Graduate Council Meeting
February 29, 2000
The meeting convened at 12:10. Members present: Janice Bowman, Ken Bowers, Dan Hertz, Clark Llewellyn, Gretchen McNeely, John Sears, Craig Stewart, Bruce McLeod, Rebecca Ward. Guests: Ian Godwin, Graduate Studies.
Dr. McLeod reminded Council members to think in terms of being representatives of their college rather than focus on concerns on the departmental level.
Item 1: Open graduate student employment policy.
Dr. McLeod stated current policy: a student who comes to MSU for academic purposes (not employment first) is restricted to twenty hours per week of employment. An employee who subsequently begins a graduate program is not under the same restrictions and may continue working unrestricted hours while pursuing a degree. Dr. McLeod recommended that the Council allow each student to make the decision whether s/he should work longer hours or not. Council members agreed with the recommendation and that an "open policy" was acceptable. One concern raised was that students would ask for extensions through the Academic Appeals Board more frequently. The Council felt there should be minimal leniencies for students who made unwise decisions about their workload and that this should not be used as an excuse for academic extensions. The open policy applies to non-assistantship students only.
Decision: The Council agreed to adopt an open employment policy as stated above for all non-assistantship graduate students.
Item 2: Minimum number of committee members for doctoral programs.
Dr. McLeod asked for a review of the five member policy for a doctoral committee and suggested that perhaps three (plus the graduate representative) would be enough. Some members thought that three may not suffice to insure quality, but also expressed concern that a few departments are too small--consequently everyone in that department must sit on each committee. Additionally, Dr. Sears felt that a committee must have one person representing the supporting area. With that in mind, a total of four members plus the graduate representative may cover all areas necessary for an adequate committee. Dr. Stewart suggested that there be a minimum recommendation allowing for flexibility and choice within each department.
Decision: Motion by Dr. Sears to give departments the choice of either four committee members plus the graduate representative, or five committee members plus the graduate representative, seconded by Dr. McNeely, and approved by the Council.
Item 3: Student representative on Graduate Council.
Dr. McLeod strongly recommended the addition of a student representative and asked how the Council should go about selecting someone. After some discussion about how many representatives there should be (one per college or just one overall?) and whether or not they should be voting members, Dr. McLeod asked that everyone discuss this with their college and offer recommendations to Dr. McLeod at a later time.
Item 4: GSA graduate student employment designation.
Dr. McLeod suggested requiring summer graduate assistants to register if they are going to be on campus (presumably using campus facilities). He noted that Dean's Council is considering doing away with the GSA designation, in part because under the current GSA policy the university is losing substantial tuition money by not requiring registration. Dr. McLeod suggested offering waivers to certain students (mostly TAs) and having research grants cover RA tuition.
A variety of concerns were discussed. Some members were unsure whether grants would even cover the tuition amounts as well as the consequences of student attendance. Another major concern involved availability of summer classes for those students. Dr. McLeod suggested that 590s and 690s would be the easiest way to fulfill the requirement. Dr. Stewart questioned the impact on faculty oversight of students. What happens if faculty are not around in the summer to oversee these students? Will faculty be compensated for the extra summer work or get credit for special classes/work on committees? The issue of continuous enrollment was discussed briefly as well, which would entail a minimum of 3 credits enrollment each semester a student is on campus.
Decision: table the issue and place it on priority status for the next meeting.
Item 5: "Off-ramps" definitions.
Dr. McLeod suggested that faculty are not doing an adequate advising job with graduate students overall and that students tend to drift through their program rather than move through with proper guidance. Dr. Hertz recommended that Council use the Math department's procedures as a model for graduate programs.
Item 6: Should two identical master's degrees be allowed from system schools?
Ms. Ward asked if the Council should allow students to apply for an identical degree already earned at another system school. Although concerns were raised about applicants potentially wanting to transfer too many credits from old programs, the Council agreed that students could pursue the same degrees again within the system.
Meeting adjourned at 1:07pm.