisory Committee. The Advisor may also serve as the Chair of the Advisory Committee. The Advisor must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment, but need not hold an OSU faculty appointment if not serving as Chair. The Advisor guides and counsels the student in the research or scholarly effort, ensuring compliance with applicable research regulations, such as Responsible Conduct of Research training and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements for research involving human subjects. The Advisor is responsible for reporting to the Advisory Committee on the student’s progress. It is the Advisor’s responsibility to mentor the student toward a research, scholarly or creative project that is original and worthy of the degree sought. The Advisor is typically involved in the preparation of scientific or creative presentations, manuscripts for publication, etc. which may be a degree requirement in some graduate programs.
 
Expert Member(s): The Advisory Committee must include at least one Expert Member whose expertise and counsel serve the graduate student in attaining the research, scholarly, creative or professional preparation goal that is worthy of the degree sought. Expert Members must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment. The Graduate Faculty Database is an excellent resource for identifying potential Expert Members. Typically, such individuals are faculty members in the student’s graduate program. An Expert Member’s responsibilities include guiding the research, scholarly or creative activities throughout the process, approving the POS, reviewing draft documents, attending regular meetings of the Advisory Committee, and interacting regularly with Advisory Committee members to facilitate and monitor degree completion progress.
 
Selection of the Potential Advisory Committee: The selection of the potential Advisory Committee members should be a collaborative activity between the student and their Advisor and/or Committee Chair. Although the student has the ultimate responsibility for recommending his/her Advisory Committee membership, his/her Advisor is a valued resource that can provide insight that will help the student make informed decisions. The student should meet with potential Advisory Committee members prior to recommending them to better understand their experience, availability, mentoring style and willingness to serve as an Advisory Committee member.
 
Non-thesis Option
 
The requirements for the non-thesis Master’s degrees vary slightly among graduate programs in which this option is available. The quality of the work expected of the student is identical to that expected for the thesis option. The role of the Advisory Committee is the same as the thesis option and includes the Chair, Advisor and Expert Member(s).  
 
Preparation of the Thesis
The thesis should be prepared according to the Graduate College Thesis/Dissertation Guidelines. Thesis-option master’s students are required to meet the thesis format review deadline by either attending a thesis format workshop or viewing the online version of the workshop by the deadline specified in the Graduate College academic calendar for the semester they intend to graduate. Completion of the workshop requirement at least one semester before they intend to graduate is ideal and recommended. 
The draft thesis that is distributed should include the title/signature page, literature citations and the body of the document (i.e., all chapters from the introduction through the conclusions). The inclusion of the “front matter” (Table of Contents, List of Tables and Figures, Acknowledgments, etc.) is at the discretion of the Advisory Committee, as the pagination of these items may change depending on the necessary edits.
 
Thesis Draft Distribution
With the Advisory Committee Chair’s and/or Advisor’s approval, the defense copies (paper or electronic copies of the thesis draft as preferred by each Advisory Committee member) should be provided to all Advisory Committee members at least two full weeks prior to the defense day. Holidays and breaks when the University is closed should not be counted in this two-week minimum requirement. Ideally, Advisory Committee members should inform the Advisory Committee Chair at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled defense time if they find the document indefensible in its current state. An explanation should be provided about the concerns so that a substantive discussion can occur and appropriate measures can be taken.
 
Thesis Defense
The thesis defense should be publicized within the graduate program at least one week prior to the event, and the Graduate College strongly encourages advance notification for our posting on the College website. The defense should only take place during the standard semesters and sessions (Fall, Spring and Summer). Given Advisory Committee members’ extensive obligations, the defense should be scheduled well in advance to ensure all members will be available and present. The student should bring official copies of the signature pages to the defense for the Advisory Committee Chair. See additional information about Advisory Committee member signatures below.
 
Format: OSU allows each graduate program to choose between two types of general formats for a master’s thesis defense. One has the entire defense open to the public and the other is a two-part process, in which the public presentation is separated from the “examination” portion which is conducted as a closed session. Irrespective of the format, the structure of the defense should be determined by the graduate program and uniformly applied and communicated to graduate students and Advisory Committee members. 
 
Oral Presentation: Most master’s thesis defense have a public presentation, which may range from 15-60 minutes depending on the culture of the graduate program, nature of the work, etc. The Advisory Committee Chair should advise the student on what is expected for the presentation. The presentation is open to the public and should be held in a space that allows others, beyond the Advisory Committee, to attend. In a two-part format, the presentation portion may occur earlier than the defense examination. For example, an oral presentation may be incorporated into a departmental seminar. Separating the public presentation from the examination does not preclude the requirement that Advisory Committee members attend both the public presentation and the examination. Questions from the audience at the public presentation are welcomed and encouraged.
 
Questioning: In a two-part defense format, the examination is a closed session with the student that is generally only attended by the Advisory Committee. In addition to the Advisory Committee, only members of the Graduate Faculty may attend the closed examination portion of the defense without permission of the Graduate Dean. When the public presentation and examination are scheduled together, the exam usually begins after a short break following the public presentation. The exam is generally a series of questions by the Advisory Committee members that are orally answered with communication aids, such as white boards and an occasional PowerPoint slide. 
 
Scheduling: Given the nature of faculty work, it is best to obtain Advisory Committee members’ general availability at the beginning of the term in which the defense will take place. Defenses should be scheduled in such a manner to ensure enough time is allowed for the presentation and examination. The length of the questioning generally does not go beyond two to three hours. If it does extend beyond two hours, a break is expected. It would be highly unusual for the examination portion of the defense to last more than three hours or to extend into another day. 
 
Attendance: All required Advisory Committee members, Chair, Advisor and Expert Member(s), and the graduate student are expected to be physically present at the same location for the thesis defense. However, there may be scheduling challenges due to travel, illness, etc. Technology, such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing, may be used for a physically absent Advisor or Expert Member; the student and Chair must be physically present. In exceedingly rare cases where scheduling is particularly challenging, the Graduate College must approve alternative attendance formats. A change of Advisory Committee member may also be necessary for defenses where a member cannot be available in any format for an extended period of time. In such circumstances, a conversation should occur with the affected committee member prior to selecting a replacement committee member for consideration by the Dean of the Graduate College. A Committee Change Request Form is available for these situations and requires signature approval of all Committee members. Submission of questions via another Advisory Committee member is not an acceptable way to participate in the final thesis defense.
 
Advisory Committee Members’ Signatures
 
There are two aspects of the thesis defense that require signatures – the oral defense and the written thesis. 
 
Oral Defense Outcomes
At the close of the defense after the candidate has been excused, the members of the Advisory Committee should discuss the student’s defense of the research associated with the thesis. There are two possible outcomes of a thesis oral defense: Pass – Student has satisfactorily completed the final defense and Fail – Student has not satisfactorily completed the final defense. Each member of the Advisory Committee must sign under one of the above statements recommending either a satisfactory or unsatisfactory defense. To be a considered a passing thesis defense, the thesis Advisor must vote in the affirmative and no more than one member of the Advisory Committee may cast a dissenting vote on the Oral Defense Results Form. The form must be signed and returned to the Graduate College immediately following the defense, irrespective of the outcome. If the oral defense is judged inadequate, a re-examination decision will be made by the Advisory Committee in accordance with Graduate College and graduate program requirements. Generally, only a single re-examination is permissible. Graduate programs may impose more stringent requirements. The result of the thesis defense does not indicate approval of the thesis document, but only the oral defense of the student’s work. 
 
Thesis Document Outcomes
Ideally, signatures may be obtained at the defense for the thesis signatory pages. If extensive corrections are necessary, the Advisory Committee Chair can hold the signed forms until members have given their approval of the final document. This will prevent the difficulties of obtaining signatures at a later date. However, Advisory Committee members may choose to wait to sign the thesis signature page until after the corrections are deemed satisfactory. To be a considered an approved document, the thesis Advisor must sign the thesis signatory page and no more than one member of the Advisory Committee may decline to sign the signatory page. It is rare not to have all Advisory Committee members’ signatures, indicating approval of the document. 
 
Due to scheduling challenges, “signatures” may not be easily obtained. If another person is signing for an absent Advisory Committee member with his/her written permission and permission of the Advisory Committee Chair, the signature should include clear initials of the individual signing (ABC) for the Advisory Committee member (Jane John Faculty) as follows:
 
 
DOCTORAL DEGREES
 
 
Advisory Committee Member Composition
Upon recommendation of the Graduate Program Coordinator and approval of the dean of the Graduate College, an Advisory Committee of no fewer than four members of the Graduate Faculty with committee privileges will be appointed. The Chair of the Advisory Committee need not necessarily serve as the student's research Advisor, but must hold an OSU faculty appointment, be a member of the Graduate Faculty with doctoral chairing privileges, and have familiarity with the academic requirements of the graduate degree sought. Each doctoral Advisory Committee must have at least one member of the Graduate Faculty from outside the student's graduate program and academic unit, who is named the Outside Member and represents the Graduate College on the Advisory Committee.  
 
Graduate students must work collaboratively with their research Advisor, Advisory Committee Chair and/or Graduate Program Coordinator to recommend membership for their Advisory Committee. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to successfully complete a graduate degree with an Advisory Committee composition that is not supported by the research Advisor. Recommendations for Advisory Committee membership should be based on expertise of the faculty member and his/her ability to positively contribute to the graduate student’s education and not other intangible factors or perceptions.
 
Graduate Advisory Committee Members’ Role and Responsibilities
Advisory Committee members should actively participate in the academic endeavors of graduate students. It is best practice for Advisory Committee members to regularly meet with the student to provide guidance and input. In many programs, the frequency of the meetings will change as the student moves from coursework to the research phase. Advisory Committee members should be part of the Plan of Study (POS) development and contribute to the required annual evaluation process. Because doctoral degrees involve a series of academic milestones, such as seminar presentations, qualifying or comprehensive examinations and defenses, the engagement of the Advisory Committee is imperative. More specific roles and responsibilities are detailed below for doctoral Advisory Committees. Please note that this does not negate the fact that graduate students are ultimately responsible for degree progress and completion. Graduate students should consult the members of the Advisory Committee frequently and keep them informed on the progress of their work.
 
Doctoral Advisory Committee
Upon recommendation of the graduate program and approval of the dean of the Graduate College, an Advisory Committee of no fewer than four voting members of the Graduate Faculty will be appointed. The roles of the Advisory Committee members are Chair, Advisor, Expert Member(s) and Outside Member. The general responsibilities of the Advisory Committee include advising the graduate student and assessing the student’s progress as follows:  (1) meeting regularly, (2) assisting with developing the POS as well as its approval and revisions, (3) preparing and examining the student for candidacy, (4) assisting with the planning, conducting and/or redirecting of the research, (5) supervising the writing of the dissertation, (6) conducting the dissertation defense, and (7) approving the final research document. The student and the members of the Advisory Committee should consult regularly to review the progress of the student’s work.
 
Chair: The Chair’s primary responsibility is to monitor the progress of the student toward the degree completion. The Chair is commonly the research Advisor, but this is not a requirement. Irrespective of other considerations, the Chair must have a strong familiarity with the academic requirements appropriate to the degree sought. The Chair must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment, typically a tenure-track appointment in the academic unit in which the graduate degree is housed. The Chair’s duties include convening meetings of the advisory committee, as appropriate; ensuring compliance with University and Graduate College policies, procedures and requirements; overseeing the POS and dissertation submission processes; and ensuring that the research topic undertaken is appropriate to satisfy degree requirements with the results openly accessible. If the Chair is not also the Advisor, the Chair should serve as a liaison with the Advisor with regard to progress of research in fulfillment of degree requirements.
 
When the Advisor is not a member of the OSU faculty, the Chair should ensure compliance with applicable research regulations, such as Responsible Conduct of Research training and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements for research involving human subjects. 
 
Advisor: The Advisor’s primary responsibility is as a research mentor. As a result, it is expected that the Advisor establish the closest working relationship with the student. The Advisor may also serve as the Chair of the Advisory Committee. The Advisor must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment, but need not hold an OSU faculty appointment. The Advisor guides and counsels the student in the research effort, ensuring compliance with applicable research regulations, such as Responsible Conduct of Research training and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements for research involving human subjects. The Advisor is responsible for reporting to the Advisory Committee on the student’s research progress and hooding the student at commencement. It is the Advisor’s responsibility to mentor the student toward a research project that is original and worthy of the degree sought. The research Advisor is typically involved in the preparation of presentations and manuscripts for publication, which may be a degree requirement in some graduate programs.
 
Expert Member(s): The Advisory Committee must include at least one Expert Member whose expertise and counsel serve the graduate student in attaining the goal of original research that is worthy of the degree sought. Expert Members must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment. The Graduate Faculty Database is an excellent resource for identifying potential Expert Members. Typically, such individuals are faculty members in the student’s graduate program. An Expert Member’s responsibilities include guiding the research throughout the process, reviewing the draft dissertation, participating in examinations per Graduate College and graduate program requirements, attending regular meetings of the Advisory Committee, and interacting regularly with Advisory Committee members to facilitate and monitor degree completion progress.
 
Outside Member: The Advisory Committee must also include one Outside Member who serves as the representative of the Graduate College and ensures a high level of integrity in the processes that the Advisory Committee utilizes to review and evaluate the student throughout the graduate program. The Outside Member must be a member of the OSU faculty and Graduate Faculty. The Graduate Faculty Database is an excellent resource for identifying potential Outside Members. The Outside Member must not be a faculty member from the academic unit or graduate program of either the graduate student, Advisor or the Chair of the Advisory Committee. The Outside Member ensures that appropriate academic standards are applied in evaluating the student, and that the student is dealt with in a fair manner consistent with OSU policies. The Outside member also provides expert advice when appropriate to the student in the conduct of research and writing of the dissertation.
 
Selection of the Potential Advisory Committee: The selection of the potential Advisory Committee members should be a collaborative activity between the student and his/her Advisor and/or Committee Chair. Although the student has the ultimate responsibility for recommending his/her Advisory Committee membership, his/her Advisor is a valued resource that can provide insight that will help the student make informed decisions. The student should meet with potential Advisory Committee members prior to recommending them to better understand their experience, availability, mentoring style and willingness to serve as an Advisor Committee member.
 
Admission to Doctoral Candidacy
Admission to doctoral candidacy marks the transition into the research phase of a doctoral degree and indicates agreement that the student has demonstrated the ability to do acceptable graduate work and that satisfactory progress has been made toward a degree. Consideration for candidacy requires the presentation of a written research proposal for doctoral research to the doctoral Advisory Committee, who will assess the proposal and offer the student pertinent counsel, advice and feedback. The approval of the research proposal by the Advisory Committee is the basic requirement for admission to doctoral candidacy; individual programs will normally impose additional requirements, such as the successful completion of oral and/or written comprehensive or qualifying examinations. These additional requirements may occur in conjunction with the presentation of the research proposal, or they may occur at different times within the course of doctoral study. 
 
Research Proposal
The composition of the required written research proposal for doctoral candidacy is at the discretion of the graduate program. It need not be, and probably should not be, complete chapters of the proposed dissertation, as Advisory Committee input should be sought throughout the development of the dissertation. Requiring complete dissertation chapters moves the doctoral candidacy process to the end of the degree program, which is inconsistent with National best practices. A basic candidacy proposal may include a literature review, definition of the research subject/problem to be examined, preliminary data and outline of the proposed research. The written document should give the Advisory Committee a good understanding of what the student has proposed to do to make an original contribution to the field.
 
Timing
With best practices, time-to-degree, degree completion and student debt in mind, graduate students need to move through their program requirements in a reasonable time frame. Ideally, students would complete the admission to candidacy process by the end of the second to third year in the doctoral program, depending on the expected time to degree for the discipline. This allows the student and institution to make judicious decisions about resource allocation. Graduate programs should set and disseminate their expectations about the amount of time it takes typical students to reach candidacy and obtain degrees. Time-to-candidacy and time-to-degree expectations will support degree completion. 
 
Outcomes
Admission to doctoral candidacy is conferred with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate College acting upon the recommendation of the Advisory Committee and graduate program. It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Advisory Committee to notify the Graduate College when admission to candidacy is granted by submitting the Admission to Doctoral Candidacy Form. To be a considered for admission to doctoral candidacy, the Advisor must vote in the affirmative and no more than one member of the Advisory Committee may cast a dissenting vote on the Admission to Doctoral Candidacy Form.
 
Preparation of the Dissertation
The Dissertation should be prepared according to the Graduate College Thesis/Dissertation Guidelines. Doctoral students are required to meet the thesis format review deadline by either attending a dissertation format workshop or viewing the online version of the workshop by the deadline specified in the Graduate College academic calendar for the semester they intend to graduate. Completion of the workshop requirement at least one semester before they intend to graduate is ideal and recommended. 
The draft dissertation that is distributed should include the title/signature page, literature citations and the body of the document (i.e., all chapters from the introduction through the conclusions). The inclusion of the “front matter” (Table of Contents, List of Tables and Figures, Acknowledgements, etc.) is at the discretion of the Advisory Committee, as the pagination of these items may change depending on the necessary edits.
 
Pre-Defense Meeting
Given the high-stakes of the dissertation defense, it is advisable to have an Advisory Committee meeting a few months (e.g., three months) prior to the intended defense date to identify any major issues that should be addressed prior to the defense. This meeting can include a brief informal presentation by the graduate student of results to date, an update on progress, outline of the dissertation document, etc. The incorporation of a pre-defense meeting is to support and facilitate the success of the student.
 
Dissertation Draft Distribution
With the Advisory Committee Chair and/or research Advisor’s approval, the defense copies (paper or electronic copies of the dissertation draft as preferred by each Advisory Committee member) should be provided to all Advisory Committee members at least two full weeks prior to the defense day. Holidays and breaks when the University is closed should not be counted in this two-week minimum requirement. Ideally, Advisory Committee members should inform the Advisory Committee Chair at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled defense time if they find the document indefensible in its current state. An explanation should be provided about the concerns so that a substantive discussion can occur and appropriate measures can be taken.
 
Dissertation Defense
The dissertation defense should be publicized within the graduate program at least one week prior to the event, and the Graduate College strongly encourages advance notification for our posting on the College website. The defense should take place during the standard semesters and sessions (Fall, Spring and Summer). Given Advisory Committee members’ extensive obligations, the defense should be scheduled well in advance to ensure Advisory Committee members will be available and present. The student should bring official copies of the signature pages to the defense for the Advisory Committee Chair. See additional information about Advisory Committee members’ signatures below.
 
Format: OSU allows each graduate program to choose between two types of general formats for a master’s thesis defense. One has the entire defense open to the public and the other is a two-part process, in which the public presentation is separated from the “examination” portion which is conducted as a closed session. Irrespective of the format, the structure of the defense should be determined by the graduate program and uniformly applied and communicated to graduate students and Advisory Committee members. 
 
Oral Presentation: Most dissertation defenses have a public presentation, which may range from 15-60 minutes depending on the culture of the graduate program, nature of the work, etc. The Advisory Committee Chair should advise the student on what is expected for the public presentation. The oral presentation is open to the public and should be held in a space that allows others, beyond the Advisory Committee, to attend. In the two-part format, the presentation may occur earlier than the defense examination. For example, an oral presentation may be incorporated into a departmental seminar. Separating the public presentation from the examination does not preclude the requirement that Advisory Committee members attend both the public presentations and the examination. Questions from the audience at the public presentation are welcomed and encouraged.
 
Questioning: In the two-part defense format, the examination is a closed session with the student that is generally only attended by the Advisory Committee. In addition to the Advisory Committee, only members of the Graduate Faculty may attend the closed examination portion of the defense without permission of the dean of the Graduate College. When the public presentation and examination are scheduled together, the exam usually begins after a short break following the public presentation. The exam is generally a series of questions by the Advisory Committee members that are orally answered with communication aids, such as white boards and an occasional PowerPoint slide. 
 
Scheduling: Given the nature of faculty work, it is best to obtain Advisory Committee Members’ general availability at the beginning of the term in which the defense will take place. Defenses should be scheduled in such a manner to ensure enough time is allowed for the presentation and examination. The length of the questioning generally does not go beyond two to three hours. If it does extend beyond two hours, a break is expected. It would be highly unusual for the examination portion of the defense to last more than three hours or to extend into another day. 
 
Attendance: All required Advisory Committee members (Chair, Advisor, Expert Member(s) and Outside Member) and the graduate student are expected to be physically present at the same location for the dissertation defense. However, there may be scheduling challenges due to travel. Technology, such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing, may be used for a physically absent Advisor or Expert Member(s); the student, Chair and Outside Member are expected to be physically present. In exceedingly rare cases where scheduling is particularly challenging, the Graduate College must approve alternative attendance formats. A change of Advisory Committee member may also be necessary for defenses where a member cannot be available in any format for an extended period of time. A Committee Change Request Form is available for those circumstances and requires the signature approval of all Committee members. Submission of questions via another Advisory Committee member is not an acceptable way to participate in the final dissertation defense or other Advisory Committee activities.
 
Advisory Committee Members’ Signatures
 
There are two aspects of the dissertation defense that require signatures – the oral defense and the written dissertation. 
 
Oral Defense Outcomes
At the close of the defense, after the candidate has been excused, the members of the Advisory Committee should discuss the student’s defense of the research associated with the dissertation. There are two possible outcomes of a dissertation defense: Pass – Student has satisfactorily completed the final defense and Fail – Student has not satisfactorily completed the final defense. Each member of the Advisory Committee must sign under one of the above statements recommending either a satisfactory or unsatisfactory defense. To be a considered a passing dissertation defense, the dissertation Advisor must vote in the affirmative and no more than one member of the Advisory Committee may cast a dissenting vote on the Oral Defense Results Form. The form must be signed and returned to the Graduate College immediately following the defense, irrespective of the outcome. If the oral defense is judged inadequate, a re-examination decision will be made by the Advisory Committee in accordance with Graduate College and graduate program requirements. Generally, only a single re-examination is permissible. Graduate programs may impose more stringent requirements. The result of the dissertation defense does not indicate approval of the dissertation document, but only the oral defense of the student’s work. 
 
Dissertation Document Outcomes
Ideally, signatures may be obtained at the defense for the dissertation signatory pages. If extensive corrections are necessary, the Advisory Committee Chair can hold the signed forms until members have given their approval of the final document. This will prevent the difficulties of obtaining signatures at a later date. However, Advisory Committee members may choose to wait to sign the dissertation signature page until after the corrections are deemed satisfactory. To be a considered an approved document, the dissertation Advisor must sign the dissertation signatory page and no more than one member of the Advisory Committee may decline to sign the signatory page. It is rare not to have all Advisory Committee members’ signatures, indicating approval of the document. 
 
Due to scheduling challenges, “signatures” may not be easily obtained. If another person is signing for an absent Advisory Committee member with his/her written permission and permission of the Advisory Committee Chair, the signature should include clear initials of the individual signing (ABC) for the Advisory Committee Member (Jane John Faculty) as follows:
 
 
Endorsed by Graduate Council on August 28, 2015; updated January 22, 2016; updated on October 28, 2016
 

Master’s Advisory Committee
Upon recommendation of the graduate program and approval of the dean of the Graduate College, an Advisory Committee of no fewer than three voting members of the Graduate Faculty will be appointed. The roles of the Advisory Committee members are Chair, Advisor and Expert Member(s). The general duties of the Advisory Committee include advising the graduate student and assessing the student’s progress as follows:  (1) meeting regularly, (2) assisting with developing the POS as well as its approval and revisions, (3) assisting with the planning, conducting and/or redirecting of the research, (4) supervising the writing of the research document (i.e., thesis, final report, or creative component), (5) conducting the defense of the research document, and (6) approving the final research document. The student and the members of the Advisory Committee should consult regularly to review the progress of the student’s work.

Chair: The Chair’s primary responsibility is to monitor the progress of the student toward degree completion. In the case of research degrees, the Chair is commonly the research Advisor, but this is not a requirement. Irrespective of other considerations, the Chair must have a strong familiarity with the academic requirements appropriate to the degree sought. The Chair must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment, typically a tenure-track appointment in the academic unit in which the graduate degree is housed. The Chair’s duties include convening meetings of the Advisory Committee, as appropriate; ensuring compliance with University and Graduate College policies, procedures and requirements; overseeing the POS and research document submission processes; and ensuring that the research topic undertaken is appropriate to satisfy degree requirements with the results openly accessible. The Chair serves as the representative of the Graduate College and ensures a high level of integrity in the processes that the Advisory Committee utilizes to review and evaluate the student throughout the graduate program. If the Chair is not also the Advisor, the Chair should serve as a liaison with the Advisor with regard to progress of research in fulfillment of degree requirements.

When the Advisor is not a member of the OSU faculty, the Chair should ensure compliance with applicable research regulations, such as Responsible Conduct of Research training and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements for research involving human subjects.

Advisor: The Advisor’s primary responsibility is as a mentor. As a result, it is expected that the Advisor establish the closest working relationship with the student. As mentioned previously, the Advisor is typically the primary resource for the graduate student in identifying potential committee members for the student’s Advisory Committee. The Advisor may also serve as the Chair of the Advisory Committee. The Advisor must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment, but need not hold an OSU faculty appointment if not serving as Chair. The Advisor guides and counsels the student in the research or scholarly effort, ensuring compliance with applicable research regulations, such as Responsible Conduct of Research training and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements for research involving human subjects. The Advisor is responsible for reporting to the Advisory Committee on the student’s progress. It is the Advisor’s responsibility to mentor the student toward a research, scholarly or creative project that is original and worthy of the degree sought. The Advisor is typically involved in the preparation of scientific or creative presentations, manuscripts for publication, etc. which may be a degree requirement in some graduate programs.

Expert Member(s): The Advisory Committee must include at least one Expert Member whose expertise and counsel serve the graduate student in attaining the research, scholarly, creative or professional preparation goal that is worthy of the degree sought. Expert Members must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment. The Graduate Faculty Database is an excellent resource for identifying potential Expert Members. Typically, such individuals are faculty members in the student’s graduate program. An Expert Member’s responsibilities include guiding the research, scholarly or creative activities throughout the process, approving the POS, reviewing draft documents, attending regular meetings of the Advisory Committee, and interacting regularly with Advisory Committee members to facilitate and monitor degree completion progress.

Selection of the Potential Advisory Committee: The selection of the potential Advisory Committee members should be a collaborative activity between the student and their Advisor and/or Committee Chair. Although the student has the ultimate responsibility for recommending his/her Advisory Committee membership, his/her Advisor is a valued resource that can provide insight that will help the student make informed decisions. The student should meet with potential Advisory Committee members prior to recommending them to better understand their experience, availability, mentoring style and willingness to serve as an Advisory Committee member.

Non-thesis Option: The requirements for the non-thesis Master’s degrees vary slightly among graduate programs in which this option is available. The quality of the work expected of the student is identical to that expected for the thesis option. The role of the Advisory Committee is the same as the thesis option and includes the Chair, Advisor and Expert Member(s).

 

Doctoral Advisory Committee

Upon recommendation of the graduate program and approval of the dean of the Graduate College, an Advisory Committee of no fewer than four voting members of the Graduate Faculty will be appointed. The roles of the Advisory Committee members are Chair, Advisor, Expert Member(s) and Outside Member. The general responsibilities of the Advisory Committee include advising the graduate student and assessing the student’s progress as follows:  (1) meeting regularly, (2) assisting with developing the POS as well as its approval and revisions, (3) preparing and examining the student for candidacy, (4) assisting with the planning, conducting and/or redirecting of the research, (5) supervising the writing of the dissertation, (6) conducting the dissertation defense, and (7) approving the final research document. The student and the members of the Advisory Committee should consult regularly to review the progress of the student’s work.

Chair: The Chair’s primary responsibility is to monitor the progress of the student toward the degree completion. The Chair is commonly the research Advisor, but this is not a requirement. Irrespective of other considerations, the Chair must have a strong familiarity with the academic requirements appropriate to the degree sought. The Chair must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment, typically a tenure-track appointment in the academic unit in which the graduate degree is housed. The Chair’s duties include convening meetings of the advisory committee, as appropriate; ensuring compliance with University and Graduate College policies, procedures and requirements; overseeing the POS and dissertation submission processes; and ensuring that the research topic undertaken is appropriate to satisfy degree requirements with the results openly accessible. If the Chair is not also the Advisor, the Chair should serve as a liaison with the Advisor with regard to progress of research in fulfillment of degree requirements.

When the Advisor is not a member of the OSU faculty (or always??), the Chair should ensure compliance with applicable research regulations, such as Responsible Conduct of Research training and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements for research involving human subjects.

Advisor: The Advisor’s primary responsibility is as a research mentor. As a result, it is expected that the Advisor establish the closest working relationship with the student. The Advisor may also serve as the Chair of the Advisory Committee. The Advisor must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment, but need not hold an OSU faculty appointment. The Advisor guides and counsels the student in the research effort, ensuring compliance with applicable research regulations, such as Responsible Conduct of Research training and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements for research involving human subjects. The Advisor is responsible for reporting to the Advisory Committee on the student’s research progress and hooding the student at commencement. It is the Advisor’s responsibility to mentor the student toward a research project that is original and worthy of the degree sought. The research Advisor is typically involved in the preparation of presentations and manuscripts for publication, which may be a degree requirement in some graduate programs.

Expert Member(s): The Advisory Committee must include at least one Expert Member whose expertise and counsel serve the graduate student in attaining the goal of original research that is worthy of the degree sought. Expert Members must hold an appropriate OSU Graduate Faculty appointment. The Graduate Faculty Database is an excellent resource for identifying potential Expert Members. Typically, such individuals are faculty members in the student’s graduate program. An Expert Member’s responsibilities include guiding the research throughout the process, reviewing the draft dissertation, participating in examinations per Graduate College and graduate program requirements, attending regular meetings of the Advisory Committee, and interacting regularly with Advisory Committee members to facilitate and monitor degree completion progress.

Outside Member: The Advisory Committee must also include one Outside Member who serves as the representative of the Graduate College and ensures a high level of integrity in the processes that the Advisory Committee utilizes to review and evaluate the student throughout the graduate program. The Outside Member must be a member of the OSU faculty and Graduate Faculty. The Graduate Faculty Database is an excellent resource for identifying potential Outside Members. The Outside Member must not be a faculty member from the academic unit or graduate program of either the graduate student, Advisor or the Chair of the Advisory Committee. The Outside Member ensures that appropriate academic standards are applied in evaluating the student, and that the student is dealt with in a fair manner consistent with OSU policies. The Outside member also provides expert advice when appropriate to the student in the conduct of research and writing of the dissertation.

Selection of the Potential Advisory Committee: The selection of the potential Advisory Committee members should be a collaborative activity between the student and his/her Advisor and/or Committee Chair. Although the student has the ultimate responsibility for recommending his/her Advisory Committee membership, his/her Advisor is a valued resource that can provide insight that will help the student make informed decisions. The student should meet with potential Advisory Committee members prior to recommending them to better understand their experience, availability, mentoring style and willingness to serve as an Advisor Committee member.

 

 

Updated and Endorsed by Graduate Council on August 28, 2015; updated on January 22, 2016