Graduate College

Graduate Council Minutes #1036

September 11, 2014

Present:  Beall, Calderon, Caswell, Chatham-Carpenter, Christ, Clayton, Coon, Deemer, Gacke, Fontana, Noh, Pohl

Guests:  Joyce Milambiling, Stephanie Schmitz, Susie Schwieger, Joy Thorson

Absent:  Stokes

The meeting was called to order by Chair Clayton, who welcomed everyone; Introductions followed. 

Clayton thanked the past members of the Council who served well in support of graduate education.  Certificates of appreciation were presented to past members who were present.

Motion by Pohl to approve the minutes of the April 10, 2014 meeting; seconded by Christ.  Motion approved. 

Graduate College Reports

Chatham-Carpenter mentioned that a Save the Date message had gone out related to the Graduate College Faculty Showcase taking place on Monday, October 6.  The event will highlight research that conducted during faculty regular Summer Fellowships and Professional Development Assignments.  Oral presentations will take place from 3:00 to 4:00 in Seerley 115, with poster presentations and refreshments in the Great Reading Room from 4:00 to 5:00.  There are currently six oral presentations and ten poster presentations scheduled.  Other faculty members will be presenting their research at a Brown Bag lecture.

Chatham-Carpenter’s main goal for the year is to work on developing an enrollment management plan and recruiting for graduate education here at UNI.  In reviewing the minutes of the April 10 Graduate Council Meeting, she thought President Ruud made it clear in the meeting that he wanted to grow and think more creatively related to graduate education and this enrollment plan would be consistent with that message.  She sent a survey to graduate coordinators related to opportunities for growth of graduate programs to see where those opportunities might be and what is keeping some programs from growing.  She added that eventually there may be some need for Council members to volunteer for a working group related to this effort.  Deadline for that survey is September 15.  She will report back to the Council on the survey results.

Coon reported that the electronic admission process is now in place.  Graduate coordinators, secretaries and department heads are receiving training this week.  Faculty who will be reviewing applications will be trained within the next couple of weeks.  Application materials from students will now go straight to Admissions for imaging.  The main difference in the admission process is that the Admission Recommendation Form itself is now an electronic process.  The Graduate College has been imaging student files for a number of years for all graduate degree students whether admitted or denied.  The Graduate College is also working with ITS on developing its own imaging and workflow process in OnBase.  Anyone who has access to view a student’s record would have access to these files as well, effective in the Spring 2015 semester.  The decision has not be made as to whether or not previous records will be moved to the OnBase system.

Schwieger reported that 136 students attended the Graduate Student Information that was held on August 27.  The TAGS (Thinking About Graduate School) event will take place on Tuesday, September 23.  This meeting is targeted at sophomores, juniors and seniors.  Coon will be presenting “The Ins and Outs of Applying for Graduate School” and there will be a graduate faculty panel and a UNI programs fair.  On October 8 at Noon in the CME, Deanne Gute will conduct a workshop on developing a personal statement. 

The Graduate College and Continuing and Distance Education will be holding an event “Beyond Your Bachelor’s Degree:  A UNI Graduate Programs Open House.”  The event will take place in the Commons from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5.  Additional details will be provided in the near future.  Schwieger will start her recruiting with the UNI Career Fair and the Luther College Graduate and Professional School Fair on September 25. 

Schwieger mentioned that the UNI Grad Student News September issue is in progress.  There is now an online submission form for submitting information and ideas for the newsletter.  The first Graduate Student Advisory Board Meeting (GSAB) will take place on September 17.

Chair of Graduate Faculty Report

Beall reported that she has a number of faculty interested in presenting brown bag lectures.  Tammy Gregersen with the Department of Languages and Literatures will present the first brown bag on Tuesday, October 7.  Belle Cowden with Continuing Education and Special Programs will present a December brown bag related to online education.  She will be looking at the pros and cons of online instruction both for faculty and students, as well as talk about software and technology available.  Chatham-Carpenter mentioned that the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning may be willing to collaborate with the Graduate College on some of the brown bags related to teaching issues.

New Business

Election of Chair and Vice Chair of the Graduate Council

Beall nominated Clayton to serve Chair of the Graduate Council; seconded by Pohl.  Clayton accepted the nomination and Pohl stated that she would be happy to serve as Vice Chair; seconded by Beall.  Motion passed.  

Discussion of and vote on proposal to elect the graduate faculty representative to the University Committee on Curricula (UCC)

Clayton noted that in the past, the Graduate Council has appointed someone to represent the graduate faculty on the UCC (one year term).  This person is a voting member of the UCC.  All other voting members are elected, not appointed.  The proposal is that this person now be elected by the graduate faculty for a three year term (with potential for re-election).  It was clarified that the proposal includes two changes; the duration of the term and the manner in which the person would be selected.  Clayton also noted that if the Council were in favor of this, the change would need to go through Faculty Senate.  Chris Neuhaus, Chair of the Committee on Committees would run the election and would appreciate any names the Council could suggest for the ballot.

Motion by Christ to approve the proposal for the graduate faculty representative on the University Committee on Curricula (UCC) be elected by the graduate faculty for a three year term (with potential for re-election); seconded by Beall.  Motion approved. 

Discussion of Proposed Changes to the Curriculum Handbook
Clayton explained that the Faculty Senate had approved some changes to the curriculum process and have now worked on changes to the Curriculum Handbook to reflect the changes to the curriculum process.  The changes that have been made include switching to an annual curriculum cycle instead of a two-year cycle and differentiating between curriculum proposals that are editorial and those that are substantive changes.  The designation as editorial will be made by the department and there would be different levels of review.  There were also changes to the graduate section of the handbook that were made by Coon; forms have been updated, etc.  Scott Peters has asked for feedback from the Council.  An actual vote would not need to take place, however Peters would like feedback.  Chatham-Carpenter added that she and Coon brought the changes to a joint meeting with the UCC and the GCCC for discussion and feedback.  

It was noted that there was a portion in the handbook that implies that it would be possible for proposals to basically avoid going through the college senates under certain circumstances.  Coon added that there was a case in the last curriculum cycle where that happened at the very end of the curriculum cycle to add a single course requirement to ensure students were eligible for an endorsement.  She added that this is not intended as a mechanism for a proposal to move forward without any review.  It was mentioned that the department is responsible for identifying proposals that are primarily editorial in nature and it didn’t appear that any other group was tasked with this type of review, which could potentially lead to a mistaken designation and be more substantive that they might originally appear.  It was clarified that any department or curriculum body in the workflow could request a full review of the proposal.  The Council requested that it be explicitly stated that the college senate could change the designation from editorial to substantive. 

Related to the consultation process, Chatham-Carpenter mentioned that she, Scott Peters, Tim Kidd, Melissa Heston, Coon, Diane Wallace and Coleen Wagner met to talk about specific ways of improving the process electronically.  Clayton said there is a portion in the handbook related to process review.   Chatham-Carpenter said that departments and faculty are being encouraged to complete forms before they enter any information into LeapFrog since due to the annual review process, the previous year’s information is wiped from the system.  Departments can begin the work of developing proposals and doing consultations on paper in the fall, previous to the next catalog being available the following February for entering proposals.

In further conversation, Coon said that she has argued against practically any change to the graduate curriculum being considered non-substantive.  In her experience in GCCC there were departments that, although they thought something they were doing didn’t affect anyone else or their own program in a negative way, it turned out it did.  Coon added that it will still be the responsibility of the college senates to review any changes thoroughly.  Even if the department determines changes are editorial, it will still be the responsibility of the college senate to review and confirm that the change is editorial.

Clayton said that if there are any additional comments after the meeting to let her or Coon know by Friday, September 26.  Feedback will then be passed along to Peters.

Discussion of and vote on TOEFL/IELTS minimum score requirement for provisional/conditional admission of graduate students

Clayton stated that there is currently no minimum score required for conditional admission and it seems like that may not be the best policy.  This issue has come up with regard to CIEP.  Students come to campus for Culture and Intensive English and also wish to enter academic programs and do not necessarily have the scores for full admission to graduate programs.  Some graduate programs have admitted the students and others haven’t, so it has been on a program-by-program basis.  There is currently no policy regarding whether a student has to have a minimum level of English skill as determined by scores on these tests.  The question is should this continue or should there be a minimum score and if so, what should that score be.  A program could still have a more rigorous requirement than the Graduate Council policy, but the council would determine the minimum.

Extended discussion took place on this issue, including questions of accessibility to students and how to best ensure that students have the necessary foundation to be successful in graduate school, which included suggestions as to an acceptable minimum TOEFL score.  It was determined that the Council would need additional information before creating a new policy.  Coon will follow up to get more information from the CIEP program and Clayton will obtain additional information on the interpretation of scores.

Motion by Beall to table the discussion of the TOEFL/IELTS minimum score requirement for provisional/conditional admission of graduate students until further information could be gathered; seconded by Christ.  Motion approved. 

Two representatives from GC needed to serve on GCCC

After brief discussion, Fontana and Pohl agreed to serve as the Graduate Council representatives on the Graduate College Curriculum Committee.  Clayton thanked them for their willingness to serve.

Discussion of and Vote on Proposal to Change the Policy for Double Counting Credits Towards a Second Degree
Since at least 1976, the policy has been that no more than 8 credits can apply to both of two Master’s degrees, whether they are taken sequentially or concurrently.  The rationale for this long standing policy is not clear at this point in time.  PE is establishing a dual program with an institution in Hong Kong, and would like to double count 3 courses (9 credits).  The question is should the 8 credit policy be changed to 9 credit hours and if so, should it be changed for all students or only for those in the proposed PE program?

Clayton said that it is sometimes difficult to get to 8 credit hours in a graduate program courses.  In response to a question about whether 9 credit hours would be a problem, Coon responded that she did not see that there would be a problem.

In response to a question as to whether or not the Hong Kong students would have their Master’s degree at their institution when they come here, Fontana said that is one of the provisions.  Coon wanted to be sure no UNI courses were being applied to the Hong Kong degree. 

Motion by Christ to approve the change from 8 to 9 credit hours that can apply to two Master’s degrees and this would apply to all students who have not yet graduated with a second Master’s degree; seconded by Beall.  Motion approved. 

The meeting adjourned at 5:22 p.m.

The next scheduled meeting is Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. in Lang 115.

Respectfully submitted,

Cheryl Nedrow
Secretary