Become a BMS Faculty Mentor

If you would like to be the mentor (supervisory committee chair) of a PhD student in the graduate program in Biomedical Sciences (BMS), you must be a member of the faculty of this program.

There are three steps to this process. First, you must have a primary or joint/courtesy faculty appointment in one of the eight basic science departments that comprise the program. Second, that department must also vote to confer Graduate Faculty Status (GFS) to you. Third, you must have GFS in the concentration of your student.

Faculty Appointment

The graduate program in Biomedical Sciences was formed in 1996 by the merging of the graduate programs of eight basic science departments between the Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry. Therefore, to mentor a student in the program, you must have an appointment in one of these departments, even if you are a faculty member of another department in one of these respective colleges. The departments included:

  • Anatomy & Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Oral Biology (College of Dentistry)
  • Pathology, Immunology & Laboratory Medicine
  • Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Physiology & Functional Genomics

If you are a primary (budgeted) member of any of these departments step one is competed. If you are not a primary member, then you should determine which of these departments is the best fit for a joint/courtesy appointment. This will most likely be based on established ties with members of the department’s faculty via research, teaching or other common interests. The requirements for creating joint/courtesy appointments are varied among the departments, as are the expectations of joint/courtesy faculty members for participating in departmental matters. The best thing to do is contact the department chair or work with a colleague in the department as a liaison for establishing a joint/courtesy appointment. The faculty of the department will vote on granting an affiliate appointment.

Graduate Faculty Status

Only certain faculty members at the University are permitted to chair graduate student supervisory committees (i.e., mentor the student). They must have Graduate Faculty Status in that student’s department/concentration.  Similarly, to serve on a student’s committee, a faculty member must have GFS in some program at UF. To obtain GFS, a faculty member must have a primary or affiliate appointment in a department that confers GFS due to its running a graduate program. This requires a 2/3 positive vote to confer GFS by the graduate faculty of that department, even if the faculty member has a primary appointment in the department, i.e., having a primary appointment in a GFS-conferring department is not sufficient to have GFS.  For joint/courtesy members, the votes for the appointment and GFS are usually done at the same time, but this is at the discretion of the department.  When the GFS vote is taken, the department will confer with the faculty member the initial concentration that is most appropriate.  Several departments are associated with numerous concentrations, while others tend to be strongly affiliated with single concentrations.

Concentration Affiliation/Appointment

Once a faculty member has obtained a primary/joint/courtesy appointment and GFS in one of the eight basic science departments that comprise the BMS, they may choose at their discretion one other of the six concentrations with which to affiliate. These concentration affiliations do not require a departmental vote but are approved via the Associate Dean for Graduate Education.  It is the concentration GFS that makes a faculty member in one of the departments a standing member of the BMS faculty, since that is what is required to mentor an BMS student whose academic connection to the UF Graduate School is via the concentrations, The concentrations are listed and linked in the “Programs” page. Concentration GFS can be changed as needed via approval by the Associate Dean for Graduate Education.

GFS can only be conferred to faculty members at the rank of assistant professor or higher (including non-tenure-accruing ranks such as research assistant professor).

A faculty member with GFS outside of the BMS can serve on an BMS student’s committee as the external member or a regular member, as long as there are two members within the student’s concentration (including the chair/mentor).

Special Committee Member

Faculty or staff at UF, or faculty members outside of UF who either do not have appropriate departmental appointments or do not have appropriate rank for GFS can still serve on student supervisory committees as special members.  They participate in all committee activities, and their signature on the dissertation document and defense is mandatory.  However, they do not count towards the minimum committee size of four members.

Questions regarding Graduate Faculty Status should be directed to the Associate Dean for Graduate Education.