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Procedure for requesting persons who are not regular MSU faculty to serve on guidance committees

Approval is required for persons who are not regular MSU faculty to serve on graduate student guidance committees and very few person who are not regular MSU faculty have blanket approval to serve on guidance committees. The approval process can be found at: https://grad.msu.edu/non-regular-faculty-committees. These instructions must be followed strictly. To help with the process, here are some additional instructions and comments to help people prepare the packages and form.

  • If a student would like to ask a person who is not a regular MSU faculty to serve on their guidance committees, they or the Chair of the Guidance Committee should first contact the Graduate Program Director to confirm that the person is likely eligible. If you are not sure whether a person is a regular faculty member or not, you can also check with the Graduate Program Director. Also make sure that the committee still meets the membership requirements stipulated in the PA Graduate Handbook. 
  • After confirmation that a person is likely eligible to serve and assuming that that person is willing to serve, the Chair of the Guidance Committee should reach out to the prospective committee member and request the following items. If the person is requested to serve as chair of the guidance committee, the Graduate Program Director will request this information from that person). 
    • A CV - it must include recent relevant scholarship or projects and any service on other graduate committees, teaching graduate courses, or otherwise mentoring graduate students. A publication list is also required.
    • A signed letter from the prospective committee member that states the following (it is best to list each of these items as a specific bullet in the letter).
      • What they understand their role on the committee to be,
      • They agree to serve in this role,
      • They have received and agree to follow MSU's Guidelines for Graduate Student Mentoring and Advising (link provided at: https://grad.msu.edu/non-regular-faculty-committees)
      • Within the past 24 months, they have received/completed and agree to follow the information contained in MSU's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct (RVSM) training materials (links provided at: https://grad.msu.edu/non-regular-faculty-committees - there are two versions, one for people with a MSU NetID and one for people who don't).
  • The Chair of the Guidance Committee (or the Graduate Program Director in case the person is asked is envisioned to serve as Chair of the Guidance Committee) should next complete this form. A preview of this form can be found here. Please note that this form cannot be saved or edited after submission. If you make a mistake or miss information, you will have to redo the whole form. If you prefer, you can prepare the written entries in a word document and send this draft with the materials obtained from the prospective committee member to the Graduate Program Director so they can, as much as possible, review prior to submission of the form. 
  • A  key entry on the form is field 46: "In a few sentences, describe what specific expertise the new committee member will provide and why this expertise is not available from a regular MSU faculty member". It is important to be sufficiently specific in the answer. A general answer stating that the person has relevant expertise is not sufficient - it has to be explained why this expertise is not available from a regular MSU faculty member - examples are: a mentoring relationship, methods expertise, content expertise, community access and experience, and others.
  • If a student is pursuing a dual degree, please make sure that both relevant Graduate Program Directors (Physics and Astronomy and the other Unit) are identified with their correct @msu.edu email address (do not use pa.msu.edu or frib.msu.edu or nscl.msu.edu addresses). It is useful to inform the Graduate Program Director of the other department in advance as well.
  • After submission of the form, it is automatically routed to the Graduate Program Directors, and if approved to the College and Graduate School. You will get messages by email and in Teams (if you use it) about the progress. If you receive a message that the approval was denied, please contact the Graduate Program Director. If denial happens immediately after submission, there was likely a formatting problem with the form.  

Please contact the Graduate Program Director if you have any questions.