Graduate College

Graduate College Minutes #929

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October 23, 2003

Present: Sue Pettit, Victoria DeFrancisco (for Gayle Pohl), Kristin Mack, Ben Schafer, K.N. Rajendran, Richard Utz, Kim MacLin, Lauren Nelson, Cynthia Coulter, Sue Joslyn.

Visitors: John Fecik, Industrial Technology.

Ex-Officio: Jackie McGlade, John Somervill.


1.  Minutes #928 of the Graduate Council meeting October 9, 2003

The following change was noted: 

  • In the last paragraph of item #2, change “Continuing Studies” to “Communication Studies.” 

Schafer motioned to accept the amended minutes, Gallagher seconded.  Motion passed.


2.  Graduate Deans’ Report:

No report.


3. Announcements:

  • MacLin reminded council members to provide Joslyn with alternate council representation, if they have not already done so.  Joslyn will provide the list to Dorothy Dillon as soon as possible.
  • Utz shared a letter from the Provost regarding the 5-year review of Graduate College Dean John Somervill.  The charge to the Graduate Council is to form a representative committee of graduate faculty (approximately one representative from each college) who will then solicit input from graduate faculty and departments across campus.  Utz requested council members get committee representatives from the graduate faculty of their respective colleges (after securing acceptance to serve from their colleagues), and forward names to Utz or MacLin.  Nelson suggested collecting more than the minimum number of names from which to choose the committee.  Utz agreed, and will send out an e-mail reminder to graduate council members.


4. Update on survey of departments with comprehensive exams

Associate Dean McGlade has responses from 43 departments, and provided the summary of responses.  She also provided a packet of information on students’ access to files, including UNI Policies and Procedures (from the UNI web page), State of Iowa code on the right to examine public records/exceptions, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, and the National Center for Education Statistics guidelines for protecting the privacy of student records.


Rajendran noted that the Department of Finance is listed on the summary of departmental responses, when Finance does not have a graduate program.  McGlade will remove Finance from the list.


McGlade asked what the council wants to do with this information.  MacLin wondered if departments’ responding to the survey may provide enough impetus for departments to prepare guidelines/policies.  Rajendran suggested notifying departments to send their procedures to the Graduate College to have on record, allowing sufficient time for those departments without policies to prepare them.  McGlade will ask departments for policies/procedures to keep on file, but asked what to do about those departments without policies.  Rajendran suggested providing departments with guidelines.  Utz agreed, and suggested the graduate council provide a list of elements to include in a policy, noting that was well within the role of the graduate council.  McGlade will draft recommendations, and will bring them to the council for approval.  She will ask departments to please send copies of their policies to the Graduate Council to have on file, will give departments without policies adequate time to draft policies, and will provide information on where departments may find information on student access to records. 



5.  Update on Computer Science (CS) proposal.

McGlade has received 14 consultation forms to date.   Thirteen of the forms stated “no objection/no impact” even though all departments will likely be impacted.  One department correctly stated “impact” with no objections.  In addition, two departments have asked for clarification of the proposed policy.  Utz explained the potential impact as students in any program may take more than six credit hours of graded research, and that departments on campus do not realize the impact.  He noted the CS proposed policy will be the exception to the rule, and as such, to have a “rule” as the policy stands now, with the CS policy as an exception.  


McGlade summarized the Graduate Curriculum Committee (GCC) review of the proposal on October 22, and noted that individuals were disturbed regarding the change in policy when only CS wants the change.  She recounted comments from GCC members who were on the Graduate Council in 1997 when the current policy was adopted.  Utz suggested McGlade find minutes of the 1997 meeting to clarify the issue to determine why the current policy was put in place. 


Nelson suggested a policy that stated each department determine its own number of research credit hours.  She also noted that if/when this policy is acted upon, the debate and vote need to be public.   Schafer asked if an amendment to the proposal (indicating CS as the exception to the rule) would be appropriate at this time.  Nelson stated an amendment would not be appropriate now, but at the time of the vote.  Utz indicated he thought departments weren’t given adequate description on the proposal to make an informed response.  Schafer expressed concern at the delay in process, and how it would fit in with the curricular package timetable.  McGlade indicated the final package will be presented to the Graduate Council on November 20, and that there is time and room in the timetable for this delay.


Nelson suggested the following three steps: the graduate council needs to publish the CS proposal as an action item on the upcoming agenda, the graduate council needs to hear a report from the GCC, and interested individuals should be invited to the graduate council meeting where the vote will occur (or invited to submit written comments if he/she can’t attend the meeting).


Ficek stated that the Industrial Technology (IT) department discussed the proposal and did not respond because the department was unsure of the proposal’s meaning.  IT thought that only one department wanted the change but that many departments will be affected.  IT suggested CS develop a new course to satisfy the requirement rather than a policy change.  Schafer indicated the CS department already has the research credit hours, but needs to be able to allow more than 6 credit hours.  He indicated he would rather see the CS policy allowing more than 6 graded research credit hours.  Ficek stated that IT allows 6 hours of 299 thesis credits, 3 hours of 299 non-thesis/research credits, and in addition has a course 330:270 that follows research methods titled “Research Project.”  He added that if the proposed policy results in an addition to each program of study that the IT department will vote against the proposal.  McGlade added that almost all representatives at the GCC meeting were against the proposal. 


MacLin stated that if departments want clarification, the Graduate Council should clarify the proposal prior to the meeting where a vote is taken.  Nelson asked if the GCC thinks the proposed change will impact all departments by students asking for increased research credit hours.   McGlade agreed that it would, and that student request form paperwork would be required for all students to limit their research hours.  Utz noted that, in order for the CS proposal to help CS students, all other departments have to do additional paperwork, and that it would make more sense to propose the opposite.


Nelson noted that the deadline for submitting consultation forms was yesterday (October 22), but that the graduate council should wait until the original deadline of October 29 before making a decision.  MacLin added that she, McGlade, and/or Schafer need to clarify issues with the two departments who asked for clarification.  McGlade asked if clarification statements should accompany a reminder to departments to submit their consultation forms.  Schafer asked if the clarification would appear to be the graduate council trying to sway votes.  Utz stated that the problem is that most departments didn’t understand the proposal, and that the impact is potentially negative.  MacLin asked if presenting both advantages and disadvantages to the proposal would help with clarification.  Somervill recommended for the future that the graduate council simply docket the item, publicize the item, and hold an open meeting for the discussion and vote.  He indicated that going back to do multiple surveys and clarifications gives the impression of an ineffective council.


Rajendran asked how many consultation form responses were needed before moving forward.  McGlade indicated that only 14 out of fifty-some departments responded, and that she would like to see more responses.  Nelson recommended that only a reminder be sent to departments.  Utz recommended that the proposal should be acted upon at the next graduate council meeting.  MacLin indicated she would add the proposal to the next meeting agenda, and asked that graduate council members communicate with their constituents, contact the graduate coordinators in each area and send out a reminder for the consultation form.


6.  Discussion on Continuing Registration for MA students.

Dean Somervill explained the issue of developing a policy on continuing registration for MA students.  He indicated that such a policy is already in place for doctoral students.  This policy is for students following coursework in their last semester of study prior to graduation.  He described a similar policy at The University of Iowa, where masters’ students pay 2 hours tuition (without fees = ~$560, with fees = ~$680).  If the SUI student does not graduate in one semester following coursework, the student continues to pay ~$680 each semester until graduation.  The UI instituted the fee this fall, and previously had a $70 fee.  UNI Registrar Patton agrees that some policy is needed, but would not favor paying the fee in any semester other than the final one.  Somervill noted the disadvantage to this policy was how costly it is to students, while the advantage is that students are encouraged to complete their degree in a timely fashion.  He noted that completion rates of MA degrees are very low across campus, which was a major concern noted in the academic program review.  He recommended the graduate council should consider the issue for discussion and action, invite Patton to attend the meeting. and for council members to get input from their respective departments.


MacLin noted the current policy was a $35 fee that included use of the library, computer services, and the WRC.  McGlade added that the current $35 fee is voluntary, and students have to request permission to pay the fee.  She added that online graduate paperwork is coming soon, and students must have access to their UNI e-mail accounts to submit paperwork, so the graduate council is at the point of having to do something to address this issue. 


Rajendran asked if the two-hour fee is set, or could UNI go with a one hour fee?  Somervill stated that he would prefer to have Patton respond.  He noted that the policy for UNI doctoral students is that they pay two credit hours per semester until the degree is completed, but that this issue is not usually a problem in the doctoral program.  Somervill would like to see discussion on this issue at the next council meeting, with action on the issue at the subsequent meeting.


Pettit expressed concern that students with extenuating circumstances have to drop out of the graduate program, and would bear undue hardship to pay the fee.  Somervill indicated that the SUI policy allows for emergency situations, such as military duty, medical emergencies, etc, and that the UNI graduate council should consider this in their proposal.


Gallagher raised the issue of timelines/deadlines in a semester required by the graduate college for graduation may be too early and cause some students to have to pay the fee even though they have completed all requirements for the degree.  Somervill recommended that Barb Kueter be invited to a graduate council meeting to explain the reasoning for deadlines.  MacLin will include an invitation to Kueter and Patton for the next meeting, at which time the graduate council will discuss the issue.


7.   Items for Publication:

No items for publication.


8.  Other Business:

No other business.


Nelson moved, Gallagher seconded meeting adjournment.  Motion passed unanimously.  The meeting of the UNI Graduate Council was adjourned by MacLin at 4:40 pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Sue A. Joslyn, Ph.D.