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GCAC-702

Professional Doctoral Committee Composition - Professional Doctorate

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Purpose

To define the composition of the Professional Doctoral Committee in guiding the professional doctoral student in scholarly work toward their degree.

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Academic Goal

To ensure that all professional doctoral students receive timely and comprehensive guidance from members of the Graduate Faculty that facilitates progress toward their degree, including meeting the Graduate Council’s Scholarly and Professional Goals for All Graduate Degree Students.

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Scope

All students enrolled in any program of study leading to a professional doctoral degree.

Professional Doctoral Degree Program
An integrated program of study combined with understanding of research literature to support application of knowledge to practice at the highest level, culminating in a project, portfolio, or performance that demonstrates expertise in professional practice. Students successfully completing a professional doctoral degree program are awarded the appropriate doctoral degree; professional doctoral degrees at Penn State include the Doctor of Education (D.Ed.), Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.), Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.), and Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.).
Research Doctoral Degree Program
An integrated program of study combined with investigation of a significant problem, question, or issue in the discipline, culminating in the completion of an original scholarly contribution (in the form of a dissertation) that expands the frontiers of knowledge. Students successfully completing a research doctoral degree program are awarded Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

Policy Statement

  1. Each professional doctoral student shall have an appointed Professional Doctoral Committee to guide their training.
  2. Committee Appointment: A student’s Professional Doctoral Committee shall be nominated to the Graduate School by the student’s major Graduate Program Head as soon as possible after the student has secured an adviser, but in no event later than one semester following the date of the student’s successful completion of the Qualifying Examination unless an alternative timing is approved through the Graduate Council’s curricular review process.
    1. The guiding principle for members of the Committee is the success of the student.
    2. While it is expected that the Graduate Program Head will consult with the student, the student’s adviser, and as appropriate the dual-title and/or minor Graduate Program Head, the Graduate Program Head is responsible for nominating members of the Committee to the Graduate School and ensuring appropriate Committee composition that is in the best interests of the student and the completion of their degree. Committees must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.
    3. The Dean of the Graduate School may appoint one or more members to the Committee in addition to those recommended by the Graduate Program Head.
  3. Minimum Committee Membership: A student’s Committee shall consist at minimum of three members of the Graduate Faculty (see GCAC-101 Graduate Faculty Membership), each of whom shall be in a position to contribute substantially to the student’s education.
  4. Committee Member Roles: Each committee shall have a Committee Chair and include the student’s Professional Doctoral Culminating Experience Adviser. The Committee Chair and Professional Doctoral Culminating Experience Adviser may be one and the same. For students pursuing a graduate minor, the Committee shall include a Minor Field Program Member representing each graduate minor. Committees may also include other participants who are not members of the Graduate Faculty but are otherwise qualified and have particular expertise in the student’s area of study. All Committee Members are expected to participate fully in the affairs of the Committee.
    1. Committee Chair: The Committee Chair shall be a member of the Graduate Faculty and the student’s major Graduate Program. The Committee Chair is responsible for arranging and conducting all Committee Meetings, ensuring that all Graduate Program, Graduate Council, and Graduate School standards and requirements relative to the doctoral degree are met, and that any conditions set by the Committee are fulfilled.
      1. For students pursuing dual-title degrees, either the Committee Chair or a co-Chair must be a Graduate Faculty member of the dual-title program.
    2. Professional Doctoral Culminating Experience Adviser: Each Committee shall include the student’s Professional Doctoral Culminating Experience Adviser. The Professional Doctoral Culminating Experience Adviser is responsible for the day-to-day guidance of the professional doctoral culminating experience, and the student’s academic and professional development.
      1. Where day-to-day guidance is shared by two members of the Graduate Faculty, both may be appointed to the Committee as co-Advisers.
      2. Co-advisers are both jointly and individually responsible for the day-to-day guidance of the student’s academic and professional development.
      3. An Advisor may also serve as the Committee Chair (or co-Chair).
    3. Minor Program Member(s): Committees assigned to students pursuing graduate minors shall include at least one Minor Program Member for each graduate minor. Each graduate minor pursued by a student shall be represented by at least one Minor Program Member who is a member of the Graduate Faculty and a member of that minor graduate program. Minor Program Members are responsible for providing the student and the Committee with information, advice and perspective on student progress in fulfilling the graduate minor requirements in the graduate program they represent.
    4. Special Members: Committees may include Special Members who are not members of the Graduate Faculty but are otherwise qualified and have particular expertise in the area of the student’s professional doctoral culminating experience.
      1. Special Members have the full rights and responsibilities of regular members of the committee.
      2. Special Members do not have to be members of the Graduate Faculty or be affiliated with Penn State.
  5. Annual Review of Committee Membership: It is crucial that all committee members remain actively engaged in the guidance of the student through the completion of their program. The Graduate Program Head of the student’s major program shall review annually each student’s Committee to ensure that all Committee members continue to qualify for service in their designated roles. The Graduate Program Head is responsible for promptly making any necessary changes and informing the Graduate School.
  6. When Committee Members Retire or Become Emeritus
    1. Committee Members who retire or become emeritus may continue to serve for the duration of the student’s program if they were appointed to the Committee in this role prior to retirement, and they have the continuing approval of the student’s Graduate Program Head and the Graduate School. (In the case of students pursuing a dual-title degree, the dual-title Graduate Program Head must also approve.)
    2. As specified in 5 (above) it is the responsibility of the Graduate Program Head to ensure that all Committee members continue to qualify for service in their designated roles. The Graduate Program Head will review the committee membership whenever any committee member retires to ensure that students receive expert faculty guidance through their professional doctoral culminating experience.
  7. When Committee Members Leave the University: Committee Members in any role who leave Penn State for reasons other than retiring or becoming emeritus may maintain their committee appointment for up to two years with the approval of the student's Graduate Program Head and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  8. Other Changes in Committee Membership: If the need for Committee membership change is required, whether at the time of an annual review or otherwise, the student’s major Graduate Program Head will promptly make the necessary changes and notify the director of Graduate Enrollment Services.

Forms

insert_drive_file Committee Appointment/Signature Form (PDF)|(DOC)

Revision History

  • Approved by Graduate Council, Feb. 17, 2021. Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).
    • New policy.
This page was generated on August 17, 2022 at 12:50 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.