Download the complete IGG Handbook (last updated November 2014)
The Chairperson is an individual responsible for governance of the IGG. The IGG Chair oversees all committees of the IGG and selects Course Directors for all courses. The Chair convenes meetings of the Executive Committee and sets the agenda for these meetings. The Chair sets the agenda and presides over biannual Faculty Meetings.
In addition to these responsibilities, the Chair also:
- Supervises day-to-day operations of the group
- Serves on all IGG Committees
- Attends to the funding of all IGG students
- Helps training grant principal investigators identify students appropriate for their training programs
- Serves on the Biomedical Graduate Studies Advisory Committee
- Meets with students on a regular basis
- Oversees the graduate group coordinator
- Tracks the progress of the students and maintains student files
- Oversees the faculty composition of the group
- Approves rotation and thesis laboratories and assures regular thesis committee meetings
- Provides final approval for theses
- Prepares the resource document for review of the group.
The Chair serves a three-year renewable term. In the spring semester of the third year of a term, the Personnel Committee requests nominations for the Chair and then contacts the nominees to determine if they would agree to serve. Nominations must be senior level (Associate or Full Professor) and members of the Standing Faculty of the University. The Chair is expected to be experienced in training doctoral-level students.
The Executive Committee is an advisory committee to the Chair. It is composed of the IGG Chair and at least five other senior members of the IGG. The membership will represent the concerns of Student Affairs, Curriculum, and Admissions Committees in addition to the primary training grants supporting students in the Program. The Executive Committee’s responsibilities are to maintain integration of the various graduate group programs and to review significant changes in policy, direction, or intent as recommended by other Committees or members prior to final approval by the membership at large. The Executive Committee will decide on the advancement to candidacy for each student in the Program. For this reason, the membership should always broadly represent each aspect of the students’ training program. The Chair of the Executive Committee is always the IGG Chair.
The primary duties of the Admissions Committee include:
- Reviewing applications to the Program
- Selecting applicants to interview
- Interviewing students
- Organizing recruitment efforts
- Ranking applicants and submitting lists to the BGS Admissions Committee.
The Chair of the Admissions Committee will sit on the BGS Admissions Committee and represent the IGG. The Chair will also be a member of the IGG Executive Committee.
Student Affairs Committee
The Student Affairs Committee reviews the progress of all 1st and 2nd year students. This Committee and administers the First and Second Phase Oral Examinations. The Chair of the Student Affairs Committee sits on the IGG Executive Committee.
The Curriculum Committee reviews the existing curriculum and evaluates how the students’ needs are met by the available courses. Modifications to the existing curriculum are initiated by this Committee and approved by the Executive Committee and then by the membership of the IGG. At least one IGG student will serve on this Committee.
The Chair of this committee prepares the agenda and runs committee meetings, attends BGS Curriculum Committee meetings, and sits on the IGG Executive Committee.
Career Development Committee
The Career Development Committee engages students to ensure that their career needs are being met. With the help of the IGG faculty, this committee will assist students in taking advantage of existing opportunities and devising new ones.
The Retreat Committee coordinates the Annual IGG Weekend Retreat. Members of this committee are responsible for inviting a guest speaker to discuss his/her work. The co-chairs of this committee also organize chalk talks and poster presentations given by the Graduate Group students and faculty members.
David Allman, Chair
Igor Brodsky, Co-Chair
Taku Kambayashi, Co-Chair
Sunny Shin, Chair
Paula Oliver, Chair
Student Affairs Committee
Terri Laufer, Chair
Michael May, Chair
Career Development Committee
Janis Burkhardt, Chair
Paula Oliver, Co-Chair
Andrew Wells, Co-Chair
Permission to Write and Scheduling a Defense Date
- When a thesis committee formally grants permission to student to write her/his thesis, the student must notify the IGG coordinator that permission to write has been granted.
- The student must notify the IGG coordinator of the defense date as soon as it is scheduled so a room can be reserved.
- The student has six months from the time that permission to write is granted to submit the thesis. If the student does not meet the submission deadline then another thesis committee meeting must be convened to review the student’s progress.
Submitting the Thesis
- The student must submit a complete thesis to the committee at least three weeks prior to the defense date.
- The student should follow up with the thesis committee one week prior to the defense date to confirm that the thesis is acceptable and the defense can move forward.
- If student does not give the thesis committee and outside reviewer sufficient time to examine their dissertation, the student jeopardizes the preservation of their defense date. In such circumstances, the scheduled defense date can be canceled at the discretion of the IGG chair.
An external reviewer is a scientist from an academic institution other than Penn. Although an external reviewer is not required, it is encouraged.
- If the student would like an outside reviewer at her/his defense, the student, with thesis committee approval, must give the name of the outside reviewer to the IGG chair for approval at least six weeks prior to the defense date.
- With mentor approval, the student submits a completed dissertation to their thesis committee for review at least six weeks prior to the defense date.
- The student follows up with the thesis committee four weeks prior to the defense date so that they can make any recommended changes prior to submitting their dissertation to the external reviewer.
- The student ensures that the thesis committee chair communicates his/her approval for submitting the dissertation to the external reviewer to the IGG chair/coordinator.
- The student sends the dissertation and the document “Criteria for Dissertation Review” (provided by the IGG coordinator) to the outside reviewer at least three weeks prior to the defense date.
- The student follows up with the external reviewer to ensure that she/he submits comments to both the IGG chair/coordinator and thesis committee chair prior to the defense date.
- During the defense, the thesis committee operates without the active participation of the mentor. The defense itself is preceded by a public seminar on the dissertation results by the candidate. This seminar is followed by a closed session in which the candidate answers questions from her/his committee.
- When uploading the final draft of the thesis, students are given an option to delay the release of her/his thesis. The student or the PI may want to delay publication when a paper is in press, a patent application is pending, etc. Students must talk with her/his PI prior to uploading the thesis.
- Delays longer than one year require additional paperwork that must be completed prior to uploading the final draft of the thesis.