PhD Supervisory Committees typically consist of 5-members, one of whom is the student’s advisor, who chairs the committee.  The majority of committee members should be tenured-lined Robotics Center faculty (i.e., 3 Robotics faculty members) with the majority of the Robotics faculty being core members (i.e., two Core Robotics faculty members). The committee can be chaired by core or affiliated members of the Robotics Center.  At least one committee member should be external to the Robotics faculty.

The Supervisory Committee must be selected one semester prior to the qualifying exam (summer does not count as a semester). The chair of this committee is the student’s permanent advisor. The committee chair selects the other members of the committee in consultation with the student. The Director of Robotics Studies may make recommendations regarding committee membership. The Supervisory Committee must be approved by the Director of Robotics Studies and the Grad School.

  1. Supervisory Committee Changes 

Supervisory Committees are intended to remain unchanged during the qualifying exams and the PhD student’s career.  In rare circumstances, however, a student’s Supervisory Committee may change due to the student switching advisors, a committee member not being available, or the need for different expertise on the committee, as just a few examples.  The Robotics Coordinator should be informed immediately if changes are imminent or have occurred.  Following are procedures for the qualifying exam in such rare circumstances: 

  1. If the student fails the “written” exam and the Supervisory Committee changes, then the new committee should meet to discuss the results from the first attempt and formulate a strategy for the student’s second attempt.  This may involve an entirely new set of questions from the committee or a reduced set of questions from the committee.   
  1. If the Supervisory Committee changes between the “written” and “oral” component of the qualifying exam and the student passed the “written” exam, the “written” portion of the exam does not need to be retaken.   The student should proceed directly to the “oral component” of the exam in the semester following the “written component” of the exam.  
  1. If the Supervisory Committee changes after “oral component” of the exam, then the Supervisory Committee should meet to discuss ramifications and options: 
  1. In the case of a minor change, such as a new committee member being added, then the committee may request minor changes to the summary of the dissertation proposal.  The revised summary should be signed by the committee. 
  1. In the case of a major change, such as a new advisor and research topic, then the student will typically be required to repeat the dissertation proposal and oral exam.  

Changes to supervisory committee rules:

  • The student will fill out a Change of Committee form in Grad Tracker listing all committee members.
  • The student will clearly indicate which committee member(s) are being replaced by each new member.
  • The student will obtain approval from the chair and the new member(s).
  • The student will notify the replaced committee member(s) that their service is no longer required.

The student will then submit the Change of Committee Form to the Robotics Graduate Coordinator. The Coordinator will input the committee into the electronic records system via CIS. The Director of Robotics Studies and the Graduate School will electronically approve the Committee or return it to the student for correction.

Committee member dismissal rules:

This policy only applies after the PhD proposal defense. Before their PhD proposal or MS defense, the student and Advisor may reform the committee by following the changes to supervisory committee rules above. After the PhD proposal, the student or their PhD Advisor may request to remove and replace a committee member. The request must be submitted to the Director of Robotics Studies in writing and provide a rationale for the requested change.

The Director of Robotics Studies reviews the request and can take one of two actions:

  1. The Director of Robotics Studies accepts the request. The Director informs the committee member to be dismissed, in writing, of the change in the committee. If the committee member does not want to be dismissed, the Director must refer the request to the Core Robotics Faculty (option 2).
  2. The Director of Robotics Studies refers the request to the Core Robotics Faculty. The Core Robotics Faculty reviews the case and makes a recommendation on whether to grant the request. If the request is granted, the Director of Robotics Studies informs the committee member to be dismissed of the Core Robotics Faculty’s decision. If the request is not granted, the Director of Robotics Studies informs the PhD student and Advisor of the Core Robotics Faculty’s decision not to grant the request.

The decision of the Core Robotics Faculty is final. If the removal of the member in question results in a committee consisting of less than 5 members for a PhD committee or 3 members for an MS committee, the student must then add another member to the committee.

A committee member may also request to be removed from a committee. This request is made to the Director of Robotics Studies who will usually grant the request and inform the student and Advisor that a replacement member is needed. If the replacement occurs after a PhD student has defended their proposal, the student must present the proposal information to the new member.