The University of Alabama

April 25, 2000


The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, 2000, in the Forum Room  of  the Ferguson Center.


MEMBERS PRESENT:       Dr. Joan L. Atkinson, Dr. Susan C. Fleming,

Dr. Lea McGee, Dr. Margaret Johnson,

Dr. Carol J. Pierman, Dr. Barry Jo Price,

Dr. Harry E. Price, Dr. David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen,

Dr. Will C. Schreiber, Dr. Paul H. Stuart,

Dr. Jack W. Sulentic, Dr. Min Sun,

Dr. Stephen J. Thoma, Dr. Joseph S. Thrasher,

Dr. S. Allen Wilcoxon.


MEMBERS ABSENT:         Dr. Daniel Arce, Dr. Carol Cassel,

Dr. Gary A. Copeland, Dr. Jeri W. Dunkin,

                                                Dr. Joseph A. Hornsby, Dr. Ida M. Johnson,

                                                Dr. Thomas A. Lee, Dr. James Leeper,

                                                Dr. Cynthia S. Sunal, Dr. Elizabeth K. Wilson.




MEMBERS PRESENT:       Dean Ronald Rogers

                                                Dr. Catherine M. Pagani, Faculty Senate Representative




PRESENT:                            Mr. Gopakumar Venugopalan




PRESENT:                            Dr. Pat Harrison, Assistant Dean

                                                Dr. John F. Schmitt, Assistant Dean



The meeting opened with the approval of the February 22, 2000 Graduate Council minutes.

I.  White Paper Update

Dean Rogers referred Council members to a document entitled, “Strengthening Graduate Programs:  White Paper Update and Setting Future Goals,” dated May 2000.  It addresses the graduate-education objectives of the Provost’s White Paper and was formulated as a result of a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Graduate Council and the input Dean Rogers received from individual Council members.  In the document the Council expresses strong support of the Univesity’s goals of offering quality graduate education, attracting and retaining world-class faculty, and attracting and retaining outstanding graduate students.

Among the discussion items was the need for a statement regarding tuition support for graduate students, the possible participation of graduate students in Blue Cross and Blue Shield coverage (including dental), and the possibility of directing part of the graduate application fee to departments to support their recruitment activities.  Dean Rogers indicated that these items would be added to the appropriate sections of the White Paper update.  With those modifications, the Council unanimously approved the document for transmission to Provost Barrett.

II.   Reports from Graduate Council Committees


A.     Program and Degree Requirements

Dr. Kathryn Oths, acting chair of the committee during Dr. Joesph Hornsby’s sabbatical,  presented a seconded motion from the committee to approve a proposal from the Department of English.  The proposal would change the doctoral time limit to eight years, as it is in Psychology and Modern Languages and Classics, for students admitted directly to the doctoral program from a baccalaureate program.  The proposal was approved unanimously.  The revised doctoral time limit section of the Graduate Catalog will read as follows:

All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within the seven-year period following admission to the doctoral program, with the following specific exceptions: psychology, modern languages and classics, and English (eight years if entering the doctoral program with a baccalaureate, not master's, degree), and the doctor of public administration (eight years).  Previous graduate credit may be applied to the doctoral degree if the credit was earned during the six-year period prior to admission to the doctoral program.



B.     Financial Aid

Dr. J. Brian Gray, chairperson, reported on the $680,000 in Graduate Council fellowships awarded for the year.  Highlights of fellowship activity are as follows:

·        62 total awards from 186 nominations (33.33% award percentage)

·        of the 62, 8 were dissertation awards, 3 were thesis awards, 41 were regular Graduate Council awards, and 10 were research awards

·        acceptance rates were as follows:  100% each for dissertation, thesis, and research; 71% (up from 56% a year ago) for regular Graduate Council fellowships

·        suspected reasons for the increased acceptance rate for regular fellowships are that the fellowships were $1,000 more than last year, and the addition of $5,000 supplements at the master’s level for one year and $5,000 supplements for each of two years at the doctoral level

·        68% acceptance rate for regular fellowships without supplements; 77% acceptance for supplemented fellowships


From the 1999-2000 Graduate Council fellowship funds, $70,000 is available for fellowships in summer 2000.  There was discussion of the possibility of making at least some of the fellowships available on a 12-month basis, to enhance recruitment of high-quality graduate students.  Dean Rogers said that next year’s Financial Aid Committee will include that as an agenda item.

C.     Admissions and Recruitment

     There was no report.

D.    Research and New Programs

     There was no report.


III.  Reports from the Dean’s Office and Academic Affairs

A.  Dean Rogers presented a proposal to revise the 1996 policy on retaining graduate faculty status for one year after retirement.  That policy predated the current “Qualifications of the Graduate Faculty,” as revised by the Graduate Council and published in the current Graduate Catalog.  The proposed revision would permit retired faculty to be appointed as Temporary Members of the Graduate Faculty for purposes specified by the academic unit nominating the retired faculty member.  After brief discussion, the following revised policy passed unanimously:

After a Graduate Faculty member retires, her or she may need to continue to serve as chair or committee member on students’ thesis and/or dissertation committees.  These Graduate Faculty members may be appointed Temporary Members of the Graduate Faculty for these purposes and/or to perform other specific functions.  The nomination and appointment procedures for these temporary appointments are the same as those adopted by the academic unit and University.”


B.  Dr. John Schmitt thanked the following Council members for service on program review committees this year:  Dr. Jeri Dunkin, Dr. Liza Wilson, Dr. J. Brian Gray, Dr. Will Schreiber, and Dr. Joe Thrasher.


C.  Dr. Schmitt encouraged Council members to remind department chairs and faculty in their divisions that attendance at the Workshop for New Graduate Teaching Assistants is required of new GTAs.  He stated that this year’s Workshop will change to two full days, as requested by a number of GTAs.  He provided Council members with a draft program for the 14th annual Workshop, to be held August 17-18, 2000, at the Bryant Conference Center.  Additional information about the Workshop is available at the Graduate School’s Web site.


IV.    Reports from Standing University Committees

     There were no reports.

V.      Old Business

     There was no old business.


VI.   New Business


            Dr. S. Allen Wilcoxon was elected to a three-year term on the Merger or Discontinuance of Academic Units Committee. 


Dean Rogers thanked the Council members for their work on behalf of graduate education at the University this year.  The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.