Graduate College

Graduate Council Minutes #1023

March 14, 2013

Present: Bartlett, Caswell, Christ, Clayton, Coon, Hays, Iqbal, Licari, Pohl, Roberts (for Milambiling), Schmitz, Terlip


Absent: Power, St. Clair, Waldron, Zhbanova

Guests: Provost Gibson, Susie Schwieger

The meeting was called to order by Chair Clayton.  Clayton thanked Provost Gibson for attending the meeting. 

Clayton thanked the Council members for voting via e-mail regarding expedited approval of the Doctor of Technology curricular revisions.  The revisions were unanimously approved.

Motion by Pohl to approve the minutes of the February 28, 2013 meeting; seconded by Bartlett.  Motion approved. 

Clayton also thanked Council members for attending the reception for the incoming president Ruud.

Graduate College Reports – Licari noted that as part of Goal 1 of the Graduate Education Strategic Plan related to sustaining and enhancing quality and rigor of graduate programs, one of the objectives of the participation in the assessment academy for the university is to insure that student learning outcomes are evaluated at the graduate level as extensively and rigorously as at the undergraduate level.  Some progress has been made and several programs have been reaching out to Donna Vinton regarding revising and implementing outcomes assessment plans for graduate education.  Licari said he appreciates the work that has already been done.  He added that last year Vinton started a peer review process which involves assessment associates who are faculty drawn from across campus to give peer review to assessment plans from the various programs.  Vinton’s objective this year is to have the assessment associates review the assessment plans of graduate programs.  This would present an opportunity to understand the lay of the land a little bit better and also to insure by the end of the process that all of our programs have gotten some feedback from faculty peers.  Licari said that he thought this is a good way to do this and insures that faculty are the primary keepers and overseers of curriculum and programs.

Related to the audit of the graduate assistantship system that was done last summer, Licari reported that implementation of the audit recommendations has taken place throughout the year.   A Graduate Assistantship Handbook was put in place which includes all procedural and policy changes that were necessary as a result of the audit.  A variety of meetings took place during the process which included meetings with graduate coordinators.  Licari thought those meetings were very beneficial and will continue those meetings indefinitely.  He added that Lisa Steimel has been instrumental in trying to ensure that the Graduate College provides much greater levels of service to faculty, graduate coordinators, etc.  Licari has posted the audit results and activities that took place as a result of the audit findings.  The audit should be closed at the next Board of Regents meeting, which is before the actual due date.  Licari extended special thanks to the Graduate College staff for their work in the implementation of the audit recommendations and to Council members for all their work in considering and approving policy changes.

Related to curriculum, Licari noted that the Faculty Senate passed the Department of Technology material, as well as the material for Physics and Geography.  The Women’s and Gender Studies Program proposal was approved by the Council of Provosts earlier in the week; the final step will be the Board of Regents meeting.  He thanked everyone for the progress that has been made this year.

Coon reported that the Summer Tuition Scholarship application will be posted on the Graduate College website by Noon on Monday, March 18.  The deadline for submission is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26.  Applications are not first come first served; all applications submitted by the deadline will be considered.  She reminded everyone that a change from last year is that courses offered through Continuing Education are not eligible for support through the Summer Tuition Scholarship.

Coon will be holding student request workshops on Monday and Tuesday, April 8 and 9.  The same topics will be covered at each workshop; students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend.  Coon will go over basic information and highlight some of the changes in the student request system.  An announcement will be sent out in the near future.  Coon noted that April 1 is the deadline to apply to graduate without being charged a late fee and that early in the week following spring break she will e-mail each department with a list of their students who have applied for graduation.  She has received a number of Graduate Assistant Position Descriptions and is reviewing those; if the position descriptions have been submitted offers can be sent out.

Schwieger reminded everyone that the Graduate Student Symposium is coming up on April 4.  There are 17 poster presentations, 15 oral presentations and 7 creative performances.  She encouraged Council members to attend and asked that they encourage their students to attend as well.  A number of activities are being planned for Graduate Student Appreciation Week the week of April 1-5.  The Graduate College has two Graduate Assistants positions open; one for professional and community development and the other for web development.  The deadline for applications is March 24.

Chair of Graduate Faculty Report – Pohl reported that Paul Shand’s Magnetic Nano-things brown bag lecture was interesting and everyone had a good time.  The next brown bag will be presented by Amy Petersen from the Department of Special Education.  Pohl encouraged everyone to attend and to invite their students. 

Pohl announced that the Annual Graduate Faculty Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 18 in Seerley 115 with a reception in the Great Reading Room following the meeting.  Provost Gibson will speak at the meeting and help hand out awards.  There is a new format this year which Pohl will discuss at a future meeting.

Discussion and Vote on Expedited Curriculum
Geography new course (GEOG 4390/5390 GIS Programming) – Clayton noted that the Geography course being proposed is not traditional computer programming, it is programming within the GIS software environment.  It would potentially be taken by both upper-level undergraduate students, as well as graduate students looking for GIS skills that are a bit more advanced.  It was noted that the new course would be a required course in the B.S. in the GIS and that the undergraduate version of the course had already been approved by Faculty Senate.  Clayton mentioned that the course could be taken by graduate students in a number of disciplines. 

Hays made a motion to approve the Geography course, GEOG 4390/5390 GIS Programming; seconded by Bartlett.  Motion passed unanimously.

Discussion of Implementation of the Graduate Education Strategic Plan

Clayton noted that the last discussion related to the strategic plan included ways in which programs that are similar in nature could work together.  There was a discussion regarding programs wanting to have community-based recruiting efforts.  Clayton mentioned recruiting at community events that already draw in a large number of people.  Examples of such events are the Cedar Falls and Waterloo Farmers Market, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines Farmers Markets, College Hill Arts Festival and similar festivals in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.  The potential of recruiting at some of the major employers in the area, such as John Deere, Pella, Tyson, Principal and Wells Fargo were also mentioned.  Hays mentioned that he appreciated Schwieger’s efforts to recruit on behalf of graduate programs and that he was not sure how efficient it is for individual programs to recruit on their own.  Clayton clarified that the intention would be to go out as a collective group; there could be programs where there is a mutual benefit to developing ties with communities and corporations and increasing the presence of graduate education in general.  UNI can recruit in some communities that are further away, but aren’t necessarily in the back yard of a competing program. 

Terlip mentioned that her department was told about a recruiting incentive and asked if that was only for undergraduate students and if there would be a similar offer for graduate student recruitment as well.  Provost Gibson responded that there is not at this time.  It is actually a pilot for undergraduates, although that is not to say that it couldn’t happen for graduate students in the future.  She would like to see how the pilot plays out at the undergraduate level.  Bartlett mentioned that her program might be interested in going in with School Psychology, Social Work, Public Policy to some festivals or events.  She added that she would like to see banners for the graduate programs in order to use when recruiting.  Licari said that after listening to the various ideas he thought there would need to be a larger event that is already occurring.  He added that one of the challenges is that each program has different needs; some programs need students in general and others need certain types of students.  Bartlett mentioned branding in order to look professional and consistent.  Licari responded that he and Schwieger developed a handout in order to have a uniform look and brand across all programs, but it was a struggle to get the information back from the graduate coordinators.  It was frustrating to him since he had offered to provide the resources and funding. 

Schwieger suggested that advanced marketing needs to be done and media connections need to be made prior to any participating in community events.  She suggested as a resource, as well as Cedar Valley Human Resource Professionals in order to strategize on how to best deliver graduate program information in the workplace rather than just set up a table and expect people to come.   KUNI, KBBG, KBOL and Public Radio were mentioned as media outlets.  Gibson asked if social media such as Facebook is being used.  Licari responded that individual programs are involved in social media to a certain extent and that he and Kent Johnson will be meeting with a representative from Stamats regarding communication efforts.  Licari added that he would be willing to put some time every day into putting out a bit of information related to what is happening in graduate education at UNI.  Clayton noted that if Licari doesn’t have the message to send out it won’t go anywhere.  She also noted that if you start on social media and there isn’t any content it actually sends a negative message instead of a positive message. 

Clayton asked if there was something the Graduate Council could do to try to facilitate some of the efforts that were mentioned for those who are interested and asked for Schwieger’s input since she sees what other universities are doing.  Schwieger commented that she sees very polished recruiting materials and follow up contact systems that insure that the prospective student feels wanted.  Hays said that recruitment needs to become a collective responsibility among faculty and students. 

Pohl mentioned using an e-portfolio as a way to follow up with prospective students and provide information on a graduate program.  In additional conversation, Gibson mentioned that the university photographer is available to take photos at various graduate student events across the colleges.  Terlip suggested that students who receive funding through the IAF could have their picture taken to go along with their followup report and funneling that to the Graduate College.  Licari noted that one of the requirements when students are awarded funding is that they provide a follow up report which is usually used for the Graffito, but those could be used in e-portfolios as well.  Gibson also mentioned that students in the Interactive Digital Studies course could be used as a resource for putting together information.  Bartlett mentioned the use of You Tube podcasts in getting out graduate program information.  Clayton asked if there is a central clearing house or database where pictures and information from the Graffito are stored or if this would be possible.  Schiweger said a centralized system could be developed and people submitting their information would need to be made aware.  Clayton talked about a Graduate College channel instead of just posting information on You Tube.

Gibson asked how much targeted marketing is being done to businesses in the area.  It was noted that some programs are and others are not.  Licari mentioned that if a program is going to try to market itself to professionals there needs to some type of distance model, either a portable model where faculty goes out, a hybrid, or an online program.  Licari added that Kent Johnson in Continuing Education is well equipped to do marketing studies before moving forward.  Gibson added that for both graduates and undergraduates, she does not see enough of us telling our story. 

Clayton talked about the possibility of encouraging the development of a few more graduate certificates, especially for professional development for working professionals who may not need a two-year degree, but rather some additional course work.  Either these students could take certain courses or even better, tying these together in a certificate to recognize and package them.  Clayton asked if this was something the Council thought could move forward.  It was noted that outside of Education, there are not a lot of certificates available.  Schwieger said that marketability of the certificates and how they would be used by employers is something that should be explored.  Pohl noted that the certificate programs are very popular and very, very lucrative in larger universities.  Coon stated that currently the SIS does not track certificates, but this could be done in the future and once a student was close to obtaining a certificate and didn’t know it, an e-mail could be sent notifying them in the event that they would be interested in completing the certificate.  Clayton said that she had a hard time finding a list of certificates out on the web.  Licari said that a list of certificates would be added to the Graduate College website. 

Gibson encouraged the Council to select a few of the ideas that had been mentioned to move forward in a concrete way.  She said some of the ideas may require resources such as the banners or other materials.  In order to figure out a marketing strategy for corporations and community events would take another level of work.  There would then need to be some type of metric to see if the idea is working; in some cases it could take a couple of years to find out if a strategy is working.  There is also a consultant’s report related to undergraduate recruiting that might be applicable to graduate recruiting as well.  That report will come out sometime this month.  Gibson added that it is a different world now with so much competition with private institutions, online and Regent’s institutions.  Gibson said it was a great conversation and great energy is being given to this matter.  Clayton noted that in a previous meeting Terlip had mentioned targeting some of the departments and programs at Iowa and Iowa State that had an undergraduate program, but not a graduate program.  Licari said that his offer to fund the travel of a faculty member and couple of students to go to Iowa and Iowa State is still open.  Clayton said this would be a way to target recruitment and create ties with those universities.  Gibson said that with the ties the UNI faculty have with faculty at Iowa and Iowa State, they could use those ties to contact those faculty where there are no graduate programs have your students come to us.  Gibson added that Licari has a very good relationship with the associate provosts
and she has a good relationship with the provosts at Iowa and Iowa State as well.  Ideas could be passed on to Licari and brought forward.

Clayton concluded by saying that particularly for those programs looking at recruiting if there are priority areas to work on immediately, please say something so we can facilitate some of these efforts.  There are a lot of good ideas and she would hate to see some of those die from inaction. 

Clayton reminded Council members that Chris Cox from the Library would be attending the next Graduate Council meeting to talk about how the Library can better serve graduate students.

The meeting adjourned at 4:46 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in Lang 115.

Respectfully submitted,

Cheryl Nedrow
Secretary