Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes
September 21, 2006

Present: Michele Hardy (Agriculture), Priscilla Wisner (Business), Mark Nelson (EHHD), Robert Maher (Engineering), Carl Fox (Graduate Education), Amy Thomas (Letters), Ken Bowers (Science), Rita Cheek (Nursing), Kimberly Keough (Student Rep), David Weaver (Faculty Council).

Meeting commenced at 2:05 p.m. in 114 Sherrick Hall.

GRADUATE COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS: (Numbers refer to item numbers on the Agenda)

I. Welcome and Introductions

Carl Fox, new Vice Provost for the Division of Graduate Education (DGE), acting as Chair of the Graduate Council, thanked all the members for coming, to help move graduate education forward on the MSU campus.

He handed out copies of the February 2005 College of Graduate Studies Review Task Force Report to the Provost, which includes recommendations (section 8.6 and 8.7) for changes in the Grad Council. These recommendations are to help make graduate education more visible on the MSU campus.

The chair of the Grad Council cannot do it alone—he/she will need input from all members. Changes will not come easily or quickly and will require more meetings and more member involvement. Carl will talk to the College Deans to ask that Graduate Council members be given more time to become involved in the activities.

II. Introduction of Graduate Division Staff

Carl introduced the staff members of the DGE—Mary Kay West, Jen Jencso, Maggie Dougherty, and Donna Negaard, who each gave a brief outline of their responsibilities. Donna also outlined the duties of Jenny Miller, Kristin Gill and Ginny Heimann who were unable to attend.

Carl also mentioned three others closely related to the DGE: (1) Carol Thoresen with MSSE (Masters in Science Education), (2) Stephanie Cunningham and John Peters with Molecular Biosciences, and (3) Jeff Hostetler of the Writing Center .

III. Strategy for AY 07

A. Review of Graduate Education Governance—Roles & Responsibilities

    • Need to define responsibilities of Grad Council
    • Need to describe what Grad Council will do—especially in regard to the Task Force Report
    • Need to decide who will be involved in Grad Council meetings—colleges only? colleges and all departments, through their graduate coordinators? both, at different times?

B. Comprehensive Review (Audit) of Procedures, Policies, and Programs

  • Need to review and assess why we do things the way we do (eg. written comp exam for all departments—could architecture eliminate it?)

C. Development of a Strategic Road Map for Graduate Education

  • A map to lead to increased and enhanced graduate education at MSU
  • Rita stated that she felt there was a need to increase GRADUATE presence at MSU
  • Carl suggested the possibility of students being admitted to MSU graduate school first—and then sending the application to a department

IV. Roles Responsibilities, and Organization of the University Graduate Council (UGC)

A. Role (College of Graduate School booklet)

  • Carl handed out 3 sheets entitled “The Role of the Graduate School in the University” – he will order copies of the entire booklet for all members
  • He views all Grad Council members as part of the DGE
  • Grad Council is to provide quality control for all graduate programs (equitable standards, consistency, etc.)
  • Grad Council is to develop policies and procedures relative to graduate students (eg. appeals)

B. Organization

i. UGC – Chair and Chair-elect

  • The Chair will not be head of the DGE, but a faculty member
  • The Chair would set meeting agendas and work closely with the DGE
  • The Chair-elect will replace the Chair at the end of the Chair’s term—for consistency of policy yet providing a different prospective

ii. Committees

  • Ken was on the Review Task Force; the suggestion for increased membership on the Grad Council was due to the difficulty of getting Grad Council information to all departments; the fact that a meeting of ALL department graduate coordinators (45) plus the Grad Council would probably not be productive was discussed by the Task Force
  • Carl suggested that the current Grad Council act as the interim Executive Committee during the monthly meetings; the meeting of all graduate coordinators could be once a semester, or more often (the role of this larger group would need to be decided)
  • Rita pointed out that MSU does not have a Graduate Faculty; Ken mentioned that this had been brought up in the past, but was not pursued.
  • The 6 areas on the Agenda need participation from Grad Council members; Carl needs volunteers for each committee

V. Current Issues for Consideration

A. PhD credit minimum

  • 30 credits for a PhD at MSU is too low
  • University of Montana has a minimum of 60 credits

B. Graduate Student Application Review Process

  • The current process is students applying directly to the department; then the department notifies the DGE of decision of acceptance
  • This results in a long delay in notifying student of their acceptance status
  • Possible revision: (1) application to go to the DGE first, and then to department; (2) create a computer program that allows the student, the DGE, and departments to track the status of applications
  • Additional discussions will take place in future meetings

C. Development Strategy

D. New Programs – Ecology and Environmental Science PhD

-- Clinical Nurse Leader MN

(C and D to be discussed at later meeting)

VI. Next and Future Meetings

  • Carl is a firm believer in the necessity of meeting on a regular basis (every month)
  • If a Grad Council member is unable to attend, substitutes are encouraged to attend to keep the flow of information going
  • One hour is not enough time to thoroughly discuss items; all future meetings will be two hours in length.


Meeting adjourned.

Graduate Council Meeting - Minutes September 21, 2006