Graduate Council Minutes #930

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November 20, 2003



Council Members Present: Doug Hotek (for John Fecik), K.N. Rajendran, Frank Thompson, Deb Gallagher, Sue Pettit, Ben Schafer, Lauren Nelson, Cynthia Coulter, Kim MacLin, Richard Utz, Dixon Stuelke, Sue Joslyn.

Guests: Larry Hensley, HPELS; Michael Hall, Political Science; Nancy Hamilton, HPELS; Forrest Dolgener, GCC for Jackie McGlade; Chris Edginton, HPELS; Barb Kueter, Graduate College; Pam Mackay, Registrar’s Office; Diane Wallace, Registrar’s Office; Mick Mack, HPELS.

Ex-Officio: John Somervill, David Walker.


1.  Minutes of Graduate Council (GC) meeting October 23, 2003:

John Fecik should be listed under “Council Members,” not “Guests.”  Deb Gallagher was present at the meeting, but was not recorded as such.  Coulter made the motion to accept the GC minutes of 10/23/03, Nelson seconded the motion.  The motion passed.


2.  Graduate Deans’ Reports:

Dean Somervill: no report


Associate Dean Walker announced graduate student awards for 2004:


Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award:

  • First Place: Mei-Chuan Wang, Psychology: Body, Image, Eating Disturbance and Estrogen Levels across the Menstrual Cycle (Catherine DeSoto, faculty chair).
  • Second Place: Dave Williams, Biology: Emergence and Mortality of Native Prairie Forbs Seeded into an Established Stand of Grass (Laura Jackson, faculty chair).
  • Third Place: Michael Anderson, Psychology: The Effects of Social Identity Salience on the Cohesion of Demographically Diverse Groups (Helen Harton, faculty chair).


Outstanding Master’s Paper Award:

  • First Place: John J. Neely, Mathematics: A Look at Proficient Mental Computation through the Eyes of a Computationally Challenged Math Teacher (Joel Haack, faculty chair).
  • Second Place: Agnieszka Prokop, English: Not a Search For but a Search Within: Time and Space in Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry (Susan Rochette-Crawley, faculty chair).


In addition, Dean Walker wanted to recognize and thank those faculty members who graciously agreed to serve on the selection committees:

  • Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award:
    • Martin Chin (Chemistry)
    • Rob Hitlan (Psychology)
    • ------

  • Outstanding Master’s Paper Award
    • Julie Husband (English)
    • Ben Schafer (Computer Science)
    • John Williams, (Psychology)


  • Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award:
    • Cathy DeSoto (Psychology)
    • Susan Etscheidt (Special Education)
    • Greg Stefanich (Curriculum and Instruction).


3.  Announcements:

No announcements.


4.  Action on dropping Audiology Program:

 MacLin tabled this action, as several programs have been dropped that need to go through the Graduate Curriculum Committee (GCC), and will be addressed as a group at the next GC meeting.


5.  Discussion on timelines for thesis document:

Barb Kueter gave a brief overview of the rationale for thesis/dissertation timelines.  The current deadline for submission of the paper is six weeks before graduation to allow time to process the paper.  Kueter gave examples of the extremely labor intensive nature of her work in reviewing theses and dissertations.  She previews papers with students, spends a great deal of time with each student, and then does the final review.  She added that the guidelines and deadlines for submission are posted on the Graduate College website and in the Graduate College writing manual.  Thompson noted that dissertation committees have an advisor that monitors formatting, and suggested that such an advisor may be helpful to assist students in preparing papers that are in better form for Kueter to review.  Gallagher stated that she raised the issue initially on behalf of faculty, who were concerned with the timeline as it relates to students who are receiving grant funding.  Kueter stated that deadlines and dates can be found on the web a year in advance, which should assist students in planning.  Somervill added that extensions are sometimes granted based on extenuating circumstances, which may be an option to address Gallagher’s concerns.  MacLin thanked Kueter for her time and presentation.


6.  Action on GCC Proposal Part I: 

MacLin requested a change in the order of the posted agenda to accommodate guests in attendance.  The Graduate Curriculum Committee (GCC) was presenting a partial report to the GC, including a summary of requested changes for four colleges, along with details of these changes provided in an appendix.  Forrest Dolgener was presenting the report for Associate Dean Jackie McGlade, who was out of the country. 


Nelson made a motion to put the proposal on the table, motion seconded by Coulter.


Dolgener summarized actions thus far, and indicated that following approval by the GC, the packet will move forward to the UNI Faculty Senate.  Thompson asked if the GCC had any discussion on the issue of Regents’ guidelines to avoid duplication.  Dolgener replied no, the GCC did not discuss the issue of duplication among Regents’ institutions.


With regard to the report approval process, MacLin stated that, as in the past, the report is acted on as one report. 


Gallagher indicated she has concerns regarding the proposed statistics courses (440:210 Quantitative Methods and 440:215 Qualitative Methods) in HPELS.  She noted that objections to the courses had been raised, and asked if the appropriate consultations had taken place.  Dolgener stated that, to the extent that consultations could take place, they had.  Gallagher indicated that she is the instructor of a qualitative course, 220:293 Qualitative Research in Special Education, which she believes is duplicative of 440:215, and that she was not consulted on the proposed new course.  She summarized objections to the courses, indicating that there had been dissenting voices all along the curricular process due to perceived duplication of course content with currently offered statistics courses in the same College.  Gallagher said she had two main issues that she wanted to raise.  First, she said that the rationale provided by HPELS for the new courses indicated that HPELS believes courses need to be contextualized and need to relate to the research in HPELS, but if that were the case, then every department in the University would need to have its own statistics course.  Secondly, she raised concern with the GCC moving into executive session at the meeting where these classes were discussed.  She asked why was the executive session called, was it appropriate procedure, and noted that the effect was to shut down further discussion.  She asked if the executive session was called because of the issue of personnel currently teaching the course, and if so, she stated that is no basis for making decisions on the proposed new courses.  Dolgener indicated the discussion that took place in executive session by the GCC was confidential, but he indicated that the issue of personnel has never been raised in any discussion.  Gallagher asked again what was discussed in executive session.  Dolgener responded that, while executive session conversations are confidential, one issue was the GCC wanted to consider how long they would allow the discussion to go on before voting, because they didn’t believe either side would come to an agreement on the issue.


Gallagher asked how the GC was going to deal with the issue of duplication.  MacLin indicated that there is precedent, in that at least two statistics courses exist in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.  While the statistics are the same, she noted the content, examples, and scope of research differ, and thus require different presentation. 


Dolgener explained that the Quantitative Methods course had been taught by HPELS faculty for the past 10 years, using HPELS faculty resources, to HPELS students, but that the course was listed under an Ed Psych and Foundations number (250:180g) and the student credit hours were going to the Ed Psych department.


Thompson asked if HPELS is teaching the course with its faculty, shouldn’t the course move to HPELS?  Dolgener replied that was what was being asked in the new course, that it was a new course only in number, but the course is currently being taught by HPELS each semester, and they are asking to move the course into HPELS.  Gallagher stated that the purpose of the Ed Psych and Foundations department is to serve as a service department for the entire College of Education, and that is where the course should be housed.  Edginton replied that if that were the case, then the Qualitative Methods in Special Education course should not be housed in Special Education.  He reiterated the importance of contextualizing both courses, and provided a list of all (52) statistics courses offered in the University.  He also stated that the bulk of HPELS students are not preparing for the school setting, and so the context and setting of the proposed statistical methods courses are vastly different than those for students preparing for K-12.  Edginton presented the expanded rationale documents that were prepared at the request of the GCC.  He also indicated, with regards to consultations, that he had extensive conversations with Barry Wilson (head of Ed Psych), and that he and Larry Hensley had tried to talk with Special Education, but that Sandy Alper (head of Special Education) did not want to discuss the issue unless Gallagher was present. Edginton said he and Hensley made several attempts to contact the Special Education Department, which did not result in a consultation meeting.  He reiterated that the methods courses as they are currently taught are not contextually based to meet the needs of HPELS students.


Utz asked if moving the course into HPELS would diminish the role of Ed Psych.  Dolgener replied that the issue was not discussed in the GCC.


Gallagher indicated that the reason she teaches the qualitative course in Special Education is that a similar course is not offered by Ed Psych.  She indicated that she has not been contacted for consultation, although there had been ample opportunity.


Thompson asked for clarification, noting that the currently offered course has been taught for 10 – 12 years, but now all of a sudden HPELS wants a new course?  Edginton responded that HPELS has taught the course for 10 – 12 years for the Ed Psych department, contextually based, and has tried several times to have the course taught under an HPELS number, to no avail.  He indicated he felt this was an issue of integrity of curriculum.  Hamilton added that the proposed new course is not “all of a sudden,” it has been a curricular proposal each cycle, but only this year has it gotten past the College of Education Senate.  She stated another reason for asking for the new quantitative course was that the current course taught by HPELS in the Ed Psych department, 250:180g, is a 100g level course, allowing undergraduates in the course.  She explained that a 200 level course is needed to provide HPELS graduate students with appropriate preparation for their research.


Utz indicated that the long list of departments that have their own statistics courses is not evidence that another one is needed.  He asked an analogous question – should every department that needs its students prepared in writing/composition have its own writing course?  MacLin replied that the analogy is not entirely applicable, as there is no statistics department on campus, while there is an English department.


Rajendran asked what is the loss to the University by providing the course, as there are no incremental resources being requested, no new classrooms or faculty, but it was just a question of nomenclature.  Gallagher responded that the change would drain resources from the Ed Psych Department. 


Somervill added that statistics courses vary significantly across campus, in the choice of tests, and in examples tailored to students needs.  He indicated there would be no loss of resources to the University as a result of the new course.


Thompson questioned the new courses listed in the Division of Athletic Training – asking if there are faculty members who can teach the content of proposed courses.  Edginton responded that the AT masters degree was introduced off-curricular-cycle, but that the courses and degree were already approved by the Board of Regents and are taught currently.  The courses are listed in the GCC proposal to be included in the new catalog.


Nelson asked about the proposed HPELS qualitative methods course (440:215), whether it was currently being taught.  Edginton replied no, but reiterated the need for a contextual based course.  He indicated the course currently taught by Gallagher in Special Education was contextually based in education, where the HPELS course would not be.  Hamilton added that the demand for a qualitative class would not be that great, but that those students needing qualitative methods for their research were underserved currently.  She added that the proposed class would be offered only once every two years.  Gallagher indicated that “Special Education” should not be in the title of the course she teaches, because she teaches it as a general qualitative methods class.


With no additional discussion, Nelson made the motion to pass the package, Coulter seconded the motion.  The vote was counted by hand: those in favor = 6, those opposed = 2; those abstaining = 3.  Motion carried.


7.  Continuing registration for MA students:

Continuing discussion from the previous GC meeting, Somervill reported that ISU does not have a continuing registration option, therefore the SUI model was the only one in a Regents’ institution.  He added that, if UNI should choose to instate the fee, it would be smaller than that charged at SUI.  Following discussions with the Registrar, Somervill noted that Patton would favor a fee at the end of coursework, similar to that currently in place for the dissertation.  However, until the GC has more information on the actual amount of the fee, Somervill does not recommend making a decision, as cost is a major consideration.  The current post-coursework fee is $35. 


MacLin indicated that Patton will be at the next GC meeting to address these concerns.


Utz asked if SUI has any analysis on the result of instating the policy.  Somervill replied the policy is new this year, and they probably did not have analyses.


Utz commented that the fee would help with the large number of students who have completed coursework but are not making progress on their theses/research papers, but asked if the seven year recency requirement would suffice.  Discussion with Patton will continue at the next meeting.


8.  Action on Computer Science (CS) proposal:

Utz made the motion to consider the CS proposal, Thompson seconded the motion. 


In her absence, Associate Dean McGlade provided a final count on the CS 299 proposal consultations: 21 departments returned the consultation form, 18 of those indicated no objections/no impact; one indicated no objections/impact; one indicated objections/impact; and two departments asked for further consultation (one informally without returning consultation form).  McGlade also provided minutes from GC meetings of 1998 describing why the limit was put in place initially, along with a summary of those minutes.


Schafer re-stated what would occur if the motion passed –catalog wording that currently limits 299 research to three credit hours would be changed to unlimited 299 credit hours at the discretion of the department.


Utz stated that the history of this issue should not be of concern to the current GC.  The historical discussion was drawn out, but because it wasn’t properly addressed in the past does not mean that it needs to be addressed now.  He indicated that this proposed change, which would remedy the CS situation, is unnecessary to most other departments in the University, and he didn’t think the GC needed to make this change for the entire campus when the issue affects only one department.  Utz stated his opposition to the proposed change.


Joslyn asked if the CS department would accept a rule that applied only to the CS department.  Schafer replied yes, that such a rule would be better than the current situation.  He added that the CS department felt the change was made improperly in 1998, and the department needed the situation changed back.  However the CS department realizes it is the only department that wants the wording changed back at this time.


Schafer made a motion to vote on the proposal, Nelson seconded.  A clarification was made on what was meant by approval of this motion: approval would mean changing the catalog to indicate unlimited 299 credit for all departments, opposing the motion would mean voting it down and crafting an exception to the rule to apply only to the CS department.  The vote was counted by hand: those in favor = 1, those opposed = 9, those abstaining = 1.


9.  Action on change in meeting time:
Stuelke requested this action as he is unable to be at the GC meetings at 3:30 pm, but asked the GC to consider an alternative solution of putting issues related to master’s students later on the agenda instead of changing the meeting time.  In addition, Stuelke spoke on behalf of other masters students regarding the thesis timeline issue, and indicated that students did not have a problem with the guidelines or with Kueter’s actions, but that the problem was with theses sitting on faculty desks for extended periods of time.


10.  Items for publication:

No items for publication.


11.  Other business:

 Walker asked the GC to go into executive session to discuss the Distinguished Scholar Award selection committee report.  Thompson motioned for the GC to enter executive session, Utz seconded the motion.


GC returned from executive session (C. Coulter).


Other business:

Stuelke was asked by a graduate student why there was no medical coverage for graduate students.  Stuelke forwarded inquiries on this issue to Pettit to provide information on organizing graduate students around an issue, as she has experience in this regard.   Stuelke also asked about the possibility of creating a website for graduate students to post messages, as the graduate student website currently under construction is taking a long time to complete.  MacLin indicated that she would talk with Jordon Dierks of WebCt to find out a timeline for completion.


Somervill informed the GC that a member of the graduate minority student union is joining the Graduate College Advisory Committee.  He suggested the GC extend an invitation to the representative, but noted such action would entail changing the faculty constitution at the graduate faculty meeting in the spring.


Thompson asked about the Regents’ duplication issue, whether the GC would be responsible for justifying masters/doctorate programs.  Somervill referred to the Peet Marwick audit of several years ago, which recommended elimination of several programs but did not result in any savings for the University.  Somervill hopes the GC would be allowed in the discussion if it arises, as the GC was not included previously.


12. Adjourn

Schafer motioned adjournment of the GC meeting, Coulter seconded the motion.  The meeting of the Graduate Council was adjourned at 4:35 pm. 


Next meeting of the Graduate Council: Thursday, December 4, 2003.


Respectfully submitted,

Sue A. Joslyn, Ph.D.