Graduate Council Minutes #1015

Graduate Council Minutes No. 1015

September 13, 2012

Present: Bartlett, Caswell, Clayton, Coon, Hays, Power, Schmitz, Milambiling, Waldron, Witt, Zhbanova

Absent: Christ, Iqbal, Terlip

Guests: C. Scott Peters, Faculty Senate Chair, Susie Schwieger, Director of Graduate Student Life

Clayton welcomed new and returning Council members; introductions followed.

Since Scott Peters was attending with a request on behalf of the University Faculty Senate, it was decided to go out of agenda order.  Peters thanked the council for having him at the meeting.  He mentioned that an e-mail had gone out from himself and Jeff Funderburk earlier in the week noting that one of the University Faculty Senate’s goals this year is to look at places in the curriculum review process where faculty can be more front and center in making curriculum changes as needed.  The Senate is forming a committee with people who have experience in the curriculum process, program review or just good ideas about how the current curriculum review process can be used in a more effective way.  The faculty would be in charge of this process as much as possible.  Peters added that the Senate is not looking at redesigning the whole curriculum review process, but to see where relatively small changes can be made and get the most leverage out of those changes.  Peters asked the Council for representation from graduate faculty, whether this would be someone on the Council or other graduate faculty members.

There was a question as to what the committee’s timeframe would be; whether the changes would be for the current curriculum cycle.  Peters responded that he would like to have all the recommendations in place at the end of this year.  Depending on what recommendations the committee has, they may or may not make it into the current year’s curriculum handbook.  He would like the committee to come up with the framework by the end of the semester of the key things it wants to do and be able to take those things and present them to the UCC/GCCC and get a general agreement of the recommendations.  The spring semester would then be used to hammer out language and get the changes in place.  He noted that it is a strong desire of the Senate that the committee is completely faculty driven.  Although the committee would be strongly encouraged to consult with Licari and Coon, the Senate was clear that it wants the committee itself to be composed entirely of faculty.  It was noted that whoever serves on the committee would need to be very familiar with the curriculum process and if there was someone on the Graduate Council that feels very comfortable with that process they could serve; otherwise it should be someone from graduate faculty that the Council could identify that has very strong curriculum knowledge.  After brief discussion, the Council mentioned some faculty names and it was decided that Council members would e-mail its recommendations to Peters as soon as possible.

Motion by Hays to approve the minutes of the April 26, 2012 meeting; seconded by Pohl. Motion approved.

Graduate College Reports – Licari reported that he had asked for an audit of the Graduate Assistantship System late last spring for a couple of reasons; one was that with Lisa Steimel coming on board to replace Mary Ann Hesse, there was an opportunity to give Steimel a chance to weigh in on the process with fresh eyes and a new perspective.  He noted that last year produced a variety of rough spots that he didn’t think anyone would be interested in repeating and he wanted to improve the quality of the process.  As a result of the audit there were a number of recommendations to be acted upon during the course of this year that will ultimately produce a much smoother running system.  He said that the process is a challenge because it has so many working parts: the students doing what they need to do, to the program coordinator, to the Graduate College and so on.  Licari added that he thinks the system is moving in the right direction.  In terms of communication, Steimel is hosting a series of graduate secretary training meetings; one over the summer and an announcement has gone out for a November meeting.  A meeting will also be held in the spring, continuing on with one per semester.  He added that the Graduate Coordinator meetings that took place a couple of weeks ago were very productive and he would like to have these meetings at least a couple of times per semester.  These meetings provide another way for communication to flow on campus. 

Licari said that one issue that came out of the Graduate Faculty Meeting in the spring was that a better job of communicating the value of graduate education at UNI to both internal and external audiences is needed.  One of the issues that needs to be identified as graduate educators is what graduate education really means.  He said that understanding will be really helpful in advertising or talking about graduate education externally.  Licari said that as everyone is aware, he is very interested in helping graduate programs that can take new students recruit those students.  Zhbanova commented that when she introduced herself in her teacher licensure class, she mentioned that she was in her last year of her EdD program and the undergraduate students not only did not know what the acronym meant, they also did not know what opportunities they have.  Licari said that was a good point; there is some effort from faculty to let students know about graduate options, but not as much for general awareness. 

The TAGS (Thinking About Graduate School) event will be coming up in a few weeks.  All the graduate programs at UNI will be invited to be part of this event.  He said that in the past TAGS has been perhaps the only event that has been held to promote graduate education to undergraduate students. Bartlett asked what could be done to get more people to attend the TAGS event.  Schwieger responded that this year an invitation is being sent to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors via email with RSVP on Survey Monkey.  After gathering data, Schwieger will be visiting classes to talk about the event.  Posters will go up, although a graduate student who works with student activities said that posters have become passé, because there are so many that it’s hard to get people’s attention.  Schwieger said that in the past announcements have gone out to Graduate Coordinators, and key faculty for undergraduates, and they have waited for people to come; this year a more proactive stance will be taken.  Schwieger also noted that once a student indicates they’re coming they will get a reminder.  Included on the student response will be what programs they are interested in, as well as what kinds of questions they have to help mold the program to meet their needs.  It was mentioned that targeting the advisors might be helpful.  Coon added that Jean Niebauer has an advisor e-mail distribution list that she could send information through.  Clayton asked how much of the TAGS information would be on the Graduate College website.  Schwieger responded that in the past Coon’s PowerPoint presentation has been posted on the website and there will be more emphasis on advertising the event; she will be contacting KWWL regarding their morning program and University Relations regarding a press release.  Contacting UNI-CUE and John Deere was also mentioned.  Zhbanova commented that when she has talked to others about going to graduate school, they have said no since they have student loans to pay.  She said it would be beneficial to provide information related to the financial aspects of graduate education.  Schwieger responded that it would be helpful to have someone from Financial Aid at the TAGS event.  Schwieger said that the event would not just be tied to providing support to UNI students who want to come to UNI; the event would be about building relationships with students.  Coon added that representatives from various clubs including pre-law and pre-med clubs, etc., will be there so if students are interested in professional schools that are not at UNI there is a way for them to get information.

Coon noted that over the summer Clayton e-mailed Council members to vote on a policy related to the graduation application timeline which passed unanimously.  As of Fall 2012, the deadline for graduate students to apply for graduation to avoid a late application fee is November 10.  Coon encouraged everyone to pass this information along to their students.  The final deadline to apply for graduation is the end of the term, which would be the Friday of finals week.  So the late fee will be applied from November 11 through the end of the semester.

Coon reported that the Registrar’s Office is in the process of switching over to the PeopleSoft delivered graduation application, which means that almost no information is collected from the student.  Students click a button to apply for graduation without having to enter any information.  This also means that there is no application to print; the Registrar’s Office will only have a list of those who have applied to graduate.  Coon will continue to provide this information to programs as she has done in the past.  Coon noted that currently students can’t see in their “Graduation Status” that they have graduated and they never will be able to.  For students that have graduated in Fall ’11, Spring ’12, Summer ’12, their “Graduation Status” link will never show completed; it will still say that there is pending work.  No one outside UNI or in the department sees this, only the student.  With the PeopleSoft application, that status will work, so she advised everyone to advise their students who are planning to graduate in December to hold off on applying to graduate until October so they don’t apply in the old application.  Coon said they are testing this system now and she will advise when it is operational.

Coon noted that the Graduate Assistantship System document that was approved by Graduate Council back in the 1990’s is outdated and contains some incorrect information.  This is an item that was mentioned in the audit.  The revised document will be brought to the Graduate Council in the future.

Schwieger reported that the video of the Graduate Student Information Meeting is currently posted on the Graduate College website.  Two resume writing workshops have taken place this semester.  The next workshop will be the APA workshop by Deanne Gute from the Writing Center on Wednesday, October 10 from 3:00 to 4:30.  Based on the feedback from Gute’s workshops last year it was decided that there would be one workshop with more practical information.  This fall there will be at least one CV workshop, a cover letter workshop and for those students graduating in December, there will be several behavior-based interviewing workshops.  The TAGS event is taking place on October 9.  The Graduate Student Symposium is set for April 4, 2013.  Schwieger has been contacting faculty in order to come into their classes to give a 5-10 minute promotional on the symposium.  Schwieger will be going to recruiting fairs over the next few weeks and explained the contact cards that will be filled out by prospective students.  She also mentioned that she has had limited success in getting program information from graduate programs to put into a standardized recruiting page format.

Chair of Graduate Faculty Report - Pohl reported that she has one Brown Bag event scheduled on Wednesday, October 10 at Noon.  The topic is Civility in the Workplace, presented by Melissa Beall and Marilyn Shaw.  Pohl hopes to get another Brown Bag for this semester and three for next semester. 

Clayton asked Council members to provide Cheryl with the name of their alternate for the year.  Since the name of the alternate is to be provided in writing, an e-mail would work.

Clayton noted that President Allen and Provost Gibson will be attending the October 11 Council meeting, which will take place in the Oak Room, Maucker Union.  At the next meeting there will be some discussion of what topics to cover at that meeting.  It was clarified that after hearing concerns raised at the Annual Graduate Faculty last spring, Gibson offered to attend a Council meeting once each semester to simply answer questions about topics of interest to graduate faculty.  Clayton encouraged everyone to talk to people they represent about any issues they would like to present.

Election of Chair and Vice Chair of the Graduate Council

Power nominated Clayton to serve Chair of the Graduate Council.  Clayton accepted the nomination; seconded by Pohl.  Motion passed unanimously.  Power nominated Schmitz to serve as Vice Chair of the Graduate Council.  Schmitz accepted the nomination.  Motion passed unanimously.

Election of a Member of the Graduate Council to Serve on the Graduate College Curriculum Committee (CGGG)

Clayton noted that with Susan Etscheidt’s term on the Graduate Council ending, a replacement on the GCCC would be needed.  Bartlett is the other Graduate Council representative on the GCCC member and also the UCC liaison.  Coon said there may be a bit of GCCC business this year, with meetings likely taking place in the spring semester rather than the fall.  She added that GCCC business is usually heavy on the odd fall semesters and lighter at other times.

Waldron was self-nominated as the second member of the Graduate Council to serve on the GCCC.  Motion passed unanimously.

Clayton thanked Schmitz and Waldron for their willingness to serve.

Hays made a motion to adjourn.  Motion passed; the meeting adjourned at 4:22 p.m.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. in Lang 115.


Respectfully submitted,


Cheryl Nedrow
Secretary