Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes
December 14, 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, Gretchen McNeely, Craig Stewart,  Miguel Romero (alternate student representative), Rebecca Ward, Maggie Gudatis (College of Graduate Studies)

Graduate Council Items:

Item 1:Continued 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 by asking about the policies for each department and if a limit should be set on the number of credits a student can use to apply to an advanced degree.  Bowers explained that the math department's comprehensive exams required 18 credits of course work just to prepare for the test.  However, the math department has not established any credit requirements for obtaining the degree because students could have zero to nine credits transferring into the program and still pass the comprehensive exam with other qualifications.  Cairns noted that the engineering department allows a student that graduates from a different location with an MS to apply 35 of those credits to a PhD program.  Cairns added that engineering department also requires a GRE score of 1700 to get into a program.  

Bowman changed the direction of the discussion by saying that the issue of going from an MS to a PhD was less critical than going from an MS to an MS or trying to complete two masters degrees.  Council members brought up the fact that students had to be accepted into the degree program before any potential credits could be applied or count towards a program that differed from the one they were currently in.  

Cairns moved to apply the policy for non-degree seeking students to matriculated students.  This would allow matriculated students, accepted to a program, to apply up to 9 applicable credits from one degree to another.  

Due to time constraints, the decision was tabled until the next meeting.    

Item 2: Discussion and direction on graduate students who take 1xx and 2xx level courses and fail, especially during the final semester. They are placed on probation but want to graduate.

Dean McLeod opened the discussion by asking for opinions on how to handle students in this situation.  Miguel Romero said that he would expect his peers in graduate school to be responsible adults.  Bowman suggested that students use the petition for late withdrawal.  Ward asked for the council's opinion on students that requested a transcript modification several  years later.  Several council members were of the opinion that the student should be responsible for dropping the course within the specified time unless there were extenuating circumstances.  The campus desire to be student friendly was mentioned.  Romero questioned whether society at large or students on campus were the real customers.  The council seemed to reach a consensus that retro withdrawals were not acceptable.  

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

McLeod asked the council to make sure they were familiar with the Continuous Enrollment policy because the policy is being misunderstood by departments.

Item 4:Discussion with department heads and faculty about the formulation of a formal Graduate Faculty at MSU.

The discussion began with Dean McLeod requesting input from the council on the idea of a establishing a formal Graduate Faculty that would be reviewed every five years to determine if the criteria for being graduate faculty was still being met.  Bowman thought it would be divisive and exclusionary because qualified professional practice people would be left out.  Giullian thought any additional costs should be considered.  McLeod agreed and added that CGS would have to dedicate additional efforts.  McNeely pointed out that hardly any tenured track faculty teach nursing courses.  Romero pointed out that in the arts it would be more difficult to set criteria.  Stewart thought the idea was overdue and that it would help bring work load issues to the forefront. 

McLeod explained that FTE has not been an effective criteria of measurement on the graduate level and perhaps such a formulation would raise the recognition of graduate faculty around campus.  Cairns agreed with work load issues but, he wasn't  sure how to get department heads involved for implementation.  Stewart mentioned that summer courses might be able to be taught with 4 to 5 graduate students instead of 8 to 10 students.  McLeod agreed to put something together for the next council meeting. 

Item 5:Discussion of definition and use of the comprehensive examination.

McLeod told the council about a meeting he attended at the Council of Graduate Schools called "Alternate Means to Replace the Comprehensive Exam at the Master's Level."  He explained that many schools have allowed faculty to coerce them into having a masters degree without a comprehensive exam or no final paper.  McLeod wanted the council to know that he was not in favor of such a move. 

Cairns questioned whether distance learning students at Stanford or other schools had to take a comprehensive exam. McLeod said our school would have such programs available, but the quality of the programs should be kept in tact.  Some individuals at the Council of Graduate Schools discussed professional certifications in lieu of comprehensive exams and state board exams.  Ward informed the council accrediting agencies were not in favor of state board exams. 

* The next Graduate Council meeting is scheduled for 11:00 a.m., January 18thinthe President's Conference Room(MT Hall 103).