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Dissertation Committee: Roles, Functions, and How to Choose

The path to a dissertation is filled with choices that determine the quality of your experience as a student as well as the future strength of your professional network. 

Choosing your dissertation committee is one of the most important decisions–and one of the most fraught–that you’ll make as a graduate student. With the stakes being so high, many doctoral students worry about making a misstep and getting it wrong. 

Fear not! Putting together your dissertation committee becomes easier once you know the right questions to ask: of potential committee members, of your dissertation chair, and of yourself. While forming your dissertation committee can be challenging, striking the right balance will lead to a richly rewarding academic experience that will pay dividends throughout your career. Do your homework, and you’ll be just fine. 

Dissertation Committee Questions

  • What does a dissertation committee do?
  • Who serves on your dissertation committee?
  • How do you choose dissertation committee members?
  • What can you expect from your dissertation committee? 

What Does a Dissertation Committee Do?

The basic function of your dissertation committee, which typically consists of five members, is to guide you through the process of proposing, writing, and revising your dissertation.  

Dissertation committee members serve in a mentoring capacity, offering constructive feedback on your writing and research, as well as guiding your revision efforts. They are also the gatekeepers of the ivory tower, and the ultimate judges of whether or not your dissertation passes muster. 

The dissertation committee is usually formed once your academic coursework is completed. It is not uncommon in the humanities and social sciences for dissertation committee members to also write and evaluate qualifying exams, and of course serve as faculty. By the time you begin working on your dissertation, you may know the faculty members who will serve on your dissertation committee quite well. 

Dissertation Committee Member Mentoring Student

Who Serves on Your Dissertation Committee? 

To a degree, who serves on your dissertation committee is up to you. Dissertation committees usually consist mostly of faculty members from the doctoral student’s home department, though this can vary due to the rise of interdisciplinary programs. 

Some universities also allow an outside expert–a former professor or academic mentor from another university–to serve on your committee. It’s advisable to choose faculty members who know you and who are familiar with your work. 

While it’s a good idea to have a mix of faculty members, it’s also important to be mindful about the roles they can play. For instance, I always advise graduate students working in quantitative fields to have a statistician on their committee. When there’s big data to crunch, it never hurts to have a stats expert in your corner. You’ll also want at least one faculty member–besides your chair–whose research is in the same relative area as yours, or adjacent to it. 

How to Choose Dissertation Committee Members

Think Carefully. It’s tempting to approach a faculty member who is a superstar in their field (if not, necessarily, in yours) to lend a little extra sparkle to your own academic credentials. Or perhaps the kindly professor you can always count on for an easy A. Or even the faculty member you’d like to be friends with after graduate school. Right? 

Not so fast. Here are some things to keep in mind when building your dissertation committee dream team: 

  • Avoid Superstars. Though the prospect of having your department’s most eminent name on your committee sounds exciting, their star power comes with a price. Between guest lectures, books, keynotes, and conference travel, their time is not their own, and it won’t be yours, either. Choose dissertation committee members who have time for you. 
  • Choose faculty members you know, like, and can learn from. It’s not a bad idea to approach a professor whose coursework challenged you. One of the professors who served on my committee was such an exacting grader that my term papers for her courses were accepted for publication without revision (academia’s most coveted mythical creature). 
  • Keep your eyes on the future. Members of your dissertation committee can be your mentors, co-authors, and research collaborators throughout your career. Choose them wisely. 

Forming Your Dissertation Committee

Asking a professor to be on a dissertation committee

Reaching out to potential dissertation committee members and formally asking them to serve on your dissertation committee can be a surprisingly taxing process. It takes some planning, and you’ll want to put some thought into it before making the big ask. While being asked to serve on a dissertation committee won’t come as a surprise to most faculty–they know the drill–these are some considerations to know going in:

  • Talk to your advisor before approaching anyone to be on your committee. Remember, your advisor knows their colleagues in a way that you don’t, and is also aware of departmental politics, potential personality conflicts, and which faculty members are a good fit on a dissertation committee. Trust your advisor’s judgement. 
  • Know what you’re asking. Serving on a dissertation committee is a big time commitment for any faculty member. If they say yes to being on your committee, it means they are invested in you and your research, and they want to play a role in your future. It doesn’t hurt to send a thank-you note. 
  • Don’t sweat it if they say no. It does not reflect on you as a student or a scholar. A good faculty member is aware of their limitations, and they probably just don’t have the time or bandwidth to take on another big commitment. Thank them and move on. 


Once your dissertation committee is formed, it’s time to get down to business. As a faculty member, I love serving on dissertation committees because doing so gives me the chance to work with grad students one on one as they journey into new frontiers and carve a place for themselves in academia. It is a deep, rich learning experience, and it’s thrilling to watch students transform into scholars. 

Even though researching and writing a dissertation is the most challenging work you’ll ever do, recognize this time for the opportunity it truly represents. In your dissertation committee, you have a panel of experts all to yourself, and they’re eager to help you knock your dissertation out of the park. This is the experience of a lifetime; take advantage of your dissertation committee’s time and talent, and channel that energy and goodwill into your development as a scholar. 

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Courtney Watson, Ph.D.

Courtney Watson, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of English at Radford University Carilion, in Roanoke, Virginia. Her areas of expertise include undergraduate and graduate curriculum development for writing courses in the health sciences and American literature with a focus on literary travel, tourism, and heritage economies. Her writing and academic scholarship has been widely published in places that include  Studies in American Culture ,  Dialogue , and  The Virginia Quarterly Review . Her research on the integration of humanities into STEM education will be published by Routledge in an upcoming collection. Dr. Watson has also been nominated by the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Rising Star Award, and she is a past winner of the National Society of Arts & Letters Regional Short Story Prize, as well as institutional awards for scholarly research and excellence in teaching. Throughout her career in higher education, Dr. Watson has served in faculty governance and administration as a frequent committee chair and program chair. As a higher education consultant, she has served as a subject matter expert, an evaluator, and a contributor to white papers exploring program development, enrollment research, and educational mergers and acquisitions.

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The Role of the Dissertation Committee

Choosing a dissertation committee, give some warning, make your intentions known, explain their role, dealing with rejection.

  • Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Fordham University
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Graduate study can best be explained as a series of hurdles. First is getting in. Then comes coursework. Comprehensive exams typically are the culmination of coursework in which you demonstrate that you know your stuff and are ready to begin your dissertation. At this point, you are a doctoral candidate, unofficially known as ABD. If you thought coursework and comps were difficult you’re in for a surprise. Most students find the dissertation process to be the most challenging part of graduate school. It’s how you show that you are an independent scholar capable of generating new knowledge. Your mentor is critical to this process, but your dissertation committee also plays a role in your success.

The mentor is highly invested in the dissertation’s success. The committee serves as an outside consultant, offering a more broad perspective as well as support for the student and mentor. The dissertation committee can serve a checks and balances function that can boost objectivity and ensure that university guidelines are adhered to and that the product is of high quality. Members of the dissertation committee offer guidance in their areas of expertise and supplement the student and mentor’s competencies. For example, a committee member with expertise in specific research methods or statistics can serve as a sounding board and offer guidance that is beyond the mentor’s expertise.

Choosing a helpful dissertation committee isn’t easy. The best committee is composed of faculty who share an interest in the topic, offer diverse and useful areas of expertise, and are collegial. Each committee member should be carefully selected based on the project, what he or she can contribute, and how well he or she gets along with the student and mentor. It’s a delicate balance. You don’t want to argue over every detail yet you need objective advice and someone who will offer insightful, and tough, critiques of your work. Ideally, you should trust each committee member and feel that he or she has your (and your project’s) best interests in mind. Choose committee members whose work you respect, who you respect, and who you like. This is a tall order and finding a handful of faculty who meet these criteria and also have the time to participate on your dissertation committee is a daunting task. It’s likely that not all of your dissertation members will fulfill all of your professional and personal needs but each committee member should serve at least one need.

Work with your mentor to select committee members. As you select potential members, ask your mentor if he or she thinks the professor is a good match to the project. Aside from seeking insight – and making your mentor feel valued – professors talk to each other. If you discuss each choice with your mentor beforehand he is she is likely to mention it to the other professor. Use your mentor’s reaction as an indicator of whether to move forward and approach the potential committee member. You may find that the professor is already aware and may have already implicitly agreed.

At the same time, don’t assume that each professor knows that you’d like them as a committee member. When the time comes, visit each professor with that as your purpose. If you haven’t explained the purpose of the meeting by email then when you enter, sit and explain that the reason you’re asked to meet is to ask the professor to serve on your dissertation committee.

No professor will agree to participate in a project without knowing something about it. Be prepared to explain your project. What are your questions? How will you study them? Discuss your methods. How does this fit with prior work? How does it extend prior work? What will your study contribute to the literature? Pay attention to the professor’s demeanor. How much does he or she want to know? Sometimes a professor might want to know less – pay attention.

In addition to discussing your project, be prepared to explain why you are approaching the professor. What drew you to them? How do you think they will fit? For example, does the professor offer expertise in statistics? What guidance do you seek? Know what the professor does and how they fit in with the committee. Likewise, be prepared to explain why you think they are the best choice. Some faculty might even ask, “Why me? Why not Professor X?” Be prepared to justify your choice. What do you expect expertise-wise? Time-wise? How much or little time and effort will you require? Busy faculty will want to know whether your needs outstrip their time and energy.

If a professor declines your invitation to sit on your dissertation committee, don’t take it personally. Easier said than done but there are many reasons people decide to sit on committees. Try to take the professor’s perspective. Sometimes it’s that they’re too busy. Other times they may not be interested in the project or may have issues with other committee members. It’s not always about you. Participating on a dissertation committee is a lot of work. Sometimes it’s simply too much work given other responsibilities. If they are not able to meet your expectations be grateful that they’re honest. A successful dissertation is the result of a great deal of work on your part but also the support of a helpful committee that has your interests in mind. Be sure that the dissertation committee you build can meet these needs.

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In graduate school we are bombarded with decisions. We decide whether to be quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methods researchers, what classes to take, and what topic to expand on for our dissertation. One of the most important decisions we make, though, is deciding which faculty members will sit on our dissertation committee.

Typically, students will begin to form their committee once graduate coursework is complete. This allows them to take classes with different faculty members and build rapport. It is out of these nurtured relationships that students should gather potential committee members. Given the function of the dissertation committee, you should recruit faculty members that you work well with.

Faculty members selected to be on your committee can ease — or make more difficult — the process of completing your dissertation.

Your dissertation committee is like a board of directors voted in by you to supervise your business. They are the ultimate judges on your passing the dissertation phase. They will advise you on your research topic and methods, assess the quality of your written work and provide suggestions, assess your ability to function as an independent researcher during the oral defense and, lastly, give their signatures of approval on your work.

The role which each member fills — chair, content expert, methodologist — should be determined by their expertise and your rapport with them.

Chair: The chairperson will work closest with you; this individual will help you select your dissertation topic, provide feedback and suggestions on your written proposal before it goes to other committee members, and steer you back on track when distractions get the best of you.

The decision of chair should not be made in haste; it should be thoughtful. Consider a faculty member you feel comfortable discussing professional and personal issues with, because sometimes they overlap.

Content Expert: The content expert will thoroughly read your literature review to assess and suggest variables of interest, aid in writing a more comprehensive literature review, gauge research gaps and the significance of your study, and help shape effective research questions.

Recruit a content expert who is well-researched in the topic of your dissertation. If you are studying literacy development in students with dyslexia, then find a faculty member with a research background that fits.

Methodologist: The methodologist pays special attention to everything about methods, from the research design to the statistical approach. Their feedback and suggestions will mainly be related to your methods.

Recruit a methodologist who understands the types of analyses you want to perform. If you want to conduct structural equation modeling, get someone who thoroughly understands that.

Faculty members selected to be on your committee can ease — or make more difficult — the process of completing your dissertation. Here are three things to consider when structuring your committee:

  • Personalities – Some personalities play well together, and others do not. You must consider the personalities of your committee members and whether those personalities will work well together. Internal feuds could make your dissertation process difficult.
  • Demands – Consider the demands committee members may place on you during the dissertation phase. Ideally, committee members are professors you’ve had in class, so you should be able to gauge their expectations as it relates to the workload they place on students.
  • Communication – If the communication sucks when you’re in their class, it is probably going to suck when you place them on your committee. Recruit members who are accessible and easy to communicate with.

If you’ve made it to this phase, celebrate yourself. Remember you’ve made it this far because you’ve earned it.

Precious M. Hardy is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She earned her bachelor’s in psychology from Lincoln University of Missouri and a master’s in educational psychology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. She is a Gus T. Ridgel Fellow, a Graduate Student of Excellence Scholar, an SREB Scholar, and a Center for Advancing Opportunity Fellow. Her research interests center around ethnic and socioeconomic achievement gaps in education with a special emphasis on reading and math gaps.

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Once you get a list of names either from your Chair, a university list, or from fellow students do some research. Find the CV of each person (most schools have this type of information available). See what types of research they have done. 

Where have they published? How recently have they published? What types of methodology have they used? You may also find people with whom you share an interest which helps when making a connection.

Look at previous dissertations that they have worked on. What were the topics? What methodologies were used? Were they acknowledged by previous students?

Dissertation Committee Request: Sample Email

Once you have come up with a final list of potential candidates, email them to gauge their interest. Many students wonder how to ask someone to be on their dissertation committee. I have included a sample email for a dissertation committee request below.

Dear Dr. ____

Please let me introduce myself. My name is ___ ___ and I am a doctoral student at ___ University working on my dissertation. My topic is ___. I am searching for an additional committee member for my dissertation committee.

I know that you are busy but I have looked at the committees that you have worked on and your research [it is flattering to include a specific example] and think that your membership on my committee could be very beneficial for me.

If you have an interest in filling this position please let me know so that we can set up a time to talk and get to know each other.


Ima Student

Interviewing Potential Dissertation Committee Members

student and professor having a discussion in the college cafeteria

After you get responses you should write to set up phone calls with interested potential committee members. I suggest that you prepare a list of questions to ask each person. Example questions include:

  • Do you like to see work in pieces as it’s completed or in finished chapters?
  • Do you prefer direct communication or for all communication to go through the Chair?
  • How long do you usually take to do reviews?
  • Are there faculty members that you work well with and don’t fit well with?
  • What attributes do you see in students who succeed?
  • Do you have any initial ideas based up what I have shared with you about my topic?
  • Do you have any questions that you want to ask me?

Students often forget that they can interview potential committee members. Doing so tends to impress faculty, as it indicates your seriousness and commitment. I can say that very few people have interviewed me to be a member of their committee, and those that have have been especially successful in navigating the challenges of writing a dissertation .

How to Ask Someone to Be on Your Dissertation Committee

If you’ve followed all of the above steps, the rest should be pretty simple. The professor knows that you’ve taken the time to see if they’re a good fit, and that you are conscientious enough to do your research and respect their time. A simple email telling them that you would be honored if they would serve as your committee member is just fine. Remember, though, it’s still an ask –you’re not telling them they’re on your committee.

How to Request a Dissertation Committee Member: Summary

Choosing committee members is important. You want a committee where everyone is pulling for you to reach your goal. It doesn’t take a lot of time to explore potential committee members, and in the long run that small time investment can pay off.

For additional support, you can also consider a dissertation coach . They can help guide you through the process and even finish more quickly, as you will avoid unnecessary pitfalls and delays. Read more about how to choose a dissertation coach here.

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Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins

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Dissertations / Theses on the topic 'Boards and board members'

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Consult the top 50 dissertations / theses for your research on the topic 'Boards and board members.'

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Deacon, Nicola. "Board Member development: Board Member learning and attributes of experienced Board Members." Click here to access this resource online, 2009.

Kyereboah, Richard. "Criteria For Appointing Board Members to Corporate Boards in Ghana." Thesis, University of Phoenix, 2018.

The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to explore and find out the criteria that leaders of corporate boards in Ghana consider in appointing non-executive directors. Twenty for-profit corporations made the sample size for interviews and observations. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with convenient and willing board chairmen. The interviews involved open-ended questions about competencies and qualifications looked for in board member candidates. Data from secondary sources such as curriculum vitae of existing non-executive board members were reviewed to validate data. The QSR NVivo 8 software product was used to code and analyze the research data into themes. QSR is a software package that analyzes data for themes in words, sentences, or paragraphs of electronic written data, often discovering themes the human eye could miss. Nine themes emerged representing criteria considered in selecting and appointing non-executive directors. The criteria identified were independent mind, expertise and experience, availability of the prospective appointee, entrepreneurial orientation, proving integrity, leadership orientation, good academic background, networking advantage, and trusted friends. The results of the research may ensure the appointment of right persons to corporate boards for good corporate governance in Ghana and high profitability in organizations. The Ghana government may incorporate in the corporate governance regulations standard criteria for appointment of non-executive directors to all boards of organizations.

Lewis, Bridget Evelyn. "School boards in transition an examination of board member induction /." Pullman, Wash. : Washington State University, 2009.

Ramgathi, Pitamber. "School governance : a case study investigating the governance capacity of the farm school governing body." Thesis, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, 2012.

Cartisano, O. Joseph. "School boards as an alternative vehicle for entry into politics /." Access Digital Full Text version, 1987.

Bradley, Jennifer R. "Building inclusive boards : the perspectives of nonprofit leaders and prospective board members." Scholarly Commons, 2008.

Massie, Larry A. "Perceptions of Superintendents and School Board Members Who Experienced the Transition from Appointed to Elected School Boards." Diss., Virginia Tech, 2010.

Hammarling, Niclas, and Robert Gustavsson. "Boards in Family Firms : Board Member Choices and Recruitment." Thesis, Internationella Handelshögskolan, Högskolan i Jönköping, IHH, Företagsekonomi, 2014.

Payne, John D. "Mandated School Board Member Training for Local Boards of Education in Tennessee As Perceived by Local Boards of Education Members and Superintendents of Schools." Digital Commons @ East Tennessee State University, 1994.

Schoenberg, Geoff. "Examining the Relationships Between Individual Board Member Behaviours and Board Functions." Thesis, Griffith University, 2016.

McCloud, Barbara. "Are there differences in how male and female board members describe their boards' behaviors in respect to board roles, functions and responsibilities." The Ohio State University, 1990.

Herron, Angela Abney. "School Board Presidents' Perception of Their Role and Its Relationship to Effective Board Practices." Thesis, University of North Texas, 2020.

Gaul, Thomas H. "A national survey of school board members' views on the impact of reform and restructuring on school board power and authority." Diss., This resource online, 1993.

Carnes, Marilyn J. "The Status of Training for Local Boards of Education in Ohio as Perceived by School Board Members and Superintendents." Ohio University / OhioLINK, 2008.

Rodgers, Sally T. "Guidelines for small school systems in developing orientation programs for board members." Diss., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1986.

Stock, Mark Julius. "Perceptions of recommended changes in school board governance of public schools as perceived by Indiana school board presidents and superintendents." Virtual Press, 2002.

Meeker, Nancy Ruff. "A Comparison of the Effectiveness of Inservice Education Programs for Members of Local Boards of Trustees in Selected Texas School Districts: A Descriptive Study." Thesis, North Texas State University, 1985.

Toscano, Roberta. "Board members’ attitudes to CEO arrogance." Diss., University of Pretoria, 2012.

Nasonenko, Angelina. "Female board members and corporate performance." Master's thesis, Vysoká škola ekonomická v Praze, 2014.

Fisher, Jack S. (Jack Sterling). "A Profile of Texas Public School Board Members and Factors Influencing Them to Run for the Office of School Board Trustee." Thesis, University of North Texas, 1991.

Dunn, Michael C. "School board service : how modern school board members engage and understand their leadership role." Pullman, Wash. : Washington State University, 2009.

Olofsson, Ida, and Mikaela Larsson. "Female board members and company performance : Do companies with female directors perform better than companies without females on their boards? Evidence from Sweden." Thesis, Internationella Handelshögskolan, Högskolan i Jönköping, IHH, Företagsekonomi, 2017.

Riley, Beth A. "Effects of Board Training on the Relationship Between Board Members and CEOs." Thesis, University of North Texas, 2014.

Kask, Kristen M. "Training and development needs of school board members as perceived by school board members and superintendents in Ohio /." The Ohio State University, 1990.

Hawkins, Lillian Artene Hall. "Race, Representation, and Role: Why African American Females Run for School Board." Oxford, Ohio : Miami University, 2008.

Rocksund, Jill Ann. "Effective School Board Governance Behaviors of Montana School Board Members| A Delphi Stud." Thesis, Montana State University, 2017.

School board governance matters. Past research has demonstrated that effective school boards are associated with higher student achievement. However, this research has been less clear about what those agreed upon effective practices are. The current study set out to identify effective school board governance practices and to determine the extent expert panelists agreed with these practices. Obstacles to effective governance were also identified and agreed upon. Differences in responses from panelists in five sizes of school districts were also explored.

Using a Delphi methodology, expert panelists in Montana provided information in the form of narratives and lists about their perceptions of effective school board practices as well as their encountered obstacles during round one. Qualitative analysis techniques were used to create a set of effective practices and a set of encountered obstacles. Further refinement was accomplished by using two additional rounds in which panelists provided feedback, reconsidered their responses and provided additional comments. A set of 17 highly agreed upon effective practices and a set of two highly agree upon obstacles resulted.

From this data, a model of effective school board governance was developed. This model aligns well with past research that was conducted based upon outside sources of judgment, such as high test scores.

However, some important deviations from past recommendations are also noted. Data from the current study places an increased emphasis on the actual operations of school boards, such as on the types of discussions that are held, as well as the mechanics of productive and collaborative school board meetings.

The power of school boards occurs when acting collectively as a group in a school board meeting and this study supports focusing improvement efforts in making that time more effective. School board members many gain knowledge and experience individually, but it is only through working together that they shape and guide the cultures that are needed to improve our public schools for the future.

Whitlock, Randall Craig Thomas Clayton F. "Illinois school board membership impact on members' concerns and lives /." Normal, Ill. Illinois State University, 1985.

Mohatla, Shela. "Exploring the socialisation experiences of female board members." Diss., University of Pretoria, 2020.

Hall, Ronald M. "The perceived effects of membership on an Indiana public school board of education on members' families, friendships, and personal finances." Virtual Press, 1999.

Janc, Jelena. "The meaning of the Student Advisory Board leadership development experience to the student board members." College Park, Md. : University of Maryland, 2004.

Pollard, Dianne. "School Board Leadership: A Study of Training for School Board Members Across the United States." Diss., Virginia Tech, 2012.

Watkins, Mark Charles Henry. "Selection of community college presidents: exploring board members’ understanding." Diss., Wichita State University, 2011.

Albert, John M. "Online learning| Perceptions of school board members in California." Thesis, California State University, Fullerton, 2013.

This study analyzes the growing trend in the development of online learning in public school K-12 districts in California. Specifically, it analyzes school board members' perceptions of the benefits and challenges to implementing online learning in their districts. Barbour and Reeves (2009) indicate four primary themes regarding challenges connected with online schools, and they include high startup costs, access issues related to technology and high speed internet, the approval and/or accreditation process of online schools, and student readiness issues. Areas indicated as advantages to online learning in the literature include increased educational access, high-quality learning opportunities, improved skills and educational outcomes, increased choice, and administrative efficiency (Barbour & Reeves, 2009). While there is research regarding perceptions of administrators, student, teachers, and parents there is a lack of research regarding school board members' perceptions of online learning.

A total of 82 school board members in California responded to the California Online Education Survey. The California Online Education Survey accessed school board members' perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of online learning and their district's perceived support for implementing online learning in the future. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The following key findings emerged: First, school board members' perceptions of the current implementation of online learning were not consistent with current research. However, findings from the study supported evidence that online learning is reaching a tipping point toward being a common practice in school districts in California. Second, school board members' perceptions of the advantages of online learning centered on increasing educational access for students, and their perceptions of the barriers focused on concerns related to high startup costs. Third, while the limited sample size (N=82) prevented definitively answering the research questions, the findings suggest that support for implementing online learning is positively influenced by city community types but not by rural settings. Fourth, while the limited sample size (N=82) prevented definitively answering the research questions, the respondents in this study indicated that, in times of economic disparity, boards that identify themselves as matching the characteristics of an arena board take a more conservative approach to spending money on the development of online learning.

Dutta, Suparna. "Understanding Effectiveness of a Diverse Board in the Nonprofit Sector: The Role of Board Inclusion & Critical Mass of the Diverse Board Members." VCU Scholars Compass, 2019.

Valicenti, Elizabeth Anne. "The Tangled Web: How Nonprofit Board Members Experience Organizational Crisis." Antioch University / OhioLINK, 2012.

Riddle, Merrell J. "A Descriptive Profile of School Board Members in North Carolina." Digital Commons @ East Tennessee State University, 1987.

Richard, John V. "Leadership behaviors of Ohio school superintendents as perceived by Board of Education members a re-examination/." Akron, OH : University of Akron, 2006.

Rodden, Kirk. "At the Intersection of Politics and Higher Education: Policy, Power, and Governing Boards in Oklahoma." Digital Commons @ East Tennessee State University, 2017.

Casey, Lynda. "Perceptions of Community Health Board members regarding community empowerment and participation." Thesis, National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, 1998.

Erickson, Merideth McCallick. "Executive Director Experiences with Consumer Operated Service Provider Governing Board Members." ScholarWorks, 2017.

Rice, Patrick Lamonde. "An Analysis of the Impact of School Board Training and Evaluation As Perceived by School Board Members and Superintendents." OpenSIUC, 2010.

Cross, Anna Carollo, Jamie Brett Chisum, Jill S. Geiser, and IV Charles Alexander Grandson. "Turning Around Schools: A View From School Board Members as Policy Implementers." Thesis, Boston College, 2014.

Boyd, Mary. "Establishing role clarity in clinical governance for members of boards in Irish healthcare." Thesis, Queen's University Belfast, 2008.

Fallon, Marie M. "Quantitative Study of the Appointment Process of Local Board of Health Members in Ohio and the Relationship to Board Effectiveness." Bowling Green State University / OhioLINK, 2009.

Atherton, Donna. "Perceptions of school board members and a superintendent on superintendent long-tenure /." Connect to dissertation online, 2008.

Fincannon, L. Angela. "Female superintendent and school board perceptions of leadership behaviors : a descriptive study." Virtual Press, 2004.

Yock, Carla M. "Superintendency turnover: a national survey of the perceptions and expectations of school board members." Diss., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1989.

Pearson, John S. "The Motivations of School Board Members in an Era of Accountability-Based Reform." Thesis, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2014.

Research has shown a disconnect between the behaviors of some school boards and the behaviors identified in the literature as critical in this era of accountability reform. The literature has specified best practices for effective school board governance behaviors in this accountability era and its accompanying emphasis of college and career readiness. These best practices are primarily focused on the traditional governance roles for school boards and include: Policy-making, goal-setting, planning, establishing the focus of curriculum, prioritizing resources, achievement data review, and holding administrators accountable - all aimed at improving student achievement (Danzberger, Kirst & Usdan, 1992; Iowa Association of School Boards, 2001). These best practices are particularly aimed at producing students who can meet the goals of college and career preparedness (2001). However, some board members report role confusion, with some exhibiting behaviors that might be considered micro-managing and parochial and along the lines of board members' personal or special interests (Danzberger, Kirst, & Usdan, 1992; Mountford & Brunner, 1999; Mountford, 2004; Kwalwasser, 2012). The study of individual school board members' motivations for board service has been found to give promising insight into school board governance practices (Mountford, 2004; Mountford & Brunner, 1999).

This phenomenological study was conducted using qualitative methods. Eleven individual school board members from three Midwestern school boards were each interviewed, as well as two of those three district's superintendents. The interviews were designed to discover their motivations for school board service and to identify specific behaviors, in order to help inform governance practices of school boards in this accountability era.

Mears, Anthony. "A study of the core competencies of external board members in UK universities." Thesis, University of Huddersfield, 2015.

Ronoti, Zamikhaya Sydwell. "Empowerment of school governing bodies in selected schools, King William's Town education district." Thesis, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, 2015.

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Bill ackman defends wife neri oxman after she admits to plagiarism in dissertation: ‘she makes mistakes, owns them’.

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Bill Ackman called his wife Neri Oxman “human” after she admitted to instances of plagiarism in her doctoral dissertation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — days after he ripped ex-Harvard President Claudine Gay over accusations she had committed plagiarism in her own academic work.

The outspoken hedge-fund billionaire suggested that it was his crusade against Gay — which has been  criticized as “bullying” her into her resignation  — that sparked a Business Insider probe into Oxman’s work.

“You know that you struck a chord when they go after your wife, in this case my love and partner in life, @NeriOxman,” he  shared to X  on Thursday, just minutes after Oxman admitted that she did not properly cite four paragraphs of her 330-page PhD dissertation, which falls under MIT’s definition of plagiarism.

Ackman added of Oxman, “she makes mistakes, owns them, and apologizes when appropriate.”

A day earlier, after it was revealed that Gay would no longer be Harvard’s president but  would remain part of the Ivy League’s faculty and keep her near-$900,000 salary  — Ackman said on X that Gay should leave Harvard altogether due to “serious plagiarism issues.”

You know that you struck a chord when they go after your wife, in this case my love and partner in life, @NeriOxman . I am one of the most fortunate people in the universe in large part because of Neri. Please see her post below about today’s Business Insider piece about her… — Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) January 4, 2024

“Students are forced to withdraw for much less,” Ackman  wrote . “Rewarding her with a highly paid faculty position sets a very bad precedent for academic integrity at Harvard.”

Oxman wrote in a  post on X  on Thursday “that there are four paragraphs in my 330-page PhD dissertation … [where] I did not place the subject language in quotation marks, which would be the proper approach for crediting the work.”

Oxman wrote on X that after she was made aware of the incorrect citations by  Business Insider  and reviewed the original sources, she plans to “request that MIT make any necessary corrections.”

“I regret and apologize for these errors,” the 47-year-old Israel-born academic wrote Thursday.

Neri Oxman -- Bill Ackman's wife who worked as a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 2021 -- admitted to improperly citing four paragraphs of her doctoral dissertation.

Oxman, who married Pershing Square Capital Management’s billionaire founder in 2019, received her PhD from MIT in 2010. 

She became a tenured professor there in 2017, and left the university in June 2021 “after I got married, became a mother, and moved to New York City,” she wrote in the post.

Ackman, who shares one child with Oxman and has even  credited his fund’s success to his marital bliss , also took the opportunity to boast about his wife’s career.

“Neri, a former tenured professor at @MIT, is the author of 74 peer-reviewed papers, eight peer-reviewed book chapters, and numerous other journal papers and proceedings,” he added.

Oxman apologized for the grave errors, which fall under MIT's definition of plagiarism.

Oxman is no longer working at MIT, which  classifies plagiarism  as “when you use another’s words, ideas, assertions, data or figures and do not acknowledge that you have done so,” including when the material does not “use quotation marks around the words and cite the source.”

The prestigious university says the consequences of plagiarizing can include “suspension or expulsion” from the Institute.

Representatives for Ackman at Pershing Square declined to comment, pointing to Ackman and Oxman’s posts on X.

Representatives for MIT and Oxman at her latest venture, a biology and materials engineering firm called OXMAN, did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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Neri Oxman -- Bill Ackman's wife who worked as a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 2021 -- admitted to improperly citing four paragraphs of her doctoral dissertation.


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Bill Ackman’s wife is accused of plagiarism after her husband crusaded against Harvard’s president over the same problem

dissertation board member

Bill Ackman’s wife, Neri Oxman, plagiarized multiple paragraphs of her 2010 doctoral dissertation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to a report in Business Insider.

At least one of the passages was lifted directly from another writer without citation, according to an analysis by the publication that was posted on Thursday.

Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager, cited allegations of plagiarism against Harvard President Claudine Gay among the reasons he spent weeks calling for her removal. Gay, the school’s first Black leader, resigned Tuesday following the allegations and criticism of her handling of antisemitism on campus in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Ackman, who has more than 1 million followers on X ,  responded  on the social media platform that “you know you struck a chord when they go after your wife.”

Oxman, in  her own posting , acknowledged the Business Insider claim that she paraphrased Claus Mattheck without citation. “I deeply apologize to Mattheck for inadvertently not citing him when I paraphrased the above sentence,” she wrote. 

Read More: In billionaire brawl over DEI, Bill Ackman knocks Mark Cuban’s rebuttal to Elon Musk: ‘I fell for the same trap’ 

She also said that while she properly credited the original source’s authors in the four paragraphs referenced by Business Insider, she didn’t place the subject language in quotation marks. This “would be the proper approach for crediting the work. I regret and apologize for these errors,” she said.

Ackman married Oxman, 47, in 2019 when she was a professor at MIT’s Media Lab. A first lieutenant in the Israeli Air Force, she was a graduate of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Oxman enrolled at MIT in 2005 and has a Ph.D in design computation from the school. Oxman specialized in what she terms “material ecology”, using disciplines including computational design, architectural elements and synthetic biology. 

She left MIT in 2020 and has created her own company called Oxman to “advance innovation in product, architectural, and urban design,” according to her X posting.  

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Who Are the Members of the Harvard Corporation?

The Harvard Corporation is a powerful board that governs the university. Here’s what we know about the members.

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By Colbi Edmonds

Amid the turmoil over Harvard University’s president, Claudine Gay, the powerful board governing the university has been thrust into the spotlight . Despite the mounting scrutiny over Dr. Gay, the Harvard Corporation has so far shown support for her .

The Harvard Corporation — formally known as the President and Fellows of Harvard College — consists of 13 members (one position is currently unfilled), is responsible for the hiring of the university president and is the arbiter of major policy decisions. Members, who meet several times a year, are not paid for their role.

The board, the smaller and more powerful of two governing boards at Harvard, dates back to 1650 , making it the oldest corporation in the Western Hemisphere, according to the university . For generations, the corporation was made up of only the university president and six others, but it expanded in 2010 to 13 members amid calls for clearer communication with the broader Harvard community, according to the school’s Office of the Governing Boards .

Here’s what to know about the board’s current members.

Timothy R. Barakett

Timothy R. Barakett is the university’s treasurer and a donor. He founded the now-fallen hedge fund, Atticus Capital, which he led as chairman and chief executive for 15 years. He is now the chief executive of TRB Advisors , a family investment firm he founded in 2010. Mr. Barakett has also worked in philanthropy; he serves on the board of the Harvard Management Company, which manages Harvard’s endowment.

Kenneth I. Chenault

Kenneth I. Chenault is the chairman and a managing director for General Catalyst, a venture capital firm. Previously he served as chairman and chief executive of American Express Company. Mr. Chenault has served on the boards of many influential corporations, including I.B.M. and Procter & Gamble. He is also a board member of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar

Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar is a former justice of the Supreme Court of California; he now serves as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Cuéllar worked in the White House for the Clinton and Obama administrations and served as co-chair of the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission and of the Immigration Policy Working Group for the Obama-Biden Transition Project. He was also the special assistant to the president for justice and regulatory policy during President Barack Obama’s first term. For two decades, he was a Stanford University faculty member.

Paul J. Finnegan

Paul J. Finnegan is the former treasurer for Harvard, a former member of the Harvard Board of Overseers and a previous president of the Harvard Alumni Association. Mr. Finnegan is the chairman of the Chicago-based private-equity investment firm Madison Dearborn Partners, which he helped found in the 1990s. He is a current member and former chairman of the Chicago regional advisory board of Teach for America and is the former treasurer of the organization’s national board of trustees. Mr. Finnegan also serves on the board of the Harvard Management Company

Claudine Gay

Dr. Gay became Harvard’s president in July, and simultaneously serves as a member of the board. She is Harvard’s first Black president and the second woman to hold the position. Dr. Gay received an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard. Read more about Dr. Gay here .

Biddy Martin

Biddy Martin is a German studies scholar. Ms. Martin was the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the longest-serving provost at Cornell University, where she led initiatives for financial aid and the humanities. She also served as the 19th president of Amherst College .

Karen Gordon Mills

Karen Gordon Mills served as the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration under Mr. Obama for more than four years. She was also a member of the National Economic Council. She is currently a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, as well as president of the investment firm MMP Group, Inc., and vice chair of the board of directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Diana L. Nelson

Diana L. Nelson is another former member of the Harvard Board of Overseers. Ms. Nelson has been heavily involved in alumni efforts — she was co-chair on the Harvard College Fund and a Faculty of Arts and Sciences task force for undergraduate students. She has had her hand in the nonprofit sector, holding leadership positions in organizations geared toward children and the arts. She was recognized by Queen Silvia of Sweden in 2007 for her work to help exploited children.

Tracy Pun Palandjian

Tracy Pun Palandjian is the chief executive and co-founder of Social Finance, a nonprofit investing in areas such as housing and education for low-income and historically marginalized populations. She is a board member for the Boston Foundation, one of the country’s oldest community foundations. Ms. Palandjian is a former member of the Board of Overseers, where she was the vice chair of the executive committee and chair of the schools committee and visitation subcommittee. Ms. Palandjian’s family is also a major donor to the University.

Penny Pritzker

Penny Pritzker is the lead member of the Harvard Corporation. A billionaire businesswoman, an heir of the Hyatt hotel fortune and the sister of J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, Ms. Pritzker was an early backer of Mr. Obama’s candidacy for president and later served as U.S. secretary of commerce in his administration.

Shirley M. Tilghman

Shirley M. Tilghman is the former president of Princeton University , known for her work in molecular biology. Ms. Tilghman also chaired the review of life sciences at Harvard before her time on the board.

Theodore V. Wells Jr.

Theodore V. Wells Jr. is a trial lawyer and co-chair of the litigation department of the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Mr. Wells was a chairman of the board of directors for the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and in 2011, he won the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rob Copeland , Maureen Farrell and Sarah Mervosh contributed reporting.

Colbi Edmonds writes about the environment, education and infrastructure. More about Colbi Edmonds

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  • Doctoral Writing Center
  • Dissertation Process

Dissertation Committee

Committee makeup.

dissertation board member

Dissertation Chair

Role: Primary project manager of the committee. The Chair will have both subject matter and general methodology expertise and will guide the student through the dissertation process.

Selection: Doctoral students will offer suggestions for their Chairs, and if the Chair is available, they will be matched (see below for how to select a Chair)

Committee Member One

Role: Read the dissertation manuscript and provide suggestions on substantive editoral changes. Will attend Preliminary and Final Defense. Duration: DIS 901, DIS 903

Selection: The Dissertation Coordinator will assign this committee member after matching expertise with student focus in DIS 901.

Committee Member Two

Responsibilities by roles.

The responsibilities of the Chair include:

  • Being familiar and current with dissertation policies and procedures
  • Advising the candidate from the first dissertation course until the completion of the dissertation and graduation
  • Guiding the candidate to set a project schedule for completion of the dissertation
  • Guiding the candidate toward achieving a high level of technical qualtiy and ensuring ethics in research is achieved
  • Assisting the candidate in developing a quality prospectus and in navigating the IRB approval process
  • Providing guidance on the dissertation structure, formatting, content
  • Guiding the candidate in the selection of methods/procedures for data collection and analysis
  • Preparing the candidate for the preliminary and defense process

Committee Members

All members of the candidate’s committee share responsibility in ensuring that the candidate produces high-quality scholarship. The responsibilities of the Committee Members include:

  • Providing guidance on disseration topic selection based on student’s interest
  • Reading manuscripts within the agreed-upon time frame, suggesting substantive editoral changes, and providing rationale for their support and critiques
  • Providing guidance on subject matter expertise
  • Directing student to editors list

Doctoral Candidate

The responsibilities of you as a doctoral candidate include:

  • Proposing a viable project that has collectible data to support conclusions.
  • Managing the doctoral research process, including initiation and continuation of communications with the Dissertation Chair and the Dissertation Committee Members.
  • Completing weekly work plans and contact form in GAP and bi-weekly meetings with the Dissertation Chair.
  • Meeting and abiding by the deadlines in the written and approved work plan and contact form.
  • Completing a successful preliminary defense.
  • Conducting ethical research that adheres to the approved written methodology received by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  • Completion of CITI certification
  • Completing a successful final defense.
  • Incorporating any feedback and recommendations from the Dissertation Chair and the Dissertation Committee Members.
  • Having a deliverable, scholarly written, edited, and properly formatted final draft of the dissertation research meets the university’s content and quality standards. (This is the completed Dissertation that must be successfully defended.)
  • Keeping the Dissertation Chair and the Dissertation Committee Members informed of developments as the research study is conceptualized, designed, conducted, and written. A Doctoral Candidate may consult with an additional statistician, Methodologist, or editor, but in no case should any person other than the Doctoral Candidate conduct the work associated with the dissertation research.

Note: If an event occurs that prohibits the dissertation research’s progression and completion; the Doctoral Candidate must communicate with the Dissertation Chair to obtain advice, service, or assistance. If any significant modifications need to be made to the timeline, the Doctoral Candidate must seek approval from the Dissertation Chair and the Dissertation Director.

Selecting Your Dissertation Chair

Doctoral students will complete the Chair Selection form in their final research course. This form is integrated into the GAP course for all doctoral students to access. The Dissertation Chair serves as the committee lead, providing expert support structure in content, methodology and guidance throughout the dissertation process.

For advice on what to consider prior to offering selection options for a Chair, please see here .

To see a list of the available Dissertation Chairs and their subject matter expertise and qualifications, please see here for DBA Chairs and here for Ed.D. Chairs

Additional Support

Doctoral writing center specialists.

Doctoral Writing Center Specialists are available to assist students from the time they begin their prospectus until the end of your dissertation. The specialists are able to guide the process of writing, organization and revising the dissertation.

The responsibilities of the Doctoral Writing Center Specialists include:

  • Provide suggestions and considerations for the author on organization, mechanics, cohesion, or flow.
  • Focus on the areas that the author has specified the need for.
  • Discuss aspects related to writing, not content.

How to Get in Touch: Book an appointment easily here !

Common Questions

For a list of responses to common questions regarding the chair selection process, please see here .

Contact Options If you have questions regarding any element of this process, please reach out to:

Dissertation Department – [email protected]

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Indian navy evacuated 21 crew members from a bulk carrier targeted by hijackers in the Arabian Sea

FILE- INS Chennai, a Kolkata class destroyer, is moored at a jetty in Mumbai, India, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. The Indian navy said on Friday, Jan. 5, 2023, that it has deployed the ship and a patrol aircraft in the Arabian Sea following a hijacking attempt onboard a Liberia-flagged bulk carrier. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File)

FILE- INS Chennai, a Kolkata class destroyer, is moored at a jetty in Mumbai, India, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. The Indian navy said on Friday, Jan. 5, 2023, that it has deployed the ship and a patrol aircraft in the Arabian Sea following a hijacking attempt onboard a Liberia-flagged bulk carrier. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File)

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NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian navy commandos safely evacuated 21 crew members from a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier involved in a hijacking attempt in the Arabian Sea, the navy said Friday.

The MV Lila Norfolk sent a message on the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations monitoring portal that said five or six armed people had boarded the vessel Thursday evening, the navy said in a statement.

India’s navy diverted a ship deployed for maritime security operations to assist the carrier, and a group of commandos boarded the vessel after monitoring its movement for several hours, the statement said.

No hijackers were found on board during a search by the commandos, the navy said in an update.

“The attempt of hijacking by the pirates was probably abandoned with the forceful warning by the Indian navy,” it said.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations monitor also reported on Friday that the search had been completed and no hijackers had been found on board.

Ambrey, a maritime intelligence firm, said earlier that the bulk carrier had started to drift 670 kilometers (420 miles) east of Hafun, Somalia.

A patrol aircraft flew over the Lila Norfolk early Friday and determined the safety of the crew, which included 15 Indians, the navy said. Cmdr. Mehul Karnik, a navy spokesperson, said the crew members relayed that they were operating the carrier from inside a strong room.

Following the evacuation, the Indian navy ship was providing support to restore power so the vessel could resume its voyage, the navy statement said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault. There have been growing concerns about shipping in the region following attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels .

Jon Gambrell contributed from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Bay Park Conservancy welcomes two new board members as Phase 2 continues to make progress

The Bay Park recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of its first 10-acre phase that opened in October 2022. More than 250,000 people visited the park in the first year.

The Bay Park Conservancy, a nonprofit responsible for designing, developing, managing and operating Sarasota's signature public park on 53 acres along Sarasota Bay, has elected Felice Schulaner and Mark S. Pritchett to the board of directors.

Schulaner is a retired human resources executive. She has worked in a variety of industries, including Macy’s, American Express and Coach Inc. Schulaner, who also served as executive director of the Coach Foundation, serves on several nonprofit boards, including as vice chair of the board of Ruth’s List.

“I am inspired by [The Bay Park Conservancy's] mission to provide equal access to a wonderful park and inspiring activities for all members of the community,” Schulaner said. “Creating beautiful and inclusive spaces and experiences for everyone is something truly worth supporting.“

Pritchett recently retired from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation as president and CEO, leading its team to record philanthropic giving and granting and executing initiatives that will transform the greater Sarasota region for generations. For over 30 years, Pritchett has worked with governors, CEOs and philanthropists to advance Florida into a future that provides opportunities for everyone. 

“Open, beautiful parks are sanctuaries from the chaos of our daily lives," Pritchett said. "The Bay is an oasis hiding in a bustling urban environment where we can quietly appreciate the natural beauty of the seashore or enjoy the creativity of our vibrant region.”

The Bay, designed to be “one park for all,” is preserving and transforming 53 acres of city-owned land along Sarasota Bay into a blue and green oasis, providing a sustainable bayfront gathering place for the community to experience a wide range of park uses, free programs and events.

The park recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of its first 10-acre phase, which opened in October 2022. More than 250,000 people visited the park in the first year.

Design and development of Phase 2, a 14-acre $65 million development, began last summer. The completed park will cost an estimated $175-200 million and will take approximately 8-10 years to complete over four or more phases.

“The Bay team continues to be laser focused on providing delightful experiences day in and day out for the thousands of park guests,” board chair Jennifer Compton said. “We also continue to make good progress designing Phase 2, the next 14 acres, to provide the community with even more park for all. Proven leaders like Felice and Mark add experience and expertise to the board necessary to govern and balance ongoing operations of existing park with the implementation of new park.”

For more about The Bay and The Bay Park Conservancy, visit  or contact Julia Groom at [email protected] or 941-786-8732.

Submitted by Julia Groom

Why is writing essays so hard?

Patterns and boring topics imposed by schools and universities are not very conducive to creativity and human development. Such essays are very difficult to write, because many are not interested in this and do not see the meaning of the text. There are a number of criteria that make it impossible to write essays:

  • Boring and incomprehensible topics. Many topics could be more interesting, but teachers formulate them in a way that makes you want to yawn.
  • Templates. 90% do not know how to make an essay interesting, how to turn this detailed answer to a question into a living story.
  • Fear of not living up to expectations. It seems to many that the essay is stupid and that they simply did not understand the question. There is a fear of getting a bad mark and disappointing the professor, parents and classmates. There is a fear of looking stupid and embarrassing in front of the team.
  • Lack of experience. People don't know what and how to write about. In order to make a good essay, you need to have a perfect understanding of the topic and have the skills of a writer.

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  • Dissertation Chapter - Abstract
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The American Diabetes Association Welcomes 2024 Principal Officers and Members to the National Board of Directors

2024 National Board of Directors

The American Diabetes Association ® (ADA) welcomes the 2024 principal officers and board of directors. The 15-member board is comprised of forward-thinking and innovative medical, scientific, education, and executive business professionals who will strategically lead and focus efforts to ensure the ADA continues to advance the mission upon which it was founded.

"We are so excited to announce our 2024 board of directors,” said Charles “Chuck” Henderson, the ADA’s chief executive officer. “We look forward to the insight and skills each of these thought leaders will provide to help move the needle and improve the lives of all people living with diabetes. We also want to thank our outgoing board members, Otis W. Kirksey, PharmD, RPh, CDCES, BC-ADM and Marshall Case. We are very appreciative of their hard work, dedication, and commitment to fighting for all people affected by diabetes.” 

The 2024 principal officers of the board of directors who start their terms of service this month are:

  • Rhodes B. Ritenour, JD, Chair of the Board Rhodes B. Ritenour is the vice president for external and regulatory affairs for Bon Secours Health System in Virginia. He represents the system before local, state, and federal governments in the communities it serves and to corporations. He also provides regulatory legal counsel and manages corporate governance. Living with type 1 diabetes since the age of five, Ritenour has served the diabetes community as chairman of the ADA board in Central Virginia, a member of the ADA National Advocacy Committee, and a member of the ADA Legal Advocacy Network. A former deputy attorney general of Virginia, Ritenour and his wife are the co-authors of the children’s book series, The Adventures of Rhodes and Alana . He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia.  
  • James Tai, Secretary/Treasurer James Tai is a managing partner for a life sciences venture capital fund, and he has broad health care experience that spans a wide array of outpatient provider services for chronic diseases. Tai is an advocate for combining innovations in health care technology with updates to public health policy in order to transform health care. He is currently the chair of both the ADA Innovation Committee and the ADA Finance Committee. Tai received a bachelor's degree in business economics and an MBA from UCLA, and he earned a Master of Science in biomedical and clinical informatics from Stanford University.   
  • Mandeep Bajaj, MBBS, President of Medicine & Science Dr. Mandeep Bajaj is the vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Medicine and a professor of medicine and molecular and cellular biology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He is the chief of the section of endocrinology at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, as well as medical director of the Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center Diabetes Program and Baylor Medicine Endocrinology and Diabetes. Bajaj is a medical graduate of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and received his fellowship training in endocrinology and diabetes at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. He has served on the ADA’s Scientific Sessions Meeting Planning Committee, Finance Committee, and the Research Grant Review Committee, and he currently serves on the Science and Health Care Executive Council. Bajaj has also been awarded the Outstanding Physician-Clinician Award by the ADA.   
  • Patti Urbanski, MEd, RD, LD, CDCES, FADCES, President of Health Care & Education Patti Urbanski is a certified diabetes care and education specialist and registered dietitian currently working as diabetes staff development coordinator at St. Luke’s Hospital Diabetes Care Program in Duluth, Minnesota. She was a member of the ADA’s Nutrition Science Review Committee and the writing committee for the ADA’s 2019 nutrition consensus statement. Urbanski currently serves on the ADA’s Science and Health Care Executive Council and has served on the ADA’s Scientific Sessions Committee and Professional Practice Committee. She has a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Minnesota, a Bachelor of Science degree in applied nutrition from the Pennsylvania State University, and she completed her dietetic internship at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinics.

The elect officers for 2024 are:

  • Todd F. Brown, PMP, Chair-Elect Todd F. Brown is the founder and chief executive officer of Urban Edge Network, LLC, a Black-owned media company focused on serving 101 historically Black colleges or universities. Brown holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Oklahoma State University, and he completed executive management programs at Harvard Business School and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Brown was the ADA’s 2023 secretary/treasurer and serves on the finance, investment, and board development committees.  
  • Robin Richardson, Secretary/Treasurer-Elect Robin Richardson is a senior vice president at Moda where he leads the organization’s key Medicare and Medicaid departments. He is also responsible for Moda’s major state accounts, including the Oregon Educators Benefit Board, the Public Employees Retirement System, the Public Employees Benefit Board, and all strategic Systems of Care initiatives. Among his many innovations at Moda, Richardson was the founder and continues to be the chairman of the Board of the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization and the co-founder of the Portland Metropolitan region’s Oregon Health and Sciences University’s Integrated Delivery System. A graduate of Oregon State University, he is also a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation.  
  • Rita Rastogi Kalyani, MD, MHS, President-Elect of Medicine & Science Dr. Rita Rastogi Kalyani is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Kalyani has been a dedicated ADA volunteer for two decades and served on multiple committees. Notably, she was chair of the ADA’s Professional Practice Committee which was responsible for developing the ADA Standards of Care in Diabetes—2018 . Kalyani has served as president of the ADA’s Maryland’s Community Leadership Board. She was previously on the editorial board of Diabetes Care ® and is currently an associate editor for BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care . Kalyani holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, and she completed all her medical training at Johns Hopkins.  
  • Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CDCES, FADCES, FASCP, President-Elect of Health Care & Education Joshua J. Neumiller is vice chair and Allen I. White Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pharmacotherapy at Washington State University and lead pharmacist researcher at Providence Medical Research Center in Spokane, Washington. Newmiller is a contributing author for the ADA’s books, Medications for the Treatment of Diabetes and Practical Insulin , and past editor-in-chief for the ADA’s journal, Diabetes Spectrum ® . He has served on multiple ADA committees and work groups, and notably served as chairman of the ADA’s Professional Practice Committee from 2018–2019. Neumiller received his Bachelor of Science and PharmD degrees from Washington State University.  

The remaining 2024 board members are:

  • Janet Brown-Friday, RN, MSN, MPH
  • Rodica Busui, MD, PhD
  • Rone Luczynski
  • Sean Pittman, JD
  • Franciso Prieto, MD
  • Madi Rajulapalli, MD, MBA
  • Christopher K. Ralston, JD

“This talented group has tremendous experience in a variety of areas including science, medicine, health care, and business.” said Rhodes B. Ritenour, 2024 board chairman of the ADA. “We will work together to cure diabetes, improve the lives of people living with diabetes and those who love them, and strengthen the ADA’s ability to provide impact, inspiration, and hope in the diabetes community.”

For more details about the ADA board of directors, visit .

About the American Diabetes Association The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For 83 years, the ADA has driven discovery and research to treat, manage, and prevent diabetes while working relentlessly for a cure. Through advocacy, program development, and education we aim to improve the quality of life for the over 136 million Americans living with diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life ® . To learn more or to get involved, visit us at  or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook ( American Diabetes Association ), Spanish Facebook ( Asociación Americana de la Diabetes ), LinkedIn ( American Diabetes Association ), Twitter ( @AmDiabetesAssn ), and Instagram ( @AmDiabetesAssn ). 

Contact Virginia Cramer for press-related questions.

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  1. Selecting Your Dissertation Committee Members

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  3. Dissertation Committee: Roles, Functions, and How to Choose

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  4. Choosing a Thesis Advisor: A Complete Guide

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  6. Thesis Committee Members: Choosing the Right People » Dissertation

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  1. Dissertation Committee: Roles, Functions, and How to Choose

    The basic function of your dissertation committee, which typically consists of five members, is to guide you through the process of proposing, writing, and revising your dissertation. Dissertation committee members serve in a mentoring capacity, offering constructive feedback on your writing and research, as well as guiding your revision efforts.

  2. How to select a dissertation committee member wisely?

    Practically, you may have limited options. At the very least, you should weigh 1, 2, and 3, and estimate how you think each candidate will contribute in each area. Only one thing I would add to this excellent answer: At least one committee member should take you out of your professional comfort zone.

  3. Doctoral Committee Responsibilities

    Committee member's responsibilities include: In cooperation with the Chair, advising the candidate from the Prospectus stage through the final defense of the Dissertation Provide subject matter expertise as requested by Chair or candidate Reading drafts and providing meaningful feedback at each defense stage of the dissertation process

  4. Asking Professors to Sit on Your Dissertation Committee

    Members of the dissertation committee offer guidance in their areas of expertise and supplement the student and mentor's competencies. For example, a committee member with expertise in specific research methods or statistics can serve as a sounding board and offer guidance that is beyond the mentor's expertise. Choosing a Dissertation Committee

  5. PDF Dissertation Committee Roles, Responsibilities and Checklist

    their dissertation chair as the instructor,for the term in which they intend to write. o The academic advisor will assist with this process. • Assess the qua lifying paper. o. Determine the rest of the committee. Work with student to determine one member and dean's rep. It is important to know who the committee member will be in order to have

  6. Dissertation Committees

    Home | Doctoral Writing Center | Ed.D Dissertation Process | Dissertation Committees Dissertation Committee Each doctoral student will have a dissertation committee which consists of three members: one Committee Chair and two Committee Members.

  7. PDF Thesis and Dissertation Committee Roadmap

    This document serves to clarify and encourage best practices of committee chairs, members, and students during the thesis and dissertation process. The University relies upon faculty committees to oversee all aspects of a student's dissertation/thesis project. They are responsible for ensuring that the student complies with all the policies ...

  8. Choosing a Thesis Committee

    If a key member moves or retires, it can really slow down the process. ... However, dissertation approval is a rite of passage and it seems that most committees will really make you work at the defense to make sure you are prepared to join the PhD "club." ... set up an Advisory Board and got the program accredited (2003-07). He also worked ...

  9. Structuring Your Dissertation Committee

    Faculty members selected to be on your committee can ease — or make more difficult — the process of completing your dissertation. Your dissertation committee is like a board of directors voted in by you to supervise your business. They are the ultimate judges on your passing the dissertation phase.

  10. Dissertation Committee Request: Sample Email and Guide

    Many students wonder how to ask someone to be on their dissertation committee. I have included a sample email for a dissertation committee request below. Dear Dr. ____. Please let me introduce myself. My name is ___ ___ and I am a doctoral student at ___ University working on my dissertation. My topic is ___.

  11. What Are the Steps to the Dissertation Process?

    The Dissertation Guidebook is one of the essential navigation tools Walden provides to its doctoral candidates. A vital portion of the document details the 15 required steps that take a dissertation from start to finish. Read along with Walden students to learn more about that process: Premise. The dissertation premise is a short document that ...

  12. Dissertation Committee Request: Sample Email and Guide

    How to Request a Dissertation Board Member: Summary. Choice committee memberships is important. You want a committee where everyone will pulling to you to get your goal. It doesn't take a lot of nach to explore possible committee members, and in of long run such small time investment can pay off.

  13. (Pdf) Dissertation Board Member Perceptions of Board Effectiveness in

    BOARD MEMBER PERCEPTIONS OF BOARD EFFECTIVENESS IN PUBLIC COMMUNITY COLLEGES: AN INTERPRETATIVE PHENOMENOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Many organizations have a governing board in place to assist in monitoring high level policy decisions and establishing organizational direction and goals.

  14. Dissertation Committee Request: Sample Sent and Guide

    My topic is ___. I am searching for an additional committee my for my dissertation board. ... Instructions to Request a Dissertation Committees Member: Summary. Selection committee members is important. Yours like a committee locus everyone is pulling for you to reach your goal. It doesn't intake a lot of time to erforschend potential ...

  15. Dissertations / Theses: 'Boards and board members'

    The results of this study suggest that an experienced Board Member is perceived to be a Board Member who contributes to achieving a quality agreement and decision, using attributes associated with: • Contribution to Board processes • Understanding and Knowledge (governance and business acumen) • Internal Drivers • Making Hard Decisions.

  16. Bill Ackman's wife Neri Oxman admits to plagiarizing in dissertation

    Published Jan. 5, 2024, 9:23 a.m. ET. Megyn Kelly rips backlash over 'conservative dad' pinup calendar. Bill Ackman's wife, Neri Oxman, admitted to plagiarizing in her doctoral dissertation ...

  17. Harvard's President Resigns

    The endowment is run as a nonprofit with its own board of directors, but its members are appointed by the Harvard Corporation, the same body that selected Dr. Gay as the university's president.

  18. Bill Ackman's wife is accused of plagiarism after her ...

    Bill Ackman's wife, Neri Oxman, plagiarized multiple paragraphs of her 2010 doctoral dissertation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to a report in Business Insider.

  19. Who Are the Members of the Harvard Corporation?

    Here's what to know about the board's current members. Timothy R. Barakett. Timothy R. Barakett is the university's treasurer and a donor. He founded the now-fallen hedge fund, Atticus ...

  20. Harvard governing board, activists say Claudine Gay was a victim of

    Despite the criticism, Gay had the support of Harvard 's governing board, as well as hundreds of alumni and faculty. But her resignation letter, and a statement from Harvard's board, said she ...

  21. Dissertation Committees

    Committee Member One. Role: Read the dissertation manuscript and provide suggestions on substantive editoral changes. Will attend Preliminary and Final Defense. Duration: DIS 901, DIS 903 Selection: The Dissertation Coordinator will assign this committee member after matching expertise with student focus in DIS 901.

  22. Indian navy commandos board a hijacked Liberia-flagged bulk carrier for

    The Indian navy said on Friday, Jan. 5, 2023, that it has deployed the ship and a patrol aircraft in the Arabian Sea following a hijacking attempt onboard a Liberia-flagged bulk carrier. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File) By ASHOK SHARMA. Updated 6:19 AM PST, January 5, 2024. NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian navy commandos have boarded a Liberian ...

  23. Bill Ackman calling for ouster of Harvard board after Gay's resignation

    Billionaire investor Bill Ackman, a central figure in the campaign to have Claudine Gay removed as Harvard University's president, said Wednesday that members of the school's governing board ...

  24. Sarasota's Bay Park Conservancy welcomes two new board members

    Proven leaders like Felice and Mark add experience and expertise to the board necessary to govern and balance ongoing operations of existing park with the implementation of new park.". For more ...

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  27. The American Diabetes Association Welcomes 2024 Principal Officers and

    The American Diabetes Association ® (ADA) welcomes the 2024 principal officers and board of directors. The 15-member board is comprised of forward-thinking and innovative medical, scientific, education, and executive business professionals who will strategically lead and focus efforts to ensure the ADA continues to advance the mission upon which it was founded.

  28. Exclusive: Blackwells to nominate board directors at Disney, rivaling

    The unusual twist in the battle for Disney's board underscores the high stakes in the company's attempted turnaround under Iger. He led Disney from 2005 to 2020 and returned as CEO in November ...

  29. Dissertation Board Members

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