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FAQs about Faculty Compensation for Chairing Thesis and Dissertation Committees

  • Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about faculty compensation for chairing thesis and dissertation committees.

    Who is eligible for compensation for chairing theses/dissertations?

    Any current faculty member who is named committee chair on an approved Research Topic Approval Form and whose student has completed the required number of thesis/dissertation credits is eligible for compensation.

    What triggers eligibility for payment?

    Eligibility is triggered by the student doing two things:

    1. the student must complete the required number of thesis/dissertation credits (this number is set by the department), and
    2. the student must have an approved RTAF (including IRB or IACUC approval, if needed) on file in the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

    The student does not need to graduate in order for the chair to be paid. If the student is dismissed or officially exits the program, but has an RTAF on file and has completed the required number of thesis/dissertation credits at the time of their dismissal or exit, the chair can be compensated even if the RTAF is pending approval.

    How do I know for which students’ committee chairpersonship I’m being paid (or should be paid)?

    The School of Graduate Studies and Research maintains records of all approved RTAFs and, at the close of each semester, the SGSR runs a Banner report to determine which students have also completed the required number of thesis/dissertation credits. The information is compiled on a master list sorted by faculty member name and department. Each semester, the relevant portion of the master list is available to each department for review and verification, and, in May, this list is used to prepare individual memos for each eligible faculty member. The memos contain the name of the faculty member, their department, the name(s) of the student(s) for which the faculty member is eligible for payment, and the number (or fraction) of credits for which the faculty member is being paid. These memos are sent electronically (as PDFs) to the eligible faculty. Additionally, each faculty member is encouraged to keep a record of the students they’ve supervised and their progress. Faculty should feel free to contact the SGSR at any time if they have questions or if they identify any discrepancies.

    How much will I be paid?

    As described in the CBA [Article 23, Section 1(d)(2)]: Supervision of one (1) master’s thesis shall be equated with one-third (1/3) of a workload hour. Supervision of one (1) doctoral dissertation shall be equated with one (1) graduate workload hour. The rate of payment for this workload hour is the faculty’s rate at the time he/she became eligible for compensation as described above.

    When will I be paid?

    Historically, the SGSR has initiated payment for all eligible faculty after grades are posted each May because it was found to be preferred by most faculty. However, a faculty member may request payment at any time after they become eligible, typically the end of the semester when students have completed their final thesis/dissertation credits.

    Who do I contact if I want to be paid at the end of the semester, rather than in May?

    Simply contact Brenda Boal at the end of the semester ( or 724-357-2224). Please provide her with your name and the names of the students for whom you believe you are eligible for payment. Depending on when the request is made and where we are in the payroll cycle, there may be a delay of approximately one month between the request and the receipt of payment.

    May I bank my hours to use as release time?

    No. The July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2018, CBA removed the provision for banking of hours earned for the supervision of theses and dissertations. Banking is no longer permissible.

    Who do I contact if I have any questions?

    Please contact Brenda Boal ( or 724-357-2224) or Hilliary Creely ( or 724-357-7730).