Department of Physiology and Biophysics

Student Advisory System

Thesis Advisor

Members of the Graduate Faculty in Physiology & Biophysics serve as thesis research advisors for Ph.D. research. The Graduate Faculty in Physiology & Biophysics are the faculty of professorial rank and have a primary appointment in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics or a secondary appointment in Physiology & Biophysics and a primary appointment in another basic science or clinical Department of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Those faculty with a secondary appointment of professional rank in Physiology & Biophysics and primary appointments in a department other than Physiology & Biophysics may serve as thesis research mentors of Physiology & Biophysics Graduate students with the approval of the Departmental Graduate Student Committee and the Chairman of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics. Emeritus professors are not eligible as Ph.D. mentors of Physiology & Biophysics Graduate Students.

 

Departmental Graduate Student Advisory Committee

The Curriculum Committee. This Committee is responsible for: (1) coordinating the Departmental graduate student orientation for incoming students; (2) evaluating the Department of Physiology & Biophysics curriculum; (3) recommending new courses for consideration by the faculty. The Committee reports to the faculty at the regularly scheduled faculty meetings.

The Departmental Graduate Student Committee. This Committee is responsible for: (1) assigning and reviewing actions with respect to Student Advisory Committees; (2) approving qualifying and thesis examination committees;(3) ensuring that all departmental and graduate school requirements are met prior to graduation. The department graduate student committee reports to the chairman of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics.

Qualifying Exam Committee. Students who have completed the prerequisites should meet with their Advisory Committee. The Student Advisory Committee is to provide written approval in the form of a letter to be placed in the student's file to indicate that the student is permitted to take the Qualifying Examination. The Departmental Graduate Student Committee, in consultation with the mentor selects the Qualifying Exam Committee. The committee should include five members. At least three members must have primary or secondary appointments in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics. At least one member must not have an appointment in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics.

 

Student Advisory Committees

Student Advisory System Committees consist of faculty members that play a central role in graduate student training. Initially, the Committees aid students in their selection of courses and laboratory rotations. Later, the Student Advisory Committee evaluates the work that constitutes the research component of the Ph.D. degree. The regular meetings of the Committee and the filing of written reports of their content with the Departmental Chairman and with the Departmental Graduate Student Committee are Departmental requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Temporary Student Advisory Committee. A temporary Student Advisory Committee will be formed for students who enter the Department of Physiology & Biophysics on admission to the Sue Golding Graduate Division or during the first semester of enrollment. These students enter the Department on a probationary basis until the first semester has been satisfactorily completed. (In contrast, rotational students will be assigned a temporary committee by the graduate school.) The Committee will be formed by consultation of the student and mentor with the Departmental Graduate Student Committee. The Temporary Student Advisory Committee will be composed of 3 faculty members, with at least 2 from the Department of Physiology & Biophysics. One member (not the mentor) will be designated as chairperson. This Committee will meet with the student as soon as possible after the student's arrival at Albert Einstein College of Medicine to advise on courses and laboratory research rotations. Subsequent meetings will occur prior to the end of the first and second semesters to review academic and research progress.

Permanent Student Advisory Committee. By the end of the first year, both directly admitted and rotational students will have selected a Ph.D. thesis advisor. The Departmental Graduate Student Committee and the Department Chairman must approve the arrangement (See Thesis Laboratory and Departmental Declaration Form). At that time, the temporary Student Advisory Committee will be formulated into a permanent Student Advisory Committee. A faculty member other than the thesis advisor will act as the chairperson of the Committee. The permanent Advisory Committee will consist of three or four members, at least two of whom must be members of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics. Usually, at least one of the faculty members appointed to the permanent Student Advisory Committee will have been a member of the temporary Student Advisory Committee to provide continuity in evaluating academic and research progress.

The role of the permanent Student Advisory Committee is to monitor timely completion of Departmental course requirements and appropriate electives, approve the student's readiness for the Qualifying Examination and advise the student during the Ph.D. research and the writing of the Ph.D. thesis. In addition, the Permanent Advisory Committees evaluate the scholarly development of graduate students. This is done by using the student Advisory Committee meetings to question students about general aspects of biology, chemistry, and physics that relate to their courses, laboratory rotations or laboratory research.

Scheduling and Documentation of Student Advisory Committee Meetings. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule Student Advisory Committee meetings.Once the student has finalized a meeting date and time, the Departmental office will be responsible for finding a place for the meeting and issuing a memo to confirm the meeting. This memo should include the student's report (see below). The only exception to this is the first meeting of the temporary Advisory Committee formed on arrival of a student at AECOM, which will be scheduled by the chairperson of the Committee. Temporary Student Advisory Committees should meet at the end of the first and second semesters to evaluate performance in courses and laboratory rotations. Permanent Advisory Committees will also meet twice a year. Meetings for the first semester should be scheduled during December or January and those for the second semester are to be scheduled during May or June. Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed.

Prior to a Committee meeting, the student must submit a short (2-3 double spaced pages) summary of academic and research progress since the last meeting.This progress report should be given to members of the Advisory Committee one week before the meeting. A synopsis of the meeting and any recommendations by the Committee will be written by the chairperson of the Advisory Committee and distributed to the student and members of the Advisory Committee.

The student's progress report and the Committee report on all meetings are included in the student's academic file. Copies of these reports are also distributed to the chairman of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics and the Chairperson of the Departmental Graduate Student Committee. The regular meeting of Advisory Committees and the filing of these written reports are Departmental requirements for the Ph.D. degree. A Student Advisory Committee Report Form is used to facilitate this process.

Ex-Officio Members. The Chairman of the Departmental Graduate Student Committee and the Chairman of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics are ex-officio members of all Student Advisory Committees and may elect to attend Committee meetings.

Change of Status. In the rare circumstance where a student requests a change in their thesis advisor within the Department, the permanent Student Advisory Committee must be consulted. The Committee will meet separately with the student and the thesis advisor in this instance. The recommendation of the Student Advisory Committee will be forwarded to the Departmental Graduate Student Committee and the Chairman of the Department for review and final decision. Any request for a leave of absence must be presented to the Student Advisory Committee for their recommendation. The recommendation of the Student Advisory Committee will be forwarded to the Departmental Graduate Student Committee and the Chairman of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics for review. Such leaves must also be approved by the Graduate School. Other changes in status will be reviewed by the same procedure.

 

Thesis Examination Committee

The Thesis Examination is a defense of the student's dissertation and demonstration of competence within the field of the dissertation and related areas. The Examining Committee will consist of five faculty members. The Ph.D. thesis advisor is not a member of the Examining Committee but does attend the Thesis Defense as an observer. The five members of the Examining Committee are members of the Department of Physiology & Biophysics, at least one faculty member from another AECOM Department, and an external examiner from outside the University. Under exceptional circumstances, a faculty member from AECOM may serve in place of the external examiner.

The membership of the Examining Committee is proposed by the student in consultation with the Student Advisory Committee and is approved by the Departmental Graduate Student Committee and the Department Chair. The Department Chair will appoint a committee chair and forward the recommended committee to the Graduate School for approval.

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