Outside observers are objective representatives of the UL Lafayett Graduate Faculty who are tasked by the Graduate Council with reporting to the Graduate School on the fairness and rigor of thesis/dissertation defenses and synthesis project presentations, at both the master's and doctoral levels. Outside observers are not members of the defense committee; thus, while they should be present for the entire defense/presentation, including any committee deliberations, they should not participate in those deliberations or vote on the outcome of the defense/presentation.
The assignment of outside observers is intended to ensure that the university's procedures are properly followed, that students are treated fairly, and that the rigor of graduate defenses/presentations are appropriate to the degree sought. Participation as an outside observer also contributes to the university's scholarly community and enhances interdepartmental connections.
Any stakeholder in a specific defense/presentation (including, for example, the student, a member of the defense/presentation committee, a department- or college-level faculty member or official, the Graduate School) may request that an outside observer be assigned by completing this Outside Observer Request Form.
For Fall 2021 Graduation: To ensure that the Graduate School can arrange the assigment of an outside observer take care to submit this request by October 8th.
Contact the Graduate School if you have questions.