Roles of Graduate Committee Members

Master of Arts/Master of Science

(Biology, English, Environmental Studies, Mathematics – on-campus degree programs)
  1. Chair of Research Paper/Thesis Committee
    • Suggestions from the BSU Graduate Committee for Advisors
    • The Chair may or may not be the same faculty member as the Academic Advisor; however, they may opt to serve as a non-chair committee member.
    • Who may serve as the Chair of a student’s graduate committee?
    • The graduate student must consult with the Chair as to the selection of two non-chair committee members; students are encouraged to select one faculty member outside of the department with expertise in the area of research.
    • Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
      • The Chair will work with the student by evaluating the student’s research proposal and provide constructive feedback towards the successful completion of the student’s Graduate Thesis or Research Paper Proposal. Required paperwork (Form 3 and proposal, once approved) will be provided to the School of Graduate Studies by the graduate student.
      • During the research and development of the Master’s Thesis or Research Paper, the Chair will be available for consultation regarding the direction and progress of the graduate student’s research.
      • The Chair will be responsible to read drafts of the student’s manuscript, and approve the final manuscript of the student’s Master’s Thesis or Research Paper. Required paperwork (Form 5 and final draft of research paper/thesis, once approved) will be provided to the School of Graduate Studies by the graduate student.
      • After the oral defense has occurred, the Chair will evaluate the student’s final oral defense based upon the student’s ability to assess:
        1. Knowledge and skills necessary to conduct research in the discipline area
        2. Ability to evaluate and apply other’s research to issues in the discipline area
        3. Ability to present results of one’s own research orally to other scholars and the lay community
        4. Ability to present results of one’s own research in writing to other scholars and the lay community.
      • If the student’s oral defense is successful, the Chair will provide the Graduate Faculty Representative their vote to “pass” or signify “conditional” passing at the time of the defense.
      • The Chair will complete and return to the Graduate Faculty Representative Appendix A-Graduate Committee Member Assessment.
      • Once the student has met all requirements for any and all revisions as deemed appropriate by the committee at the oral defense, the Chair will sign off on the final thesis or research paper.
    • The Chair/student should become familiar with the Handbook for the Preparation of the Thesis or Research Paper for proper guidelines in the development of proposal/final paper.
    • The Chair/student should become familiar with the designated style manual as determined by the department (i.e. APA, MLA, etc.); if a formatting style guide is used other than what the department designates, it is the student’s responsibility to provide the School of Graduate Studies with guidelines.
    • Consult with the department as to the process of review of proposals/papers. e. some departments require the Chair to work with the graduate student prior to submitting the proposal/paper to the non-chair committee members; other departments have the graduate student work with the Chair and non-chair committee members simultaneously.
  2. Non-chair Committee Members
    • The faculty member may or may not be the student’s Academic Advisor.
    • The primary mission of a non-chair member of a graduate student’s Master’s Thesis/Research Paper committee is to mentor the graduate student and work with other members on his/her committee including the Chair, towards the successful research and defense of the graduate student’s Master’s Thesis or Research Paper.
    • Who may serve as non-chair committee members?
      • Faculty who have successfully gone through the nomination process and have current graduate faculty status.
      • The non-chair committee members must consist of two graduate faculty from the home department; however, students are encouraged to have one member from another department who has expertise in the area being researched (student must consult with their Chair for approval of the appointment).
    • Responsibilities included:
      • After being selected as a member of a student’s graduate committee (in consultation with Chair), the non-chair committee member will work with the student by evaluating the student’s research proposal and provide constructive feedback towards the successful completion of the student’s Graduate Thesis or Research Paper Proposal. Required paperwork (Form 3 and proposal) will be provided to the School of Graduate Studies by the graduate student.
      • During the research and development of the Master’s Thesis or Research Paper, a non-chair committee member will be available for consultation regarding the direction and progress of the graduate student’s research.
      • The non-chair committee member will be responsible to read drafts of the student’s manuscript, and approve the final manuscript of the student’s Master’s Thesis or Research Paper. Required paperwork (Form 5 and final draft of research paper/thesis) will be provided to the School of Graduate Studies by the graduate student.
      • After the oral defense has occurred, the non-chair committee member will evaluate the student’s final oral defense based upon the student’s ability to assess:
        1. Knowledge and skills necessary to conduct research in the discipline area
        2. Ability to evaluate and apply other’s research to issues in the discipline area
        3. Ability to present results of one’s own research orally to other scholars and the lay community
        4. Ability to present results of one’s own research in writing to other scholars and the lay community.
      • If the student’s oral defense is successful, the non-chair committee member will provide the Graduate Faculty Representative their vote to “pass” or signify “conditional” passing at the time of the defense.
      • The non-chair committee member will complete and return to the Graduate Faculty Representative Appendix A-Graduate Committee Member Assessment.
      • Once the student has met all requirements for any and all revisions as deemed appropriate by the committee at the time of the defense, the non-chair committee member will sign off on the final thesis or research paper.
  3. Graduate Faculty Representative (GFR)
    • A Graduate Faculty Representative is a member of the graduate faculty who will be appointed by the Director of the School of Graduate Studies. The purpose of this appointment is to serve as a procedural observer and a non-voting participant at the oral defense. This indicates that the principal duty of the GFR is to ensure that the examination protocol is followed by the examination committee and the student. You will be permitted to ask the candidate questions of a substantive nature, however, the GFR does not have a vote in the final outcome. A majority vote is required for the determination of the examination outcome.
      You will be asked to record the appropriate observations and comments (see 4b below) in the spaces provided on the sheet, sign, and return it to the School of Graduate Studies. An area for any additional comments/remarks is also provided.

      • The School of Graduate Studies will contact faculty directly requesting their assistance in serving in this capacity.
      • Once the graduate faculty representative has been selected a cover letter, along with a copy of the research paper/thesis, will be provided.
      • The student and committee members will be notified via e-mail of the GFR selection and instructed as to how to begin the scheduling of their defense.
      • Once the student has scheduled their defense, the following forms will be provided to the GFR by graduate studies prior to the scheduled exam date:
        • Final Oral Exam Responsibilities: Once the oral defense has been scheduled this form, along with the documents needed for the defense, are provided.
        • Observations and Comments: Once the oral defense has been completed, the GFR will return the completed form to the School of Graduate Studies.
        • Examination Outcome Guidelines: Extra copies are provided for the Chair and Non-chair committee members.
        • Appendix A: Graduate Committee Member Assessment
        • Appendix B: Graduate Representative Assessment
        • Appendix C: Graduate Student Assessment
          NOTE: It is the GFR’s responsibility to insure that all forms are returned to the School of Graduate Studies immediately upon completion of the defense.
  4. Handbook for the Preparation of the Graduate Research Paper/Thesis
  5. APA/MLA Style Manual:  Each graduate student is required to purchase and use the APA Style Manual for proper formatting of the body of the paper. The Front-Matter Pages are mandated by the School of Graduate Studies to be included in each project paper.
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Applied Master’s

(MAT, MBA, MSPED – online degree programs)
  1. Academic Advisor
    • This faculty person will advise you through all coursework requirements and final project.
    • Who may serve as the Academic Advisor?
      • Faculty who have successfully gone through the nomination process and have current graduate faculty status.
      • Faculty as deemed appropriate by the department offering the degree or as outlined in the graduate faculty criteria.
  2. Final Course Instructor
    • The academic advisor may or may not be the same person who teaches the final course.
    • Faculty who have successfully gone through the nomination process and have current graduate faculty status.
    • Will assist the student through the final development of their project along with their Advisor, Non-departmental member, and Field Representative.
  3. Non-departmental member
    • Must have Graduate Faculty Status.
    • Faculty as deemed appropriate by the department offering the degree or as outlined in the graduate faculty criteria.
    • Will assist the student through the final development of their project along with their Advisor, Final Course Instructor, and Field Representative.
  4. Field Representative
    • The Advisor must approve a professional in the field.
    • The student is responsible for securing a current résumé from the field representative or any other documentation as required by the department.
    • Will assist the student through the final development of their project along with their Advisor, Course Instructor, and Non-departmental member.
  5. Applied Master’s Handbook
  6. APA Style Manual: Each graduate student is required to purchase and use the APA Style Manual for proper formatting of the body of the paper. The Front-Matter Pages are mandated by the School of Graduate Studies to be included in each project paper.
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