The University of Alabama

April 24, 2001


The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, 2001, in the Forum Room  of  the Ferguson Center.


MEMBERS PRESENT:       Dr. Carol Cassel, Dr. Jeri W. Dunkin,

Dr. Susan C. Fleming, Dr. L. Michael Freeman,

Dr. Ida Johnson, Dr. Laura Klinger,

Dr. Richard G. Lomax, Dr. Lea McGee,

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

Dr. Nancy Rubin, Dr. Edward J. Schnee,

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

Dr. Min Sun, Dr. Cynthia S. Sunal,

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

Dr. Elizabeth K. Wilson.


MEMBERS ABSENT:         Dr. Martin G. Bakker, Dr. Bruce E. Barrett,

Dr. Gary A. Copeland, Dr. Michael T. Dugan,

                                    Dr. Sharon O’Dair, Dr. Martha Powell

                                    Dr. Barrie Jo Price, Dr. Jack Sulentic.




MEMBERS PRESENT:         Dean Charles B. Osburn, Dean Ronald Rogers.



PRESENT:                 Ms. Francesca Dillman Carpentier.


VISITOR PRESENT:           Associate Dean Donna Packa.




PRESENT:                Dr. Pat Harrison, Assistant Dean,

                                    Dr. John F. Schmitt, Associate Dean,

                                    Ms. Dianne C. Teague, Records Officer.


Dean Rogers asked if there were any corrections to the February 27, 2001 Graduate Council minutes.  Dr. Paul Stuart said that on page 5 of those minutes, the vote should have been “All in favor, with one abstention, and none against.” The change was noted by Dean Rogers and the correction will be made in the minutes.  The minutes for the February 27, 2001 meeting were then approved with the correction.

Dean Rogers called for the reports from various committees.

I.                   Response to System Office’s Strategic Planning Initiative

Dean Rogers referred the Council to the document addressing the System Office’s Strategic Planning Initiatives.  He noted that significant items in this document emphasize the importance of successful tri-campus collaboration rather than top-down management decisions; the origination of this collaboration with faculty who share research and scholarly interests and wish to work with each other; focusing on each institution’s unique strengths instead of duplicating programs; and developing new financial resources and other incentives  before asking over-stretched faculty to take up new initiatives.

Dean Rogers asked the Council if they wished to change the document or respond in any way to it.  There were no suggestions or comments.  A motion was made and seconded to accept the document and send it forth as proposed by Dean Rogers.  The vote was taken by a show of hands with all in favor.

II.                Reports from Graduate Council Committees

A.               Program and Degree Requirements

Dr. Steve Thoma, chairperson, presented, as a seconded motion, a recommendation to

                        change the current graduate policy on withdrawal from a course.  He said that the

recommendation is being made in conjunction with similar changes in the undergraduate policy on withdrawals.  The current graduate policy allows students to withdraw from a class during the first week of classes in a semester with no notation appearing on the transcript.  During weeks two through four, students may withdraw from a class with a grade of W appearing on the transcript.  In weeks five through eight, any withdrawals will result in a grade of WP or WF being assigned after consultation with the adviser and department head.  After week eight, withdrawals are rarely permitted and only in cases of extraordinary circumstances.

Dr. Thoma explained that the proposed revision would allow students to withdraw through the tenth week of classes (instead of the eighth) with a W appearing on the transcript.  Again, after the tenth week, no withdrawals would be allowed unless extraordinary circumstances are documented and the graduate dean approves the petition.

Dean Rogers added that this change will make graduate withdrawal policy consistent with that of undergraduate withdrawal policy.

The vote was taken by a show of hands with all in favor, with the exception of one abstention.

B.               Financial Aid

Dr. Will Schreiber, chairperson,  referred the Council to the data comparing regular fellowships, research fellowships, and thesis/dissertation fellowships from 2000 and 2001. (Copy attached.)  With slight variances, the data are fairly consistent from one year to the next.  Dr. Pat Harrison directed the Council to the Followup Data Report for Graduate Research Fellows, which covers the period 1997 through 2001. (Copy attached.)  Dr. Schreiber reminded the Council that Summer 2001 Graduate Council Fellowships are now available, with nominations being due to Mrs. Beverly York in the Graduate School by May 2, 2001.  He thanked Mrs. York and Dr. Pat Harrison for their work with the Financial Aid Committee.

C.               Research and New Programs

Dr. Mike Freeman, chairperson, said that the Committee on Research and New Programs is recommending, as a seconded motion, the College of Nursing’s proposal for a postmaster’s certificate in nursing.  The postmaster’s track provides a ‘fast track” in rural case management training for nurses who have completed a master’s degree.  Dr. Freeman explained that the postmaster’s program will give nurse practitioners, clinical specialists, and nurse administrators the preparation they need in order to practice as case managers with rural populations.  Dr. Jeri Dunkin and Associate Dean Donna Packa were present to answer any questions regarding the proposal. 

The vote was taken by a show of hands with all in favor of the proposal.

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

Dean Rogers announced that the conversion to the new system for maintaining graduate faculty status is complete.  There is a total of 840 graduate faculty at The University of Alabama; 502 are full members, 147 are associate members, and 197 are temporary member.  Dean Rogers noted that divisional representation on the Graduate Council is tied both to the size of the student body in each division and to the number of graduate faculty in each division.  The College of Nursing is now represented on the Council with one elected member; Arts and Sciences will have an additional elected member, as will the Colleges of Engineering.  The College of  Education will lose one member.

Assistant Dean Pat Harrison reported that graduate recruiting is going well.  Although the number of applications is down from this time last year, the number of admissions seems to be holding steady.

Associate Dean John Schmitt announced the 15th Annual Workshop for New Graduate Teaching Assistants on August 16 and 17, 2001, in the Paul W. Bryant Conference Center and provided the Council members with the schedule for the workshop. 

Dean Schmitt also recognized the four Graduate Council members who served on Program Review Committees this year—Dr. Min Sun, Dr. Richard Lomax, Dr. Sharon O’Dair, and Dr. Martha Powell.  Dean Schmitt thanked them for their service on this important university committee.

Dean Schmitt reminded the Council that all Graduate School forms are available on the Graduate School’s Web site.  These forms can now be completed at the computer, printed, and approvals obtained before sending to the Graduate School.  Previously, the forms had to be downloaded and either typed or completed by hand.  Dean Schmitt announced that the Dissertation Committee Appointment form is now available. 

IV.              Reports from Standing University Committees

Dr. Harry Price said that the Faculty Senate has put forth a recommendation to increase university tuition by 10% to 15%.

V.                 Old Business

Dr. Joe Thrasher asked if graduate students can hold research assistantships in the summer without registering for courses, and if so, will they have access to the library, Student Recreation Center, and other University facilities of this nature.  Dean Rogers replied that he would check into the matter and let the Graduate Council know.

VI.              New Business

There was no new business.

The meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.