Dean’s Representative


The Dean’s Representative (DR) is a graduate faculty member who is appointed to a doctoral committee for both the general and final exams.  The DR is normally appointed from an outside, but related field.

The purpose of the DR is to ensure the quality of the student’s education by representing both the Graduate Faculty of the University and the Dean of the Graduate School on general and final exams. On the general exam, the DR ensures that the examination is conducted in a manner consistent with maintaining the quality of the program, and that the student is treated fairly. On the dissertation defense, the DR not only ensures the above, but also ensures that the dissertation research is of an appropriate quality to merit a doctoral degree.

The DR will participate in the examination at a level depending upon his or her interest and knowledge of the discipline. This process benefits the student and the doctoral program, while at the same time allowing the DR the opportunity to observe firsthand how doctoral education is undertaken in other areas of the University.



The appointed DR is a full voting member of the committee with all of the rights and responsibilities of the other committee members. The regular committee members and the graduate student should be made aware of the DR’s role.

There is a large number of exam requests that must be processed each semester, and adequate time must be allowed for the approval of committees, review of the student’s academic record, appointment of the DR, departmental contact with the DR, and time for the DR to receive and review all pertinent documents. It is imperative that requests for general and final exams be submitted to the Graduate School by the appropriate specified date in the academic calendar and no later than three weeks before the scheduled exam date. If an exam request is received in the Graduate School less than three weeks prior to the proposed examination date, that exam will have to be postponed.

After the Graduate School has supplied the department with the DR’s name, it is the responsibility of the department to inform the remaining members of the examination committee. It is also the responsibility of the department to furnish all of the appropriate materials to the DR. The DR should be furnished with a research proposal, objectives, course work information or other pertinent information at least two weeks in advance of the general exam. For a final exam, the DR should receive a copy of the completed dissertation at least two weeks before the date of the defense. Students should make personal or telephone contact with the DR and provide necessary information prior to any exam in order to give the DR background information.

When the date of either examination must be changed, it is the responsibility of the major professor to make sure that another time and place convenient for the entire committee, including the DR is arranged. The Graduate School should then be notified of the new time and place.

When scheduling the final examination, it is the responsibility of the student and major professor to contact all committee members, including the DR that was appointed to the general exam, to ensure an appropriate exam date for the full committee. The DR should appear on the exam request with the designation DR or Dean’s Representative beside the name. If the person who served as the DR for the general exam is no longer at the university, or is on sabbatical, a memo should accompany the student’s exam request indicating that a new DR must be appointed.

Although the DR is not expected to file a report routinely, it is appropriate to report to the Dean of the Graduate School any particularly positive or negative reaction to the examination. This can be done by telephone, letter, email or visit, and is encouraged whenever any member of a graduate committee has comments or concerns.