Minutes of University Graduate Council
December 13, 2007

Present:  Priscilla Wisner (BUS), Mark Nelson (EHHD), Robert Maher (ENGR), Carl Fox (DGE), Robert Rydell (L&S-Letters), Yves Idzerda (L&S-Science), Rita Cheek (NURS), Seth Humphries (STUDENT), Warren Jones (FC).
          Also attending were MaryKay West (DGE), Jen Jencso (DGE), Donna Negaard (DGE), and Kaylee Ranck.

Meeting commenced at 1:10 p.m. in 114 Sherrick.

Approval of Minutes of November 15, 2007

  •  Correction: (l) under “PhD Credits”—change from annual review to “review every seven years”
  • Correction:  (a) under “Web Survey and Catalog Update”—change to “with view of prospective students”


Motion:  Priscilla motioned and Rob Maher seconded to approve minutes as amended.  Approved by unanimous vote.

Open Campus Forum

  • No one came forward.


DGE Staff Reports

  • Graduate Student Open Forum – Carl Fox


  • On November 28, DGE held an Open Forum for all grad students, in Leigh Lounge; 12 students attended
  • The number one topics of discussion was formatting of theses and dissertations—especially the length of time required to reformat from a journal submission
  • Other topics brought up were a possible grad student organization, social gatherings for grads, an interdisciplinary campus journal which the English department is starting, seminars with more professional development subjects
  • DGE received no answer as to the best way to communicate with grads (not many use “My Portal”).
  • GTA Study – Jen Jencso


  • Jen is investigating how GTAs are trained and if GTAs perceive their training as effective
  • The study involved 13 students, in two focus groups 
  • Students felt their training was mediocre—they would like more professional teaching development, especially more hands-on training
  • Students need their training to be for credit (2?) – come for a week of training before fall and spring semesters
  • Possibly award student a GTA Training Certificate to go on their transcript
  • During Spring 2008, Jen will hold focus groups for faculty.
  • MSU Catalog Update – Kaylee Ranck


  • Beginning in January, Kaylee will coordinate with the Registrar’s office
  • DGE is working on finalizing the Policies and Procedures.
  • Council of Graduate Schools Meeting – Carl Fox and Donna Negaard


  •  Carl and Donna attended the Council in Seattle last week
  • Graduate education is critical for national competitiveness
  • Montana has three Gates Millennium Scholars who receive full ride scholarships which supports the students all the way through their doctoral program
  • Donna attended workshops on diversity, co-convening, and benchmarking for masters.
  • DGE Annual Report – Carl Fox


  • Handed out copies of the Report – will be on DGE website
  • Will become an annual report of the status of MSU graduate education
  • Any comments or suggestions to Carl.


Graduate Assistant Tuition Waivers – Carl Fox

  • Carl would like to tie the tuition waivers to GTAs
  • Currently, there is no system for tracking tuition waivers or GTAs—need to develop an effective tracking system
  • Montana is the only state that does not offer full tuition waivers for full GTAs
  • If a TA position is discontinued, student often becomes a RA (lot of shifting with semesters)
  • Carl’s goal is to increase grad FTE
  • Carl will check other universities for their tuition waiver allocations and how they are established.


Challenge Courses – Donna Negaard

  • Current policy does not allow grads the ability to challenge courses
  • Questions were raised:  can non-degree grad challenge? Does student pay for credits challenged? How many credits does student take before able to challenge a course?  Can a student challenge a prerequisite?
  • Course challenge is seldom used – is there a need for this?  Members to discuss with their colleges what professors feel as the value of challenges.


Spring Semester UGC Meeting Time

  • Final decision was for 3rd Wednesday of the month, from 10:00 to noon
  • Upcoming meetings will be February 20, March 26 (March 19 is unavailable for intercampus communications), and April 16.


Comprehensive Exam Policy – Jen Jencso

  • Need to discuss in the future what constitutes a comp exam and when is the best time for it to be taken
  • Preliminary vs qualifying vs comprehensive exam
  • There are a variety of timelines and formats that are followed.


Meeting adjourned at 2:55 p.m.

Next UGC Meeting:  Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 10:00 – noon.
                            114 Sherrick

Respectfully submitted
MaryKay West