Minutes of University Graduate Council
January 18, 2007

PRESENT:  Mike Everts (A & A), Priscilla Wisner (BUS), Chair Mark Nelson (EHHD), Carl Fox (DGE), Robert Rydell (L & S – Letters). Yves Idzerda (L & S – Science), Rita Cheek (NURS), Seth Humphries (STUDENT), Ed Dea (STUDENT), Jenny Miller (DGE), Jen Jencso (DGE), MaryKay West (DGE).

Meeting commenced at 8:05 a.m. in 103 Sherrick.

Non Agenda item – Emergency Grad Representative for PhD Defense

  • Jen reported that sometimes the grad rep (outside the student’s college) is not available at the last minute before the scheduled defense
  • Jen suggested that members of the UGC could serve as emergency grad reps
  • Members agreed
  • If no member of the UGC could fill in at the last minute, grad coordinators would be contacted next
  • Jenny asked that all UGC members let their faculty know of their appreciation for being grad reps—the time involved is only a couple of hours, once a year.


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

1.  Updated graduate fee proposal for Board of Regents

  • Carl stated that DGE has a deficit, with no operating money – so he is looking for ways to better fund the office
  • See attached list of proposed fees:
  • Non-degree Application Fee:  the entire $30 currently goes into the University General Fund--none comes back to DGE (for the $50 degree application fee, $20 comes back to DGE, which then pays out $12.50 for each electronic application)

Carl will work with the University to try to get part of the $30 returned to DGE

  • Paper based Application Fee:  70% of graduate applications are electronic through College Net; College Net does not “talk” to Banner so data entry for every application is required; to encourage use of electronic applications, charge an addition fee for paper applications
  • Student Training and Development Fee:  formerly “Orientation fee”; is a one time charge; covers more than orientation (GTA Orientation, Info Fair and Welcome Dinner, weekly seminars—to be made available for distant students)
  • Graduate and Degree Audit Fee:  formerly “Graduation fee”; has been $30 for many years; the fee is for the actual graduation ceremony in May (none goes to DGE); increase to $50 to cover two audits by DGE (one early in the semester to check for any deficiencies and a final audit after grades are posted)
  • Thesis and Dissertation Fee:  DGE and the Writing Center provide one on one assistance to students with their thesis and dissertation writing and formatting (formatting review is a DGE requirement)
  • Carl is trying to match fees to actual costs of the services
  • Rydell asked how much revenue these increases would generate; he supports the idea of negotiating with the Provost for a return of part of the $30 application fees
  • Priscilla suggested that DGE examine the services it provides and how well they are used by the students (attendance numbers, etc)
  • Jenny stated that DGE has changed from a one day Orientation to an Info Fair and Welcome Dinner plus weekly seminars—in an attempt to involve more students
  • Carl will take these fee proposals to Senior Vice Provost Joe Fedock next week, for a Board of Regents meeting in early March.

2.  Priscilla Wisner—Conversation about Commencement Activities at Masters Level

  • MSU is suggesting an university-wide commencement for all MS and PhD students
  • Priscilla stated that the College of Business has a separate commencement ceremony and wondered how many departments have separate graduation ceremonies for their grad students
  • The MSU committee will meet in early February.


3.  Chemical Engineering Proposal “Awarding a Non-Thesis (Plan B) Masters Degree to PhD Candidates”

  • No one from Chemical Engineering was in attendance
  • Jenny gave out a handout of the proposal
  • Most chemical engineering students come to MSU as PhD students
  • The proposal is to bypass the MS exam (a MS degree would be automatically given when the student has met certain requirements)
  • Priscilla stated that this is common at the University of Tennessee
  • Mark questioned the intent – the student is coming in as a PhD candidate (cannot be both MS and PhD student)
  • Jenny asked members to read the proposal for discussion at the February meeting.


4.  Clarification on second exam failure at PhD level

  • Jenny handed out the current DGE policy
  • There is a need for clarification of “dismissal from the academic program”
  • Chemistry wants to know (1) can a failed student apply for a MS?  (2) can a failed student continue with the department in which the PhD exam was failed?
  • Priscilla stated that “same degree program” also needs clarification: (1) is the student dismissed from the chemistry department completely?  OR  (2) is the student dismissed from the chemistry PhD degree but not the chemistry MS degree?
  • Jenny mentioned that there have also been failed comp exams in the math department
  • Mark suggested that, after a student had a second failure, he could apply for a MS in the same department—it would be up to the department whether the application would be accepted
  • Priscilla questioned whether course work would be required to be re-taken or only the comp exam re-taken
  • Mark felt it would be up to the department’s application committee to decide what would be required for a re-applied degree
  • Mark motioned that the above wording be accepted; Priscilla seconded; the vote was unanimous.

5.  Co-convening undergrad and graduate courses
6.  Cross-listing graduate courses

  • Carl proposed that the two topics be combined
  • Carl handed out sheets from Northern Arizona University on these two topics—to be considered at the February meeting
  • Carl stated that it represents an efficient use of faculty
  • Yves mentioned that cross-listing can create problems with which department receives the credit for the course (especially when interdisciplinary courses are involved)
  • Cross listing involves questions on MSU budgeting
  • Priscilla asked if the policy of co-convening could be ready for Fall 2007;  Carl suggested starting to prepare a syllabus (to have ready to go ahead)

7.  Should research / non-tenure faculty or staff be allowed to chair graduate committees?

  • The current DGE policy is that chairs for MS and PhD committees must be tenure track or tenured, from the student’s home department
  • Could the policy be revised to allow adjunct, research, or temporarily appointed faculty to be chair?  (at present, these three can only be a Co-chair)
  • Would faculty outside the home department be allowed to chair?
  • Jen researched other universities and reported that non-tenure track were not allowed to be chairs
  • Yves asked if this could possibly allow a committee to be composed of no tenure track faculty members
  • Rita pointed out that a lack of tenure track faculty prevents departments from offering more degrees
  • Carl noted that in the future, there will be more students using long distance communication
  • Priscilla said the College of Business is moving away from tenure track and toward “academically qualified” faculty
  • Yves stated that there is a problem of perception by research faculty; they are not tenure track and therefore cannot chair committees which makes them feel less valued on campus
  • Mark stated that most research faculty are “soft money dependent” and they are able to leave for other institutions, which leaves a student without a chair
  • Jenny will send (1) current DGE policy, (2) nursing proposal, (3) titles committee, (4) results of Jen’s university search  to members for the February meeting
  • Carl will have a draft policy statement for the February meeting.


8.  Architecture proposal: Can Plan B students’ committee consist of only one member?

  • Architecture has limited faculty, and at present, Plan B requires three faculty to review
  • Jen researched universities and reported that all schools required three for review
  • Mike said that for Plan B Studio 558, three faculty review the final project and the professor of the studio solely grants the final grade (based on the recommendation of the two other members)
  • Priscilla stated that in the College of Business, the committee reviews the Program, is present at the comp exam, and signs the student off as qualified
  • Seth was concerned that having a committee of only one would give the person too much control;  there would also be no one to balance out the one member’s recommendations
  • Jenny stated that if a student has problems, he/she needs to be able to discuss with the whole committee
  • Some departments chose the chair and allow the student to pick the rest of their committee; other departments allow students to chose all members of their committee
  • FINAL CONSENSUS OF UNIVERSITY GRADUATE COUNCIL:  Keep the current policy and work out specific details with Architecture.


Non Agenda Item:  Acceptance of Minutes for November 30, 2007

  • Mark stated that the Minutes of November 30 needed to be accepted
  • Yves motioned that the Minutes be accepted; Priscilla seconded; vote was unanimous.


Non Agenda Item:  Move Meeting Dates

  • The March 15 meeting falls during Spring  Break
  • The May 17 meeting is after faculty contracts end.
  • MaryKay will notify members of the revised dates.


Meeting adjourned at 9:53 a.m.

MaryKay West
Division of Graduate Education