Faculty Adviser Information

Information for Faculty Advisers

A Faculty Adviser's support is, apart from a student's own commitment, the most crucial factor in the success of a Special Concentration. Students who elect to pursue an Special Concentration forego the support as well as the constraints of a departmental concentration. The Faculty Adviser, therefore, bears substantial responsibility for their advisee's education. Minimally, a Faculty Adviser must agree to the following:

1. Support the proposal described in the Statement of Purpose and Plan of Study the student has submitted, and, in so doing, agree that the student's undergraduate education will be as (or more) coherent, balanced, and throrough as a departmental concentration.

2. Assume quasi-departmental responsibility for advising the student

a. Tutoring him/her or finding a colleague willing to tutor him/her;
b. Discussing course selections and signing his/her study card each term;
c. Approving changes in his/her Plan of Study;
d. Arranging for two thesis readers, if the student is pursuing honors;
e. * Setting and grading a general examination (see below)
f. Writing letters of recommendation.

Faculty Advisers, in essence, are responsible for overseeing their advisee's progress toward the degree. The petition that was submitted by the student and approved by the Committee on Degrees in Special Concentrations will be sent to the Faculty Adviser if the student's petition is approved. Understanding that specific courses frequently disappear from the course catalogue, your advisee may need to make some course substitutions. These substitutions must be approved by you in writing, either by signing the noted changes on the Plan, or by sending a note directly to the Director of Studies (DS). The student will need both your and the DS' signature on his or her study card each term.

If you will be on leave at any time during your advisee's career, it is important that you let the DS know, and that you arrange for a colleague to assume your responsibilities during your absence. This is particularly important in the student's senior year when he or she may be writing a thesis (honors candidates) and taking the general exam (regular and honors candidates). Each faculty adviser is responsible for finding readers for his or her advisee's thesis, and for writing (or giving, if oral) and evaluating the student's general exam.

Please feel free to contact the DS with any questions you might have about Special Concentrations.

General Examination: All Special Concentrators, both Honors and non-Honors candidates, must take a general examination during their last term in the College. Faculty Advisers to Special Concentrators should have a conversation with their advisee to determine the form of the exam (written or oral) that is deemed most appropriate for the students Special Concentration. The examination is ordinarily based on a reading list of appropriate material reflecting the students concentration courses. (The examination is not a thesis defense.) The administrative details are as follows:

Written exams, composed of questions posed by the Faculty Adviser, are three-hour long exams, ordinarily administered during the first week of reading period in the final term of the students senior year. A copy of the exam questions must be delivered to the Special Concentrations office prior to the date that the exam will be administered. The author of the exam plus one other reader (selected by the Faculty Adviser) do the grading. The Office of Special Concentrations will deliver to the Faculty Adviser two copies of the completed exam, along with a grading sheet, immediately following the students completion of it. Both readers should complete and sign the grading sheet.

Oral exams also should be scheduled during the first week of Reading Period. The oral exam is meant to examine the same material as the written exam (see above). The exam is one hour in length and is conducted by the Faculty Adviser and one other faculty member, selected by the Faculty Adviser. Both examiners should complete and sign the grading sheet.

View the General Exams-student page.