Responsibilities of Advisory Committees

Members of an Advisory Committee can do much to enhance the academic experience for a student, allowing the student to take advantage of a range of expertise in the discipline. The specific responsibilities of an effective Advisory Committee are as follows:

  1. Encourage the student's intellectual growth to become a competent contributor to a field of knowledge. In this context, the Advisory Committee must provide constructive criticism and provocative discussion of the student's ideas as the program develops. The Committee should ensure that the student is exposed to a wider range of expertise and ideas than can be provided by the Advisor alone, including directing the student as appropriate to consult with experts outside the Committee.
  2. Be reasonably accessible to the student for consultation and discussion of the student's academic progress and research problems.
  3. Attend regular meetings of the Advisory Committee with the student, normally no less than once per semester.
  4. Develop, with the student's involvement, and formally approve a list of courses that would constitute the program of study, no later than the 20th class day of the second semester. (This program of study is not considered final until also approved by the Department and the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Such approval will not normally be withheld if the proposed program meets the published program requirements.)
  5. In consultation with the Advisor, confirm and approve progress reports every semester.
  6. Formulate a plan of action with the student to address any problems that have been identified as a result of a semester progress review of "Some Concerns" or "Unsatisfactory".
  7. Inform the student of the approximate time it will take for submitted written material to be returned with comments. If the expected time exceeds the normal two-week turnaround, for instance because of absence from campus or an unusually heavy workload, provide the student and the Advisor with an estimate of the time required.
  8. Thoroughly review and comment on drafts of written material. The student should be informed whether or not a research project is complete or a thesis is ready for submission to the final Examination Committee. If additional work is required, feedback should be provided to guide the student to satisfactory completion of the work.
  9. Immediately disclose to the Advisor and the Department Chair any conflict of interest that arises with the student. Conflicts of interest will arise when there are sexual, romantic, or familial ties between the Advisory Committee member and the student or when there are irreconcilable interpersonal conflicts, and in such cases it is expected that the faculty member will withdraw from the Advisory Committee. Conflicts of interest may also arise when the Advisory Committee member or student have a financial interest in the outcome of the research project. In these cases, the decision as to whether withdrawal is appropriate should be made in consultation with the Department Chair and the Advisor.