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 Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

Graduate Council Meeting Minutes


April 8, 2009

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

Members Present: C. Anderson, R. Bolton, L. Frey, T. Herron, J. Hirstein, D. McNamer, N. Moisey, M. Moore, G. Quintero, G. Stanley, C. VonReichert, C. Watson, C. Winkler

Members Absent/Excused: M. McGuirl

Ex-officio members Present: Associate Provost Brown

Guest: Prageeta Sharma, Creative Writing Program Director

The meeting was called to order at 12:14 p.m.

The 3/17/09 minutes were amended and approved.


Communication

  • Members were reminded of the IIP Oversight Committee meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, April 15th at 11:00 in ED 110.
  • Chair Moisey heard from several faculty regarding the Graduate School Tuition Fee Waiver memo that was sent on Monday (below). Associate Provost Brown apologized for not communicating to the Council prior to sending out the memo.

    The Graduate School became aware that it was over spending the fixed budget and needed to act quickly considering offers were being sent to perspective students. There is no reserve to cover a shortfall. Associate Provost Brown is working with programs that have specific requirements that require exceptions. An exception was granted for Psychology and a meeting is scheduled with English. The MFA program will also need to negotiate an exception because of the number of credits required. Programs with issues should inform the Provosts Office. Discussions will take place to mitigate problems and adjustments will be made as needed.

    There are several unknowns in estimating the budget that are challenging. It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of resident and non-resident students as well as the number of credits students will be taking.

    The offers made to current students will be honored. It was suggested that the resident non- resident issue be examined as well as the 9 credit minimum/ maximum. It is likely that here are tax consequences if students take less than 9 credits. Most universities consider full time 9 credits rather than 15 which is the Board of Regents policy. The English Department is concerned that the limit will result in decreased enrollment in many of its elective courses. The Council should consider documenting standard exceptions for future consideration.

    Chair Moisey will communicate the situation to the Faculty Senate tomorrow.

 

Business Items:

  • The Bertha Morton Workgroup decided on 8 applicants from the middle group to receive the scholarship.

    The Council discussed the possibility of awarding two or three Bertha Morton fellowships. The average rankings were 1.81, 2, 2.7, and 2.9. A motion to award three fellowships failed and it was agreed that one fellowship should be given. The results of the review are appended.

The meeting was adjourned at 1.00 p.m.

______________________________________________________________________

            Intra-campus Memorandum

            TO:                  Graduate Campus Community

            FROM:            Perry Brown, Associate Provost for Graduate Education

            RE:                  Graduate School Tuition Waivers

            DATE:                        April 6, 2009

______________________________________________________________________

Beginning Fall Semester 2009, the tuition waivers accompanying the Graduate School's Teaching Assistantships will be limited to registration for nine (9) credits per semester.  That is, students will receive a waiver for up to nine credits.  Registration beyond nine credits will not be covered by the Graduate School, except in very unusual and pre-approved cases.  Up until now, the Graduate School did not limit the tuition waiver credit.  Unfortunately, current fiscal challenges require that the Graduate School tuition waivers be limited to nine credits only.  In the past, many graduate students on assistantship have registered for nine credits per semester and this limit will not affect them; it only affects those who register for more than nine credits one or more semesters when they receive a stipend for a Teaching Assistantship from the Graduate School.

Holders of both teaching and research assistantships are expected to be working for the University and thus have activities split between courses, other educational activities, and the work that they do.  Such work normally would imply some level of registration below the maximum.  Both the maximum and minimum for full-time Teaching Assistants funded through the Graduate School is nine (9) credits per semester. 

On the fiscal side there currently are two uncontrolled variables affecting allocation of the fixed tuition waiver budget-residency and number of credits.  Since we accept the most promising applicants from throughout the world, it is not possible to fully control the residency ratio among graduate students.  But, we can regulate the number of credits taken and we must do this to not over spend our waiver budget.  The fixed amount in the waiver budget will allow nine credits of waiver for each Graduate School supported Teaching Assistant, assuming historical ratios among resident and non-resident students.  In most years imposing a nine-credit limit should leave a very small surplus to deal with truly exceptional/unusual cases where more credits need to be taken.

-2-

 

In Fall 2009, using the Banner system, the Graduate School will set a dollar amount in each student's account.  When the students register for classes Fall Semester 2009, their individual CyberBear student account will be credited with a specific dollar amount that will cover the tuition for nine credits.  The dollar amount will be adjusted for the student's residency status.

The following link is UM's tuition information.  www.umt.edu/busssrvcs/studacctserv.htm.  This link has the figures for tuition for the current academic year.  If there are any changes to the current tuition for academic year 09-10, it will be updated by the end of June after the Board of Regents meeting.

Please be sure that both continuing and incoming Graduate Supported TA students for Fall Semester 2009 know that they should register for nine credits, no more and no less, and that they will receive a nine-credit tuition waiver each semester. 

As noted above, exception to the nine-credit limit will be made to meet exceptional/unusual circumstances.  Requests for exceptions must be submitted to the Graduate School at the time of registration via a memorandum signed by the student, advisor/major professor, and department chair or higher academic administrator.  The number of credits above nine for which consideration is requested and the rationale for these additional credits, including why they must be taken in the specific semester, must be stated.

We wish that a strict limit on credits was not necessary, but to be fiscally responsible and ensure that we keep expenditures within a fixed budget, especially in these difficult financial times, such action is necessary.  As we are observing daily, the current economic environment is driving many difficult decisions.

Copy:  Royce Engstrom, Provost

_____________________________________________________________________
Bertha Morton Scholarships

Last Name

First name

Department

Subcommittee

 

Aschehoug

Erik

DBS

Science

Fellowship

Armstrong

Geniel H.

PSYC

Social

Arrigoni

Alicia

GEOS

Science

Barker

Sean

MUS

Humanities

Baumler

Katie

Social Work

Social

Bergauff

Megan

CHEM

Science

Carleton

Abby

PSYC

Social

Flesch

Aaron

DBS

Science

Goldes

John

MATH

Science

Lemperle

Shandy

MCLL

Humanities

Rigdon

Craig

HIST

Humanities

Sanders

Catherine

ANTH

Social

Schleicher

Holly

PSYC

Social

Wong

Siew Te

WBIO

Science

Thiel

Carrie

COUN

Schools

Kruse

Megan

ENG

Humanities

Baldwin

Anna

C&I

Schools

Cossi

Dominic

LAW

Schools

Lundquist

Laura

JOUR

Schools

Siedensticker

Mathew

EVST

Social

Uberuaga

Michelle

LAW

Schools

Middle Group

Benson

Jenna

TOXI

Science

DeCesare

Nicholas

WBIO

Science

Liauh

Emma

EDLD

Schools

MacKenzie

Lindsay

GEOS

Science

Schaffer

Joseph

EDLD

Schools

Suzukovich III

Eli

ANTH

Social

Yamada

Kensuke

FA

Humanities

Gorham

Casey

HHP

Schools


Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

Missoula, MT 59812