The Dissertation Committee
Ed.D. in Leadership in Urban Schools
THE DISSERTATION COMMITTEE
The student must select no fewer than three and no more than five persons when creating his or her Dissertation Committee. The chair and the second reader must be core or affiliate faculty members in the Doctoral Program in Leadership in Urban Schools. The Dissertation Chair (also called the first reader) is the student’s primary advisor during the entire dissertation process. This means that the student will work closely with the dissertation chair to a) put together an appropriate dissertation committee, b) put together the dissertation proposal, and c) complete the final dissertation itself. While all committee members vote on the dissertation proposal and the dissertation, and all committee members will provide the student with advice based on their expertise, the dissertation chair will orchestrate the process. Therefore, students should look to their dissertation chair as their first line of defense for asking questions and reading preliminary drafts of their materials. The remainder of the committee members will provide content knowledge and/or theoretical or methodological expertise that will contribute to the conceptual and methodological sophistication of the students’ dissertation research.
One of the members (generally the third reader) of the Dissertation Committee must be an external member (also called the Dean’s Representative). The external member may be faculty from another program at UMB or be employed outside the institution. The external member should not have taught a course in which the student was enrolled or have had a prior close academic relationship with the doctoral student. The external member must also hold a terminal degree (doctorate, law degree, etc.) and have experience or knowledge that would make that person qualified to be a contributing member of the Dissertation Committee. The external member may serve as a working member of the Committee from its inception, or may participate only at the latter stages and defense. In either case, the external member is a voting member of the Committee and must sign the Dissertation.
THE DISSERTATION DEFENSE
All members of the Dissertation Committee must tentatively approve a Dissertation and agree that it is time for an examination to occur before a final defense can be scheduled. Several weeks prior to the defense, the UMass community must be publicly informed of the defense. The candidate, the Committee, and any other interested parties attend the defense. Upon the completion of the defense, the Dissertation Committee meets privately to evaluate the Dissertation. The candidate can pass the final oral examination (defense) only with the unanimous approval of all members of the Committee.