February 27, 2014
Present: Calderon, Caswell, Christ, Clayton, Coon, Czarnecki, Fontana, Milambiling, Muhayimana, Nesbit, Schmitz
Absent: Licari, Noh, Ogbondah, Pohl, Stokes
Guest: Joy Thorson
The meeting was called to order by Chair Clayton. Motion by Czarnecki to approve the minutes of the February 13, 2014 meeting; seconded by Calderon. Motion approved.
Clayton suggested that due to the possibility of losing a quorum, the meeting would need to go out of agenda order; there were no concerns.
Chair of Graduate Faculty Report – On behalf of Pohl, Clayton noted that the next brown bag lecture would take place on Monday, March 3 at Noon in the Oak Room; Jack and Carole Yates will be presenting “Changing Minds, Changing Behaviors, and the Changing Climate.” Graduate students are invited to these lectures. Clayton added that Coon, Pohl and Czarnecki participated in UNI Day at the Capitol on behalf of graduate education. The Graduate College table handed out reusable purple logoed bags which were very popular.
Clayton is the Graduate Council’s representative to the committee that is conducting the administrator review for Provost Gibson’s five years of service at UNI. Because the process was initiated by the Faculty Senate, it is open to participation by voting faculty of the University; students and staff are not participating in this particular effort. The link to the survey has been distributed; Clayton encouraged everyone to participate and stressed that the survey is anonymous.
Discussion of and Vote on Updates to the Graduate Assistantship Handbook
Coon began by informing the Council that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 basically says that all groups that receive federal assistance cannot discriminate in any way on the basis of sex. That means that at the University of Northern Iowa, there cannot be any discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational opportunity. She added that many times Title IX is related to sports, but it also applies to everything that is done at UNI. The U.S. Department of Education issued a letter in June, 2013 that specifically covered issues of pregnancy, which covers all educational levels, from high school to postsecondary education. Coon said that the current Graduate Assistantship Handbook includes the Parental Support and Relief for Graduate Assistants policy that was in the previous Graduate Assistantship System document. Since that policy is so old, Coon had asked Leah Gutknecht, with the Office of Compliance and Equity Management, to review it for Title IX compliance. Coon explained the changes Gutknecht recommended and informed the Council that the changes had been incorporated into the Parental Support and Relief for Graduate Assistants policy. She added that language was added related to graduate assistants who wish to suspend their academic responsibilities because of pregnancy or the birth or adoption of a child may request parental support relief during the semester in which the pregnancy, birth or adoption occurs.
Regarding salary, the revised policy states that if the student takes a leave from their assistantship due to parental support leave, their salary will be prorated based on the duration of their leave. The old policy would have required that the student would not be eligible to work for the rest of the semester. Coon noted that prorating the salary based on the duration of the leave would be consistent with how the University would handle an employee being gone on unpaid leave. Students who must resign their graduate assistantship before the end of the eighth week of class due to Parental Support Leave will not be counted as receiving a semester of support. Basically, this policy mirrors that for leave due to temporary medical conditions. She noted that as in the current policy, the revised policy includes a one-semester extension of the recency policy. In response to a question about the one-semester recency extension, Coon said that the recency policy states that there is a one-semester extension for each FMLA related event. The extension is granted by student request.
Motion by Czarnecki to approve the updates to the Graduate Assistantship Handbook; seconded by Milambiling. Motion approved.
Discussion of Policy relating to the use of graduate degree credit for Camp Adventure
Clayton recapped from the last meeting, that Graduate students who participate in Camp Adventure receive graduate degree credit. Right now there is no official policy, but basically, the credits do not count toward a graduate degree. At the last meeting there was an explanation about what is involved in these programs and how they might in fact, actually be similar to internship opportunities that do count toward graduate degrees. Based on previous conversations, Clayton said it seemed that there were three potential options for the Council to consider; 1) Endorse the proposed policy that prompted the Camp Adventure discussion, which would be that graduate credit received during Camp Adventure programs cannot count toward a graduate degree. As noted at the last meeting, the exception would be the two credits that are earned on campus prior to participating in the Camp Adventure program.; 2) Create a policy based on the current practice, which has been that students in supervisory Camp Adventure roles (those that are above Camp Counselor, in which they are supervising other students), can request up to three credits to count toward their graduate degree.; 3) As proposed by the Camp Adventure representatives, six credits would count. The rationale being that six credits of internship are allowed as part of the LYHS program, in which many of the Camp Adventure graduate students are enrolled. Two courses Camp Adventure faculty would like to see credit allowed for would be Field Experience (LYHS 5265, 4 credits) and Internship (LYHS 6295, 2 credits). Clayton said that another option could be to decide somewhere between 0-6 credits. The individual programs would have the option of whether or not to accept credits to go toward the graduate degree.
Clayton reminded everyone that there was no actual motion on the table and asked if there were any questions, comments or suggestions. Extended conversation took place during which time Clayton noted that Chris Edginton stated after the last meeting that he would be happy to work with the Graduate Council and the Graduate College on working out the details of the courses that could be accepted and at what level during the Camp Adventure experience. It was clarified that Camp Adventure students are currently earning graduate credit, although it is not being counted on their graduate program. At the conclusion of the conversation, it was agreed that Clayton would contact Edginton to get additional information related to the Council’s questions. Specific questions related to 1) the differences in work between the undergraduate and graduate versions of the 4000/5000 level courses, 2) the extent to which graduate faculty, as the instructor(s) of record are actively supervising and grading the work of the graduate students, 3) how programs could identify the role of the graduate student (camp counselor, program director, etc.), and 4) what would be counted for students pursuing a second (or beyond) graduate degree.
Graduate College Reports – Coon reported that she, Pohl, Czarnecki and Megan Vogt participated in UNI Day at the Capitol. She felt that those who participated made a positive impact on the legislators. She also mentioned that there was quite a bit of traffic at the Graduate College table. Coon had e-mailed faculty to remind them to publicize thesis and dissertation defense dates, as well as recital details. At a minimum, details are to be submitted to the University Calendar of Events. She added that these steps would help bring up the profile of graduate education.
Coon will be sending coordinators an e-mail tomorrow regarding their admissions checklist. There will be a Google Docs link included. The document was created by Lisa Feldhaus, in the Office of Admissions. Feldhaus has a background in admissions from Ohio University and understands the complexity of the graduate application process. Admissions will be developing reports through Oracle Business Intelligence that will allow those involved with graduate programs to see who the applicants are, what their qualifications are and the completion status of their applications. Students will be able to go into their Student Center to check the status of their application.
On behalf of Schwieger, Coon reported that there are currently 36 presentations scheduled to take place at the Graduate Student Symposium on April 1. The “Attending an Academic Conference” workshop is scheduled for March 3. The latest issue of UNI Grad Student News has been sent out and the Graduate Student Information Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 27.
The meeting adjourned at 4:53 p.m.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. in Lang 115.
Secretary’s note: Due to the upcoming visit from President Ruud, the location for the next meeting was changed to the State College Room, Maucker Union.