Minutes of University Graduate Council
February 20, 2008


Present: Michelle Hardy (AG), Rachael Ortega (A & A),  (BUS),  (EHHD), Robert Maher (ENGR), Carl Fox (DGE), Robert Rydell (L&S-Letters), Yves Idzerda (L&S-Science), Rita Cheek (NURS), Seth Humphries (STUDENT), David Weaver (FC).
          Also attending: Donna Negaard (DGE).

Meeting commenced a 10:00 a.m. in 114 Sherrick.  As Mark Nelson was unable to attend, Yves Idzerda acted as Chair of the meeting.


Approval of Minutes of January 16, 2008

  • Addition:  To “Graduate Assistant Tuition Waiver Plan” , add r) “Proposal dated January 8, 2008 is attached as a handout”. 


Minutes were approved.

Open Campus Forum

  • No one came forward.


UGC Committee Reports:

  • Policies and Procedures – Rob Maher


  • Committee met last fall to review policies to go into printed MSU catalog (graduate section)
  • Carl stated that the updated policies are now on-line; there is still more work to do
  • Several things came up for further review by the committee such as continuous enrollment, failing and retaking exams, comp exams.
  • Governance – Bob Rydell


  • Bob circulated the draft “Governance” from the May 14 UGC meeting and a brief outline of UGC Bylaws
  • The committee looked at governance documents from other universities—some were very lengthy, detailed and not considered useful
  • The committee then put together a simplified overview of functions and membership
  • Further discussion is necessary for role & representation by Faculty Senate
  • If the May 14 draft of Bylaws is acceptable to UGC, committee will move forward with details – send any comments to Bob, Rita, or Carl within 8 hours
  • The committee will remain a standing committee.
  • Curriculum – Carl Fox


  • Carl wants to know how involved in details should this committee be
  • Carl receives a lot of course paperwork: New course requests, change course number, changes in degree requirements, 580 requests, etc. which involve review for both interpretations and exceptions to policies
  • New program requests must continue to go through UGC
  • It was suggested that during the Committee Reports portion of each UGC meeting, Carl can present any issues that have arisen in regards to courses
  • UGC will use the Curriculum committee to discuss details, prior to full UGC meetings
  • Co-convening of courses is being used more often on campus.


DGE Staff Reports: Carl Fox  

  • T Shirt Design


  •  Dean Susan Agre-Kippenhan of Arts and Architecture (who was formerly in graphic design) assisted with choosing the winning design from 15 entries—the winner was a grad student in education
  • The T shirts will be available in various sizes and three colors
  • They will be used in national recruiting
  • T shirts will also be sold to help raise money for the graduate student enhancement fund.
  • Research Expo


    • T shirts will be available for sale at the Expo on April 15
    • A “Call for Abstracts” has gone out to students; deadline is March 7
    • The Undergraduate Scholars Program and DGE would like to see about 300 abstracts from both grads and undergrads
    • There will be two sessions and a VIP lunch
    • Posters will be 5 ft. wide and 3 ft. tall
      • Grad Info Night


  • Will be held on Thursday, February 28
  • In Wilson Hall:  DGE, Financial Aid, and Housing will make presentations; then each college will have their own presentations of their departments in separate rooms
  • Suggestions to broaden exposure: (1) have an ad/article in the local newspaper; (2) have a MSU press release.
  • Seminars


  • DGE is changing format and style as a result of student forum comments and survey
  • Numerous MSU PhD students are interested in academic careers—Provost Dave Dooley volunteered to be the speaker on Monday, Feb. 25; flyers were mailed to departments
  • There is interest in “effective ways to present your research”—will need to find someone to present it.

Tuition Waivers – Carl Fox

  • Update on Plan
  • Chris Fastnow, Planning and Analysis, took Carl’s plan and ran the numbers
  • Should be able to implement the plan within the current authority based on the state’s limitation of 2% of fall enrollment
  • There will be challenges with the implementation (eg. Architecture students are graduate students for only one year so they cannot become residents)
  • Exceptions and a transition time will need to be part of the plan.
  • When plan is accepted, DGE will have a number of informational meetings to explain proper use of waivers
  • Some departments give tuition waivers to students who are not GTAs or GRAs (departments do not use the Graduate Assistant Appointment Form through DGE)


  • Minimum stipend amount


  • Current policy minimum is $8.00 per hour – may not be widely known on campus
  • DGE did survey of minimum stipends of land grant universities in 15 western states and found the amounts to be quite variable
  • Would UGC be in favor of increasing MSU’s minimum stipend level to be more competitive nationally? This would involve a policy change that would need to go to the Provost
  • There is a need to find out what each department is currently paying as their minimum; in many departments, payment is based on pre-comp vs post-comp
  • There is also a need to factor in the continuity of stipends promised to students (avoid running out of funds, or reducing funds students depend on)
  • MSU does not have a contract for students to sign.


Tuition Distribution Model – Carl Fox

  • This model is being used to determine budgets for colleges
  • When calculate the student FTE, graduate courses are divided by 12 (undergrads by 15)
  • Jim Rimpau’s office will run same model using 9 credits per semester (MSU’s definition of a full time graduate student).


Challenge Courses – Donna Negaard

  • At a past UGC meeting, Donna asked for input on the challenge courses—has not    received any
  • Is there any interest in pursuing this?  Should it be eliminated from the policies?
  • UGC members were asked if they would check in their departments for feedback for the next UGC meeting.


Approval of 570s – Donna Negaard

  • Should 570 review remain with DGE or move to the responsibility to the college deans or graduate coordinators? (dean’s signature is currently not on 570); is the review appropriate for DGE to do?


  • Numerous time-consuming problems are encountered when reviewing many of the 570s--must clarify what is written with student and with instructor—some students have only a vague idea of what is being required of them—must be clarified before she will sign 570
  • 570s are similar to internships and professional papers which are reviewed by departments, not DGE
  • DGE does not have technical knowledge to decide if topic has significant merit, especially if requesting several credits; department knows the appropriate language, project involved, and instructor involved
  • DGE currently registers students in the 570s—would departments do that?
  • DGE review provides consistency of quality of 570s
  • Department heads/deans may not have time to review for details and follow up on clarifications
  • DGE to do a survey of deans and department heads for their input on reviewing 570s.


Comprehensive Exam – Carl Fox

  • DGE is gathering information from all departments on how they define a comp exam
  • Current policy is inconsistent and unclear
  • Will redraft policy based on findings from departments.


UGC Spring Elections – Carl Fox

  • Those whose terms end in May 2009 will be appointed for that one year
  • Replacements for those whose terms end in May 2008 will have three year terms
  • Replacements for Mark and John will have two year terms
  • Graduate students will continue to rotate on one year terms
  • Goal is to have 2 or 3 new (or re-elected) members each year
  • There is a need for a Chair elect
  • The election process will start in March.


March Meeting

          The meeting will be held March 19, at 10:00, with the location to be announced.


Respectfully submitted
MaryKay West