Graduate College

Messages From The Dean

Dear Graduate Faculty and Staff,

Sent May 1, 2019

At the Annual Graduate Faculty Meeting in April, my comments focused on setting the foundation for the 2019-2020 academic year. During the year, the theme of the Graduate College will be Explore. Specifically, we will explore three areas: GA and tuition scholarship allocation process, Recruitment, and Thesis/Dissertation/research project support.

Exploration may be uncomfortable, and perhaps even scary because we may become lost. As we explore, we will not become lost because we know our destination and will keep our landmarks in sight.

Student success and sustainability of graduate programs

Personalized education
Engaged learning and engaged faculty
High-quality programs

Together our graduate community can collectively engage in these challenges and turn our ideas and perspectives into strategic possibilities. The elected members of the Graduate Council, as well as the Chair of the Graduate faculty, will be instrumental in leading these efforts. However, these conversations require the assistance of all members of the graduate community and we hope you will help.

Look for opportunities to become involved as the Fall 2019 semester starts!

jennifer waldron signature


This email contains the following sections: 

  1. Celebrating our faculty!
  2. Celebrating our students!
  3. GARP Advisory Board
  4. Graduate Coordinator Meetings
  5. Departmental Orientations
  6. Graduate Writing Support
  7. Summer and Fall Writing Support Hours
  8. Thesis and Dissertation
  9. New policies starting Summer 2019

Celebrating our faculty!

Thank you for the work you have done in mentoring our graduate students. Your dedication makes our graduate programs successful.

Special thank you to all those who served on the Graduate Council as well as Chair of the Graduate Council, Dr. Leila Rod-Welch and Chair of the Graduate Faculty, Dr. Dale Cyphert.

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Celebrating our students!

University of Northern Iowa Graduate Student Appreciation Week was celebrated April 1-April 5 as proclaimed by Dr. Mark A. Nook, President of the University.  The week focused on the contributions, impact, and value of graduate students at the University of Northern Iowa.

During the Graduate Student Appreciation Week Kickoff pizza, pop, and cookies were served to graduate students by Graduate College Staff. The Twelfth Annual Graduate Student Symposium showcased 77 graduate students’ academic work with 31 graduate faculty serving as judges for the event. A panel discussion on the Impostor Syndrome included graduate students, faculty and staff.  To conclude the week, the solicited thoughts of appreciation of graduate students were sent to graduate students and graduate faculty.

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GARP Advisory Board

Fall semester Dr. Olivares, Associate Dean, will be organizing a GARP Advisory Board. The board will discuss workflow processes, prioritize enhancement requests, and determine a unified capability model. Please contact Dr. Olivares if you are interested in serving.

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Grad Coordinator Meetings

There will be monthly meetings for graduate program coordinators during the 2019-2020 year. Dates and time will be announced in the future. A draft schedule is below.

Sept = Welcome & updates
Oct = Thesis/Dissertation/Research Projects
Nov = Recruitment
Feb = Graduate assistantships/tuition scholarships
March = Continuing/Distance Education
April = Annual faculty meeting

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Summer and Fall Departmental Orientations

If your graduate program has an orientation for new graduate students this summer or fall, let us know. We would be delighted to have someone from the Graduate College office offer our welcome and support.

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Graduate Writing Support

The Graduate Student Writing Support walk-in hours were a success for spring semester with students stopping in for support on research papers, theses, dissertations, and other general writing questions. Students often returned for multiple visits and were connected to other resources to offer more support; these included writing tutors through the Learning Center and their liaison librarians. We are excited to announce the addition of a Graduate Assistant for Graduate Writing for the next academic year to continue to expand our support of graduate writing and research.

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Summer and Fall Writing Support Hours

Summer writing support will be available via appointment (more time slots opening soon): Fall 2019 drop-in hours will be announced at the beginning of the semester. Please continue to encourage your students to connect with resources on campus and to drop in!

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Thesis and Dissertation

Some small changes to the thesis and dissertation process were piloted in spring 2019. These changes included offering support and previews via Zoom and other electronic means to create a more hands-on preview process for our distance students as well as the creation of a thesis formatting guide (feedback is welcome, this is a living document that will be adapted to meet our students’ needs): We had 36 total submissions including 9 dissertations for spring 2019.

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New policies starting Summer 2019

  • GA and tuition scholarship eligibility will be based on the UNI cumulative GPA rather than the program GPA.
  • Determination of probation and suspension will be based on the UNI cumulative GPA rather than the program GPA.
  • Graduate students who are unable to complete the degree within the time limit may request from the graduate program and the Graduate College one extension of up to 24 months.
  • A new form and an electronic student request system will be in place during this summer session.

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Past Messages from the Dean

Sent December 10th, 2018

We are almost to the end of the semester. Given that, it is timely to share some updates from fall as well as some of our preparations for spring semester. Your mentorship and support have assisted approximately 125 graduate students to walk at commencement on December 15th. Please celebrate their accomplishments.

Wishing you all a restful break.

Table of Contents:

  1. Listening Sessions
  2. GARP
  3. Graduate Assistantship and Graduate College Tuition Scholarship Updates
  4. Recruitment
  5. Student Life Updates
  6. Message from Thesis & Dissertation Reviewer
  7. Message from Chair of the Graduate College
  8. Message from Chair of the Graduate Faculty


Listening Sessions 

The Graduate College hosted 4 listening sessions for graduate faculty this semester. At each session discussions focused on strengths of graduate education at UNI, communication, and areas of improvement. A document that provides the major themes from the listening sessions can be found on Google Drive. The Graduate College and Graduate Council will be creating strategies to address discussion points.
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The Graduate Application Review Portal (GARP) is live. Thank you to everyone who attended training sessions. We are excited about the capability of the GARP including greater efficiency of reviewing applications.

Remember to complete SRS requests for GARP access for graduate program coordinators, department heads, graduate program secretaries, and the faculty review committee. As of right now, GARP access will be provided to the grad program secretary and not other secretaries.

Report any issues to ServiceHub. Issues will be routed to the correct department. You may also view the GARP FAQ for any questions. 

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Graduate Assistantship and Graduate College Tuition Scholarship Updates 

GA Paperwork for Spring Semester. It is a relatively short time period to process GA paperwork for spring semester. Faculty can help by making sure to submit fall 2018 grades by the Registrar's Office due date of December 19, 2018. Support staff can help by submitting PAFs as soon as the student meets requirements.

Informational GA & Scholarship Meeting. The Graduate College will be hosting an informational GA and Graduate College tuition scholarship meeting for graduate program coordinators in early February. The meeting will focus on the GA and Graduate College tuition scholarship process as well as policy interpretations. Dates and time will be forthcoming.
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Recruitment Support. Dean Waldron and Associate Dean Olivares have heard from many coordinators of on-campus programs about needing recruiting support. The Graduate College will be providing recruiting stipends of up to $500 for on-campus programs to use. A brief call for proposals will be sent out to all on-campus coordinators at the beginning of spring semester. These stipends can be used for graduate program specific brochures, fliers, banners, or swag (e.g., pens).

Graduate College Recruitment Materials and Swag. The Graduate College has swag and bookmarks that can be used for recruitment. Please contact Susie Schwieger at if you would like these materials to give out if you are attending a conference or traveling and there is the potential to recruit. We can gather the materials and deliver them to your office. 

New Portable Table. The Graduate College is in the process of purchasing a portable table with the Graduate College banner. Program coordinators will be able to check it out when they attend graduate recruiting fairs at conferences. The table is easy to assemble and comes with a wheeled case.
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Student Life Updates

Graduate Student Symposium. The 12th Annual Graduate Student Symposium is Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 11:00 a.m-4:00 p.m. in the Maucker Union. Registration opens on Monday, January 14, 2019. Please encourage your students to participate in this professional development event. For more information review the Symposium website at

Graduate Student Appreciation Week. Graduate Student Appreciation Week is April 1-5. Be on the lookout for events, including the Symposium, during the week of April 1.

Spring Calendar. A spring calendar of student life events will be sent out when we return for spring semester.
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Message from Thesis & Dissertation Reviewer

The position of Thesis & Dissertation Reviewer is expanding to include supporting communications and digital publications in the Graduate College. This position will also act as support for scholarly and creative writing for graduate students by offering walk-in hours through the Learning Center and workshops. Kat will ensure that the requirements set forth by the Graduate College for the thesis and dissertation process are followed and that a professional standard is maintained. The goal is to elevate research and writing by connecting units across campus to support graduate student work.

Graduate Scholarly Writing Support Walk-In Hours for Spring 2019 will be held at The Learning Center in Rod Library Learning Commons.

               Monday               6pm – 8pm
               Tuesday              6pm – 8pm
               Wednesday        11am – 1pm
               Thursday            11am – 1pm
               Friday                 By Appointment Only
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Message from Chair of the Graduate Council

Leila Rod-Welch, Chair of the Graduate Council, shares the progress of three subcommittees.

Graduate Assistantship Handbook Subcommittee. Updates to the Graduate Assistantship Grievance Policy (12.05) were drafted. The draft was shared with the Graduate Council and will be voted on in January before moving through the University process. The subcommittee has read the GA Handbook and will work on drafting changes this Spring

Mission/Vision Subcommittee. The Mission/Vision Subcommittee has reviewed and discussed the mission/vision statements from several peer institutions focusing specifically, and were possible, on graduate colleges. Additionally, feedback from the Listening Sessions reaffirmed the essence of our mission – personalized, engaged, and quality education. After reviewing these statements the committee concluded that the current mission/vision statement is comparable to many currently in use by our peer institutions. Although the wording could be updated, the committee and Dean Waldron propose that the current mission/vision statements be retained for the foreseeable future

Recency Subcommittee. The Recency Subcommittee reviewed the recency guidelines for all of the UNI peer institutions. The committee drafted a new recency policy which keeps the current program duration, but also includes new guidelines on extensions. In addition, the committee discussed the process to implement continuous registration across Masters and Doctoral programs. The committee hopes to present a draft version next Spring.
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Message from Chair of the Graduate Faculty

Dr. Dale Cyphert, Chair of the Graduate Faculty, shares the following information.

Brown Bag Lectures.
We held three Brown Bag seminars during the Fall semester, inviting individuals who have been awarded a PDA or Summer Fellowship to share their work. We changed the format, featuring two speakers over the hour, in order to foster more cross-disciplinary interaction among the Graduate Faculty. The response was positive from both presenters and audiences, and we'll be aiming for the same in Spring.
Annual Graduate Faculty Meeting and Awards Ceremony. The Annual Graduate Faculty Meeting and Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 18, from 3:30 - 5:00 pm. The first portion of the meeting will honor Graduate Faculty Award winners followed by awards for the Graduate Student Award winners. Please join the award winners and all graduate faculty in celebrating a year filled with achievements. The program will include a panel discussion, and we are currently developing a topic. If you have a hot button issue in scholarship or graduate education to suggest, please contact Dale Cyphert directly.
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Sent September 27, 2018

Dear Graduate Faculty,

Sent September 27, 2018

This email has four messages:

  1. Thesis and Dissertation Reviewer and Digital Publications Coordinator
  2. Enrollment Numbers
  3. Graduate Application Review Portal Update
  4. Listening Sessions – Reminder

Thesis and Dissertation Reviewer and Digital Publications Coordinator

It is great pleasure to announce that Kathryn Wohlpart will be the Graduate College’s new Thesis and Dissertation Reviewer and Digital Publications Coordinator. In the role, she will oversee the thesis and dissertation completion process, support scholarly writing, and promote digital publishing. Kathryn graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Master of Arts in English. Her prior work experience includes being the online coordinator of North American Review as well as the Operations Administrative Assistant in the Product Engineering Center at John Deere. She is proficient in producing and editing both print and radio content, has experience in supporting internal communications, and brings a host of technology skills. During the interview process, she shared her excitement in supporting graduate student writing and scholarship across multiple platforms as well as being a resource for the campus community. Kathryn will be starting on Monday, October 8th. Please welcome her to UNI and our graduate community.

Graduate Student Enrollment

For the 2018 fall semester, there were 993 applicants to graduate programs. Of those, 672 were admitted and ultimately 489 new graduate students enrolled. There are a total of 1,651 graduate students enrolled for the fall semester. This is a decrease from last year’s enrollment of 1,902. It should be noted that part of the enrollment difference is due to approximately 200 practicing teachers enrolling in a 1-time professional development course through Continuing and Distance Education. However, our graduate enrollment is down from last year. President Nook has set the goal of increasing student enrollment to 13,500 in the next 5 years. We will need to grow our graduate student population in order to reach this goal. The Graduate College will be examining how we can market and recruit students to our graduate programs. Please attend the listening sessions to be a part of the initial conversations.

Graduate Application Review Portal (GARP)

The Information Technology Team is working hard to have the GARP go-live in late October. There will be training sessions offered and encourage anyone who will be using the GARP to attend.

Graduate Faculty Listening Sessions

These listening sessions are for all graduate faculty. We want to hear about your experiences, perspectives, and ideas! Please mark your calendars.

          Monday, October 29, noon-1:00, Scholar Space, Rod Library
          Tuesday, October 30, 3:15-4:15, Scholar Space, Rod Library
          Wednesday, October 31, 3:30-4:30, 287 Rod Library
          Thursday, November 1, noon-1:00, Scholar Space, Rod Library

I am proud of our strong graduate programs. Data from the Graduate Program Survey Report shows our students are being challenged to think in new ways. In fact, 93.1% of students reported they strongly agreed or agreed that most of the graduate courses they took at UNI were intellectually demanding.

Together we can continue to strengthen graduate education at UNI,


Sent August 23, 2018

Dear Graduate Faculty,

Sent August 23, 2018

Welcome to fall semester 2018 from the Graduate College! After 15 years at UNI, I still feel the nervous anticipation of a new academic year. This is especially true as I transition into the position of Dean of the Graduate College. I am humbled to serve UNI in this capacity and am excited about the opportunities that exist for graduate education.

Data from the Graduate Program Survey Report shows our students are having remarkable experiences because of the faculty. In fact, 75% of students reported they strongly agreed that at least one faculty member showed an active interest in education. Each of you makes a difference.

This email has four messages:

1. Communication

2. Thesis/Dissertation reviewer

3. Graduate Application Review Portal

4. Policy updates

1. Communication

My focus for this year is on communication with the campus community. During the year, I will connect with as many people as possible to better understand the landscape of graduate education at the University of Northern Iowa. Creating these relationships will lead to collaboration in continuing to elevate graduate education. More information will be coming, but please participate in one or all of the opportunities below.

Graduate Program Coordinator Training

This year Gabi Olivares will offer customized training to new and returning graduate coordinators/graduate secretaries. These sessions will discuss the basic handling of the SIS system, student requests, advisement reports, a few complicated rules and anything that you need assistance with. Please refer to time options. Contact Associate Dean at to sign up. First come, first served basis.

Date Time Available
Friday, September 7 2:30pm-4:30pm
Tuesday, September 11 10:30am-12:30pm
Thursday, September 13 12:30pm-2:30pm
Tuesday, September 18 9:30am-11:30am
Wednesday, September 19 Noon-2:00pm
Thursday, September 20 1:30pm-3:30pm

Meeting each Graduate Program Coordinator

During the academic year, Associate Dean, Gabi Olivares and I will meet with each graduate program coordinator. We would like to hear about your graduate programs, as well as the challenges and joys of working with graduate students. You will be receiving an email from Rubina, the administrative assistant, to set up the meeting.

Graduate Faculty Listening Sessions

These listening sessions are for all graduate faculty. We want to hear about your experiences, perspectives, and ideas! Please mark your calendars.

Monday, October 29, noon-1:00, Scholar Space, Rod Library

Tuesday, October 30, 3:15-4:15, Scholar Space, Rod Library

Wednesday, October 31, 3:30-4:30, 287 Rod Library

Thursday, November 1, noon-1:00, Scholar Space, Rod Library


2. Thesis/Dissertation Writer

Janet Witt, who worked as the Thesis/Dissertation Reviewer, retired this summer. We are currently searching for a Thesis/Dissertation Services and Digital Publications Coordinator. We anticipate this person to start by mid-September. Be reassured that students who are completing a thesis or dissertation for December 2018 will be served during the transition. Appointments for thesis/dissertation review will start to be scheduled for late September. You can help by encouraging your students to follow the UNI thesis/dissertation manual.


3. Graduate Application Review Portal

The new graduate application is up and running and the graduate application review portal will be in production early this semester. There will be opportunities for graduate program coordinators to provide feedback to IT about the new portal. IT will also provide training workshops.


4. Policy Updates

Probation and Suspension (degree-seeking student)

a.   A student who has attempted at least six semester hours on the advisement report and attained a Plan GPA less than 3.00 will be placed on probation.

b.   If a student attempts 8 or more hours while on probation and does not raise plan GPA to or above 3.0, the student will be suspended.

c.   Suspension is for at least one semester. (Applicable to both degree and non-degree seeking)

Transfer Courses (degree-seeking students)

a.   Graduate credit earned at other institutions may be accepted to a maximum of one-third of the minimum hours required by a particular program. Transfer credit will not satisfy the minimum required hours at 6000/7000 level. The minimum credit hours must be met with UNI classes.

b.   Transfer forms have been discontinued.

c.   All transfer courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Course must be a regular graduate course with a graduate course number.
  • Course must be taken by the student in graduate status, and the official transcript must show a grade of B or better earned.
  • Course must meet the UNI seven-year recency requirement (ten-year for the Ed.D.).

d.   After a completed course has been ruled eligible the student may submit an online Student Request of Type P to transfer the course and use it on the graduate degree.

e.   Student request will not be processed until official transcripts have been received by Admissions Office.

Undergraduate Students Registering for Graduate Credit

Undergraduate students with senior standing may register for a maximum of 12 credit hours for graduate credit at the 5000 or 6000 level only. Required cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Use undergraduate request forms.

Associate Graduate Faculty Status for Committee Work

Just a reminder that faculty no longer need Graduate Faculty status to teach; instead, credentials are checked by the Associate Provost for Faculty. The new role of Associate Graduate status is related to serving on a thesis/dissertation committee.

Programmatic Probation and Suspension

a.       Academic departments need to establish additional requirements for program graduation/completion. These requirements may include the (a) number of times a student has to pass comprehensive exams and/or the thesis defense, or (b) professional expectations for internship or practicum experiences. Violations of these requirements might determine an individual graduate student’s standing with regard to probation and dismissal from a graduate program.

b.      To this end, departments will put these in writing and place them on file in the departmental office, the office of the department’s college, and the Graduate College. All departmental policies/procedures for programmatic probation and dismissal must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate College.

c.       All programs will have until Spring Break 2019 to draft policies on programmatic probation/suspension (please electronically send to Associate Dean of the Graduate College ( More information will be coming.


I look forward to the celebrations and the challenges of the upcoming year. Please be patient as I learn the many aspects of the position. And, do not hesitate to reach out during the semester.

Together we can continue to strengthen graduate education at UNI,