Serving as Pro-Dean for oral defences

Who can be a Pro-Dean? | What does the role involve? | Why volunteer as Pro-Dean?
Volunteer as Pro-Dean


Call for Pro-Deans HeaderDid you know that GPS schedules approximately 550 PhD defences a year?

The GPS Thesis Office is always seeking faculty members willing to volunteer as Pro-Deans for oral defences. Pro-Deans are crucial to ensuring that PhD oral defences are carried out efficiently and that students graduate in a timely manner.

Who can be a Pro-Dean?

Any full-time McGill faculty member. You do not need to be an expert, not even marginally, on the topic of the thesis. You can serve as Pro-Dean in your home Faculty as long as the defence is outside your home department and provided there is no conflict of interest.

What does the role involve?

The Pro-Dean serves as representative of the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and chairs the Oral Defence Committee. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that the examination is carried out with fairness to the student and with respect for the academic standards of the University. The Pro-Dean is not present in an evaluative role and is not to review or examine the academic quality of the thesis, except to verify that it meets the formatting requirements of the University. The Pro-Dean is provided with detailed instructions and a copy of the thesis prior to the defence.

The time commitment is approximately 3 hours, to review the thesis formatting prior to the defence and to attend the defence. Most defences are offered in hybrid and remote formats, so attendance via Zoom is possible.

Please refer to the Pro-Dean guidelines for more information.

Why volunteer as Pro-Dean?

  • Pro-Deans play a vital role in the oral defence, ensuring fairness and GPS representation.
  • It is a service to the graduate community: without Pro-Deans, we cannot proceed with an oral defence, causing a delay to the student's graduation.
  • Supervisors whose students have recently defended have experienced the benefit of a Pro-Dean; becoming a Pro-Dean is an opportunity to pay it forward to your colleagues.
  • It is an interesting experience! Faculty members who Pro-Dean learn about their colleagues' and McGill graduate students' exciting research and they take part in a celebratory moment in a students' career.

To volunteer as Pro-Dean:

Please access the attached list of upcoming defences to register as Pro-Dean for one or more defences. We ask that you add your name and email in the yellow column. If there is a name already listed in the row, please select another defence. We will get in touch with you shortly with guidelines and details on the defence. Thank you for your service!

You can also add your name to our Pro-Dean Back-up list for upcoming defences.

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, McGill University.

Back to top