Minutes of University Graduate Council
March 19, 2008


Present: _____ (AG), _____(A & A), Marc Giullian (BUS), Mark Nelson (EHHD), Robert Maher (ENGR), Carl Fox (DGE), Michael Reidy (L&S-Letters), Yves Idzerda (L&S-Science), Rita Cheek (NURS), Seth Humphries (STUDENT), David Weaver (FC).
          Also attending were MaryKay West (DGE), Jen Jencso (DGE), Donna Negaard (DGE), Geraldine Govaerts (Int’l Prog).

Meeting commenced at 10:08 a.m. in 325 Leon Johnson.  Introductions were made around the table.

Approval of Minutes of February 20, 2008

After spelling Yves’ name correctly, minutes were approved by unanimous vote.

Open campus Forum

  • Michael Reidy of MSU History Department

a)  Michael stated that PhD dissertation students in the humanities, different from the sciences, need time off to write in the final year
b)  Other universities have dissertation fellowships; PhDs in history at MSU are funded through GTAs and soft money
 c)   History needs a source of funding so the student will not have to teach while writing
d)  History would have a highly competitive process to nominate one student for a 9  month fellowship
e)  History will seek UGC’s support of their future proposal
f)  Carl is highly supportive of the idea; he suggested that History establish written criteria for the proposal, including how to choose the best qualified candidate.

UGC Committee Reports:

  • Policies and Procedures – Rob Maher


  •  Draft of the graduate section of the MSU Catalog is being edited
  •  Rob will send to Carl a list of concerns discovered while reviewing policies.
  • Governance – Rita Cheek


  • Committee will work on any issues UGC members raise, after reviewing draft of Bylaws
  • Under item 2 of “Purpose”, evaluations will be of issues brought forth by colleges (not brought forth by UGC, at this time)
  • UGC is parallel with MSU Faculty Senate—Senate can review UGC bylaws and  meeting discussions
  •  Carl’s preference for a name is “University Graduate Council”
  •  UGC now has two student representatives with one year terms
  •  To amend bylaws, 30 days notice will be required
  •  Three committees will be “standing”
  •  For a quorum, will require at least 50% of members present
  • Rita will make changes and send them to members for next UGC meeting.
  • Curriculum – Carl Fox


  • The committee has no members at this time – Carl would like to meet with two UGC members to discuss what the committee should do
  •  Mark and Yves volunteered.


Department of Education – C & I Proposal – Jayne Downey

  • In Fall 2007, Jayne took over the graduate programs in C & I
  • It was decided to re-tool the existing program with significant changes to course content to make it more appealing to students and more focused on Montana teachers’ needs
  • The proposal is for one program to be offered all online; online courses will consist of in-depth reading and analysis, guided discussion, group projects, and assignments—focused on assessing student learning
  • The name of the degree will change to “Masters of Education with a Major in Curriculum and Instruction” with three options
  • One option is entitled “Professional Educator” and it is scheduled to start this summer;  cohorts (maximum of 20 – 25 students) of practicing teachers will be enrolled
  •  A requirement of the application will be a letter of recommendation from the principal or supervisor stating that they want the teacher to pursue the Masters degree
  • Other universities offer all online Masters in Education
  • There will possibly be an appeal to change the number of committee members from three to two
  • Instead of requiring the GRE Exam, Education will propose three essays;  almost no Masters in Education programs require GRE exams
  • Education will propose to create a module for teaching cultural diversity
  • New Montana teachers are not staying, due to lack of mentoring and support; the MEd program will offer a course in mentoring

     m)   Sustainability – estimates are that it takes three times the work to get an online course up and running (as compared to face to face courses)
      n)   Jayne is ready to advertise on education’s web site.

Discussion and comments by UGC members:

  • UGC is to advise Carl if UGC supports the Professional Education option
  • Education will be changing existing courses to online format
  • Concern was expressed about the replacement of the GRE exam with three personal essays as an indicator of how successful the teachers will be; there are other entrance exams, such as Miller’s Analogies; Carl is willing to try the three essay approach
  • Concern was brought up as to whether there will be a final exam based on content coursework
  • When all courses are online, how will the student be assessed for potential success if there has never been personal contact?
  • Will students have easy access to an advisor, to discuss possible course choices?
  • There is a need for a more clarifying definition of “capstone” and “internship”
  • Is putting a program all online effective for the education of the students? (even though it is being done all over the United States);  how will the effectiveness be assessed?


DGE Staff Reports:

  • T shirts


  • working on details of fund raising—an account is being set up with MSU Foundation
  • UGC members will receive a free t shirt as will all grad students who submitted an abstract for the Research Celebration on April 15
  • Grad Info Night


  • 25 students attended
  • Will move it to the Fall semester, right before the Career Fair
  • Seminars


  • Over 40 attended the seminar by Provost Dooley and 20 attended Mike Becker’s seminar
  • Seminars are being offered at varying times, including one in the evening
  • Need to advertise week and day before seminar
  • Research Celebration


  • 106 grad students sent in their abstracts (174 undergrads also)
  • Students will be notified of the size of their posters
  • The College with the highest percentage of students participating will receive a trophy cup to display for a year
  • Plans include bringing in local businesses to showcase what research is being done at MSU
  • Recruiting


  • DGE went to Salish Kootenay, Ft. Belknap, University of Montana (joint recruiting at their Career Fair), Helena Career Fair
  • DGE will be going to the National Council of Undergraduate Research Conference
  • Geraldine reported that there have been MSU recruiters in China and India; the MSU Office of International Programs will help departments with their international recruiting.
  • Tuition Waivers


  • The January 2008 plan went to Provost Dooley where it was approved and then to President Gamble who approved it just this morning.
  • Presenting the new information to the campus will involve a huge effort by the DGE office—including campus-wide information sessions.
  • Minimum Stipend – postponed


  • Dissertation Format Pilot
  • DGE is trying a pilot formatting for students with articles submitted to professional journals which will be part of their dissertation
  • Rather than totally reformatting the dissertation, the dissertation will be formatted in three parts:  (1) DGE formatting of front matter and introduction (2) actual manuscript(s) in the format as submitted to professional journal(s) (3) DGE formatting for a comprehensive conclusion to draw manuscripts together, with literature cited at the end
  • This pilot will be an option that departments would decide whether it would be acceptable for their dissertations.


Challenge Courses – UGC Feedback

  • Donna did not receive any feedback from UGC
  • No one has ever used Challenge Course; Registrar has dropped it out of the MSU catalog
  • DGE will survey grad coordinators for input on usefulness.


UGC Elections

  • Carl will send a letter to Colleges to ask the deans to nominate or appoint their member to the UGC; DGE will no longer be involved with the ballot count.


Meeting adjourned at 12:04 p.m.


NEXT UGC MEETING:  Wednesday, April 16, 10:00 a.m. to noon
                                114 Sherrick

Respectfully submitted
MaryKay West