The regular meeting of the Graduate
Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 in 205
Dr. Silas C. Blackstock, Dr. Catherine
Dr. F. Todd DeZoort, Dr. Nirmala Erevelles,
Dr. M. Jenice “Dee” Goldston, Dr. Matthew Green,
Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Allan V. Kaufman,
Dr. Michael D. Murphy, Dr. Janis M. O’Donnell,
Dr. David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen, Dr. Nancy J. Rubin,
Dr. Edward J. Schnee, Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod,
Dr. Charles R. Sox, Dr. Robert P. Taylor
Dr. Stephen C. Tomlinson, Dr. Keith A. Woodbury,
Dr. Kenneth E. Wright, Dr. Vivian H. Wright
Dr. Kimberly L. Bissell, Dr. Martyn R.
Dr. Robert H. Findlay, Dr. Ida M. Johnson,
Dr. Charles J. Kacmar, Dr. Mark R. Klinger,
Prof. Andy Fitch (for Dr. Elaine A. Martin),
Dr. Samit Roy, Dr. Shuhua Zhou, Dr. Carol B. Mills
Dr. Jimmy J. Williams, A&S Assoc. Dean for Multicultural
EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS PRESENT: Dean David Francko
STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES PRESENT: Mehmet Yaya, Sondra Collins
GRADUATE SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVES PRESENT:
Dr. John Schmitt, Associate Dean
Dr. Natalie Adams, Assistant Dean
Beth Yarbrough, Registrar
I. Dean’s Welcome to the Graduate
Dean Francko welcomed everyone, and introductions were made. Dean
Francko asked whether there were corrections to the September 25, 2007
minutes. The minutes were accepted with one correction. Opening
statements were made regarding the many issues that are being considered
by the Graduate Council.
Reports from Graduate Council Committees
Committee on Program and Degree Requirements.
Dr. Stephen Tomlinson
spoke regarding the time limit for doctoral students in the JD/Ph.D. in PSC dual-degree program. A detailed plan of study for all JD/Ph.D.
students was presented. In the first year, students would be taking
coursework only in Law. Students would not begin PSC coursework until
the second year. After some discussion, the Committee recommended that
the doctoral students have an eight-year time limit, with the clock
beginning when the first PSC courses are taken in the second year. This
time limit would apply only for dual-degree JD/Ph.D. in PSC students and
not to regular PSC doctoral students who are not simultaneously working
on a JD degree. Dr. Dee Goldston moved that the proposal be accepted;
Dr. Vivian Wright seconded the motion. The proposal passed unanimously.
Committee on Admissions & Recruitment. Dr.
Silas Blackstock introduced a discussion item regarding the acceptance
of three-year baccalaureate degrees from the 49 countries that
participate in the Bologna Accord. Several issues arose during the
1) If UA accepts these three-year
undergraduate degrees from Bologna, then students from other countries
(such as India) that are not in the accord likely will want their
three-year undergraduate degrees accepted as well.
2) U.S. students must have a core
curriculum, which often is not required of foreign students. The
longstanding standard has been that only four-year baccalaureate degrees
can be used toward admission to a graduate school in the U.S. Different
nations have different standards and currently, UA is not comparing the
specifics of each foreign degree with our U.S. degree. As an example,
U.S. graduate schools do not do course-by-course comparisons of foreign
credit hour or coursework content with U.S. credit hour or coursework
content. UA might be putting itself at a risk of losing students if we
don’t begin to make some changes and consider accepting three-year
Bologna Accord degrees. Many top students in Chemistry, for example, are
from countries with three-year degrees, and Chemistry faculty report
that UA may have difficulty recruiting these students in the future.
3) If this proposal is based on the needs
of the departments, should this be definitive, i.e., should departments
be able to opt out of accepting three-year Bologna degrees for graduate
admission? Dr. John Schmitt expressed that if this policy were adopted,
each department could accept three-year baccalaureate students or not.
Departments always are free to have standards higher than the minimum
standards in the Graduate Catalog. The other option is to request an
exemption for each student that a department wants to admit, but that
option obviously would be more tedious both for departments and the UA
Several positive aspects emerged from the discussion. Admitting Bologna
students would create a much more diverse community on campus, and many
of the three-year undergraduate degrees across Europe are very sound
degrees. Some are considered to be superior to the typical U.S.
four-year undergraduate degree. Some report that this is especially true
in the sciences.
Dean Francko stated that this issue has
been discussed at the national and international level at a number of
conferences and that the influx of international students will
continually increase between now and 2010-2011. UA departments were
surveyed on this subject, and to date, none had raised objections.
However, the Committee is not ready to make specific recommendations. In
the next several months, the Committee should have enough information to
bring to the Council a recommendation.
III. Reports from the Dean’s Office
- Dean Francko thanked everyone for
voting for a replacement representative from the Council to the UA
Committee on Merger or Discontinuation of Academic Units. Former
Council member Marsha Houston has agreed to serve.
- The Graduate School’s Research and
Travel grants program for graduate students might be used for
international travel (maybe not 100%) if the criteria can be met.
Many graduate students need international experience, particularly
for research and related activities.
- The dean is working with the
registrar regarding the University’s and State’s guidelines for
graduate students to qualify for in-state residency. They are
working to try to liberalize the policies and/or guidelines and
should have a resolution soon.
- Dr. Natalie Adams discussed Round
1 of the Graduate Council Fellowships (GCF). The call for
nominations will go out this week, with the first round of
nominations due January 23, 2008. This will be sent out by e-mail
and posted on the Graduate School website. Included will be helpful
hints for writing nomination letters that are more personal,
positive, and helpful to the committee in making decisions about
GCFs. Council members were asked to keep in mind that this is a
round for regular Graduate Council Fellowships and not for
Research/Creative Activity Fellowships.
- The McNair Scholarship nominations
will be accepted by the Graduate School January 8th through February
- Dr. John Schmitt discussed the
five graduate student awards for Teaching, Research and Service. The
winners of these five awards are determined by the Council’s
Committee on Teaching, Research and Service Awards. Additionally,
the Graduate School appoints two committees of emeritus faculty to
select the winners of the Outstanding Thesis and Outstanding
Dissertation Awards. All seven of the Graduate School’s award
winners will be determined by February 1.
- The online Graduate Catalog is
working well, and sometime in January we should have a limited
number of hard copies available to deans, departments, and selected
others on campus. However, all or selected sections of the Catalog
already can be printed at any time and customized for each user’s
- The online list of Graduate
Faculty members will be updated continually, will be accessible with
links from Section 2.7 of the online Catalog, and will include all
three categories of graduate faculty—full, associate, and temporary
- Dean Francko mentioned plans for
fundraising and will have more information to share after the first
of the year. Monies raised will be used to increase the endowment
for the Last Lecture Series, Scholarships, support funds, and so
forth. The initial focus for prospective donors will be on previous
Graduate Council Fellows, Graduate School award winners, and License
Tag Fellows. The provost has not given final approval to the
development plan, but hopefully it will be forthcoming.
- Dr. Alan Kaufman spoke about the
Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) conference. He would like
to see an increase in The University of Alabama’s presence at the
SREB conference each October, with perhaps UA’s having a display for
attendees. This would be appropriate for several reasons, including
the fact that UA perennially has the greatest number of students who
are SREB Doctoral Scholars. Dean Francko will bring this idea to the
Council again in the spring, with the idea of sending four or five
Graduate Council Members to the October 2008 conference.
- There was a question about
possible double-dipping of Graduate Council Fellowships. It was
explained that there can be no double-dipping, in the sense that no
student ever may hold two Graduate Council Fellowships at the same
time. The only time that a student might hold a second GC Fellowship
is in the very rare case that a student has a regular Fellowship
early in the graduate career and later is awarded one for
- Dean Francko stated that UA has
only about 37% of its graduate students on some type of funding. The
average across the country is 50-60%. We must work to increase the
number of GTAs and GRAs, as well as the number of students holding
grants and fellowships. These will naturally increase somewhat as
the Graduate School enrollment increases to 4,500, but we need to do
- Discussion ensued about the
difference in the Graduate Council Fellowships for Research/Creative
Activity versus those in Rounds 1, 2, and 3. Dean Francko also
mentioned that at the last minute each semester, monies typically
are available to fund a small number of Fellows as a result of a few
last-minute declinations by students who had accepted GCFs.
IV. Reports from Standing
No standing committee reports.
V. Old Business
There was no old business.
VI. New Business
Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD). Dr. John Schmitt
introduced the issue of electronic thesis/dissertation (ETD)
submission. Some universities across the country have made ETD
submission mandatory; others give students the option to submit
either hard copy or electronic copy; and some permit only a hard
copy. Most students already have their thesis/dissertation in some
electronic form, which would help students begin the process of
electronic submission. One of the many issues to consider is the
long-term storage of ETD.
Institutions that have ETD typically have found that the Graduate
School is asked to develop templates for preparation of manuscripts
for ETD submission. Having separate templates for theses and
dissertations can make it easier for students to achieve correct
formatting and might in some cases reduce the time that the Graduate
School must spend in final checking of the manuscript. An ETD also
would allow music, 3-D graphics and other elements that cannot be
accommodated in a traditional hard-copy document. A host of other
issues, including technical support, would need to be considered by
a steering committee or ad hoc committee charged to evaluate the
steps to take and resources needed to make ETD submission a reality
at UA. Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod wondered if electronic submission of
theses and dissertations might increase the occurrence of
School has learned from other institutions that to gain acceptance
on campus, the introduction of ETD needs to be a bottom-up rather
than top-down process. If faculty and graduate students are not the
primary motivators from the outset, the ETD effort may have trouble
UAB requires ETD
submission only (hard copy submission is no longer an option), and
Auburn University allows either format. No other institution in
Alabama has ETD.
Alumni Tracking. Dean Francko brought up the idea of having a formal
method to track alumni. Currently, the Graduate School is dependent
on departments, and the tracking of alumni by departments varies
considerably. The Office of University Advancement is working with
the Graduate School to develop a comprehensive system for tracking
graduate student alumni, including GCFs and others.
Number of Graduate Degrees. Despite
rumors to the contrary, UA offers the largest number of graduate
degrees across the state. The current ACHE Program Inventory shows
that UA has 120 graduate degree programs.
There being no further business, Dean Francko adjourned the meeting
at 4:30 p.m.