Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes
February 24, 2004

Graduate Council Members:

Ken Bowers, College of Letters & Science; Janice Bowman, College of Agriculture; Katie Daughenbaugh, Graduate Students; Marc Giullian, College of Business; Richard Helzer, College of Arts & Architecture; Bruce McLeod, Graduate Dean, Chair; Gretchen McNeely, College of Nursing; Craig Stewart, College of Education, Health & Human Development; Rob Maher, College of Engineering; Warren Jones, Faculty Council, Ex-officio

Present: Chair Bruce McLeod, Ken Bowers, Janice Bowman, Katie Daughenbaugh, Richard Helzer, Wade Hill (for Gretchen McNeely), Warren Jones (Faculty Council), Robert Maher, Jenny Miller, Mary Kay West.

Meeting commenced at 10:00 a.m. in the President’s Conference Room, Montana Hall.


     1.        Discussion items:

a.      December minutes approved

    On the Graduate Council web board by a vote of 6 “yes” and 2

    not voting;   


b.      A majority of Council members approved the $30 ‘Application for Graduation’ fee each time the application is submitted to the College of Graduate Studies

McLeod asked members if they needed any additional information or clarifications on the proposal.  Bowman motioned and Helzer seconded to accept the new $30 fee worded as follows:

An “Application for Advanced Degree” and a $30 non-refundable graduation fee must be submitted each time the “Application for Advanced Degree” is submitted to the College of Graduate Studies, effective August 30, 2004 (the first day of Fall semester 2004).       Vote was unanimous.


c.      Composition of master’s committees proposal passed by a majority

Committees for Master’s degrees are becoming more inter-departmental.  Responsibility for the makeup of the committee needs to be given back to the department.  The proposal is for the College of Graduate Studies to review ONLY the committee chair; the remaining committee members and any changes of the committee members (other than the chair) are to be the department’s responsibilities.

Bowman motioned and Helzer seconded and the vote was unanimous on the following new policy:

Effective August 30, 2004, only the Committee Chair (of a Master’s Committee) must be

1)    tenured or tenure track

2)    from the home department

3)    able to meet CGS requirements for chairing a Master’s student’s committee.

The CGS will not review remaining members of the committee and will leave approval of these members to the approval of the department head.  Revisions to the committee other than the chair do not need to be formally submitted to the CGS.


d. Transfer credit policy passed by a majority

A maximum of one-third of the content course work credits required for the Master’s or Doctoral Degree at Montana State University may be transferred from any combination of the following academic statuses:  graduate degree status at another university, previous graduate degree status at Montana State University, Montana State University undergraduate reservedcredits. Non-degree graduate credits may used toward the one-third maximum but are limited to six to nine non-degreecredits depending on admissibility at the time the non-degree courses were taken.

Content course work credits do not include thesis or dissertation credits.  Departments may allow fewer credits to be transferred (e.g. departments may require more Montana State University credits to be taken to earn the advanced degree).

                 Maher motioned and Bowman seconded that:   

            The vote was unanimous. 

e.  Letters of recommendation policy passed by Graduate Council but on hold due to legal concerns.

McLeod reported that approximately one half of graduate schools in the U>S> are destroying letters of recommendation once the decision to admit or not admit a student is made.  The letters were written for that purpose only and have no further use.  Leslie Taylor (MSU Legal Counsel) wants to look into this further as she feels that all support papers for any decision need to be kept.  McLeod will consult with Taylor further.


2.        Agenda items

a. Three credit versus one credit final semester of program

McLeod referred members to the handout “Advantages of continuing three credit registration the final semester of the graduate career”.  A student who is using campus facilities must pay to cover the costs.  Miller explained the current “One Credit Extension Policy” which is used by about 30 students each semester.  The extension gives the student a little extra time (approximately one month—from the thesis/dissertation deadline date to the first day of classes the following semester) to finalize the necessary paper.  The student does not have to remain on campus during this time and registers for only one credit.

McLeod pointed out that there are two issues involved in the proposal:

1)     3 credits versus 1 credit

2)     Registrar versus Extended Studies courses (Extended Studies are less expensive, add flexibility, and the student does not have to be on campus to take them)

Bowman suggested allowing registration for 3 credits the last semester and then 1 credit for every semester after.  Miller stated that some students continue indefinitely even at 3 credits per semester and 1 credit would not be sufficient to cover related student costs.

Maher brought up the point that sometimes faculty feels pressured to let poor quality thesis or dissertations go through because students have to pay for 3 credits after their course work is completed.

McLeod suggested that members continue this discussion on the Web Board.


c. Faculty Council and the review of new degree programs and in the review of new

   graduate level courses.

   At present there is no review of new program proposals by the MSU Faculty     Council.  Warren Jones, President of the MSU Faculty Council presented that Council’s request to be allowed to review new MSU program proposals (undergrad and graduate).  The proposal is that a subcommittee of the Faculty Council, called the Academic Affairs Committee, be allowed to do independent reviews of all new proposed programs and then submit their findings to the Graduate Council before the program is forwarded to the Provost.  Jones suggested that it be required for the Provost to obtain input from the Academic Affairs Committee.

Jones will write up proposed Faculty Council procedures for review and McLeod will post them on the Web Board.


The meeting adjourned at 11:00 a.m.