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How to Choose Faculty Mentors/Dissertation Committee

The choices you make when selecting a dissertation committee can significantly impact your project's success or otherwise. The selection of a committee chairperson is even more critical as they make crucial decisions. It is, therefore, necessary to be thoughtful of who you choose. Each member of the committee has a specific rule to play. This piece discusses the type of people to elect as faculty mentors and the role they play.

Duties of the faculty members

A committee must supervise your final academic project before obtaining your degree. Aside from that, your project should be submitted to the committee, who then decide whether you pass or fail. You should note that until your final project work is approved, you cannot receive a degree. Some of the duties of a dissertation committee include:

  • With your chosen faculty members' help, a student can choose the right topic for academic work.
  • Come with an excellent dissertation proposal
  • Conduct thorough research into the selected topic
  • The advice you at the various stages of your project work to ensure successful completion.
  • Scrutinize and judge the quality of your work.

Duties of the committee chair

A committee chair holds a lot of power throughout the dissertation process. You should therefore choose wisely. Their roles may differ from one university to the other. These however includes

  • Approving your selected topic;
  • Signing committee members;
  • Determining which member to use at each stage of the dissertation project;
  • Approving every line;
  • Deciding if you are prepared to defend the project;
  • Determining if it’s okay to graduate.

There are rules for selecting who serve on a dissertation committee, which may differ from one department to another. In determining your members, consider the following:

  • The level of expertise;
  • Feedback from other students;
  • Accessibility;
  • Personality style;
  • Successes;
  • Attitude toward methodology

It is critical to consider all these before you engage any committee member. Also, when seeking for particular assistance, you can know which member to rely on.

Considering the expertise of the committee in your field of study should never be compromised. This can be a life wire to your entire project. Any wrong choice may result in you having to do your project repeatedly. You can access the competence of members by reading through their publications. They are just like their work outside there. Also, your choice of committee members should be those passionate about your chosen topic.

Having access to your committee is also critical. You wouldn’t want to select professors who are very busy with tonnes of work to do each day. You should choose a committee that has enough time and approachable. Also, it would be best if you considered their availability in terms of professional and personal schedules. Will they be around when needed most?

Getting feedback from former students is another way to access the committee members. Since they’ve worked under them before, they can give a fair judgment about their work ethics and level of supervision.


Before selecting your defense committee members, you should consider their mentoring style, preferred research methodology, and expertise in your field of study. Taking these steps would ensure you have the best of research work.