The University of Alabama

November 27, 2001


The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 in the Forum Room of the Ferguson Center.


MEMBERS PRESENT:       Dr. Martin Bakker, Dr. Bruce E. Barrett,

Dr. Carol Cassel, Dr. Michael Dugan,

Dr. Barbara Fischer, Dr. Michael L. Freeman,

Dr. Marsha L. Houston, Dr. D. Jeff  Jackson,

Dr. Laura G. Klinger, Dr. Richard G. Lomax,

Dr. Michael D. Murphy, Dr. Yorgo Pasadeos,

Dr. Martha J. Powell, Dr. Nancy J. Rubin,

Dr. Edward J. Schnee, Dr. Marietta P. Stanton,

Dr. Paul H. Stuart, Dr. Min Sun,

Dr. Cynthia S. Sunal, Dr. Stephen J. Thoma,

Dr. Joseph S. Thrasher, Dr. Carol L. Tieso,

Dr. John M. Wiest, Dr. S. Allen Wilcoxon


MEMBERS ABSENT:         Dr. Susan C. Fleming, Dr. Ida M. Johnson,

Dr. Sharon O’Dair, Dr. David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen,

                                    Dr. Harold J. Weber




MEMBERS PRESENT:       Dean Louis A. Pitschmann, Dean Ronald Rogers



PRESENT:                 Ms. Samantha Briggs, Mr. Frederick Mackey





PRESENT:                 Dr. Pat Harrison, Associate Dean,

                                    Dr. John F. Schmitt, Associate Dean,

                                    Ms. Louise Labosier, Admissions Officer


Dean Rogers opened the meeting by asking if there were corrections to the September 25, 2001 Graduate Council minutes. Noting that Dr. Richard Houston attended the September 25, 2001 meeting in the absence of Dr. Bruce E. Barrett, the minutes were approved as corrected.

Dean Rogers called for the reports from various committees.

I.                   Reports from Graduate Council Committees

A.        Program and Degree Requirements

Dr. Stephen J. Thoma, Chairperson of the Program and Degree Requirements Committee, reported that the committee recommended a broadened definition of the master’s comprehensive examination. Dr. Rogers called attention to the document e-mailed to members regarding the various types of master’s comprehensive examinations currently used by departments.  Dr. Thoma and Dean Rogers explained that while the traditional comprehensive examination provides a culminating experience for many disciplines, other disciplines might be better served by alternative culminating experiences. The intent of the proposal is to provide flexibility to departments in determining the best method of assessing and integrating prior learning and professional experience. Should a department wish to change its master’s comprehensive experience, a proposal would be submitted to the Program and Degree Requirements Committee for approval. Dean Rogers suggested a “best-practices seminar” for the exchange of ideas and to acquaint departments with various   culminating experiences. It was moved and seconded that the Council approve the committee’s recommendation. The vote was unanimous.

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

Dr. Joseph S. Thrasher, Chairperson of the College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Committee, distributed copies of a memo regarding that committee’s position statement made in response to the SGA’s proposal to post teaching evaluations on the Web as it pertains to Graduate Teaching Assistants. Discussion revolved around accessibility to the information, validity of the evaluation instruments, and suggestions for compromise between the Faculty Senate and the SGA. Dean Rogers reported that in the opinion of the University legal staff, the teaching evaluations of GTA’s are part of their educational record and, consequently, protected by FERPA and are, therefore, confidential. Dean Rogers recommended no further action by the Graduate Council. At the suggestion of Ms. Samantha Briggs, Dr. Rogers agreed to inquire if a graduate student representative currently serves on the Faculty Senate and, if not, if it would be possible for one to be appointed.

Associate Dean Pat Harrison distributed information from The Graduate School catalog regarding expedited admission of master’s students to Ed.S. or doctoral programs, expedited admission of UA seniors to the master’s program from their current field, and early admission to Graduate School through the University Scholars Program. She encouraged Council members to share this information with their colleagues and students.

Associate Dean John Schmitt called the Council’s attention to the importance of students filing their Plan of Study early in their academic career, indicating that in doing so many problems could be avoided as the student approaches graduation. He encouraged members to discuss this matter in departmental faculty meetings and student advising sessions.

III.       Reports from Standing University Committees

There were no reports from standing university committees.

IV.              Old Business

Dr. Yorgo Pasadeos reported that he had checked with the Graduate Student Association and learned that in the past graduate students had been appointed to standing University committees. He will continue to work to identify appropriate committees and interested students.

Dr. Pat Harrison responded to Dr. Bakker’s inquiry regarding summer graduate research assistants having access to University facilities while not registered for classes. Access is available to those students for a fee ($10 for the library and $55 for the recreational center).

V.                 New Business

There was no new business.

Dr. Rogers adjourned the meeting at 3:55 p.m.