Exception to Graduate School Policy: Graduate Advising Status for Academic Staff

The following is the approved policy for Academic Staff to serve on graduate student advisory or degree committee.

Exception to Graduate School Policy:

Graduate Advising Status for Academic Staff


Accepted by Dean Martin Cadwallader on 8/15/13


The Graduate School encourages opportunities for academic staff to serve in significant roles in the education, training and mentorship of graduate students.  Current policy allows academic staff to play a  formal role on Doctoral/Master’s Committee (sometimes called "Graduate Advisory Committee" or "Degree Committee") membership.  According to established policy:


“The required 5th member of a doctoral committee/final oral examination committee, 4th member of an M.F.A. committee, or 3rd member of a Master’s thesis committee, as well as any additional members, all retain voting rights. They may be from any of the following categories, as approved by the program executive committee (or its equivalent): graduate faculty, faculty from a department without a graduate program, academic staff (including emeritus faculty), visiting faculty, faculty from other institutions, scientists, research associates, and other individuals deemed qualified by the executive committee (or its equivalent).”


Such a member may also serve as co-chair of the committee with a regular member of the Graduate Faculty from the student's program.


However, in exceptional circumstances it may be possible for an academic staff member to serve as the sole advisor of a graduate student and thus the chair of the student’s Doctoral/Master’s Committee. In accordance with FP&P 3.05G,  a graduate program may recommend an experienced academic staff member serve as chair for a specific student’s committee.


Programs making such a request must submit the following materials to the Dean of the Graduate School (c/o the Office of Admissions and Academic Services) for consideration:


  1. A list of all proposed committee members which identifies the academic staff member suggested to chair the committee,
  2. A letter summarizing the rationale for the request which attests to the affirmative vote of the graduate program committee approving the committee composition, and
  3. A current curriculum vitae of the academic staff member.


Submissions must occur at least two weeks prior to any date requiring any action by the Doctoral/Master’s Committee, and should be sought before the academic staff member begins any significant contribution in an advisory capacity The full application must be submitted as a single PDF file attached to an email message.


Criteria for Evaluation

Any member of the academic staff who has achieved all of the following is eligible to serve in the capacity of advisor of a graduate student and chair of the graduate committee;

    1. Employed as an academic staff member of the University of Wisconsin – Madison,
    2. Achieved the terminal degree (e.g. Ph.D. or MFA) of the relevant discipline or equivalent experience;
    3. Demonstrated record of recognized scholarship, creative endeavor, or achievement in practice, and
    4. Experienced in serving as a committee member in the same graduate program for at least three other graduate students.


Process for Review

  1. A graduate program request must be transmitted by the chair/director of the graduate program to the Office of Admissions and Academic Services in the Graduate School.
  2. The request will be transmitted by the Office of Admissions and Academic Services to the relevant Divisional Associate Dean in the Graduate School for review.
  3. The Divisional Associate Dean will supply a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School to approve or deny the request.
  4. The Dean of the Graduate School shall transmit the outcome of the decision to the Office of Admissions and Academic Services.
  5. The Office of Admissions and Academic Services will transmit the outcome to the graduate program and, in the case of a negative decision, assist the program in identifying other possible options.

Keywords:advising, academic staff, exception, committee, 5th member   Doc ID:50373
Owner:Michelle H.Group:VCRGE and Graduate School
Created:2015-04-13 14:47 CDTUpdated:2015-04-13 14:47 CDT
Sites:VCRGE and Graduate School
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