Apr 13, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Outside Observers for Thesis/Dissertations Defenses and Synthesis Project Presentations

Outside observers are objective representatives of the Graduate Faculty who are tasked with reporting to the Graduate School on the fairness and rigor of thesis/dissertation defenses and synthesis project presentations, at both the master’s and doctoral levels. Outside observers are not members of the defense committee; thus, while they should be present for the entire defense/presentation, including any committee deliberations, they should not participate in those deliberations or vote on the outcome of the defense/presentation.

This outside observation is designed to ensure that the university’s procedures are properly followed, that students are treated fairly, and that the rigor of graduate defenses/presentations are appropriate to the degree sought. Moreover, outside observation contributes to the university’s scholarly community and enhances interdepartmental connections.

The Dean of the Graduate School is charged with assigning outside observers according to the following policies.

  • Any stakeholder in a specific defense/presentation (including the student, a member of the defense/presentation committee, a department- or college-level official, the Graduate School, etc.) can confidentially request an outside observer be assigned by completing the Graduate School Outside Observer Request Form.
  • Any college, department, or graduate program can request that an outside observer be assigned to all of its defenses/presentations.
  • Defenses/presentations in recently established programs will automatically be assigned an outside observer.
  • The Dean of the Graduate School will automatically assign an outside observer to a random and representative sampling of defenses/presentations that would not otherwise be observed.
  • All outside observers must be members of the UL Lafayette Graduate Faculty.