Minutes of University Graduate Council
March 22, 2007

Present:  Michelle Hardy (AG), John Brittingham (A & A), Priscilla Wisner (BUS), Mark Nelson (EHHD), Robert Maher (ENGR), Carl Fox (DGE), Robert Rydell (L&S-Letters), Yves Idzerda (L&S-Science), Rita Cheek (NURS), Ed Dea (STUDENT), Seth Humphries (STUDENT), David Weaver (FC), Jen Jencso (DGE), MaryKay West (DGE).

Meeting commenced at 8:02 a.m. in 103 Sherrick.

UNIVERSITY GRADUATE COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS: (Numbers refer to item numbers on the Agenda)

1.  Executive Session

  • Carl stated that UGC always has the ability to call an executive session during which no minutes are taken and no visitors attend
  • Mark added that any member of UGC can ask for an executive session.

 

2.  Approval of Minutes of February 15, 2007

  • David corrected his statement in item 4 to read “David stated that the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Council would require…”
  • Rob Maher motioned that the minutes be accepted as amended; Priscilla seconded; vote was unanimous.

 

3.  Proposed New Language regarding the Board of Regents Policy on the GRE
 

  • Carl stated that there has been a discussion among Montana deans to modify the requirement of a GRE (Graduate Record Exam) for admission to graduate school
  • The suggestion was made that each program set their own requirements for admission (decide whether they want to continue the GRE or choose some other test for admission, such as Miller Analogies, etc.)
  • Some departments have found that the GRE can deter “mature” students from applying to graduate school
  • Carl suggested that each institution set their minimum standards and that departments could upgrade requirements if they choose
  • Mark said that if the Board of Regents approves the wording in May, the UGC will advise MSU’s Provost of what UGC chooses as minimum admission testing standards for MSU.

4.  Capital Campaign and Annual Giving for Graduate Education

  • Carl is working with the MSU Foundation on their Annual Giving campaign which is sent to all MSU employees
  • A 4th line will be added to the Giving form for “Graduate Studies”;  the money could be for an emergency fund for grad students who run out of money
  • If a MSU employee checked both “department” and “Grad Studies”, funding would be given to grad students in the college checked
  • Carl handed out a “Needs Assessment” in which the top 3 areas of greatest need were: (1) Graduate Fellowship Support (2) Graduate Education Enhancement (3) Program Development
  • John asked if there were any supplemental dollars available; Carl said no, but the Provost does have some funding for “Retention Scholarships” (if a student cannot return to MSU due to lack of money); the scholarships are need-based and up to $1,000, and handled through Financial Aid; a student is nominated by staff and must have a 2.5 GPA
  • Carl hopes that receiving an award would not be counted against any student loans.

 

5.  Final Draft of the Cross-listing and Co-convening Proposal

  • Rob Maher felt number 3 should be left out (UGC should not tell faculty how to teach)
  • Priscilla said number 1 in “Assessment Tools” seemed to be too much micro-managing
  • Ives saw this handout as suggestions, rather than requirements
  • Carl has concerns about future accreditation as one of the areas reviewed is an assessment of student learning (how does MSU prove it is assessing how well students are learning?)
  • Michelle stated that there has to be something quantifiable in order to be able to assess learning
  • David suggested that the handout be called “Guidelines” or “Recommendations”, rather than “Policy” ; Mark suggested that the preface to the handout refer to “use these guidelines…”
  • Rita suggested that “equivalent to or” in number 1 under “Standards” be removed
  • Michelle said that it must be clear to students and faculty HOW grads are to do 30% more; Rob Maher did not like the 30% reference
  • Mark pointed out that there will be more undergrads than grads in a class and questioned how faculty will teach also  to grads (i.e. a class of 37 undergrads and 4 grads)
  • Ives suggested that the policy end before “Standards” with the “Standards” section to be left to the UGC Curriculum Committee to review

 

  • Ives motioned, and Michelle seconded that ‘THE POLICY STATEMENT ON CROSS-LISTING AND CO-CONVENING, FINAL DRAFT 3-20-07’, UP TO SECTION ‘STANDARDS FOR CO-CONVENED COURSES’ PLUS  NUMBER 2 UNDER ‘SYLLABUS’ BE ACCEPTED;  vote was unanimous.
  • Michelle motioned and Priscilla seconded that IN THE ABOVE ACCEPTED POLICY, ALL ‘SHOULDS’ WILL BE CHANGED TO ‘MUSTS’;  vote was unanimous.

 

  • Carl will take the Policy to the Provost and then notify MSU Deans and Chuck Nelson in the Registrar’s Office
  • Mark asked that all members meet with their grad coordinators to clarify this policy and the guidelines.

7.  Minimum Credit Requirement for Doctoral Degrees at MSU

  • Jen stated that DGE needs to revise the wording in the section on minimum credits for PhDs—to clarify that MSU does not require only 30 post bachelor’s credits for a PhD degree
  • Michelle stated that this could be a significant financial issue for some students
  • Ives asked how many students would be affected; Jen replied not many, and it involves mainly departments with students going direct from bachelors degrees to PhD
  • Carl stated that most universities require 60 credits or more for PhDs
  • John said the intention of the clarification is to put MSU on par with other universities offering PhDs
  • David stated that he has 3 international students without MS degrees seeking PhDs; they would have to take heavier workloads or add an additional year; UGC will consider international students on a case-by-case basis
  • Carl stated that for all policies, there can always be exceptions; policies set basic standards
  • Ives mentioned that the change would not affect most grad students as they already take close to 60 credits
  • Priscilla suggested that “a higher minimum number of credits ” be changed to “a different number”

 

  • Priscilla motioned and Michelle seconded TO ACCEPT THE REVISED WORDING IN THE MINIMUM CREDIT REQUIREMENT FOR PHD DEGREE SEEKING STUDENTS POLICY TO READ: ALL STUDENTS EARNING A DOCTORAL DEGREE FROM MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY MUST COMPLETE A MINIMUM OF 60 CREDIT HOURS POST-BACCULUREATE, 18 OF WHICH MUST BE DISSERTATION CREDITS.  A MAXIMUM OF 30 CREDITS FROM A PREVIOUSLY-EARNED MASTER’S DEGREE (FROM MSU OR ANOTHER ACCREDITED UNIVERSITY) MAY BE APPLIED TOWARD THE 60 CREDIT MINIMUM REQUIRED FOR THE DOCTORAL DEGREE.

IN SOME DEPARTMENTS, A DIFFERENT NUMBER OF CREDITS IS REQUIRED. IN OTHERS, IN ADDITION TO DISSERTATION/RESEARCH CREDITS, THE SATISFACTORY COMPLETION OF CERTAIN COURSES IS STIPULATED.  THE STUDENT MUST CHECK SPECIFIC DEPARTMENTAL REQUIREMENTS.                                                
Vote was unanimous.

6.  MA in Art History Draft Responses

  • Carl handed out a list of questions for the Art Department and asked for comments
  • The Art Department will respond in writing and will attend the April UGC meeting
  • Priscilla said that her 3 main areas of concern were available resources, funding, and demand
  • For item number 9, David would like more specifics on what the grad program would involve (potential career opportunities)
  • Carl will re-write the questions and give them to the Art Department.

 

8.  Can Committee Chair be Non-tenure?

  • Jen reviewed regional universities and found that 8 out of 12 required the Chair of graduate committees to be tenure track
  • MSU allows for a co-Chair to be tenure track if a Chair is not tenure track
  • Rita stated that Nursing was requesting permission to use non-tenure track faculty as a Chair for committees of students who are completing professional projects; clinical courses are encouraging more professional projects (rather than theses) which are more career-oriented
  • Carl pointed out 3 possibilities: (1) change the current DGE policy to allow non-tenure track to be Chair (2) allow specific programs to have non-tenure track Chair (3) keep the existing policy, not allowing non-tenure track to be a Chair
  • Jen stated that the majority of committee membership must be MSU faculty and that if co-Chairs are chosen, one must be MSU faculty (the other could come from government, etc)
  • Priscilla stated that it would not be desirable to have short term adjuncts as Chair, but questioned whether there could be a “long term adjunct” category appropriate to be a Chair
  • Mark asked Rita if non-tenure track faculty in Nursing act as co-Chairs; Rita was not aware of the co-Chair possibility
  • Ives said research faculty would like to be Chairs but they can be only co-Chairs as they are not tenure track
  • David stated that many resources go to tenure track faculty, not to research faculty
  • Bob Rydell stated that review of research faculty is very different from review of tenure track faculty
  • Michelle pointed out that research faculty bring in grant funding, but cannot be Chair
  • Rob Maher mentioned the potential problems of “out sourcing” grad committees and the importance of keeping the committees connected to MSU; the Chair is for the integrity of the whole department
  • Priscilla suggested a possible change in wording so that a tenure track member must be on the committee, but not necessarily as Chair or co-Chair
  • Ives stated that a co-Chair is usually in name only, as the Chair is the one in actual charge
  • TO BE CONTINUED -- at April meeting.

 

Items 9, 10, 11, and 12 on Agenda – to be covered during April meeting.

 

Meeting ended at 10:03 a.m.

Respectfully submitted
MaryKay West
DGE