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Doctoral Faculty Membership

Doctoral faculty membership is required to chair doctoral examination or dissertation committees. Membership is granted for a specific department/program; thus, it is possible to have doctoral faculty status in more than one department or program.
Doctoral faculty membership is department/interdisciplinary program dependent and must be renewed every 5 years.
Doctoral faculty nominations originate in individual departments or programs. Refer to the departmental/program policies for criteria and procedures necessary to initiate the nomination process.

General Policies on Doctoral Faculty Membership

The nominee must possess an earned doctorate. Exceptions may be made for cases in which the candidate has demonstrated the equivalent of a doctorate in professional achievement. Petitions for substitution of professional achievement shall require approval by the Dean of the Graduate School, as designated by the Executive Committee of the Graduate Faculty Senate.
During the past 5 years the nominee should have published books, edited chapters, and/or articles in refereed journals that have national reputations; or shown other evidence of scholarly and/or creative activity no less than that established by departmental/program standards. The nominee’s recent participation in directing theses and dissertations, serving on graduate student thesis or dissertation committees, graduate teaching, and other scholarly activities are important considerations.
The nominee must have an ongoing scholarly program.

(Approved by the Graduate Faculty Senate – March 18, 2003)

Doctoral Faculty Nomination & Reappointment Procedures

Based on the “Criteria for Doctoral Faculty Membership” established by the Intercampus Doctoral Council in 1974 and affirmed by the Graduate Faculty Senate in 2002, there is a formal certification procedure for membership in or reappointment to the MU’s doctoral faculty.

Initial Membership: Departmental or program doctoral faculty vote on recommendations for initial membership in the doctoral faculty. These recommendations are subsequently reviewed for conformance to departmental/program and Graduate Faculty Senate standards for doctoral faculty by the Dean of the Graduate School. This review will result in either a recommendation for approval or a denial. In cases where postponement is recommended, the Graduate Faculty Senate Executive Committee will be asked to assist in the review.

Faculty From Departments Without Doctoral Degree Programs: Faculty from departments/units that do not award doctoral degrees can attain doctoral faculty status by petitioning for affiliation with a doctoral degree granting program in a related discipline. Doctoral faculty from the affiliated program will provide the nomination for initial membership and serve as the reviewing body for renewal. In the event that affiliation with an appropriate doctoral degree granting department cannot be made, the Graduate Faculty Senate Executive Committee will serve as the nominating and renewal entity.

Transfer of Doctoral Faculty Status: Doctoral faculty members transferring from any department or campus within the University of Missouri System to the MU campus shall retain and be accorded the full status of their current doctoral faculty appointments.

Procedure for Nominations and Renewals

There is a formal application process for Doctoral Faculty membership and renewal.

Doctoral faculty status must be renewed every five years to ensure that faculty are active scholars in their fields. The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Department Chair/Director should include the following information:

  • Name of the faculty member to be nominated
  • Employee ID number of nominated faculty member (if applicable)
  • Professorial title (if applicable, e.g., assistant professor, associate research professor)
  • Primary academic home department (if applicable)
  • University or organization, if not MU
  • Nominee’s email address
  • Type of membership being sought (i.e., doctoral)
  • Department/program in which status is being sought
  • A current curriculum vitae (PDF); an abbreviated CV that delineates the faculty member’s achievements with respect to the department/program’s criteria can be submitted instead
  • A copy of the approved departmental/program doctoral faculty criteria. The criteria should include when they were  last revised/approved. Faculty should take this opportunity to review criteria for necessary updates or revisions.

In the event of a negative decision, the department/program can request that the application be sent to the Executive Committee of the Graduate Faculty Senate for review and disposition.

Doctoral Faculty Criteria

New or updated doctoral faculty criteria will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School to ensure that it meets the minimum expectations set by the Graduate Faculty Senate.

Creating & Updating Criteria for Doctoral Faculty

All departmental/program doctoral faculty criteria must meet the minimum threshold established in 1974 by the Intercampus Doctoral Council in the General Policies on Doctoral Faculty Membership. It must also conform to the current Graduate Faculty Senate policy, updated in 2003. Below are essential elements and items to consider when creating or changing departmental/unit doctoral faculty criteria.

After department/program faculty vote of to approve criteria, send an electronic copy for consideration by the Dean of the Graduate School to Amy Rhea ( Updated policies should also be included with applications for new and renewed doctoral status.

Essential Elements of the Document

  • Spell out the nomination/renewal procedures to include:
    • Required submission of a summary of relevant activities
    • Process for how recommendations are made by vote of the departmental doctoral faculty
      • Vote: simple majority, two-thirds, unanimous, etc.
  • Include appeal process in event of negative decision at departmental/program level
  • List the criteria to include:
    • Same or different criteria for initial versus renewal appointments
    • Review period (i.e., previous 5 years, unless initial nomination is for a faculty member who has been at MU fewer than 5 years)
    • Membership on the graduate faculty required
    • Earned degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Musical Arts, Doctor of Nursing Practice, or equivalent appropriate to the department/program for which status is sought
      • Note: Petitions for substitution of professional achievement require approval by the Graduate Faculty Senate Executive Committee or its designee (i.e., the Dean of the Graduate School).
    • Applicant shall have recent (within last five years) published books, edited chapters, and/or articles in refereed journals that have national reputations; or shown other evidence of scholarly and/or creative activity. – must give examples of scholarship that are acceptable
    • Participation in directing theses and dissertations, graduate teaching, serving on thesis and/or dissertation committees – must give examples of participation in graduate education that are acceptable

Special Considerations for Affiliated Faculty (i.e., full time MU faculty housed in another academic unit) or Faculty in Interdisciplinary Programs

Typically, all nominations for doctoral faculty are reviewed by the department/unit in which the faculty member has an appointment. However, because of the unique nature of cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary work, departments/units have the option of accepting the doctoral faculty status that a faculty member has obtained in their home department. This alleviates the burden of multiple reviews, on both the reviewing unit and candidate, who has multiple affiliations. Suggested wording is as follows:

  • “In accordance with the Graduate Faculty Senate policy, faculty formally associated with the “Department/Unit Name” who are already appointed members of the doctoral faculty in their home departments are not required to be reviewed again. Instead, the “Department/Unit Name” will notify the Graduate School about all newly affiliated doctoral faculty for records purposes.”