Progress Report for Regular M. Sc. and Ph. D. Committee Meetings (additional items are to be included in pre-reclassification, pre-qualification, and time-to-completion meetings, see committee meeting descriptions)
The committee meeting progress report should be a maximum of four pages (single-spaced, 12 point uncondensed Times New Roman font, 2 cm margins). The four pages do not include the cover page, title page, 300 word abstract, references, figures, tables, and the summary of achievements. The progress report must be distributed to committee members and the Student Services Assistant at least seven calendar days prior to the committee meeting. The report should contain the following:
- A Supervisory Committee Meeting page (available here).
- Previous committee meeting evaluation.
- A Title Page: Name, Date of Entry into Graduate Program, Project Title, List of Committee Members, Meeting Location, Date and Time.
- A paragraph briefly (300 words or less) summarizing the background and main goals of the research (i.e., an abstract).
- A summary of highlights of progress described at previous committee meetings.
- A summary of the progress made since the last committee meeting. Mention publications that have been submitted, accepted, or are in preparation.
- Figures should be included in the report to make it easier to describe the research. Figures are not included in the page limit.
- A summary of the recommendations or concerns that were made at the last committee meeting and an explanation of how these were addressed (or why they were not addressed).
- A summary of what experiments are planned in the near future (i.e. six months to a year), and what goals remain to be achieved to complete the thesis.
- A summary of achievements since starting graduate school: a list of awards, meeting abstracts, publications (submitted, in press, or published).
- List of References as needed.
- All this must be compiled into a single pdf.
Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in a low mark in the “Quality of Report” section of Committee Meeting Report and may be reflected in your overall score for the meeting and/or entitle supervisory committee members to request a revised report that adheres to these guidelines before the meeting can proceed.
The Chair of the committee is responsible for filling out the Supervisory Committee Evaluation Report. The Chair communicates the committee’s assessment of the student's progress to the student. Other committee members may then elaborate.
The student will be marked in several categories (see below) using a numeric scale between 0 and 100. This scale is aimed at providing a simple, more accurate and easily interpretable evaluation. Committee members are urged to use the full scale and to mark students in relation to other students at the same level. A student with an average performance compared to other students should receive marks in the “Good” range (70-79%).
Categories to be marked
- Background Knowledge: This 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/qualification exams, M.Sc. and Ph.D. defences. Questions should also probe the student’s ability to place their work in a wider context (i.e., “The Big Picture”).
- Understanding of the System: The committee should evaluate the student’s familiarity with the directly relevant literature and experimental techniques.
- Critical Thinking: This includes the ability to independently troubleshoot experiments, design proper experiments including controls, critically evaluate data, and construct sensible hypotheses to explain results.
- Creativity: This refers to the student’s ability to come up with novel ideas, approaches and/or insights into their research. This area may not be easily evaluated for junior students, so could be left blank.
Filling out the Evaluation Report
In order to provide the committee members with an opportunity to freely discuss their options, students must leave the room before the committee completes the evaluation. This is especially important in cases where a student is not doing well. Once sufficient discussion has occurred, the committee will complete the evaluation form. The student is then invited back into the room so that all matters arising (both positive and negative) can be conveyed to the student and the marks fully discussed.
It should be noted that the student's signature on the report does not signify their acceptance of the recommendations of the committee, but only acknowledges that the report has been read. If the student feels that the report does not accurately reflect their situation, they may submit a written response, which is distributed to all committee members and kept in the student's file. Blank Supervisory Committee Evaluation Report forms can be found on the Departmental website.
Students must submit the completed committee meeting evaluation form as a PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org and to every member of their thesis committee within 24 hours after their meeting, including the date and time of their next committee meeting as agreed upon with their committee. The subject line of the email should be: Next Committee Meeting: March 15, 2018 @2 p.m. (or whatever date & time you agreed upon). If the evaluation form is not handed in, then as far as the Department is concerned, the committee meeting never happened.
Lack of Sufficient Progress
If a student’s overall progress in the program is deemed by the supervisory committee as ‘unsatisfactory’ or ‘needing improvement’, they will receive an overall grade of less than 70% on their Supervisory Committee Meeting Evaluation Report. This report must include a specific description of the problems and how the student may improve their performance. A STUDENT RECEIVING AN OVERALL GRADE OF LESS THAN 70% MUST HAVE ANOTHER COMMITTEE MEETING IN LESS THAN 3 MONTHS. If the student does not attain an overall grade of over 70% at this committee meeting, the student may be asked to withdraw from the program. If the student is permitted to stay in the program at this point, strict conditions will be established in consultation with the committee and the Graduate Coordinator to ensure that progress is closely monitored.