Graduate Council Meeting Minutes
February 7, 2007
GBB 202, 12:10-1:00 p.m.
Members Present: A. Borgmann, T. Cossitt, D. Erickson, C. Fiore, N. Hassanein, L. Hayes, T. Herron, R. Malecki M. McClintock, J. McNulty, N. Moisey T. Thibeau, G. Stanley
Members Absent/Excused: M. DeGrandpre, Arlene Walker-Andrews
Ex-officio members Present: Dean Strobel
Guest: Acting Provost, President Dennison
Professor Hayes called the meeting to order at 12:10p.m
The minutes from 1/31/07 were approved after dialog with the Acting Provost.
Acting Provost Dennison indicated that programs need to be cognizant of what students are doing in relation to the use of university resources. The faculty are giving away the public good. He hears constant complaints from faculty that there is a shortage of resources. There are times when students need to be strongly encouraged to complete programs. The delay is costing students. They are graduating with more credits than is necessary. The three credit continuous enrollment policy will increase awareness and make faculty and students behave more responsibly. It is not necessary to grandfather all current students because this is not a change of curriculum, but rather a policy implementation. There will be provisions for exceptions that fall under extraordinary circumstances. The rule starts in the fall and this gives students enough time to plan ahead. He is trying to make sure the University is fulfilling its responsibility of knowing that programs are working.
It was argued that it is unfair to change the rules while students are in the process of completion. If they knew ahead of time they would have planned differently. Examples were provided of students on internships or completing final drafts of professional papers out of state were 1 credit is a more than generous assessment of university resources provided. The issue has not been sufficiently analyzed and it is unclear whether the policy will solve the problem. It could impact student completion rates and the quality of students' work. It will likely increase appeals for waivers. The declaration of the policy change without involvement of the Council or consultation with the faculty shows a distrust of the faculty.
Dean Strobel suggests that the Council look at areas where there are problems. The Graduate School received paperwork for 180 graduating students that was not filled out completely. There should be campus-wide graduate program standards and best practices. A benchmark should be established for faculty time equivalent to 1, 2 or 3 theses credits. There are programs that have looked carefully that could be used as models. There needs to be assessment of outcomes at the graduate level and a systematic way of reviewing students' progress.
The Council should be aware of what programs are doing to assure students are graduating on time. It should be doing more than just discussing what issues are brought to its attention. It should be aware of programs' practices. The President will allow the Council until the end of the semester to analyze the data and propose a more sensitive approach.
The data was not available until this year and the Council still hasn't seen the data comparing individual programs. A place to start the analysis is with the assumptions that 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 infrastructure issue is how to provide resources for quality education. Student FTE is what brings in revenue.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
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Missoula, MT 59812