Graduate Faculty Representative


The inclusion of a Graduate Faculty Representative on a student’s advisory committee is based on a model used by a number of major research institutions in the United States. It was a pro-active decision on the part of the UNC Charlotte Graduate Council and the Graduate School at the time doctoral education began at the University to include a Graduate Faculty Representative on all doctoral advisory committees. The purpose of the Graduate Faculty Representative is to, not only protect student rights and uphold University standards and policies, but also to provide all graduate faculty members the opportunity to participate in doctoral education. By including a Graduate Faculty Representative on the advisory committees, graduate faculty members in areas that do not offer the doctoral degree have the opportunity to participate in the doctoral education process.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the Graduate Faculty Representative do?

The exact duties performed by the Graduate Faculty Representative will vary depending upon the procedures utilized by the graduate student’s program. For example, a number of programs add the Graduate Faculty member to the student’s committee at the time of the dissertation proposal. The Graduate Faculty representative will participate in the dissertation proposal defense, the development and review of the dissertation research, and the defense of the dissertation. Other programs will add a Graduate Faculty Representative to the student’s program committee. In these instances, the Graduate Faculty Representative will be involved in evaluating the student’s work throughout the program and will also be a member of the dissertation committee. Regardless of the particular program’s orientation, the Graduate Faculty Representative will have the opportunity to contribute to the committee’s activities on an equal basis with the discipline based faculty members and will have the added responsibilities of upholding University policies and protecting the student’s rights.

2. How do you choose which Graduate Faculty member to ask to serve on a doctoral committee?

Since the Graduate Faculty Representative's major responsibilities are procedural and not content oriented, there are no specific criteria except regular membership on the Graduate Faculty for the appointment to doctoral committees. The Graduate School has endeavored to provide the greatest possible participation from all departments and colleges.

3. Is the Graduate Faculty Representative a voting member of the doctoral student’s advisory committee.

Yes! The Graduate School Representative is a voting member of the doctoral committee and has the same standing on the committee as the members representing the student’s discipline.

4. How is representing the Graduate Faculty on a doctoral student advisory committee factored into my workload and does the faculty member get any "credit" for being involved?

The questions related to faculty workload and credit are best answered by the College, School and/or Department and not the Graduate School. However, it is the position of the Graduate School that when one becomes a Graduate Faculty member, he/she incurs an obligation to participate in graduate education. Serving as a Graduate Faculty Representative to a doctoral advisory committee allows participation at the highest educational level offered by the University. It also provides faculty members in Colleges and Departments that are considering the development of doctoral programs, the opportunity to gain first hand experience that may be useful in developing the written policies and procedures that guide the anticipated doctoral program.

5. How much time is involved with being a Graduate Faculty Representative on a doctoral committee?

It is hard to predict the exact amount of time required since each committee is somewhat unique. The Graduate Faculty Representative’s major responsibilities lie in (1) assuring that the doctoral student is treated fairly and impartially by his or her advisory committee, and (2) assuring that University standards and policies are upheld. However, since the Graduate Faculty Representative is also a full voting member of the Committee, he/she is expected to participate in all of the Committee activities to the extent that his/her background allows.