The University of Alabama
September 25, 2007

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 in 111 AIME Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Dr. Silas C. Blackstock, Dr. Catherine E. Davies,
Dr. Nirmala Erevelles, Dr. Robert H. Findlay,
Dr. M. Jenice “Dee” Goldston, Dr. Matthew Green,
Dr. Ida M. Johnson, Dr. Allan V. Kaufman,
Dr. Carol B. Mills, Dr. Janis M. O’Donnell,
Dr. Edward J. Schnee, Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod,
Dr. Charles R. Sox, Dr. Robert P. Taylor,
Dr. Stephen C. Tomlinson, Dr. Kenneth E. Wright,
Dr. Vivian H. Wright

MEMBERS ABSENT: Dr. Kimberly L. Bissell, Dr. F. Todd DeZoort,
Dr. Martyn R. Dixon, Dr. Yuebin Guo,
Dr. Charles J. Kacmar, Dr. Mark R. Klinger,
Dr. Elaine A. Martin, Dr. Michael D. Murphy,
Dr. David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen, Dr. Samit Roy,
Dr. Nancy J. Rubin, Dr. Keith A. Woodbury,
Dr. Shuhua Zhou

VISITOR: Dr. Olivia Kendrick
Dr. Terry Royed



Dr. Natalie Adams, Assistant Dean
Beth Yarbrough, Registrar

Dean Francko welcomed everyone and introductions were made. Dean Francko asked if there were corrections to the April 24, 2007 minutes and none were mentioned. Opening statements were made regarding this great new year with many big issues to tackle including doctoral residency.

I. Dean’s Welcome to the Graduate Council
Dean Francko addressed the Council with the previous years’ highlights (see attachment) and other changes. Several policy changes were made regarding the Plan of Study, In-Progress grades, Incomplete grades, the Graduate Catalog online only for students and University Scholars Program. Many positive changes have been made including:

  • Health insurance is now being provided for fellowship recipients
  • Business cards are being sent to doctoral candidates
  • the Last Lecture series was a big success
  • the Graduate Recruiting Enhancement (GRE) has begun
  • Increased available fund for student research and travel
  • Enrollment topped 4,000 for the first time in the University of Alabama’s history
  • And many more

Although the final census has not been released, the Graduate School had approximately 3900 last year and over 4000 this year. This is an increase to 2.6% from 2.3% last year. The need to increase recruiting and matriculation is going to be very important for the coming year and programs should not stay static. Dean Francko researched and completed an analysis of the Doctoral Program Graduates at the University of Alabama versus other Alabama Universities. In the attached analysis, the University of Alabama is way ahead of all other colleges/universities in the State of Alabama.

Graduate School Catalog was online as of today. This would be a “living” catalog that would be constantly updated. Any changes would be quickly posted and there will be a limited number of hard copies. Currently, the Graduate School webpage is being redesigned and would be up soon. For recruiting needs, a new brochure was being printed.

Membership representation for the Graduate Council is set through the Graduate Council bylaws. The number of representatives is determined by the number of students to the number of faculty.

Dean Francko was working on increasing the hard money and soft money for graduate students as the UA enrollment increased to 28,000. The number of graduate students must increase with the number of undergraduates.

II. Reports from Graduate Council Committees
Committee for Program and Degree Requirements – The following proposals were discussed with the Graduate Council:

  1. Steve Tomlinson spoke regarding the Doctoral Residency issue. The “Doctoral Residency” document has the previous policy and the proposed policy. The committee compared most SEC and U.S. schools and most required at least 1-2 years of continuous enrollment. After a short discussion by the Council, the proposal was passed unanimously. The new policy will allow a full-time spring semester and the following full-time fall semester to count as a fourth option for meeting doctoral residency.
  2. Olivia Kendrick spoke on behalf of the College of Human Environmental Sciences. The “MHS Repeated Coursework” document listed the policy change requested. The request asks for a Policy Waiver for Master of Science in Human Environmental Science Majors (Human Nutrition, Consumer Science and Human Development and Family Studies). The departments requested a waiver for these majors only in regard to the repeating course rule. The departments feel that students need to master the content of the courses to the level of a “B” in order to graduate with that degree. This refers to both online and campus courses. The “C” rule will stand and both grades will be calculated in the grade point average. John Schmitt mentioned that only one attempt at the course would count toward degree requirements. After the council discussed this proposal, it was passed unanimously. HES students in selected majors now will be able to repeat a major course in which a grade of C was earned.
  3. Terry Royed spoke as a representative of the Political Science department. The “JD-PHD in Political Science” document shows the request for the department. The department has submitted a request that the J.D./Ph.D. students be allowed to complete the Ph.D. in eight years rather than seven. The seven year time clock begins when the student is admitted. Dr. John Schmitt presented an analysis comparing UA with our national peers regarding the time to receive a Ph.D. degree. In the attached “Time-to-Degree” document, the data presented show conclusive evidence that the time-to-degree for Ph.D. candidates is not problematic at the University of Alabama. Since there was some confusion as to when the clock actually begins, this issue was discussed and tabled until the following meeting.

Committee on Admissions & Recruitment - Silas Blackstock represented the committee and the issue that is under consideration. The committee wants to look into accepting 3-year baccalaureate degrees from the international (49 countries) community. India is not accepted unless they have a master’s degree. The one exception is Great Britain. Currently, we accept 3-year baccalaureate degrees from England. There is a higher standard to be admitted in most European Universities. High School goes from grades 1-13 and then 3 years for a baccalaureate degree.

Committee on Financial Aid - Vivian Wright represented the committee and stated that the Creativity Round would begin in January. Currently we are giving a $15,000 stipend, full tuition and health care. On the website, tips will be posted to help the faculty to write better letters and this will go out to all of the chairs. Currently, we need to increase the number of awards by maximizing the number of graduate students. Next year, we are going to try to increase the stipend again. This is a great recruiting tool. The question was asked regarding quotas and there are not any quotas set in the decision making process. However, there is a front end limit of nominations. It was asked that the Graduate School calls the department before the alternate student was submitted.

III. Reports from the Dean’s Office

Natalie Adams discussed the discontinuance of the Future Faculty Fellows. The Graduate School replaced each one with the McNair Graduate Fellowship. This scholarship is funded for two years and then the department must fund the student for two more years. The database for all Undergraduate McNairs Scholarships is online and approximately 4,300 students across the US are listed annually. Both a student and department can nominate individuals. However, the student must have a letter of support. Issues were discussed regarding disabled students and the commitment of two years for the departments. This is to further develop with McNair Scholars and the requirements are approximately the same as the Future Faculty Fellows. The intent is for Ph.D. only.

John Schmitt discussed the online catalog. An Organizational Chart has been added for both the students and departments to use. There is also a message online in the new section that students can use. The list will consist of all Graduate Faculty - full, associate and temporary. The Plan of Study is online, and the Council was reminded that doctoral students now must have a Plan of Study approved by the Graduate School by the time that 30 hours of UA and/or transfer course work for the doctoral degree are completed. The Graduate School is working on web forms to be submitted with without paper, and one form will be up and running soon.

IV. Reports from Standing University Committees
No standing committee reports.

IV. Old Business
Dean Francko said he would look into Sigma Xi by the following meeting.

V. New Business
There was no new business.

Dr. David A. Francko adjourned the meeting at 4:30 p.m.