Graduate Faculty Representative

The Graduate Faculty Representative (GFR) is a member of the doctoral student’s advisory committee who is recommended by the advisor and appointed by the Graduate School.   The GFR is responsible for assuring the student is treated fairly and impartially by his or her advisory committee, and that University standards and policies are upheld. To qualify as a GFR, a candidate should: 

  • Hold tenure and a regular graduate faculty membership
  • Have served on a dissertation committee prior to this appointment
  • Come from a department different than the student and chair

The faculty member may also participate in the development and evaluation of the student’s research and should participate in the formation of the student’s dissertation topic and in the final dissertation examination.

For more information, check Degree Requirements and Academic Policy in the University Catalog.   

Frequently asked questions

1. What does the Graduate Faculty Representative do?

The exact duties of the GFR will vary depending upon the procedures utilized by the graduate student’s program. For example, some programs will add a GFR to the student’s program committee. In these instances, the GFR will be involved in evaluating the student’s work throughout the program as well as serve as a member of the dissertation committee. A number of other programs add the graduate faculty member to the student’s committee just prior to the dissertation proposal. The GFR will participate in the dissertation proposal defense, the development and review of the dissertation research, and the defense of the dissertation. Regardless of the particular program’s orientation, the GFR 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. Is the Graduate Faculty Representative a voting member of the doctoral student’s advisory committee?

Yes. The GFR is a voting member of the Doctoral Committee and has the same standing on the Committee as the members representing the student’s discipline.

3. Does the faculty member receive any credit for being involved?

Credit for participation as a faculty representative is determined by the college, school and/or department. However, accepting a role as graduate faculty comes with the obligation to participate in graduate education. Serving as a GFR to a doctoral advisory committee allows participation at the highest educational level offered by the University. 

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

The amount of time invested in the faculty representative role is determined by the level of interest and commitment of the individual. The GFR’s primary responsibilities are assuring that the doctoral student is treated fairly and impartially by his or her advisory committee and that University standards and policies are upheld. However, since the GFR is also a full voting member of the committee, they are expected to participate in all of the committee activities to the extent that their background allows.