The University of Alabama
February 26, 2008

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 in 110 AIME Building.


Dr. Silas C. Blackstock, Dr. Catherine E. Davies,
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. Robert H. Findlay


Dr. Kimberly L. Bissell, Dr. Martyn R. Dixon,
Dr. Shuhua ZhouDr. Ida M. Johnson,
Dr. Charles J. Kacmar, Dr. Mark R. Klinger,
Dr. Elaine A. Martin, Dr. Carol B. Mills,
Dr. Samit Roy


Michael George, University Registrar
Louis Ginocchio, Associate University Registrar




Dr. John Schmitt, Associate Dean
Dr. Natalie Adams, Assistant Dean
Beth Yarbrough, Registrar

I. Dean’s Welcome to the Graduate Council

Dean Francko welcomed everyone and introductions were made. Dean Francko asked if there were corrections to the November 27, 2007 minutes. No corrections were mentioned and the minutes were approved. Opening statements were made regarding the many issues that were on the table for the Graduate Council this afternoon.

Michael George attended the Graduate Council meeting to speak regarding the residency laws. Our residency laws are based on the Alabama State Laws, Alabama Code, Title 16, Chapter 64. The law states that to meet the residency requirement for an in-state student, the student must be in residence in Alabama for 12 consecutive months. Expanded definitions of “resident student” allowable are listed in Handout #1. The Board of Trustees has not adopted the expanded definition to include graduate assistants or fellows.

Dr. George suggested that perhaps the registrar’s office was too liberal in its in-state residency interpretation and it is his view that current policy is an attempt to get back on track with public law. The residency application will be revamped and include a fact sheet. Currently four different employees are evaluating the residency applications.

Many questions came up for discussion regarding this residency issue. It was suggested that Continuing Studies has a waiver for residency and the Gadsden Center has an exception regarding Chattanooga and Atlanta to pay in-state tuition. This issue greatly impacts out-of-state graduate students.

Dr. Michael Murphy asked for a list of criteria for a student to meet in order to meet residency. Michael George said he would come up with one, but the list cannot be considered set it stone. Dr. Murphy suggested a required session on residency during Graduate Orientation.

Dean Francko stated that he would pursue the residency issue with the Provost. He would like to see what type of criteria the Graduate School could look at: all funded students, all fellowship students, etc.

The University of Alabama pays out approximately 8 million dollars yearly in out-of-state waiver scholarships. One question is to look at where the money to pay these scholarships comes from – state allocations or tuition revenues. Tuition scholarships for out-of-state graduate students equal the same cost as one full-time visiting instructor.

II. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

Committee on Financial Aid – Dr. Vivian Wright reported that Round 1 and the Research/Creativity round for the Graduate Council Fellowship have been completed. In Round 1, 22 students were selected and in the Research/Creativity round, 19 were selected (10 have accepted thus far).

Round 2 is due March 5th and Round 3 is due April 2nd. The committee is looking at awarding approximately 67-68 fellowships for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Committee on Admissions & Recruitment - Dr. Silas Blackstock talked about the issue of accepting 3-year baccalaureate Bologna degrees. The committed submitted a proposed change to the Graduate Catalog regarding the Bologna degrees. Steve Tomlinson made a motion that we accept the proposal and Charles Kacmar seconded. Motion carried (See Handout #2).

Committee on Teaching, Research and Service Awards - Dr. Ida Johnson reported on these seven awards (See Handout #3). There were 8 winners this year, because of a tie for one of the awards.

Dr. John Schmitt reported that the Faculty Emeriti were currently selecting the dissertation & thesis award.

III. Reports from the Dean’s Office

Dr. Natalie Adams announced several deadlines:

  • McNair Scholarship – February 28th
  • Nominations for Last Lecture Series – February 29th
  • 1st Annual Graduate School Diversity Day – April 3rd. This diversity day will be used to target Juniors and Seniors with a 3.3 or higher GPA in minority groups only (See Handout #4).

Dr. Adams talked about the reporting service the Graduate School receives from GRE. Two reports are available and include a list with grades and the distribution as well as a summary statistics report (including the compilation of everyone who put UA as an institution to receive scores). Let Dr. Adams know if your department would like this information.

Dr. John Schmitt reminded everyone of the online Graduate Faculty Database, which is accessed in Section 2.7 of the online Graduate Catalog. The list includes full, associate and temporary graduate faculty. This list can be resorted to fit your needs (See handout #5).

Mehmet Yaya spoke regarding the GSA Graduate Student Research Conference he attended. There were 72 presenters and several departments from the UA were represented. Last year there were only 44 presenters.

Dean Francko updated everyone on the Development Campaign in progress. The Graduate School is working on mail outs and so forth to target money for Graduate Students only. This does not include programs, departments, and so forth. Some may be named fellowships, but the Graduate School is now an official part of Gifts.

The Research and Travel Fund (See Handout #6) has a goal to give every graduate student the opportunity to speak at a national conference. Combining other activities with a conference to help pay with the travel fund will help to extend the money further and fund more students.

An Ac Hoc committee has been formed to explore Electronic Thesis & Dissertation submission (See Handout #7). The committee will report at the April 22nd meeting. There may be a pilot program next year, and the committee needs input. The library will be working hand-in-hand with the Graduate School should the ETD program be implemented.

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

V. Old Business
There was no old business.

VI. New Business
Dr. David Francko (see handout #8) will be submitting his report to the Board of Trustees. In 2007, Auburn/UAB had a great “blip” year in doctoral degree production, while UA had a low year. However, in 2008, UA will be back on top. Attrition is the #1 topic across the nation. Finances are important, but there a number of other reasons for students to leave a graduate program. These include personal reasons and students’ feeling unengaged to the program. Most attrition occurs in the first few years before candidacy. Residency is the spiritual of getting the student engaged.

The Graduate School would like to re-envision the doctoral degree in general, and doctoral residency in particular (See handout #9). There is a PhD completion study that was just completed and it address the issue of melding – what residency should do versus the rules. Rather than discarding residency, universities are changing it to fit what we should be doing with our students.

Departments need to discuss this issue and come up with some innovative thinking to keep attrition down. There are several examples in the handout.

The Graduate School will buy several reference books for each department. We could get involved in the follow up study looking at more time for degrees and the evaluation of quality. Questions to look at are must we use semantics to evaluate, what measurement to use and programmatic changes assessed in a 4-5 year span. We need to work collaboratively.

Dr. Silas Blackstock talked about a progress report with 1) ways to invigorate the doctoral program in general, 2) using different departmental experiences and 3) verbalizing experiences that are impacted. Dr. Michael Murphy brought it to the attention of the Council that the scale of the department matters.

Number of students shouldn’t matter. The initial attrition occurs within the first three years and quality exams do not seem to affect the numbers. We need to break down the barriers among UA, UAB and UAH in order to be collaborative. We don’t want students to leave for the wrong reasons.

Residency should not be just about taking classes, but also include the intellectual experience.

Both faculty and students are vested in the degree. This information will be assigned to a committee for further development.

Dean Francko adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.