The University of Alabama
September 24, 2002

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 in the Forum Room of the Ferguson Center.

MEMBERS PRESENT:               

                                               Dr. Natalie Adams, Dr. Martin G. Bakker,
Dr. Bruce E. Barrett, Dr. Sharon E. Beatty,
Dr. Barbara Fischer, Dr. Timothy A. Haskew, 
Dr. Marsha L. Houston, Dr. D. Jeff Jackson,
Dr. Laura G. Klinger, Dr. Jordan I. Kosberg,
Dr. Richard G. Lomax, Dr. Michael D. Murphy,
Dr. Yorgo Pasadeos, Dr. Martha J. Powell,
Dr. David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen, Dr. Nancy J. Rubin,
Dr. Edward J. Schnee, Dr. Forrest R. Scogin,
Dr. B. Joyce Stallworth, Dr. Stephen J. Thoma,
Dr. Pieter B. Visscher, Dr. Harold M. Weber,
Dr. John M. Wiest, Dr. S. Allen Wilcoxon,
Dr. Elizabeth K. Wilson 

MEMBERS ABSENT:               

                                               Dr. David W. Cordes, Dr. Sharon O’Dair,
Dr. Eric E. Roden, Dr. Marietta P. Stanton
                                    Dr. Ronald Rogers,
Dr. Louis A. Pitschmann,
                                    Dr. Tavan T. Trent
STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES PRESENT:                           
                                  Mr. Enrique A. Gomez,
Ms. Antonia S. Mead
                                               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 April 23, 2002 Graduate Council minutes. Dr. Martin Bakker asked that the minutes of both the February 26, 2002 and April 23, 2002 meetings reflect his absence due to sabbatical leave. The minutes were approved as corrected.

Dean Rogers called for the reports from various committees.

I.                     Reports from Graduate Council Committees

A.  Admissions and Recruitment

Dr. Edward Schnee, Chairman of the Committee on Admissions and Recruitment, reported that the committee had met to review admission standards and did not recommend any changes at this time. No department has submitted a request this year to the committee to modify the test score requirement. With this in mind, Dr. Schnee recommended and the committee agreed to table discussion of waiving the entrance exam score as a university-wide requirement, allowing departments to determine the best test or other best evidence as admissions criteria, as discussed at the April 23, 2002 Graduate Council meeting. Following established procedure requiring four-year reviews for departments which have had admissions criteria modified, The School of Music will be asked to submit an evaluation of its policy to require a portfolio or audition in lieu of the admissions test requirement. Dr. Schnee informed the Council that the Graduate School is moving to requiring all applicants to use online application materials, acknowledging that in some instances, paper application materials will be necessary. The Council was reminded of the new GRE General Test format, taking effect October 1, 2002, which will be composed of verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections. Graduate schools have been notified that the Educational Testing Service has suspended the computer-based GRE General Test in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea due to security breaches.

B.                  Financial Aid

Dr. David Roskos-Ewoldsen, Chairman of the Committee on Financial Aid, called attention to his written report, which summarized the committee’s work to award Graduate Council Fellowships for 2002-2003. Sixty students received fellowship awards totaling $895,000.

Dr. Roskos-Ewoldsen summarized a committee meeting held on September 17, 2002. The committee discussed the differential impact of fellowships and assistantships on total allowable federal financial aid. Fellowships reduce allowable aid by the amount of the fellowship; assistantships do not impact allowable aid. The committee agreed with changing the department option to award a .50 assistantship in addition to a Graduate Council fellowship (instead of the .25 assistantship that has been allowed in the past). The committee reviewed several types of analyses of our 2002-2003 fellows.

The committee proposed that the Graduate Council Thesis/Dissertation Fellowships be combined with the Graduate Council Research Fellowships into one category, entitled “Research and Creative Activity Fellowships.” Departmental nominations will be made for students engaged in their own thesis/dissertation work or for students working with faculty in research or scholarly/creative activity. A motion was made and seconded to approve the proposal. The motion carried.

C.                Program and Degree Requirement

 Chairman, Dr. Steve Thoma, reported that the committee was continuing to work with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment to determine whether or not to draft an exit survey for graduate students, analogous to the survey instituted last year for graduating undergraduate students. This is a continuation of work the committee began last spring.

Dean Rogers distributed a handout summarizing departments’ changes in fulfilling master’s comprehensive examination requirements after new options were approved by the Graduate Council November 27, 2001. Over 90% of the departments offering the master’s degree changed their policy to substitute or add one or more of the five new methods to meet the comprehensive examination requirement. The most frequent change (32% of departments) is that the thesis may substitute for the traditional comprehensive exam. Also, over half of the departments adopted one or more of the new options (e.g., public performance, exhibit, policy and practice paper, practicum).

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

Dean Rogers announced that Interim President Barry Mason has charged the University Budget Reallocation Committee, of which Dr. Rogers is a member, with the responsibility to develop a plan to cut budget expenses by $3.4 million for the expressed purpose of funding increases to faculty and staff salaries. Dr. Rogers assured the Council that there has been no interest in closing departments or programs.

Dean Rogers asked members to review the handout pertaining to the White Paper Academic Enhancement Program, expressing concern that the program would be discontinued without support of The Graduate Council. Discussion revolved around academic development provided to departments, external visibility of the University, and impact on other reallocation issues. It was moved and seconded that the Graduate Council strongly urge the President, Provost, Vice-Presidents, and University Budget Reallocation Committee to retain the academic enhancement program. The motion carried.

Dr. Pat Harrison reported that graduate enrollment is up by 202 students (5.7%) for the fall 2002 semester. She displayed copies of the new Graduate School admission brochure. Improvements have been made to the Graduate School website, making it easier for applicants to apply online and check the status of their application online. She reported that   progress is being made to make applications available for departmental review via the web. Graduate School Preview Day is scheduled for September 26, 2002.

Dr. John Schmitt noted the difficulty graduate students have had in registering for courses online and, in response, developed concise instructions for graduate student online course registration. He distributed copies of the instructions along with the URL for these instructions.

The Workshop for New GTAs was held August 15-16, 2002 with nearly 200 new GTAs in attendance.

The Graduate School will host Discussion Sessions for Department Chairs, Graduate Program Directors, and Administrative Assistants September 25, 2002 (Registration, Assistantships & Degree Requirements) and October 2, 2002 (Recruitment, Application Processing and Admissions).

Two “Completing a Thesis or Dissertation” seminars have been held in September to assist students establish goals and a timetable to achieve those goals and complete the thesis or dissertation.

Dr. Schmitt announced that SACS reaffirmation of institutional accreditation for 2003-2005 is approaching and that he will bring accreditation criteria, procedures, and issues to the Council in upcoming meetings.   

III.                 Reports from Standing University Committees

There were no reports.

IV.                Old Business

There was no old business to be discussed.

V.                  New Business

No new business was introduced.

Dr. Rogers adjourned the meeting at 4:30 p.m.