Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes
October 12, 2000

November 9, 2000

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)

Gretchen Iman, Graduate Students

Ralph Johnson, College of Arts & Architecture (Architecture)

Bruce McLeod, Graduate Dean

Gretchen McNeely, College of Nursing

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

Kent Swift, College of Business

Minutes from meeting 12 October 2000

Present:   Robert Boik (for L&S), Janice Bowman, Doug Cairns, Tim Dunnigan (for E/H&HD), Ian Godwin, Gretchen Iman, Bruce McLeod, Gretchen McNeely, Kent Swift, and Rebecca Ward.

Item 1: College of Nursing Proposal

A. Family Nurse Practicioner Credit Reduction

Gretchen McNeely (GM) opened with some general background regarding the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) degree. The degree requires over 60 credits and includes a significant number of clinical hours. Last Spring a proposal was developed to decrease the number of clinical credits required by three (3) credit hours. The College of Nursing faculty approved that proposal. The College of Nursing was now presenting it to the Graduate Council for their consideration. The degree would still require 57 credits plus ten credits of thesis. Students would be required to complete 720 clinical hours, which is still significantly above the 500 required by the State Nursing Board and the national accreditation authority.

Robert Boik (RB) asked if there were any downsides.

GM responded that students liked the clinical hours, but feel that it is a lot of credits to pay for.

Bruce McLeod (BM) asked if it helped the faculty load.

GM indicated that it did adjust the load a little.

BM asked if there were additional comments or questions from the council. As there were none, he called for someone to make a motion.

Doug Cairns (DC) motioned to approve the College of Nursing request.

Kent Swift (KS) seconded the motion and the council voted.

Decision: The Graduate Council supported the reduction of the number of clinical credit hours required for the receipt of the master's degree in nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner).

B. Development of a Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Program

Gretchen McNeely (GM) explained that there is a number of potential nursing students who may already have master's degrees who would like to transition to a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) focus, but are not necessarily interested in completing another master's degree. To accommodate these potential students, the College of nursing would like to formalize a post master's degree certification in FNP. This request was brought to the Gradate Council in part because the national certification board suggested that a formalized certification program would allow them to certify the program itself rather than reviewing and certifying each individual.

Kent Swift (KS) asked if this request would need Board of Regents approval.

Bruce McLeod (BM) did not know, and said that he would check on it.

KS added that he suspected that a similar request might be made by the College of Business in the near future. A tangential discussion regarding certification programs ensued.

Returning to the initial proposal, GM indicated that such a certification would allow nurses to expand their marketability by "retooling".

BM asked if there would be any additional faculty load generated by the request.

GM responded that spaces were typically available with cohorts or these certification students could be accommodated on a space available basis.

KS inquired how these students would be recognized as being certified by the college or MSU.

Ian Godwin (IG) offered that if a code for the certification were added to the Banner system, it could appear on the student's transcript. This would require all MUS schools to agree to have the code added. Alternately, an indication of certification could be added to a student's transcript via a comment box.

GM suggested that they (College of Nursing) could also provide a record of certification at their level without going through the Registrar's Office for inclusion on a transcript.

BM said that he would check with Joe Fedock (Vice Provost for Academic Affairs) regarding Regent's requirements and certification issues. BM then asked the board for their thoughts on the matter, and whether they thought there might be any difficulties with the proposal. There were no negative comments or concerns. BM indicated that he and/or the Graduate Council might require additional information and a more formal proposal addressing the potential student population, costs, etc. depending on what he learns from Dr. Fedock.

Item 2: Graduate School Admissions Standards

This discussion began with an explanation by Bruce McLeod (BM) of why this item was on the Graduate Council agenda. Essentially, the College of Graduate Studies (CGS) has recently been challenged by a few departments regarding admission standards. While the Graduate and Undergraduate Bulletin does clearly state the requirement for a 3.0 GPA to be considered for regular admission, the criteria for admission on a provisional basis are somewhat nebulous. BM requested that the Graduate Council establish more formal standards addressing applicants with a GPA below 3.0. There was further explanation of the process that the CGS has been following in regards to these applicants.

Kent Swift (KS) said that as a departmental graduate coordinator he too would like clarification so that he can better advise potential applicants.

BM did clarify that an applicants GPA for the last two years of their undergraduate (or graduate) record was considered in those cases where the cumulative GPA was marginal. He also asked where council members thought GRE score fell into the equation. There was a short conversation regarding the relevance of GRE scores.

Doug Cairns (DC) suggested that applicants with below a 3.0 GPA should be admitted provisionally (must take a minimum of six credits of graduate level course work and receive no grade below a 3.0). Applicants with less than a 2.75 GPA (and departments wanting to accept these applicants) would need to show a preponderance of evidence indicating their potential for success at the graduate level.

Tim Dunnigan (TD) stated that it would not be easy to define the admission possibilities for students with less than a 2.75 GPA.

DC indicated that requiring departments to provide significant evidence to justify their support of applicants with low GPA's might discourage faculty and department head support of marginal or less than qualified applicants.

BM indicated that currently the justification most often given for wanting to accept students who do not meet CGS qualifications is the "directive" that they develop their graduate programs (i.e. increase graduate enrollment).

Janice Bowman (JB) said that she considered the existing process to be reasonable and simply requiring formalization.

BM identified an existing discrepancy with the policy regarding whether a Non-degree graduate (NDG) student can apply NDG credits towards a degree program at MSU. Students who are initially denied admission to the CGS and enroll as NDG students may not apply those credits to a graduate program. Students who start as NDG students may apply up to nine credits of NDG course work to a graduate program once they are accepted into a degree seeking program provided their committee approves those credits.

Robert Boik (RB) asked if MSU accepts NDG credits from other institutions.

Ian Godwin (IG) defined the current policy; that a student may apply NDG credits from another college or university to their MSU graduate program if they were an acceptable degree-seeking student at MSU at the time they were taking NDG credits at the other institution.

JB said that the GRE requirement was more troublesome than the GPA requirement.

BM identified the GRE concerns as a separate issue for the time being and asked if the 3.0 GPA is a reasonable standard. There was unanimous agreement that it is.

JB stated that there are admission standards for undergraduates, why should it be different for graduate students.

KS said that since students must maintain a 3.0 to stay in graduate school, it was not unreasonable to require that they have a 3.0 in their undergraduate work to be accepted.

BM said that he hoped the Graduate Council could approve some definitive graduate school admission standards to be passed on to the Recruitment and Retention Task Force. Such a document will be generated from the CGS and distributed to the council members prior to the next meeting. BM also reminded council members that provisional admission was considered the first of two possible strikes before a student was suspended.


* The next Graduate Council meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., November 9 in the Eddie Conference Room (216 Traphagen Hall).