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GCAC-703

Professional Doctoral Committee Responsibilities - Professional Doctorate

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Purpose

To define the duties and responsibilities 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 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 programs of study leading to a professional doctoral degree.

Professional Doctoral Culminating Experience
A culminating experience completed at the end of a professional doctoral program that demonstrates the student’s mastery of the discipline and ability to practice the profession at the highest level of accomplishment. The format of the culminating experience will vary by program.
Professional Doctoral Degree Program
An integrated program of study including 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. Primary Responsibility: A doctoral program consists of a combination of courses, seminars, individual study, and scholarship that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of Graduate Council. The primary responsibility of the Professional Doctoral Committee is to guide the broad scholarly development of the professional doctoral student, including direct responsibility for guidance and assessment of the student’s professional doctoral culminating experience and academic progress toward the degree. Professional Doctoral Committee members are appointed based on their skills and expertise with these goals in mind. Specific responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
    1. The Professional Doctoral Committee shall approve the educational program for each individual student beyond the program requirements.
      1. The Professional Doctoral Committee can require additional education, including course work, depending on the student’s background and research plans.
    2. The Professional Doctoral Committee shall approve a written assessment of the student’s progress on an annual basis. This assessment will:
      1. Include a review of any prior annual assessments.
      2. Evaluate progress toward their degree.
      3. Accurately reflect the judgement of all members of the committee, including any minority opinions.
    3. The Professional Doctoral Committee shall administer the student’s Comprehensive Examination and assess the student’s performance on the examination.
    4. The Professional Doctoral Committee shall assess the student’s professional doctoral culminating experience and recommend (or not) its approval to the Graduate School.
    5. The Professional Doctoral Committee shall assess the student’s culminating experience. Depending on the program this may be:
      1. Conduct the student’s Final Oral Examination and assess the student’s performance on the examination, or
      2. Assess the student’s Final D.M.A. Performance.
  2. Annual Assessments: The goal of the annual assessment is to evaluate student progress toward the degree and in meeting the Graduate Council’s Scholarly and Professional Goals for All Graduate Degree Students.
    1. The Professional Doctoral Committee will complete an initial assessment of the student within one semester after its formation (excluding Summer Semester), and annually thereafter.
    2. Annual assessments will include:
      1. Recommendations, as appropriate, to improve the student’s professional doctoral culminating experience and the student’s understanding of the goals, objectives, and methods;
        1. This is separate from evaluation of the student’s performance on the Comprehensive Exam unless additional time and focus are added, as needed, to allow a holistic review of the student’s progress.
      2. Any concerns identified and recommended actions to address the concerns;
      3. The student’s professional development and provide any recommendations as appropriate and that reflect, to the extent possible, the student’s career goals;
      4. Plan any necessary meetings of the committee.
    3. If the student’s program has received approval through the Graduate Council’s curricular review process to establish the Professional Doctoral Committee later than specified in GCAC-702, then the program head or designated academic adviser assumes Professional Doctoral Committee responsibilities as outlined in this policy. The first assessment will take place approximately one year after the Qualifying Examination is passed; the program head or designated academic adviser will provide an assessment of the student at least once annually after that until the student’s Professional Doctoral Committee is formed.
  3. The Professional Doctoral Committee shall meet as necessary to advise the student and the student’s Professional Doctoral Culminating Experience Adviser.
    1. It is strongly recommended and a best practice for the entire Professional Doctoral committee to meet together with the student to conduct the annual assessment. If there is no meeting, it is strongly recommended that the student meet individually with each member, at least annually.
    2. The student or any member of the Professional Doctoral Committee may request a meeting of the Professional Doctoral committee.

Process

  1. Committee Assessment Reports: The Professional Doctoral Committee will review and approve the annual assessment that should include the opinions of all members and need not be unanimous.
    1. The assessment shall include:
      1. The Professional Doctoral Committee’s assessment of the student’s professional doctoral culminating experience and professional development progress, along with any advice the Professional Doctoral Committee may have for the student; such advice may include recommendations for supplemental study, an improvement plan (if necessary), and/or any other advice that would support the student’s progress toward their degree.
      2. Any comments by the student with respect to the report.
      3. The Professional Doctoral Committee’s decision on whether any meetings of the full Committee are to be scheduled (remote participation is acceptable).
    2. The student must acknowledge receipt and understanding of the annual assessment.
  2. The Professional Doctoral Committee Chair shall submit the completed annual assessment, with all approvals, to the major (and as appropriate, dual-title and/or minor) Graduate Program Head.

Revision History

  • Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 11, 2020. Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).
    • New policy.
This page was generated on August 17, 2022 at 1:30 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.