Author: Debra Charlesworth

Dissertation, Report, and Thesis Updates for Spring 2021

Graduate faculty, graduate students, and graduate program assistants are invited to attend a seminar that will present updates to the process to schedule a final oral examination (“defense”) effective spring 2021:

Beginning in mid-March, the process to schedule a defense will move online to MyMichiganTech. At the seminar, we will describe the process and be available to answer any questions you have. 

For those who cannot attend, a recording will be available on our seminar archive and a student tutorial and advisor tutorial with screenshots is available now on our blog. Please contact the Graduate School ( with any questions.

Nominations open for summer 2021 fellowships from The DeVlieg Foundation

Due to the generous support of The DeVlieg Foundation, the Graduate School is happy to accept nominations for 2021 summer fellowships.

All graduate programs may nominate one eligible PhD student per program.  The recipient will  receive a stipend for summer 2021 plus tuition support (one credit or three research credits for PhD candidates).  Eligible students will meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Must be a graduate student in the field supported by the DeVlieg Foundation:
    1. Biology (2021 Summer Graduate Research Award in Biology)
  2. Must be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  3. Must be enrolled in a PhD program.
  4. Must be nominated by student’s graduate program.  Each PhD program may nominate one student.
  5. Must not be supported by another funding mechanism while supported by The DeVlieg Foundation (part-time job, fellowship, GTA, GRA, etc.).
  6. Biology (2021 Summer Graduate Research Award in Biology)

Nominations are due no later than 4pm on February 24, 2021 to the Graduate School. Please submit as a PDF file sent to

Please see our web page for details on the application procedure and materials needed.  Each program may determine its own internal selection procedure.Please contact the Graduate School with any questions.

Reviewing a scheduling request for a final oral examination

Effective spring 2021, students will schedule their final oral examination (“defense”) by submitting information about their dissertation, thesis, or report and defense to MyMichiganTech.

When a defense request is submitted by the student, the committee will be notified of the details and the advisor will also be notified to review the request in Workflow. If the advisor is missing the appropriate roles to review the workflow, the Graduate School will be notified immediately and will initiate updating the faculty record. Banner access for advisors is described on our web page. Please contact the Graduate School if there are any technical issues.

The advisor will log into Banner Workflow and select the scheduling request to review from their worklist. It is expected that faculty will review these requests within two business days.

Advisors will review the information provided by the student.

A portion of the form to show the scheduling information submitted by the student for the defense.

After reviewing the information, select “Approve” or “Reject” at the bottom of the page.

At the bottom of the scheduling request, select “Approve” or “Reject”

Return to the top of the form and select “Complete” to save the approval decision.

At the top of the form, select “Complete” to save the approval decision.

The committee, advisor, and student will be notified of the advisor’s decision. If the decision is to approve the defense scheduling, the graduate program director and assistant will also be notified. Committee members who are not Michigan Tech employees may not be notified; please confirm details with them individually.

If the committee does not receive the dissertation, thesis, or report with sufficient time for review prior to the defense, the advisor may request that the defense be rescheduled. Please contact the Graduate School to reschedule the defense.

Scheduling a final oral examination

A final oral examination (“defense”) is a milestone for students completing a dissertation, thesis, or report. To schedule a defense, students must log into MyMichiganTech and navigate to the Current Students tab.

In the “Dissertation, Thesis, or Report” area in the center column, students will see a link to schedule their final oral examination. If this section is blank, please contact the Graduate School for assistance.

A link to schedule a final oral examination is on the Dissertation, Thesis, or Report status area.

Please review the information at the top of the form. If there are any errors, please contact the Graduate School for assistance. Screenshots are very helpful.

Please complete the form with the following information:

  • The title of the dissertation, thesis, or report (55 characters per line; 4 lines maximum)
  • The date of the defense (must be at least two weeks into the future)
  • Start time of the defense
  • Building (select “Virtual defense – online only” if there isn’t a physical location)
  • Room (only required if there is a physical location)
  • URL for virtual attendance – 60 character limit – be sure your entire URL is visible
    • Required for virtual defenses, optional for physical defenses
    • Passwords are not allowed as defenses must be public
    • Waiting rooms are recommended (Zoom waiting room support)
  • Required for virtual defenses, optional for physical defenses
  • Passwords are not allowed as defenses must be public
  • Waiting rooms are recommended (Zoom waiting room support)

Click “Submit” when you have completed entering the information. A confirmation page will appear.

Confirmation page once a final oral examination scheduling request has been submitted.

The student, committee, and advisor will receive a confirmation email with the information provided by the student. The student should ensure that the required items listed in the email have been completed. Committee members who are not Michigan Tech employees may not be notified; please confirm details with them individually.

The advisor will receive an email from the Graduate School and can approve or reject the request online. All committee members with a Michigan Tech email address and the student will be notified of the decision. Committee members who are not Michigan Tech employees may not be notified; please confirm details with them individually. If the defense request is approved, the graduate program director and assistant will also be notified.

Nominations open for the 2021 MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. Please submit nominations to the Graduate School no later than 4pm, October 8. 2020, following our online instructions. This year, nominations are being accepted from dissertations in the fields of:

  1. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering
  2. Social Sciences

Michigan Tech may nominate one student in each field. Master’s students who have completed all of their degree requirements between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2020, are eligible. The fields of competition for 2022 will be humanities and biological and life sciences.

Nominations must be delivered to Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School no later than 4 p.m. on October 8. 2020; e-mail nominations to are preferred.  Contact Debra Charlesworth ( if you have any questions about the competition.

Submission and Formatting 101: Master the Dissertation, Thesis, and Report Process

Students who are completing a dissertation, thesis, or report are invited to join the Graduate School to learn about the resources available to them to assist in scheduling their defense, formatting their documents, and submitting their documents.  In one afternoon, you can learn everything you need to be successful and complete your degree in a timely fashion!  Faculty and staff who assist students with submissions are also welcome to attend.  Attend the entire event, or stop in for the seminar that interests you.

  • When: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 2 – 4pm (see detailed schedule below)
  • Who: Students completing a dissertation, thesis or report; faculty and staff who assist students with submission
  • Where: Zoom webinar; (register to attend online and receive participation instructions)

If you are unable to join us, the event will be taped and available online after the event. The previous semester’s seminars are always available online.

Information on submitting, formatting, and more can be found online for dissertations and theses or reports.

Detailed schedule

  • 2 – 3pm – Submission 101
    Learn what is required to submit your document to the Graduate School and the deadlines for the upcoming semester.  Best for students who are completing their degree this semester or next semester.
  • 3 – 4pm – Formatting 101-103: Word, Acrobat and Copyright
    • Learn how to find what you need in the Guide and use a Word template to create a perfectly formatted document the first time. 
    • Learn how to use Adobe Acrobat to check your document to ensure it meets our formatting requirements and correct it without recreating the PDF.
    • Learn how to use copyrighted materials in your document, including papers you have published as well as materials created by someone else.
  • 4pm – ?: Final questions
    Have a question that hasn’t been answered yet? We’ll be available to answer any additional questions you have.
  • Learn how to find what you need in the Guide and use a Word template to create a perfectly formatted document the first time. 
  • Learn how to use Adobe Acrobat to check your document to ensure it meets our formatting requirements and correct it without recreating the PDF.
  • Learn how to use copyrighted materials in your document, including papers you have published as well as materials created by someone else.

GSG and the CTL to Host Teaching Seminar for GTAs and GTIs

The Graduate Student Government (GSG), in collaboration with the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, is hosting a seminar for GTAs and GTIs who will be teaching in the Fall 2020 semester.

This virtual event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 20). Topics such as teaching resources, safety, student engagement and classroom policies will be discussed, and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Mike Meyer from the CTL will lead the session. Please feel free to submit any questions you may have in advance on this document. We hope to see you there.

Register here. Link to the Zoom meeting.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2020 Recipient- Ali Jalooli


I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Computer Science, studying the optimization of message routing in heterogeneous wireless networks. Over the past years, I have mainly focused on vehicular networks in smart cities. Research in this area is of great importance, as it advances cutting-edge connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. This has far-reaching consequences for many aspects of daily life, given the expanding world of the Internet of Things.  Connected vehicles provide various benefits, spanning from advanced driver assistance, remote diagnostics, and infotainment for consumers to road safety, improving response time for emergency vehicles, and even improving national and international economies by ameliorating traffic congestion. My work at Tech on the underlying networks that drive these technologies enhances the performance and feasibility of robust wireless networks. During my time at Tech, I have also gained teaching experience and increased responsibility in course development and assessment as a teaching assistant and lead instructor.

I am grateful to the graduate school and the graduate dean awards advisory panel for awarding me a Finishing Fellowship. I am also grateful to my advisors, Dr. Kuilin Zhang and Dr. Min Song, for their support and guidance.

Update from the Graduate School, 18 May 2020: MTU Flex online and research lab openings

Dear Students, 

We hope this email finds you and your family in good health. The events of the past weeks required that important adjustments be made to ensure that you can continue your education—coursework, research, and teaching—while staying safe and healthy. We are excited to welcome you back to campus in the fall 2020 semester and we are prepared to respond to changes in these uncertain times. We are opening the fall 2020 semester in person and, depending on developing circumstances, we will make the adjustments necessary so you will continue to receive the high-quality education you expect from Michigan Tech. 

MTU Flex is a digital platform where you will find information relating to the academic experience, campus experience, and financial questions of graduate students. The platform also provides information about campus-wide graduate student-specific resources that you will find useful. We have included a tab on frequently asked questions that provide quick responses to some of the common questions we have been receiving from graduate students. 

A number of research activities have started back up, per State of Michigan regulations. The “manufacturing-like” labs and field research activities have re-opened and all other research labs will start opening with a plan for keeping research group members safe and healthy.  The plan will vary with laboratories so please stay in touch with your research advisor and department chair.  We will keep you and the faculty informed as other information becomes available.  

In the coming weeks, you will receive further communication about our plans for the fall semester and the resources available to you as we navigate this very difficult time.  Please reach out to the graduate school via about any concerns you may have. We also encourage you to communicate with your department chairs and/or graduate program directors about issues specific to your program. 

We are concerned about your health and welfare. Please follow all health recommendations from local, state, and national officials. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Wear a face mask in public. Seek medical advice and self-isolate if you are experiencing a fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19. The Michigan Tech Counseling Services continues to provide services that support student’s mental health and wellbeing.  If you are experiencing financial hardships, consider applying to the Husky Emergency Assistance FundGraduate School Emergency FundInternational Student Emergency Fund, and/or Betty Chavis Emergency Fund. You may also contact the Graduate Student Government (GSG) with questions or concerns. HuskyFAN has also made emergency food packs available at Michigan Tech’s Public Safety and Police Service

Be safe and healthy. 


Pushpa Murthy, Dean of the Graduate School
Associate Provost for Graduate Education

Report from Provost’s Committee on issues impacting graduate students

Dear students,

In early April, the Provost convened an ad hoc committee to look into issues impacting graduate students. This committee submitted a set of recommendations to the Provost concerning employment, Daniell Heights graduate student housing, fundraising, and communications. The outcome of those recommendations is the subject of this email.


The committee recognized that a number of students have had their on-campus working hours reduced or eliminated entirely. The committee recommended that these students be supported for the hours they were unable to work. Across-the-board compensation is not possible at this time due to the wide variability in student situations and need. Federal Work-Study students will continue to be paid for the number of hours they were allowed. Students experiencing financial hardship as a result of lost hours are encouraged to apply for assistance through the emergency funds listed later in this email. 

Daniell Heights Housing

The results of recommendations made in regard to Daniell Heights are below: 

  • There will be no evictions as long as a student has a payment plan in place and is meeting their obligations.
  • Accounts Receivable will offer zero-interest payment plans. Please contact them to set one up:
  • Late fees were waived in April. At this time and going forward, normal late fees will be applied. Students are encouraged to set up a payment plan if they are having trouble making rent payments.
  • Students having trouble making their payments should reach out to Accounts Receivable to discuss their situation. Accounts Receivable will work with individuals to discuss future plans and expectations. Additional communication will be coming from Accounts Receivable and Housing.
  • Previously planned rent increases are included in the budget for 2020-2021. It is not anticipated that these increases will change. 
  • If a hold is placed on your account, please contact Accounts Receivable to discuss your situation. 


As the demand for emergency funds has increased, the committee recommended that fundraising for these emergency resources be made a priority. The dean of the Graduate School and Advancement and Alumni Engagement are putting together a plan to raise funds that will be specifically set aside for grad student support. These funds will be prioritized for students who are not eligible for other forms of emergency resources. 


For information of particular interest to graduate students, visit the MTU Flex website, which addresses questions and concerns from students, faculty, and staff.

Emergency Funds

There are a number of emergency resources available to students. Please see below for a list of available resources.

  • Husky Emergency Assistance Fund – Emergency funds for students and staff experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. These funds do not need to be paid back.
  • Graduate School Emergency Fund – Zero-interest loans provided by the Graduate School. Currently capped at $500 per application. Very flexible repayment options.
  • International Student Emergency Fund – Available to international students experiencing financial hardship. Currently limited to $500 per student, but other amounts may be considered on a case-by-case basis. The funds do not need to be paid back. 
  • Betty Chavis Emergency Fund – Emergency funds for students—now including graduate students—experiencing financial hardship.
  • HuskyFAN – Food resources available for students experiencing food insecurity. No-cost meal packets can be picked up from Public Safety. Please schedule a pickup ahead of time.

CARES Act funds will also be available to eligible students. We are awaiting University guidance on how the funds will be disbursed. Official communication on this matter is forthcoming. 

The Graduate School recognizes the difficulty of the situation and urges any graduate student who is experiencing hardship or who feels their concerns are not addressed by the information in this email to reach out by emailing We are here to help.

Take care,

Pushpa Murthy
Associate Provost and Dean, Graduate School