Information on the role of an independent member of a PhD review panel.
Follow these steps:
1) Read the student's document in advance of the formal review.
2) Attend the oral presentation, and use the Q&A as an opportunity to ask the student questions about their work.
3) Meet with the other panel members (without the student present) to discuss the student's progress.
4) Meet with the student in private to discuss the student's own view of their progress in the the past year or any other issue that they want to raise. Help the student to identify who (or where) to get support in resolving any problems that he or she raises. This meeting should NOT, however, amount to a supervision session where the panel member advises the student on their research (that guidance should only be a part of the feedback given to the student from the panel as a whole). Rather, it's an opportunity for the student to raise issues with a member of staff that for whatever reason he or she feels unable to raise with the supervisor.
5) Collaborate with the other members of the panel to provide written feedback to the student. This is typically drafted by the principal supervisor and agreed, perhaps after amendment, by the other panel members. The written feedback should be completed within one week of the panel meeting.
6) In addition to the written feedback, the panel may choose to meet with the student to discuss that feedback and provide further guidance. The external member should be included in this feedback session.