An Advisory Committee of five or more tenure-track or tenured faculty members will oversee your graduate education. During the first year, before an Advisory Committee has been formed and a major professor selected, the First-Year Advisory Committee will serve as your advisor.
Advisory Committee Selection Process
After you have chosen a lab, your major professor will help you in choosing the other members of your Advisory Committee. Selection of a major professor and the additional four members of the Advisory Committee should be completed by the end of March of the first year.
- At least five members of the Committee must be tenure-track or tenured professors at UW-Madison.
- At least three members of the Committee should be members of the Program.
- At least three different areas of neuroscience or approaches to neuroscience must be represented on the Committee. The student is responsible for describing how the proposed committee represents at least three areas/approaches.
- N&PP students are required to have at least one member of the N&PP Steering Committee represented on their thesis advisory committee.
The composition of each student’s Advisory Committee will be reviewed and must be approved by the First-Year Advisory Committee. All changes to the makeup of your Advisory Committee, must be approved by the First-Year Advisory Committee.
In order to have your committee approved you must fill out and turn in the NTP Advisory Committee Approval Form.
Advisory Committee Meeting Process
The advisory committee will meet with you once each semester before you become a dissertator (during the first four or five academic semesters) and once each year after you become a dissertator to review your progress. At least four members of the Committee must be present at each meeting.
Your major professor chairs the Advisory Committee and will write a report that summarizes each meeting. You should review each report and discuss it with your major professor. Every report must be signed by you and your major professor and becomes part of your permanent record. The summary reports are used by the Steering Committee, Program faculty, and Director to monitor progress.
Advisory Committee meetings for all students who are not dissertators are to be held at the beginning of each semester and a summary report of the meeting should be filed in the Program Office no later than the end of the third week of the fall and spring semesters. Dissertators should meet with their Committees and file a summary report no later than the end of the third week of the fall semester.
The list of current Standing Committees, including a description of the purpose of each Committee, is given below. Unless otherwise noted, the roles of the student members on each Committee are identical to those of faculty members.
The Curriculum Committee is responsible for proposing the general standards of the Program’s core curriculum requirements for consideration by the Steering Committee and/or Program faculty. The Committee makes recommendations regarding course sequences and requirements, and it evaluates the appropriateness of a specific course for fulfilling these requirements.
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee makes vigorous efforts to encourage applications of admission by qualified minority students and to recruit these students to the Program. To read more, see the DEI Committee page.
This Committee has the responsibility for meeting the NIH mandate that all students supported by the federal government shall receive annual instruction in the responsible conduct of research (scientific ethics).
First-Year Student Advisory
This Committee is responsible for first-year students until they choose a major professor. The Committee advises students on all aspects of the Program throughout the first year, from orientation in the fall to choosing a major professor in the spring. It is also responsible for handling any student issues that may arise after the first year.
The Seminar Topics Committee is responsible for the choice of seminar topics on the ballot for the Neuroscience seminar series, which is then selected by vote of the faculty and students. This entails surveying students and faculty for interesting topics and, when necessary, recruiting faculty to organize these seminars.
The Steering Committee oversees most of the routine business of Neuroscience Training Program and consists of ten faculty members (five elected, five appointed by the chair) and two student representatives (elected). Traditionally, students in the Program have played an important role in helping to define Program policies.
Student Representatives on Standing Committees
There are openings for up to two students to serve on each of the Program’s Standing Committees, except for those dealing with individual students or faculty issues. At least one student will serve on each Committee during each academic year.
A call for nominations of Committee representatives will be sent by the Program Office to all students once per academic year, generally prior to the fall semester. In the event that no student is elected or volunteers to participate on a particular committee, it is the responsibility of the student representatives to name a student to serve.
In addition to the responsibilities defined by their respective Committees, student committee members also are responsible for forwarding copies of any Committee minutes to the student representatives on the Steering Committee within one week of each Standing Committee meeting. Additionally, student members also will notify all Program students of relevant meeting and event dates, proposed Program changes, and other matters of interest to students. This notification should occur within one week following the Committee meeting or two weeks before any such meeting, event or effective date of a proposed Program change, whichever is earlier.
Student Representatives on the Steering Committee
The Steering Committee has openings for up to two student representatives. Each year, students in the Program elect two student representatives to the Steering Committee. The student representatives attend all Steering Committee meetings and bring student views and concerns to the Committee and vice-versa. The student representatives are excused from those parts of Steering Committee meetings that involve discussion of individual students and faculty in the Program.
Traditionally, students in the Program have played an important role in helping to define Program policies. While University statutes preclude students from voting on most policy and procedural issues, the faculty in the Program take student opinion very seriously. For example, the student representatives have the right to delay a Steering Committee vote on an issue until they believe that students in the Program have been fully informed about the issue and have had an opportunity to comment.
The list of current Student-Led Committees, including a description of the purpose of each Committee, is given below. These committees are made of only students and are responsible for student led initiatives, which are completely dependent upon the committee members and the goals they set for the year.
NTP Health & Wellness
This committee organizes events that promote health and wellness for students and faculty affiliated with the NTP. Examples of past events include sessions on mindfulness, financial health, and working with the Program to provide healthier snack alternatives for seminar.
The NTP Outreach Committee spearheads outreach programming for the Program. This includes planning curriculum for events, working with the Program to obtain new outreach materials, and increasing the diversity of populations we reach with neuroscience outreach in the community.