Bylaws and Operating Procedures:

Credentials Committee
of the Graduate Council

UT Physics > About Our Department > Information for Faculty > Thesis Research Approval Rules

The Credentials Committee is responsible for procedures that will guide the supervision of dissertation research. The goals are to ensure sound scholarly advice, competent management of the process, high academic standards, and completion of dissertations in a timely manner. To this end the Committee will conduct a review of the credentials of those who will be recommended to the Graduate Council for approval to direct doctoral dissertations In making these recommendations the Committee will follow the procedures outlined below:

1) Tenure-track but untenured faculty are eligible to direct dissertations subject to Departmental approval as indicated by a vote of the tenured faculty, and a letter of support from the Department Head. The letter of support and the results of the vote should be forwarded to the Credentials Committee, which will make a recommendation to the Graduate Council. The Credentials Committee may recommend approval for an unspecified number of students prior to the review for tenure or may limit approval to a specific dissertation project. It will be expected that department heads and senior faculty will mentor new faculty members as they master the art of working with students on their dissertations. Instructors, lecturers, those who have not completed their doctorates, or other non-tenure track instructional faculty may not supervise dissertations.

2) When a faculty member is awarded tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor, or promotion to professor, they will automatically be approved to supervise doctoral research for the next five years.

3) There will be a review of all faculty who seek continued approval to direct in the Spring term of the year in which they undergo cumulative review, or in the case of department heads who may not undergo cumulative review, in the Spring of the year when they would have been scheduled for review. Early in the Spring term departments will be asked to provide seven copies of evidence of continued scholarly activity. This evidence should consist of (a) a list of theses and dissertations supervised since the last review (whether for tenure, promotion or cumulative); (b) a list of peer-reviewed publications since the last review; (c) a list of grants and other external validation or support of creative and scholarly activity; (d) other scholarly evidence that may be relevant to the approval to direct dissertations; and (e) a letter of support for continued approval from the Department Head. The Committee will review this material over the Spring term. The primary criterion for approval will be evidence of externally reviewed and validated scholarly or creative activity.

4) Faculty who are not granted approval for supervision may petition the Dean of Graduate Studies for limited approval to supervise individual dissertations if the Department Head and Department Faculty petition for such limited approval. Petitions should describe the accomplishments of the faculty member as described in the previous paragraph, as well as the special circumstances that would warrant one-time approval.

From time to time the Committee may also consider other matters relating to the process of dissertation supervision.

The Committee will consist of seven members from those colleges that award doctoral degrees. At least one member will be from each of the following Colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, and Human Ecology. The Committee elects a chair annually.


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This page was last updated on November 15, 2001.
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