Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes
January 18, 2002


Graduate Council Members:


Ken Bowers, College of Letters & Science (Mathematics)

Janice Bowman, College of Agriculture (Animal & Range Sciences)

Doug Cairns, College of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering)

Marc Giullian, College of Business

Richard Helzer, College of Arts & Architecture (Art)

Bruce McLeod, Graduate Dean

Gretchen McNeely, College of Nursing

Alison Spain, Graduate Students (Art)

Craig Stewart, College of Education, Health & Human Development (HHD)


      Present: Chair Bruce McLeod, Ken Bowers, Janice Bowman, Doug Cairns, Gretchen McNeely, Paul Nix (Business), Alison Spain, Craig Stewart,  Rebecca Ward, Maggie Gudatis (College of Graduate Studies)

Graduate Council Items:

Item 1: Addition of an “N” grade in addition to “P” (pass) or “F” (fail) for all 590 (thesis) and 690 (dissertation) credits.

Dean McLeod suggested the use of an N grade instead of a P grade for 590 and 690 courses. An N grade would mean that the student was enrolled in the course and making progress. This new grade would eliminate the problems that arise when a student fails their defense and questions how they could have failed because they had received Ps on all of their 590 or 690 courses.  The new grade designation would also give faculty an option when failing a student is not a clear alternative and passing is not necessarily appropriate.  

The difference between I and N: I means incomplete. N means the student is making progress. 

The difference between P and N: P means that a student actually completed something.  The problem is that once a student takes a 590 or 690 course they haven't clearly completed their defense.  Giving x amount of Ps and failing someone at the end of their defense puts MSU in a precarious position.  The solution that other schools have implemented is giving an N grade to indicate that a student is making progress.  In their final semester the student will be given a P to indicate that they have passed or an F to indicate that they have failed.

Item 2: Complete discussion and vote regarding use of credits from one graduate degree to a second graduate degree. Earlier motion that was not voted on: “A master’s student may use a maximum of nine (9) credits from one master’s program to another.”

Stewart seconded the motion.  

The vote was unanimously in favor.

In regard to the number of credits in an MS program that are counted towards the PhD, several varying examples were given.  McNeely said that in a Nursing program  x credits from an MS can't count towards a PhD because the degrees are very separate in their requirements. Stewart said that 60 credits plus the MS were required in Education.  In Math, Chemistry, and Physics a qualified individual could earn a Bachelors and then a PhD. Helzer thought that the variations might indicate a need to leave the decision up to individual departments. McLeod thought some kind of standard should be established to address the requests from faculty to double count credits. Bowman asked if the current residency requirement fulfilled the standard. Due to time constraints, the subject was tabled for discussion at a later date.   

Item 3:  Vote on motion regarding acceptable reasons to drop failed fluff courses: Graduate Council members adopt the policy directing the CGS that “Graduate students enrolling in a course not required for the degree and subsequently failing the course, may be considered under the same policies provided for ‘Extraordinary Drops’.

Stewart motioned to accept the wording. 

Bowman seconded the motion. 

The vote was unanimously in favor. 

Item 4: Continuing discussion of “graduate faculty"

McLeod introduced his document for inspection. After reading the document, several questions arose.

Helzer asked how you qualify to be a member of graduate faculty. McLeod gave examples of two extremes. 1. Some campuses allow all tenure-track faculty to be grad faculty with no review.  2. Other campuses have established a formal nomination process where the department head gathers information on why the faculty member is eligible.  A set of by-laws are established to determine eligibility. A review is completed on all graduate faculty every 7 to 8 years to reestablish their eligibility. 

McLeod said establishing a graduate faculty would ensure that the people directing dissertations are qualified to do so. Bowman noted that some institutions require graduate faculty to supervise PhD students, but graduate faculty are not necessarily required at the Masters level. McLeod indicated that restrictions should not be too tight. Helzer added that the size of graduate faculty should not be too limited. 

McLeod said that having a recognized, graduate faculty could help broaden MSU's undergraduate mentality. Stewart noted that establishing a graduate body would help graduate issues in the following areas: college budget committee, making sense of workloads, faculty input with deans and department heads. McLeod added that graduate faculty had completely different responsibilities than undergrad faculty. The current method of taking x number of students and multiplying by current tuition rates is not an effective measurement of value at the graduate level. McLeod emphasized that being a graduate faculty member does not mean that one faculty member is better than another.  It simply means that the faculty members have differing responsibilities. 

* The next Graduate Council meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., February 18th in the President's Conference Room (MT Hall 103).