BME Affiliate Faculty Policy

Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering
Affiliate Faculty Policies
Final September 25, 2009

1. Purpose of Affiliate Program
The BME Department should be expansive and welcoming of Affiliate Faculty.  The rationale begins with the need to communicate and collaborate with the much broader set of faculty on campus who are engaged in biomedical engineering work.  It continues with the need to communicate to the outside world the broad range of BME activity. Most important is the furtherance of collaborative research and teaching activity.

2. Eligibility / Obligations / Accountability
BME implies having both engineering and biomedical intellectual content, not one or the other.  The biomedical component is not strictly medical, but includes appropriate basic biological science activity contributory to the larger biomedical enterprise. There should be a threshold of accountability, however, so that affiliations are time and overt interest limited.

3. Graduate Advising
Affiliation for purposes of graduate advisement is to be more restrictively granted on the basis of demonstrated ability to advise on both the engineering and biomedical sides to a thesis and their intersection.  Approval to guide a PhD thesis of a BME student always resides with BME Department, utilizing the Academic Committee.  There are options for co-advisement with the BME faculty member being the chair while the work is done in another laboratory.


  1. All appointments are renewed yearly.
  2. The Affiliate will present both initially and for renewal positive evidence of significant
    Biomedical Engineering work, such as
  • publishing in BME journals
  • significant BME research activity
  • offering a BME topic course
  • collaboration with BME core faculty
  • advising or funding a BME department graduate student
  • advise a non-BME student whose work is clearly BME, resulting in BME conference or journal publications
  • service on BME department committee or national committees of BME organizations

    Note that having both engineering and biomedical content in the work is required.

3. Obligations of the affiliate include:

  • agreement to give a department seminar at an appropriate date
  • maintaining a current web page for linking with the BME homepage
  • periodically submitting a CV to the BME Department
  • informing the BME Department of all BME topic courses the faculty member is teaching

4. Privileges are:

  • can advise BME MS students
  • can claim Affiliate Faculty status on CV’s, proposals, etc.
  • note: any graduate faculty member can be on a PhD committee without being an affiliate
  • does not include being dissertation committee chair – see below

5. Graduate Status in BME

  • Only faculty who are already affiliates may request graduate status through BME.
  • Status will be granted only if there is special need from BME in order to serve on student committees
  • A formal vote of the BME faculty is required for approval.


  • There is a departmental disincentive to approve graduate status in BME until needed, as students have to have a thesis committee member outside the BME graduate faculty and that member is often selected from those that conduct BME related research
  • Most engineering and basic science faculty are likely to have graduate status through other departments; having BME graduate status is not needed for advisory committees
  • Some medical faculty will not have graduate status in any department, posing the more difficult issues as to whether or not they have the appropriate BME combination for advisement or supervision of a BME graduate student. A strong engineering collaborator is desirable in these cases
  • BME does not automatically grant PhD dissertation chair privileges

6. Dissertation Advisor

  • Generally, faculty with appropriate BME background (engineering and biomedical) may serve as PhD dissertation chairs. However, if the chair is strong in only one of the fields, a co-chair with complementary strength may be required.
  • Approval must be granted by the BME Department on a case by case basis

1.  Application

  • applicant communicates with one of the primary BME faculty
  • applicant supplies CV and checklist (see 2 above) of qualifying activity;
  • BME faculty vote at next meeting
  • staff arranges for talks, web page links, photo

2. Review of Affiliates

  • Affiliates will be polled during the summer to update their CVs, web links, and to report their BME activities.  
  • To reduce workload, a cycle of review every third year is proposed with automatic renewal in between unless there is cause to review.

3. Graduate School Faculty Status

  • Applicant makes known to the Department (Chair or Associate Chair) desire to be so appointed
  • Need for this status is discussed subject to considerations above
  • Ballot vote takes place at the next appropriate faculty meeting. Only full time (>50%) BME faculty may vote.

4. Dissertation Advisor Status

  • Discussion by faculty and department leadership should take place before decisions are made to take on the student.
  • The student petitions to have the desired faculty member as dissertation committee chair.
  • BME Associate Chair acts on most petitions, but refers to the BME Academic Committee as needed.