Graduate Council Minutes #1056

Graduate Council Meeting

September 8, 2016


Present:  Beall, Berendzen, Calderon, Cutter, Dhanwada, Edmister, Fontana, Igou, Isakson, Juby, Ostapyuk, Pohl, Ross, Schwieger, Rod-Welch.

Absent:  Al-Mabuk & Teske.

Chair Pohl called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.

The meeting started with introduction of new members. Chair Pohl welcomed all members of the Council.

Graduate College Reports:

Dean Dhanwada shared her experiences from a Summer Council of Graduate School Conference she attended last summer. She found the meeting particularly useful in learning about some of the issues that affect graduate schools. She learned many helpful tips in how to set goals and direction for the College. The conference covered many topics including how to improve graduate programs, new trends, and how to advocate for programs.  She talked about building a graduate community, why it is important for students, faculty and staff to have the sense of belonging to the College. She indicated that this semester, she and Associate Dean Cutter will be talking with each of the graduate program coordinators and learn more about the programs. They also want to know what the Graduate College can do to help each program.  She stressed that meeting and talking with the program coordinators was very much needed so that there was a sense of connection between the programs and the Graduate College.

Barbara Cutter made the announcement on Outstanding Graduate Student Award. There are four categories for nomination, including Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation, Outstanding Master’s Thesis, Outstanding Creative Master’s Thesis, and Outstanding Master’s Research Paper. Faculty currently supervising a project should consider nominating their students. She also mentioned that there is need for volunteers to serve on these awards committees. A couple of Graduate Council members volunteered to serve.

Susie Schweiger reported on several upcoming events:

1)  New Graduate Student Orientation was held on August 25 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the Maucker Union Ballroom, 70 students attended. The event included the Campus Resource Fair and presentations by Student Wellness Services, Rod Library, and Business Operations.

2)  Professional Communication Workshop, “Building Effect Telephone and Email Skills” will be presented by Deb Young, Adjunct Instructor, Department of Languages and Literatures, on Wednesday, September 14 from noon-12:50 p.m. in ScholarSpace, Rod Library, Room 301.

3)  The Third Annual Graduate College Social Mixer is Thursday, September 15 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in Rod Library Meeting Room 287.

4)  Thinking About Graduate School (TAGS) is Tuesday, September 27 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in the Maucker Union Ballroom.

5) The September issue of the Graduate College newsletter is expected to be sent out toward the end of the month. Graduate faculty, staff and students are encouraged to provide story ideas, including student scholarship awards and accomplishments. This year, UNI Grad Student News will be developed by Angela Ross and Jamie Farley, the two new graduate assistants in the Graduate College. 

6) Library Literacy workshop is on Wednesday, Oct. 5 to cover students’ use of library in their research.

7) April 4, 2017 is our 10th Annual Graduate Student Symposium.

Dean Dhanwada also reminded that the Graduate Student Social Mixer event is being organized on Thursday, September 15, in the Library, room 287. She encouraged all members of the Graduate Council to mention these events to their colleagues and departmental students and encourage them to attend. This is one of the events encouraging everyone to “build community”.

Pohl reported the following on the upcoming Brown Bag Seminars:

1) Rick Seeley will do a two-day series. First, in ITTC 138 on Sep. 12, he will show how to use the new technology classroom he has built. Second, the same week on Sep. 14 in ITTC 136 he will introduce how to properly use Zoom, which is now overtaking skype.

2) On September 22, Laura Jackson from the Tall Grass Prairie Center will talk about ecological research and community engagement.

3) In October 3, Chris Ogbondah will talk about the US and the Overthrow of Dictators.

4) On October 18, Gayle Rhineberger-Dunn will talk about DNA: Discourse in Popular Crime Drama.

5) In November 1, Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award recipient Melissa Beall will talk about how to get students’ attention.

6) In November 17, Dale Cyphert and Elena Dodge will talk on Integrated Assessment and Reflection on Experiential Learning Content

7) On December 7, John DeGroote will talk about technical computing support activities in GeoTree Center.

Discussion occurred for electing a new Chair of the Graduate Council as Gayle Pohl’s term has expired. Pohl was unanimously re-elected as the Chair. Melissa Beall was nominated and unanimously elected as the Vice Chair.


a) Curriculum: Cutter reminded everyone from the last year’s discussions that the Graduate Council now reviews curriculum only when the GCCC is not in full agreement. She showed the members where to go on the Provost’s Office Curriculum Review website, which was substantially updated over the summer, for resources on curriculum review, including the curriculum handbook.   Important information in regards to the responsibilities of the Graduate Council and the GCCC in the curriculum process are all uploaded there. It also lists the committee members in case people have specific questions for someone in particular. In addition, links to the UNI catalog and curricular policies and procedures can be found there.  

Dhanwada mentioned that several documents regarding the curriculum process were now present on the website including: a handout that shows the specific curriculum approvals for a variety of actions such as developing a new major, program restatement and name changes.  Additionally, curriculum time lines are also given. When taking actions on curriculum, the members need to make sure of the multiple steps in the approval process as well as due dates. To insure timely approval of curriculum, programs need to start their process early. The curriculum forms have also been revised. Dhanwada went over some of the details of the new curricular forms. The Graduate Council members were asked to bring this new information to the attention of their colleagues so the review process can be as smooth as possible. Required consultations must be done prior to proposal submission. Also, Dhanwada encouraged faculty to send feedback or any questions to her.  Even if they don’t have any new curricular issues, the revised forms should be brought to the attention of the person who does it for their programs. Everyone involved should keep in mind that it takes approximately 20 to 22 months to have changes incorporated in the following curriculum cycle.  This will occur provided the timelines are followed.

b) Presidential search: Dhanwada, a member of the Presidential Search Committee representing the Academic Affairs Council, reported that the full search committee with all 21 members met on August 29th.

In the first meeting, the Committee talked about, charge, the roles and responsibilities, and the expected qualifications of the candidates. Based on information provided by the work groups, they came up with a one-page document to list the qualifications. The documents were all approved along with a final list of preferred qualifications at the Board of Regents at the September meeting. The Committee will meet again on Oct 26 to review all candidates and select semifinalists. On Nov. 11 and 12, after off-site interviews of the semi-finalists, 3 or 4 candidates will be selected for the on-campus interviews scheduled to occur on campus beginning November 29, 2016.  

Dhanwada reiterated that she would make sure to stress to the candidates the importance of graduate education here at UNI. Pohl suggested that groups from the graduate faculty should meet the candidates. Dhanwada said that there would be time for the candidates to meet with faculty.

New Business:

Petition for Graduate Faculty Issues: Cutter brought up the idea of having a petitioning process for Graduate Council similar to what is done at Faculty Senate.  Discussion occurred on the possibility of instituting a process where any member of the graduate faculty could bring issues directly to the Graduate Council via a petition similar to the process similar to the Faculty Senate. Members of the Graduate Council agreed that the Graduate College should come up with a petition form, place it on the Graduate College Website and send an email to faculty letting them know about this new petition process.   Any department could come and talk about a graduate certificate idea and run it by Graduate Council for example. Also, any general issue involving graduate education or graduate students could come to the Graduate Council for discussion. All these would be complementary to building graduate community at UNI. Members of the Graduate Council voted unanimously to move this idea forward.


Meeting adjourned.  The next meeting will be on September 22.


Respectfully submitted,

Rubina Chowdhury