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Committee Service Guidelines


Approval for Committee Service Form (UNM Login Required)


There are three types of student committees – examination, thesis and dissertation; the composition for each is given below:

a) Master’s Exam and/or Thesis Committees: The role of the examination committee is to approve the exam questions, conduct the exam/defense, evaluate the student response and report the results.  Each committee must consist of a minimum of three members approved by Graduate Studies.

  1. Two members must be Category 1 OR one member can be Category 1 and one member may be Category 3 if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.
  2. The chair of the exam committee must be Category 1, 5 or 3, if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.
  3. The third member can be any Category (1-6).
  4. A co-chair can be from any Category (1-6) as long as the other co-chair is a Category 1 or 3 if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.

No more than one voting member can be in Category 4. Departments can impose a more restrictive structure for exam committees.

b) Doctoral and MFA Comprehensive Exam Committees: The role of the examination committee is to approve the exam questions, conduct the exam, evaluate the student response and report the results.  Each committee must consist of a minimum of three members approved by Graduate Studies.

  1. Two members must be Category 1 OR one member can be Category 1 and one member may be Category 3 if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.
  2. The chair of the exam committee must be Category 1, 5 or 3, if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.
  3. The third member can be any Category (1-6).
  4. A co-chair can be from any Category (1-6) as long as the other co-chair is a Category 1 or 3 if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.

No more than one voting member can be in Category 4.  Departments can impose a more restrictive structure for exam committees.

c) Doctoral and MFA Dissertation Committees: The role of the dissertation committee is to supervise a doctoral candidate dissertation activity. (See appropriate sections of the Catalog for additional information.  Each committee must consist of a minimum of four members approved by Graduate Studies; 2 of the 4 members must have Category 1 approval.

  1. Chair must have approval as a Category 1, 5 or 3 if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.
  2. The second member must have approval as Category 1 or 3 if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.
  3. The third member (external/outside) must have approval as Category 2 if selected from the faculty of an institution other than UNM, or Category 1 if a UNM faculty member outside the student’s discipline.
  4. The fourth member can have approval as Category 1-6.
  5. Co-Chair (optional) must have approval as a Category 1-6.

No more than one voting member may be in Category 4.  Departments can impose a more restrictive structure for exam committees.

Guidelines for Approval Request for Committee Service

The Dean of Graduate Studies must approve every Individual who serves on a graduate student committee.  As a rule, the faculty member’s graduate unit/department submits the form for UNM employees as well as for non-UNM faculty members and non-faculty experts.* 

The approval request should be submitted immediately upon formation of an examination, thesis or dissertation committee.  The latest the approval form can be submitted is with the announcement of examination – two weeks before an examination - but this may cause delays with processing of both forms.

There are six categories, each with a specific set of criteria and role on a committee as follows:

  • Category One: UNM tenured or tenure-track faculty or UNM-National Laboratory Professors. Role: chair or a member of any master’s or doctoral committee in any discipline, regardless of the Faculty member’s FTE status.
  • Category Two: Tenured or tenure-track faculty at other institutions. Role: external member on dissertation committee. CV required.
  • Category Three: Individuals (not tenured/tenure track) whose primary employer is UNM and who hold the titles of research professor, research associate professor, research assistant professor; clinician educators with the rank of professor, associate professor assistant professor or faculty hired onto the flex track or “V” category in the School of Medicine. Role: co-chair or member of master’s or dissertation committee; may only chair committees if his/her appointment is within the student’s major.
  • Category Four: Others who are considered experts in the field. Role: voting member of the committee. CV required.
  • Category Five: Emeriti/Emeritae faculty may continue to chair existing committees for up to one calendar year from the date of their retirement if the graduate unit approves.  They may not be appointed chair of any new committees once retired. Role:  Chair, co-chair, or voting member of the committee
  • Category Six:  After the first year of retirement, Emeriti/Emeritae faculty may continue to serve on committees if the graduate unit approves.  Role: Co-Chair or voting member of the committee
  • Emeriti Faculty: The department must notify GS when a faculty member who is chairing a thesis or dissertation committee retires. If the graduate unit approves, Emeriti/Emeritae faculty are allowed to continue to chair existing thesis/dissertation committees for up to one calendar year from the date of their retirement. They may not be appointed chair of any new thesis/dissertation committees once retired, but may serve as co-chair. If the student has not completed his/her thesis/dissertation within one year of the chair’s retirement, the retired faculty member may continue to serve on the committee as a co-chair or member of the committee. The approval is subject to renewal via petition.
  • Faculty Resignations: The department must notify GS when a faculty member serving on a committee in Category 1 or 3 leaves the university for another position. The graduate unit may submit a Committee Service Approval Form for Categories 2 or 4.  The faculty member may serve as co-chair of a student’s committee if the program allows.

*EXCEPTION:  A student’s graduate unit/department may initiate a request for approval for committee service form for UNM School of Medicine faculty.