Graduate Council Annual Report 06-07

Committee Charge: To govern graduate curricula and policies and to review graduate programs. Members must have an appointment to, and be active in, a graduate program.








Louis Hayes (Chair)

Political Science


Michael McClintock



Albert Borgmann



Tully Thibeau

Linguistics Program


*Michael DeGrandpre



*Christine Fiore



Neva Hassanein



*David Erickson

Curriculum & Instruction


Terri Herron

Accounting & Finance


*George Stanley



*Jenny McNulty (spring)
Jim Hirstein (fall)



*Neil Moisey





Ex-Officio Member


David Strobel

Dean Graduate School


Arlene Walker-Andrews        Associate Provost

Graduate Students:


Travis Cossitt



Ron Malecki



*IIP Oversight Committee Members


Michael McClintock
Albert Borgmann
Tully Thibeau

Michael DeGrandpre
Jenny McNulty
George Stanley

Terri Herron
Neil Moisey
David Erickson

Social Sciences
Christine Fiore
Louis Hayes
Neva Hassanein

Agenda Items and Actions


  • 1. Annual Curriculum Review
    The ASCRC acted on a total of 125 curriculum proposals, including 2 Level I changes and 7 Level II changes. The proposals appear on the Faculty Senate's consent agenda, beginning 11/9/06.

    Level I
    Terminate MS in Physical Therapy
    Change name of International Resource Management Option to International Conservation and Development

    Level II
    New Option in Inequality and Social Justice
    Entertainment Management Certification within MA Accounting
    Entertainment Management Certification within MBA
    Entrepreneurship Certification within MBA
    New Speech Language Pathology Program
    Degree Title Changes in School of Fine Arts:

Department of Art:

New Title

Master of Arts, Major in Fine Arts, Options in Art and Art History

Master of Arts in Art

Master of Fine Arts, Major in Fine Arts, Options in Ceramics, Painting & Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture

Master of Fine Arts in Art

Department of Drama/Dance:


Master of Arts, Major in Fine Arts, Option in Drama

Master of Arts in Drama

Master of Fine Arts, Major in Fine Arts, Options in Acting, Design/Technology and Directing

Master of Fine Arts in Drama

Department of Media Arts:


Master of Fine Arts, Major in Fine Arts, Options in Media Arts and Music Media Production

Master of Fine Arts in Media Arts

Department of Music:


Master of Music, Major in Music, Options in Composition/Technology, Musical Theater, Music Education, and Performance

Master of Music in Music

Separation of Educational Leadership and Counciling into two departments

Reviewed but not approved:
Proposal for Computational Science PhD.
The Graduate Council responded to the request with the following:

Graduate Council accepts the suggestion that there is a "need" for such a program.  However, it is difficult to establish if the proposed program will be successful.  Faculty have said the program is too rigid and will discourage potential computational science oriented applicants.  Secondly, it would be helpful if you could identify sources of funding for such a degree program.  Such programs depend on support in addition to that received directly from the University (e.g. grant funding).  Moreover, the richness of such funding is an important indicator of the need.  Because CS faculty do not currently have Ph.D. students, will the teaching loads and extramural funding be appropriate for success of the program?


There is some concern that the program would be duplicative.  There already exists the possibility for a student receiving a PhD in a science to acquire the additional computational resources needed for a career track.  

There already exists a computer science degree in Mathematics which apparently is attracting few takers.  Will the proposed program have similar popularity?

There already exists a mechanism for prospective students to acquire doctoral level education in a computational sciences format.  The IIP degree was designed specifically to deal with these kinds of needs.

Proposal for option in Student Affairs in Higher Education
Graduate Council responded to the request with the following:

The Graduate Council discussed the Level I and Course Change Proposals put forth by your department.  The Council unanimously voted to reject the proposals.  In sum, we did not see an urgent and sustainable need for the program that, if realized, could be delivered with consistent quality alongside your existing graduate programs.  The primary concerns are outlined below.


1.  The need for the program may exist in the short term, but in the long term, the Council was not convinced that the program will be viable in the long-term given the localized target market.


2.  The four Counselor Education faculty will be required to take on a significant extra workload that would be created by the 16-18 students you expect to graduate every two years.  This would mean each faculty member, on average, would need to chair two professional paper committees and sit on two additional professional paper committees each year.


3.  The Counselor Education faculty do not currently have the expertise to deliver the two new courses in the proposed new option.   The success of the new option would hinge entirely on your ability to recruit and retain qualified adjuncts to teach these graduate courses.


4.  According to our understanding of your accreditation standards, it is recommended that the student/faculty ratio not exceed 10:1.  We are concerned that the additional students you hope to recruit into the new program may ultimately jeopardize your accreditation or require additional faculty lines to maintain accreditation.

  • 2. Elimination of the bound paper copy of dissertation in the electronic dissertation process:
    There will be a certified paper copy maintained in the archives, but it will not be bound. The bound copy requires different formatting, and is paid for by the student, and creates a storage problem. In the past one copy was put on the library shelf and the other in archives. With the electronic process the dissertations and thesis will be available electronically so there is no need for a copy on the shelf. The Council approved the following by unanimous consent. Starting with the electronic process for master theses one certified paper copy will be archived where possible.
  • 3. Graduate Increment Recommendations
    The Council discussed the recommendations of the workgroup established the previous year and agreed that graduate programs should be required to explain their use of UG courses for program review. However, after the curriculum review and consistant issues with graduate increments the Council suggests that the recommendations be considered again next year. See appended Graduate Increment Workgroup Report.
  • 4. Program Review
    Drafted guidelines for review. (appended)

    Change in sequence: Graduate Council's initial review of the materials should take place prior to the external reviewers visit so that its comments can be shred with the reviewer. In FY 06-07 the Council should review the self-study in January/February and the External reviewer will visit campus in March/April. Then in FY 07-08 the Council should review the self-study in April/May/early September and the external reviewer will visit campus in Sept/Oct.

    Programs Reviewed and documents completed
    Educational Leadership and Counseling

            Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Science


            Communication (draft)

            EVST (draft)
            Political Science (draft)

  • 5. Research Awards
    51 applications reviewed for 10 awards of $500 each
  • 6. Three credit continuous registration:
    The President, as Acting Provost announced that starting in fall 2007 graduate students would be required to enroll for 3 credits of continuous registration. The current practice is for students to enroll in 1 credit for continuous registration. The Council and the Senate requested that the implementation be delayed. The Graduate Council met with the President to discuss the issue. The decision was based on students graduating with more credits then necessary, not completing in a timely fashion, and resource issues. Programs need to be aware of what students are doing in relation to university resources. A Workgroup was established to evaluate the data and offer a more sensitive solution. The President, after attending a forum hosted by the GSA delayed implementation until fall 2008. Next year the workgroup will collect best practices, determine how to calibrate the reliance on university resources, and evaluate how the university should affect the two issues. See amended workgroup report.
  • 7. BOR Policy 301.3 Admissions Requirements, Graduate Students:
    Proposed revision to policy-

The Graduate Record Examination, or an equivalent examination appropriate to a professional field, is expected mandatory for all entering graduate students and the cost of the examination shall be borne by the individual.  Alternative methods of selecting graduate students may be used, with approval on individual campuses, by specific graduate programs.

  • 8. Pre-doctoral Associates:
    The Department of Mathematics proposed creatively supporting students by establishing another category for teaching assistants.
  • 9. Bertha Morton Scholarships/Fellowship:
    Added evidence of contribution to society as criteria
    Revision of the Bertha Morton nomination distribution
    73 applicants reviewed for 29 scholarships ($1,000) and 1 fellowship ($2,000)
  • 10. IIP Oversight and IIP Admissions Committee:
    Both the IIP Oversight and newly formed IIP Admissions Committee were active. A student progress report was presented to Graduate Council on 4/11/07 and members volunteered to attend students' dissertation defenses.
    Members of the IIP Admissions Committee include David Erickson (Chair), Linda Frey, Ralph Judd, Elizabeth Putnam, and Sandy Ross.

    The committee admitted 4 students and denied one:






Stacie Barry

History & Philosophy

Montana Tech

Pat Munday

Anita Dupuis

NAS/Public Heath


Blakely Brown


Kelly Rice

Health/Exercise Physiology


Steven Gaskill


Cindy Schaumberg

Health/Social Work

Ann Cook


Jack Haffey (denied)

 11. MIS Workgroup-April 27, 2007 report below

April 27, 2007

George Stanley, Geosciences, Chair

Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies Committee


Jose Garcia, Interdisciplinary Student

Jeff Greene, Political Science

Ulrich  Kamp, Geography

David Strobel, Dean of the Graduate School

The Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS) Committee has been working this semester on revamping the existing MIS program and as a work in progress, it is bringing recommendations to the Graduate Council.

The MIS committee recommends specifics areas for revamping the present MIS program. We wish to maintain structured while at the same time allow needed flexibility for each student in the program. We believe that it will better serve UM students in a world where integrative and interdisciplinary approaches are increasingly more important. We expect for the new graduate program to result in unique curricula and professional development of our graduate students. We expect the program to increase enrollment, attract student participation and become a visible, priority program on campus. 

The student representative on our committee gathered web site information on comparable interdisciplinary MIS programs at other universities and the committee had extensive and productive discussions and present specific recommendation below. The committee recommends that implementation of the new program be given a high priority for the new (incoming) Dean of the Graduate School

 The need-The existing MIS program at The University of Montana is small and has an archaic structure very much in need of modernization if it is to fully serve the needs of our students. We propose the creation of a new premier MIS graduate program at UM. Its mission is to attract and train graduate students at the Masters level who will pursue integrative thinking and learning within interdisciplinary fields.

Admission requirements--Requirements and admission standards to be specified must be flexible to accommodate the expected students. However it will be rigorous and the requirements clearly articulated. Admission to the program will require a high level of competency and it should be a viable on its own standing, not merely for students previously unable to obtain admission, to gain entrance into the graduate program.

Start at the undergraduate level-To support the development of integrative programs at UM, The Davidson Honors College could serve as a graduate "pipeline" to encourage interdisciplinary approaches and integrative thinking at the undergraduate level.

Faculty director--Appointment of a faculty director for the MIS program to work with the Graduate Dean, advising and guiding recruitment and development of the program.

Formation of an advisory group-We recommend an advisory group, composed of top UM professors whose experience is in interdisciplinary endeavors. This group will be an asset in spawning new ideas and directions for the MIS.

Keep students in the program in communication--Students in the program, while pursuing regular coursework and developing thesis research with their committee, also will have regular semester meeting with their cohorts, for purposes of facilitating communication. Prospective students and students initially entering the program will benefit in learning how one develops integrative and interdisciplinary projects and programs. This could be coordinated with the regular IIP seminars.

Integrative conference on UM campus--Require student participation each year in an integrative conference on campus. The conference will consist of seminars and workshops, exposing students to professionals who practice interdisciplinary, integrative endeavors and also helping students connect with prospective job opportunities.

Recruiting--Undertake an aggressive advertisement approach to recruiting students into the program. Recruiting should serve to attract new student from outside. Recruits could include a sizable "baby boomer" population of non-traditional students.

Quality assessment-Regular assessments are needed in order to assure that the program is meeting the highest standards as well as to improve and fine-tune the program. This should include annual review of student progress. Each student should be required to maintain a "portfolio" documenting what they have achieved and such portfolios will assist them in gaining employment.

(#3 appended)

 Graduate Increment Workgroup Recommendations

Graduate Council spends a significant amount of time reviewing course proposals for changes to existing courses and for new courses. Part of this process involves determining whether a 400-level course is offered at a sufficiently high standard to warrant awarding graduate credit to enrolled graduate students. The present means of evaluating the standard is a review of the graduate increment. The intent of the graduate increment is to ensure that graduate students are performing graduate-level work in the course. This is an admirable goal, but the question remains of whether it is actually achieved.

There are several problems associated with this. One problem arises in the interpretation of what constitutes an appropriate graduate increment. The Graduate Council provides guidelines and examples of appropriate graduate increments, and GC subcommittees often contact faculty regarding inclusion or modification of a proposed graduate increment. However, many faculty interpret the increment to mean additional work, not more substantive or higher quality work. A second problem arises in that there is no subsequent review of graduate increments once the graduate designation has been assigned to a course.

So we have a policy that is applied once, is perhaps not carried out uniformly across the disciplines, and undergoes no subsequent review until the course is to be changed. In this regard, the graduate increment seems merely a hurdle to clear during the course proposal process; a box to be checked on a form that is subsequently filed away for posterity.

But if we return to the original intent, to ensure that students are performing at a graduate level and receiving a graduate-level experience and instruction, then there is an alternative mechanism for actually enforcing the policy. Instead of reviewing the graduate increment at the beginning, it seems that a more effective means to monitor the situation would be to request information from departments regarding graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses. This information could be gathered during the periodic departmental review process. Questions that could be asked include the following:

  • 1. What percentage of 300-level or 400-level undergraduate credits is a graduate student allowed to apply to their graduate degree? Please provide an explanation for this percentage in terms of the quality of graduate education.
  • 2. How does this percentage compare with those of peer institutions?
  • 3. Why are graduate students allowed to apply 300-level or 400-level courses to their graduate-degree requirements? Note that this is not meant to be offensive as there are many good reasons for allowing this; it is merely an attempt to clarify within each department what the goal is for allowing graduate students to apply undergraduate credits to their graduate degrees.
  • 4. What additional expectations are placed on graduate students who enroll in 400-level undergraduate courses if the students want to apply the credits to their graduate program?
  • 5. How are these expectations made clear to the graduate students?
  • 6. Are there any 300-level or 400-level undergraduate courses that cannot be applied to a graduate degree? If so, why not?
  • 7. Please list the 300-level or 400-level undergraduate courses that have been applied to a graduate degree since the last review. Please list specific expectations for each 300-level or 400-level undergraduate course that counts toward the graduate degree.

If adopted, this proposal would put the onus on the individual department to justify why they allow graduate students to apply 400-level courses to their graduate degrees and why they allow that specific number of such credits.

This is not without problems. One of the most significant problems is whether any department is in a position to evaluate whether a 300-level or 400-level course in another department could be applied to the graduate program. Secondly, would this mean that GC would have to review all 400-level course proposals or none of them?


(# 4 appended )

Graduate Program Review Guidelines (approved 12/6/06)

  • I. Graduate Curriculum and Teaching
  • a. Enrollments in program and courses
  • b. Assessment of program and courses (entrance requirements, graduation requirements, quality of program, etc)
  • c. Rationale for program including/excluding courses (if any 300-level courses, why; if 400-level courses, why) - comparison of program to other University programs of similar nature.
  • d. Student Support and Feedback (mentoring, advising, program culture, funding, etc)
  • II. Academic Record of Faculty
  • a. Teaching (Number of classes/courses/term/year, Number of student advisees)
  • b. Scholarly contributions (publications, creative works, grant generation, etc.)
  • c. Service (to department, college, university and profession)
  • III. Facilities
  • a. Office
  • b. Lab/classrooms/studios
  • c. Library
  • d. Information technology
  • e. Special needs
  • IV. Management
  • a. Decision making and distribution of departmental resources
  • b. Selection and support of Graduate Director and how a
  • c. Student participation in program governance
  • d. Student recruitment
  • V. Student Evaluation
  • a. Review of overall student performance and progress
  • b. Student experiences appropriate to their professional goals
  • c. Timely communication of student deficiencies and an opportunity to remediate
  • d. Mechanisms to promote retention and completion
  • VI. New Directions and Recommendations
  • a. Trends in the field (How are the faculty/department keeping up with the trends in field? Are courses being revised, re-written?)
  • b. Recommendations


(# 6 appended )

Continuous Registration- Data Analysis Workgroup Report, April 25, 2007

Albert Borgmann

Chris Fiore

Neva Hassanein


      The Workgroup was appointed in response to the Provost's announcement that as of Autumn 2007 at least three credits of continuous registration would be required of all graduate students. The current minimum has by default become one credit. There was alarm and concern on the part of faculty and graduate students. The implementation of what has come to be known as the three-credit rule has meanwhile been moved to Autumn 2008.

There was no formal charge to the Workgroup, but the Graduate Council's minutes of February 7, 2007 contain the following concerns: "1) students are taking too many credits, 2) students are taking too long to graduate, and 3) faculty are spending too much time with students [the unstated assumption being that not all of that time is reflected in the tuition paid by the students in question]." These worries showed that the three-credit rule opened up on broader concerns about the quality and efficiency of graduate education at the University of Montana.

The Provost's concern was understandably financial. The Workgroup, however, concentrated on the pedagogical issues.

The Council's minutes of February 7 mention the lack of data concerning these issues, and one of the major tasks of the Workgroup was to assemble helpful national and local data. This turned out to be a difficult enterprise. The minutes of the Workgroup, appended to this report, reflect the problems and the progress of data collection. A complete set of the data is also appended. To the concerns recorded in the minutes, the following should be added:

The data we have collected are useful but have not been verified for accuracy.  In addition, some files are incomplete (e.g., need the N on the average credit hours to degree sheet; need to know the total enrollment in the program on the one-credit enrollment sheet). 

There is a major error in the doctoral attrition graph.  The percent attrition "after 6 years" used on the graph is 47 but if you look at the data above, the number should be 38.  After 10 years should be 31.  The graduation numbers were inserted erroneously, and the graph is wrong.

The file with the five-year average of credit hours for each degree is much more useful than the one detailing each year for five years.  A column with the number of credits required by degree simply needs to be inserted. 

Summer enrollment data need to be analyzed both separately and in conjunction with academic year data.  Headcount/FTE ratios need to be adjusted accordingly.

One-Credit Enrollment

            How large a problem is one-credit enrollment? In Autumn 2006, 19% of graduate students registered for one credit. Assuming such enrollments are financially and pedagogically unreasonable, one would have to subtract from them those one-credit enrollments that are justified by program or hardship. The remaining ones may be thought to be inappropriate pedagogically on the grounds that productive and reasonable progress toward the degree requires a minimum of interaction between student and faculty that would be reflected by three credits. If a financial argument is to be made, what is needed is a dollar amount that reflects the typical cost in infrastructure and faculty time used in one-credit enrollment and a comparison of that amount with the tuition charged for one credit. These are matters for further investigation.


            Attrition and excessive credits can stand in the way of productive and reasonable progress toward the degree. Beginning with attrition, we must note that early attrition properly reflects cases of students who are not qualified and cases of misguided expectations on the part of students,  and in both instances attrition cuts losses for both the students and the University. Late attrition (after three years roughly) is demoralizing and wasteful for both student and the University. That kind of attrition is a national problem, especially in Ph.D. programs,  and the University does not seem to be doing unusually poorly. Remedies, too, have been sought nationally and seem to be hard to come by.

            Still, there is great variation among programs, and there is a need to locate and understand best practices.

Excessive Credits

            A rough and tentative estimate seems to indicate that graduate students take about a third more credits than their programs require. Some of these additional credits may reflect intellectual curiosity. Others may be unintended side effects of program regulations or the need for financial aid. Still others may in fact be due to wasteful and dilatory habits. Here again an analysis of best practices is needed.


            What we recommend is further investigation as indicated above. Three provisos we need to add are these. (1) The students that have the greatest difficulty completing their degree program are students with children. Reform measures must be sensitive to the burdens of those students. (2) Careful investigation of local practices and the collection of helpful background data and materials from national studies is a difficult and time-consuming enterprise. The Provost should consider turning these tasks over to a professional organization such as the Yardley Group. (3) Care must be taken that the solution of one problem does not aggravate another