What is a dissertation committee?

Award-winning professor and UI&U alumnus Dr. Jeffrey Ferezan (Ph.D. ’10) has been a higher education instructor since 2000. His knowledge of dissertation committees is extensive. As adjunct faculty at Franklin University, he serves 22 doctoral learners, is a faculty advisor to six, and serves on nine dissertation committees (a committee chair to seven). Ferezan’s students are in the Doctoral of Business Administration, Doctoral of Educational Leadership, and the Doctor of Healthcare Administration programs, where he instructs various courses in leadership theory and organizational performance.

Dr. Ferezan offers the following guidance on dissertation committees in the Q & A below.

  1. What is a dissertation committee? Dissertation committee members work under the guidance of the dissertation committee chair and typically assist in advising the student in the dissertation literature review, development of study methods and parameters, analysis of data, writing the dissertation report, and preparing to defend the dissertation.

  2. What steps do you recommend to a student in choosing a dissertation committee? If they recognized an instructor or faculty advisor who was available and interested in their topic and success during their coursework, then it is a good sign they would champion your doctoral research and dissertation to a successful defense.

  3. Why is it an honor to serve on a committee? Each learner has exposure to many great experts, scholars, and educators during their coursework. When it comes time to select three from that pool (before they complete their comprehensive exams) – it is quite flattering and an honor to be requested.

  4. You earned your Union Institute & University Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences with a concentration in Leadership Skills and Systems with a specialization in Higher Education in 2010. The overall journey was exceptional, and I always felt their support and guidance and knew they were interested in my success every step of the way!

  5. Your dissertation, Modes of Operation of Successful College/University CEOs, received special recognition for making a valuable contribution to the field of study. What impact did your research have on your career? While completing my research, I achieved positions in higher education as Dean, Chief Operations Officer, and Vice President of Initiatives, to name a few. It allows one to understand better the social and communication skills necessary for building professional networks and societal recognition.

  6. Why was a Ph.D. with an interdisciplinary lens important to you? The importance was to be able to view a challenge or situation and derive a common solution suitable for multiple industries or organizations.

  7. What is your advice to students or those thinking about a Ph.D.? They will be the project director of the largest and most important project impacting their life and those around them. The amount of time is immense but completing the Ph.D. journey with success makes every moment worth it!


Dr. FerexenAbout Dr. Jeffrey Ferezan

Dr. Ferezan currently serves as an adjunct faculty instructing Managerial Psychology and the gateway course, Intro to Psychology, for Franklin University’s Master of Science in Business Psychology degree. Franklin University is a Columbus, OH-based university. There, he delivers these courses in the online format. Additionally, he instructs Organizational Systems Perspectives Theory and Application, Development of Management Theory and Practice, Change Management and Organizational Developmentand the Grad Colloquium II in the Doctoral of Business Administration program. In the Doctoral of Educational Leadership program, he instructs the Leadership of Organizational Resources, Initiatives, and Performances course. He serves 22 doctoral learners as a faculty advisor to six, a dissertation committee member to nine, and a committee chair to seven. He is a certified instructional practices coach for newly hired faculty and instructs the Doctoral Teaching and Advising course and the Teaching Effectively in Higher Education course. A 2015 recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award.

Additionally, he was the recipient of the Robert L. Bailey Teaching Award at the 2016 Commencement ceremony, selected by graduating students as the graduate faculty member who had the most significant influence on their educational experience—nominated in 2019 by three students for the Service Excellence Recognition Award, recognizing faculty and staff for outstanding faculty/student interactions. In the Spring and Fall of 2020, he was named to the Provost’s List, recognizing and celebrating those who exceeded the teaching excellence standards based on valued student feedback. Ferezan was also named to the 20+ CLUB, recognizing and celebrating faculty, staff, and adjunct faculty who have reached 20 years of service at Franklin University. He is the inaugural recipient of the 2022 Instructional Coach of the Year award.