• Home
  • Special Member Status for Graduate Faculty

Special Member Status for Graduate Faculty


To describe the organization, privileges, and responsibilities of Graduate Faculty appointments with Special status.

Applies to: 

Graduate Faculty

Policy Statement: 

Special membership on the Graduate Faculty may be granted to employees of the university and its affiliates who do not have tenured or tenure-track faculty appointments in a department which grants graduate degrees. It may also be granted to individuals who are not employed by the university or its affiliates but who are uniquely qualified by training or experience and otherwise meet the established criteria for membership on the Graduate Faculty.

Such membership is for the purpose of:

  • teaching a graduate course or courses;
  • having graduate courses cross-listed as KU courses if they are part of a cooperative graduate program between KU and the appointee’s home institution; and/or
  • serving on the thesis, dissertation, or examination committee of a particular student or students.

Serving on a master's or dissertation committee:

  • Graduate Faculty with Special status are not authorized to chair master's or doctoral committees. When appropriate, Graduate Studies may authorize a qualified committee member with Special status to serve as co-chair of a specific dissertation committee. While committees are not required to have a co-chair, the student or the committee members may decide to select a co-chair. The chair must have Dissertation status, while the co-chair can hold any status.
  • Graduate Faculty with Special status in a student's department may not serve as the Graduate Studies representative or in fulfillment of the committee majority pursuant of the doctoral committee composition policy.

Special memberships may be requested up to a maximum period of five calendar years for teaching purposes or for the duration of the specified committee assignment. Special memberships are renewable based on the same criteria as the initial appointment.

All nominations for Special membership must state clearly the specific purposes for which the nomination is being sought and, when it can be known in advance, the length of time for which it is being requested.

Special appointment requests and supporting documents are reviewed by the appointing graduate department, Graduate Division, and the Dean of Graduate Studies and continued as appropriate.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Graduate Studies will manage any exceptions to the policy outlined above. Requests for exceptions must be made in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies detailing the exception requested and the extraordinary circumstances that have resulted in the request.


Graduate Studies
213 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045
(785) 864-8040

Approved by: 
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Approved on: 
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Effective on: 
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Graduate Faculty appointments, Special status, Master’s final exam, Doctoral comprehensive oral exam, Doctoral final oral exam
Change History: 

06/21/2016: Technical edits for annual review, gender-inclusive policies initiative. - ARG

11/24/2015: Added additional related policy links.

08/26/2014: Graduate Studies added language to make this policy agree with other policies related to Graduate student committee composition.​

02/2013: Graduate Studies updated this policy

Personnel: Administrators Categories: 
Personnel: Faculty/Academic Staff Categories: 

Can't Find What You're Looking For?
Policy Library Search
KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times