Service in Graduate Committees
Robert N. Gaines

Last revised 28 September 2015.

Programs leading to the MA in the Department of Communication Studies and the Ph.D. in the College of Communication and Information Sciences involve students with several sorts of graduate committees. I cheerfully serve in all these sorts of committees, but my service is generally conditioned upon the following preferences and stipulations.

1. Some rationale for my service should be capable of expression with reference to the subject matter or research methods pursued by the student. My areas of substantive expertise are history of rhetoric (including theory, practice, criticism, pedagogy, disciplinary relations, and cultural reception), pragmatics (including speech acts, conversation analysis, and ethnography of communication), and philosophy of communication (including argumentation, influence, and persuasion). I am familiar with humanistic research methods (including philology, hermeneutics, historiography, criticism, and philosophical analysis) and qualitative empiricism (especially ethnography of communication). I have sometimes served usefully as a committee member where quantitative empiricism was the method at stake in a student's work, however my role in such committees cannot extend to detailed assessment of experimental methods or advanced quantitative analysis.

2. When I am an examiner in a comprehensive examination for the MA or a preliminary examination area for the PhD, my questions will be limited by general rubrics only (e.g., early modern letter writing, but not salutation etiquette in late 17th century epistolary treatises addressed to women writers).

3. Unless I am a student's advisor, I do not wish to express particular evaluation of a student's prospectus for an MA thesis or PhD dissertation prior to the committee meeting designed for this purpose.

4. Unless I am a student's advisor, I do not wish to express particular evaluation of a student's MA thesis or PhD dissertation prior to the committee meeting designed for this purpose.