If the meeting is to be held virtually, it is the student’s responsibility to identify a date and time that the meeting will be held, determine which web-based conferencing system the thesis advisor will use for the meeting and to gain competency in presenting materials using that web-based platform. It is the responsibility of the student’s thesis advisor or other designated thesis committee member to serve as host, invite attendees for the date and time determined by the student, control the virtual meeting platform, and delegate presentation authority to the student. Thesis advisors and students are encouraged to use UW-Madison sponsored web-based conferencing systems.
The thesis advisor serves as chair of all committee meetings besides the Preliminary Exam. For the Preliminary Exam, together with the thesis advisor, the student should establish the chair of the meeting amongst the other committee members and notify that person in advance of the meeting.
After a successful prelim or thesis defense, students must obtain electronic signatures on the warrant from all committee members, which is done through Grad Portal.
Obtaining Electronic Signatures for Warrants:
Importantly, we recommend that faculty members (and NOT students) serve as virtual meeting hosts for two reasons:
- The meeting host could continue the meeting in the absence of the student, for post-meeting committee member huddles. Examples include discussions of progress and recommendations and prelim / thesis defense voting.
- Virtual meetings can be recorded, but only the virtual meeting host (and not participants) has the authority to record meetings. Meeting security is therefore an elevated concern in our new reality.
If a virtual thesis defense is not possible, the seminar is not essential. The student would still submit their thesis to their committee two weeks before the normal defense date. The committee would send questions and comments to the thesis advisor. The student would receive the questions the day of the proposed defense and would then have 48 hours to respond to the questions. After responding, the committee would have two days to ask for clarifications or ask further questions, of which the student would have two days to reply. After this process, they would be asked to sign the warrant electronically (process outlined above).