Graduate Council Meeting Minutes

January 24, 2007

GBB 202, 12:10-1:00 p.m.

Members Present: A. Borgmann, T. Cossitt, M. DeGrandpre, D. Erickson, C. Fiore, N. Hassanein, L. Hayes, T. Herron, R. Malecki, M. McClintock, J. McNulty, T. Thibeau, G. Stanley

Members Absent/Excused: N. Moisey


Ex-officio members Present: Dean Strobel, Arlene Walker-Andrews
Professor Hayes called the meeting to order at 12:10p.m

Approval of the minutes was postponed.



  • Professor McNulty was welcomed to the committee and members introduced themselves.

Unfinished Business:


  • Professor Erikson is considering serving as Chair next year. Professor McNulty agreed to serve the following year.

New Business:


  • The Council was asked by several graduate programs to review the 3 credit graduate student continuous registration requirement effective fall semester 2007. The decision, made by the acting Provost, was based on analysis of data showing enrollment going up and FTE going down. The number of graduate students taking 1 credit directly relates to the drop in FTE. The concern is that the University is not getting the revenue necessary to maintain graduate programs. The 3 credit requirement, however, would not necessarily solve the revenue problem. Dean Strobel suggests that the Council establish a set of standards to review graduate students progress and he recommends establishing student mentoring and advising programs that would assure students have a realistic plan to complete the program. If these issues are addressed then the 3 credit requirement may not be necessary.

    The issue appears to have three components: 1) revenue, 2) retention, and 3) completion. Requiring three credits rather than one will not solve the completion problem. Often graduate students have full-time jobs in addition to their studies.

    The Graduate School needs to collect and analyze the retention data for individual departments. Thus far retention efforts have been focused on undergraduates. Yet, fifty percent of doctoral students are leaving. Dean Strobel suggested that he serve on the Retention Taskforce because graduate student retention is intertwined with undergraduate programs based on the requests for teaching assistants.

    According to graduate school surveys, graduate students are leaving for personal and financial reasons. Often students take a leave of absence to work and do not return to the program.

    It is not clear how the policy would address the problem. It is potentially a penalty and could threaten the quality of work in the student's final semester. It could generate difficulties that will make the situation worse. The Council needs to look at the issue in depth and consider faculty input.

    Doctoral students in particular are concerned about the requirement. They would like to see a mechanism for exemptions to the policy. The timing of the requirement does not allow students enough time to plan and lacked faculty consultation.

    The Council passed a motion requesting the chair to write a letter to the Provost pleading for a delay of policy implementation to allow analysis of the problem and the underlying issues. This message should be copied to those that requested the Council to review of the policy.
  • George Stanley and David Erickson volunteered to serve on the committee to review nominations for the graduate student teaching award of excellence, sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Unfinished Business Continued

  • Associate Provost Walker-Andrews explained the reasons behind the program review schedule change. The process was taking too long and several department Chairs never met with the Provost, so one incentive is to provide feedback to department chairs earlier. Also, the Regents have implemented their own program review cycle that requires reporting at the November meeting, so it is would be more efficient to align the campus cycle with the regential cycle. The other change in the process is that after the review has been completed, the Chairs are asked to respond to a more detailed letter from the Provost with systematic action plans. The goal is to have departments submit materials by April so external reviews can be scheduled in September or October. This year is a transitional year.

    Rather than provide the external reviewer with a report, the Council will review the internal documents and communicate any questions or concerns to the reviewer. Communication Studies' external review is scheduled for 3/2/07. Associate Provost Arlene Walker-Andrews will provide the other dates. She will also share the program review report made to the Regents this November if the Council is interested.

    The review documents are available on Blackboard for Communication Studies, EVST, Math, and Political Science. The materials have not yet been received from History.

    The review guidelines will need to be shared with programs, or incorporated into the required materials for future reviews. It would be helpful if departments responded to each of the categories.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.