Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes
November 19, 2001

 

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

Allison Spain, Graduate Students (Art)

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

 

      Present: Chair Bruce McLeod, Ken Bowers, Janice Bowman, Doug Cairns, Marc Giullian, Richard Helzer, Gretchen McNeely, Craig Stewart,  Allison Spain (student representative), Rebecca Ward, Maggie Gudatis (College of Graduate Studies)

Graduate Council Items:

Item 1: Discussion on the use of credits from the first degree for students completing one degree (e.g., master's) and going on for a second master's or PhD.

* Completion of master's degree and going on into a doctoral degree.

* Completion of a doctoral then pursuit of a master's degree (E.g., Ph.D. in Ecology students who want to pick up the MS in Statistics).

* Completion of a master's followed by pursuit of a second master's.

Dean McLeod opened the discussion with two questions. 1. If a degree seeking student has x credits that apply to two degrees can they apply the credits to earn both degrees? 2. How many credits for an MS should be counted on the PhD?  Engineering has set a total number of credits to get the PhD. 

Bowman stated that courses should not be counted twice and that departments should make the decision on the number of credits that should be counted on the PhD. Giullian said the only way a person could get the additional degree would be to substitute some of the required courses or to allow students to exchange the credits.  Bowman said that it was an example of someone wanting to get something for nothing.  Giullian said allowing students to doubly count credits is economically rational.  

Helzer brought up the fact that some undergraduate programs allow you to count credits towards a second degree.  McLeod wanted to focus on the graduate level because 30 credits does not consist of many courses to doubly count.  McLeod told the Council that the same questions were posed to the Council of Graduate Schools with responses all over the map.  Helzer said that he didn't think some compromise on the efficiency for the students would be compromising to the value of the graduate program.  McLeod asked for a specific number of credits that could be overlapped between programs.  Helzer suggested 6 credits. Bowman suggested 0. Stewart said he wouldn't mind a minimal compromise. Cairns said that 9 credits would keep the number of credits a student can apply to a new program consistent with the current non-degree policy of allowing a student to use 9 earned credits keep any new policy consistent with the non-degree applicants.  

McLeod requested to move on to the second part of the question.  A discussion ensued about establishing a minimum number of credits for the PhD.  Cairns stated that Engineering requires 72 credits beyond a bachelors degree for students pursuing a PhD.  McLeod voiced a concern for students trying to graduate with lab work and a defense as their main source of educational activities because the student may not have any proof of their efforts if the professor in charge of their research does not feel that their efforts were sufficient enough to grant them a PhD.  Some concern arose in the council regarding the chance that a decision made in the council might be circumvented at some point.  McLeod and Ward agreed to write something to present to the council or to Dooley with appropriate wording that would protect the students and the integrity of programs but would not impact programs that had established breadth and a baseline of requirements. 

Item 2: Graduate students who take “fluff” (skiing/billiards etc.) and fail, especially during the final semester. They are placed on probation but want to graduate.

Giullian asked how frequently students were asking to drop these kind of courses.  Ward explained that she had encountered the situation three or four times over the past year.  Helzer and Stewart said the students should be held responsible.  Bowman questioned why students were taking extra-curricular courses, given the amount of academic responsibility students presumably had. Due to time constraints, the discussion was left for the next graduate council meeting. 

Item 3: Continuing discussion of “Continuous Enrollment” policy.

McLeod requested the council to read the Continuous Enrollment policy on the web.  

* The next Graduate Council meeting is scheduled for 11:00 a.m., December 14th in Wilson(Math) 2-244.