Committee Meeting Procedures

  • The student must prepare and distribute to all committee members and the Student Services Assistant a Supervisory Committee Progress Report at least seven calendar days prior to the committee meeting. These reports are kept in the student's file. This report must include a copy of the student's previous Supervisory Committee Evaluation Report.

  • All committee meetings begin with a presentation by the student of his/her experimental progress. This presentation starts with a brief synopsis of the project background, main goals, and key previous findings. The student should expect to be interrupted with many questions during the presentation. The (uninterrupted) length of the presentation should be 20 minutes.

  • Each committee meeting should specifically include at least 15 minutes of questions on general background knowledge relevant to the project. These background questions do not all have to be asked at the same time, but the committee should ensure that this amount of background questioning occurs during the committee meeting.

  • At the end of the committee meeting, the student is asked to leave the room. Committee members then candidly discuss their overall impression of the student’s progress. The student is invited back into the room for discussion and feedback, to provide recommendations, and to review any concerns regarding the project and/or the student.

  • At each committee meeting, a Supervisory Committee Evaluation Report is filled in and marks are assigned for various aspects of the student’s performance in the program. The form must be signed by the student and all committee members. 

  • The committee meeting is chaired by one of the committee members (other than the supervisor) who is responsible for filling out the Supervisory Committee Evaluation Report. The committee chair communicates the committee’s assessment of the student's progress to the student, following which other committee members may elaborate.

  • The total time for a committee meeting, including the oral presentation that is interrupted by questions, and the period of student evaluation and feedback, should not exceed 2 hours.

  • STUDENTS MUST HAND IN THE COMPLETED COMMITTEE MEETING EVALUATION FORM TO THE STUDENT SERVICES ASSISTANT WITHIN ONE BUSINESS DAY OF THE MEETING. If the evaluation form is not handed in, then as far as the Department is concerned, the committee meeting never happened.

On the Report of Student Supervisory Committee Meeting form, the categories to be marked are as follows:

  • Background Knowledge must be specifically tested at each committee meeting with at least 15 min of questioning in this area. Students are expected to have knowledge in areas that are not directly related to their thesis topic, but are relevant to their general research area. Questions should be the same type of background questions that are asked on reclassification exams. Questions should also probe the student’s ability to place their work in a wider context (i.e. “The Big Picture”).

  • In assessing Understanding of the System, the committee should evaluate the student’s familiarity with the directly relevant literature & experimental techniques.  

  • Areas covered by Critical Thinking include ability to independently troubleshoot experiments, design proper experiments including controls, critically evaluate data, & construct sensible hypotheses to explain results.

  • Creativity refers to the student’s ability to come up with novel ideas, approaches &/or insights into their research. This area may not be easily evaluated for junior students, so could be left blank.