The University of Alabama
April 22, 2008


The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 in 205 Gorgas Library.


Dr. Silas C. Blackstock, Dr. Catherine E. Davies,
Dr. Robert H. Findlay, Dr. M. Jenice “Dee” Goldston,
Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Ida M. Johnson,
Dr. Charles J. Kacmar, Dr. Allan V. Kaufman,
Dr. Michael D. Murphy, Dr. Janis M. O’Donnell,
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. Vivian H. Wright,
Dr. Shuhua Zhou

Dr. F. Todd DeZoort, Dr. Nirmala Erevelles,
Dr. Martyn R. Dixon, Dr. Matthew Green,
Dr. Mark R. Klinger, Dr. Elaine A. Martin,
Dr. Carol B. Mills, Dr. David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen,
Dr. Samit Roy, Dr. Kenneth E. Wright,


Sarah Watkins, 2008-2009 GSA President


Dean David Francko


Sarah Barton, Sondra Collins


Dr. John Schmitt, Associate Dean
Dr. Natalie Adams, Assistant Dean
Beth Yarbrough, Registrar
John Chambers, Director of Administration

I. Dean’s Welcome to the Graduate Council

Dean Francko welcomed everyone and made introductions. Dean Francko asked if there were corrections to the February 26, 2008 minutes. No corrections were mentioned, and the minutes were accepted. Opening statements were made regarding the many issues that were on the table for the Graduate Council this afternoon.

II. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

Committee on Financial Aid – Dr. Vivian Wright reported that 74 offers had been made to students for the Graduate Council Fellowships. Thirty-four had been accepted, 10 declined, and 30 students had not responded. Due date for responding was May 1st.
The committee is looking at awarding approximately 67-68 fellowships for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Committee on Program and Degree Requirements - Dr. Stephen Tomlinson reported that the committee was meeting about an Alternative Doctoral Residency. The different ways to meet the spirit of residency were discussed versus the current method. A proposal is being developed, and the committee expected to have a recommendation for the Council to consider in Fall 2008.

Ad Hoc Committee on Electronic Theses and Dissertations - Dr. Janis O’Donnell and Dr. Vivian Wright presented a report on Electronic Thesis and Dissertation submission. The committee looked at different ways for thesis or dissertation submission, other websites, the implementation process, and the feasibility of such a process at UA.

Dr. Jeff Engler and Dr. Jan Baird visited from the UAB graduate school to discuss their ETD processes and procedures. UAB implemented a mandatory ETD submission as of Fall 2007, and the implementation went smoother than expected. At UAB, the students and graduate school have had fewer problems than expected.

This idea has been discussed with many groups across campus, including students and library personnel. The SGA passed a resolution in support of this proposal. Many advantages were discussed including the fact that research can be more broadly distributed. The recommendation from the committee was full support of implementing this process.

The two advantages of using ETD are as follows: The submission will be more efficient for all parties involved, and the information can be more easily disseminated. The committee recommends that the UA Graduate School adopt the ETD submission and that it be implemented by the Fall 2008 semester. Fall 2008, Spring 2008, and Summer 2008 will be optional for the student, and then the committee will reassess the procedure and possibly have mandatory ETD by Fall 2009.

Submission of dissertations would be through ProQuest, since the UA Graduate School is already using this company and no additional cost would be involved. The questions came up about whether or not UA will retain ownership if something happened to ProQuest, and the answer was yes.

The level of access to the information would be determined by the student. With EDT, the option of accepting other formats within the thesis or dissertation would be possible (e.g., video, music).

The following guidelines were given for the submission process:

  • Preparation for a thesis or dissertation would be standard to the discipline, according to current guidelines and acceptable platforms (e.g. Microsoft Word, music score, videos). The student defends and receives committee acceptance.
  • The thesis or dissertation chair and committee members will bear somewhat more responsibility to ensure the final product is adequately edited, since the thesis or dissertation is uploaded directly to the ProQuest site (though not published until final approval is given by the Graduate School).
  • The signature page is protected and is NOT uploaded as part of dissertation/thesis file and would be archived and maintained in the Graduate School.
  • The student converts the dissertation or thesis to a PDF file and uploads the file with any supplementary materials in media formats.
  • The Graduate School does a “spot audit” to ensure adherence to formatting requirements and overall readability.
  • The Graduate School “submits” the file officially to ProQuest after approval along with a copy to the UA Libraries.
  • ProQuest catalogs, indexes, and publishes per permissions granted. Options for release include delayed publication due to embargo for a defined time period, full access, or restricted access.

The archiving and storage of the signature page would remain with the Graduate School, and all electronic storage would be maintained through the UA library. The committee could not find significant disadvantages to this process. Most students are ahead of us in electronic use.

Dean Francko stated there would be a change in the quality under this system. The committee and/or department would be the primary responsible party for format and quality of dissertation/thesis. This process would require an increased use of proofers.

John Chambers spoke about the increase in cost for proof readers, especially with foreign students, but he was working with the Writing Center for help. The main problems fall with spelling and grammar. He is in favor of this project but does not want to change the deadlines currently in place as of yet. However, if everything goes well, then we will look at that issue at a later date.

The PDF format will give much more flexibility by allowing all formats to be accepted. PDF format also does not allow anything to be directly changed. The chapter format may be changed if agreed on by the Graduate School. File size would not be an issue.

Additional concerns need to be sent to Dr. Janis O’Donnell this week, and a full committee report would be forthcoming the following week. The Graduate School must move quickly on this in Summer 2008, in order for students to use this process this fall.

A conditional recommendation to accept this proposal was put to the Council. Support was unanimous.

III. Reports from the Dean’s Office

Dr. Natalie Adams announced the Last Lecture Series would be May 1st at 6:00 p.m. in 30 Alston Hall. Dr. James Salem would be the speaker.

Dr. John Schmitt reminded everyone of the upcoming GTA workshop on August 14th & 15th. This is mandatory for all new GTAs. The Graduate School website has details about the Workshop.

Dean Francko stated that as the responses for the Graduate Council Fellowship are submitted, any declines would be offered to other students. This year there would be more fellowships available.

Next year there are many projects on the table—ETD, alternative doctoral residency and so forth. Dean Francko thanked the Graduate Council for working so hard and effectively with the Graduate School to make many meaningful improvements in operations and student support in 2007-08.

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

V. Old Business
There was no old business.

VI. New Business
There was no new business.
Dean Francko adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.

Enclosure: ETD Report and Recommendation