Chapter 14 – B

Chapter 14B: The Professionally Oriented Master’s Advisory Committee

Professionally oriented master’s degree programs require that each student has an advisor and an advisory committee. During the first semester of enrollment, the chair/director of the major program should, in consultation with the student, appoint an advisor. The advisory committee may be a pre-determined committee (selected by program faculty in consultation with the program chair/director) that is used for an entire cohort, with a pre-determined chair. A student may petition the program chair/director for changes in the predetermined committee composition if there are legitimate reasons for the change (e.g., a conflict of interest). All programs are required to have bylaws that stipulate whether career-track, emeritus, adjoint, or adjunct faculty can be approved as graduate faculty in the program, and whether they can chair, co-chair, or serve on a master’s advisory committee.

Professional master’s advisory committee composition must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • All members of the advisory committee must hold a degree of comparable level to the degree sought by the student (WAC 250-61-100).
  • Each professional master’s advisory committee must include a minimum of three graduate faculty members, with current appointments.
    • The chair of the advisory committee must be graduate faculty in the student’s program.
    • At least one additional member of the advisory committee must also be graduate faculty in the student’s program.
    • The third advisory committee member can be from another program but must be approved as graduate faculty in the faculty member’s home program.
  • If a program is developing bylaws, at least three advisory committee members must be WSU faculty associated with the program. Unless stipulated in Faculty Senate’s Graduate Studies Committee approved bylaws, at least one advisory committee member must be a tenure/tenure-track faculty in the student’s graduate program.
  • Committees may have more than three members; however, all members must meet Graduate School policy and program bylaws and the majority of advisory committee members must be graduate faculty in the student’s program.
  • Individuals who are not WSU faculty may be considered as additional (beyond three) advisory committee members. Such external advisory committee members must hold a degree comparable to that sought by the student and have special knowledge that is particularly important to the student’s proposed program. Examples of such external advisory committee members would include faculty from another university or individuals from an appropriate government, business, or industry organization. Such an individual must be nominated to serve on an advisory committee by the program chair to the dean of the Graduate School, who makes the final decision. A current curriculum vita must be included with the request.

It is imperative to avoid situations that may constitute, or may be construed as, a conflict of interest when forming a graduate student’s advisory committee. Examples include: 1) a new faculty member, who was a WSU graduate student, serving on the advisory committee of a former graduate peer; 2) a faculty member, who is the employer/supervisor of a staff member pursuing a degree, also serving on that staff member’s advisory committee.

The student is responsible for establishing and maintaining an advisory committee. WSU faculty have the right to decline to serve on any specific student’s advisory committee. All advisory committee members and the major department chair/director must sign the Program of Study. Once the Program of Study has been filed with the Graduate School, changes may be made to the advisory committee composition by completing the Committee Change form.

The Graduate School dean has the final approval for all advisory committees. The dean also has the authority to remove a faculty member from a student’s advisory committee after consultation with the program/department chair, the dean of the college, and the provost, when it is in the best interest of the student and the program.



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