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Doctoral Committee for PhD/DBA/AvD Students

Effective Date Jun 23, 2008

(Graduate Policy 2.3)

When established, the doctoral committee serves in an advisory capacity throughout the remainder of the doctoral program and is responsible for formally evaluating the progress of the student by means of:

  • administration of the comprehensive examination,
  • review and approval of the dissertation proposal, and
  • administration of the dissertation defense and approval of the dissertation.

In addition, the doctoral committee may be involved in the formulation of the student’s program of study.

Establishment and Composition

(Graduate Policy 2.3.1)

At least 90 days prior to the comprehensive examination, the student selects a major advisor, with the concurrence of the individual selected and the student's academic unit head. The major advisor serves as both research supervisor and chair of the doctoral committee and need not be the same person who served as academic advisor while the student was taking courses, referred to in graduate policy “Program of Study” for doctoral students.

At least 60 days prior to the comprehensive examination, the major advisor formally establishes a doctoral committee for approval/review by:

  • The academic unit head
  • The director of graduate programs

The committee consists of a minimum of four graduate faculty members, at least three of whom, including the major advisor, must be approved for doctoral-level advising. The committee must include:

  • A chair who is a doctoral-level member of the graduate faculty and who normally is the student’s major advisor for the dissertation research
  • At least two full-time graduate faculty members from the student’s home academic unit
  • At least one outside member who must be a full-time member of the graduate faculty and selected from a program that is administratively independent of the student’s and the major advisor’s academic program, i.e., from another department

The primary functions of the outside member(s) are to ensure uniformity of academic standards, ensure fairness to the student and serve as a representative of the dean of the graduate school. The outside member need not have specific expertise in the area of the dissertation, although it is desirable that this member have as much knowledge as feasible of the general subject matter. The outside member cannot be:

  • A relative or spouse of the student, advisor or committee chair, or
  • A dean for committees within his or her college or school.

The appointment of additional committee members is strongly recommended if they have expertise relevant to the area of the dissertation. The additional member(s) may be either full-time or part-time member(s) of the graduate faculty or, with the approval of the dean of the appropriate college or school, non-members of the graduate faculty.

Changes in Committee

(Graduate Policy 2.3.2)

Subsequent to the administration of the comprehensive examination, changes in the composition of the doctoral committee will be permitted only under unusual circumstances. If personal or professional considerations suggest that such action would be in the best interest of the student, committee members or the university, any committee member (including the major advisor) may voluntarily withdraw from the committee by notification in writing to the major advisor, academic unit head and the dean of the appropriate college or school. The student will not be permitted to register for more than one additional semester following withdrawal of a committee member unless a full committee is re-established.

The doctoral committee shall be re-established as follows:

  • The major advisor nominates members of the committee and submits in writing the reconstituted committee for review by the director of graduate programs.
  • The director of graduate programs assures conformance of the re-established committee to graduate policy.
  • The dean of the student’s college or school approves the re-established committee and the major advisor is informed of the approval.

If the major advisor withdraws, the academic unit head will appoint a new major advisor according to the procedure listed above.

The replacement of a member of the doctoral committee for any reason other than voluntary withdrawal will be permitted only after review and approval of a written request of such actions by the dean of the appropriate college or school and the dean of the graduate school. Such requests must originate from the academic unit head.

Committee Member Leaves Florida Tech

(Graduate Policy 2.3.3)

In all cases where a committee member permanently leaves the employ of the university for whatever reason, the appropriate recommendations to reconstitute the committee must be made no later than one term after the term in which the departure occurs.

Major Adviser Leaves Florida Tech but Remains on Committee

(Graduate Policy

In the case of the major advisor permanently leaving the employ of the university for whatever reason, the decision to remain as chair must include consideration of the appropriate related issues such as remote supervision, communications, necessary travel and current progress of the candidate toward completion. If satisfactory resolution to these issues can be found, then a written recommendation can be made by the academic unit head with the approval of the college or school dean and confirmation by the director of graduate programs that the major advisor continue as chair of the doctoral committee.

In those cases where the continuation of the major advisor is not possible, the doctoral committee, the academic unit head and the college or school dean must establish a set of conditions for the replacement of the major advisor with someone who can continue the present research. If a suitable new major advisor to continue the current research effort is not identified, then an attempt will be made to minimize the adverse impact on the student. This resolution should involve the student, the appropriate existing committee members, any potential new major advisors, the academic unit head and the college or school dean.

When the major advisor permanently leaves the institution, the distribution of any intellectual property rights between and among the student or students and the advisor, if appropriate, must be addressed by the major advisor, the applicable committee members, the student, the academic unit head and the dean of the appropriate college or school.

Other Committee Member Leaves Florida Tech but Remains on Committee

(Graduate Policy

In the case of a committee member other than the major advisor who was a full-time Florida Tech faculty member at the time of appointment to the committee and subsequently leaves the employ of the university for whatever reason, continuation of the former faculty member as a member of the committee requires the mutual consent of the:

  • Academic unit head
  • College or school dean
  • Former faculty member
  • Notification of the Office of Graduate Programs

Unless all agree not to change the composition of the committee, the major advisor will have the responsibility of nominating a replacement committee member pursuant to the requirements of the policy above.

Faculty Sabbatical Leave

(Graduate Policy

Faculty who have planned to take sabbatical leaves and are members of doctoral committees are not relieved of responsibility to continue to serve on such committees and participate in dissertation defenses. Faculty should consult with major advisors of students on whose committees they serve to develop a plan for continued participation on such committees. In cases where a major advisor has planned a sabbatical leave, he or she should develop a plan for supervision of his or her students for the duration of the sabbatical and submit this plan for concurrence of the relevant academic unit head and college or school dean.

Dissolution of Committee (Rev. 01/16/03)

(Graduate Policy 2.3.4)

If the five-year statute of limitations expires (as specified in that graduate policy) before the student receives the doctoral degree, the committee is dissolved and must be re-established before the student can re-take the comprehensive examination. The new committee may include such members of the previous committee as wish to continue. Resignations will not be required from those who do not wish to continue or who are not re-appointed.

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