The University of Alabama
September 23, 2008

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 in 110 AIME Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Dr. Martin Bakker, Dr. Catherine Davies,
Dr. F. Todd DeZoot, Dr. Martyn Dixon,
Dr. Robert H. Findlay, Dr. Ida M. Johnson,
Dr. Charles J. Kacmar, Dr. Miguel Mantero,
Dr. Carol B. Mills, Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell,
Dr. Kristy Reynolds, Dr. Samit Roy,
Dr. Nancy Rubin, Dr. Edward Schnee,
Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod, Dr. Wayne Urban,
Dr. Derek Williamson, Dr. Keith A. Woodbury,
Dr. Kenneth Wright, Dr. Vivian Wright,
Dr. Wilson Lowrey for Dr. Shuhua Zhou.

Dr. Rebecca Allen, Dr. Kim Caldwell,
Dr. Nirmala Erevelles, Dr. Matthew Green,
Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Michael Murphy,
Dr. Wendy Rawlings, Dr. David Roskos-Ewoldsen.


STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES PRESENT: Sarah Watkins, 2008-2009 GSA President
VISITORS: Sarah Barton, Sondra Collins

Dr. Natalie Adams, Assistant Dean
Beth Yarbrough, Registrar

I. Dean’s Welcome to the Graduate Council

Dean Francko welcomed everyone and made introductions. Dean Francko asked if there were corrections to the April 22, 2008 minutes. No corrections were mentioned and the minutes were accepted.

Dean Francko reported on records being broken at the Graduate School. Record enrollment for fall was approximately 4,050 students. This is up 125-140 from last year and up over 200 from the previous year. We are on an upward trend.

The goal is to have 5000-plus graduate students. Last year we received approximately 6,500 applications. Currently the Graduate School receives all of the money from the application fees, and all of the money is directed to graduate students through fellowships and research/travel funds.

The Graduate School conferred a record number of degrees this year. Almost one-third of the University’s granted degrees are graduate degrees, and approximately one-fourth of all alumni have graduate degrees. According to Associate Dean John Schmitt, the ACHE inventory has 192 degrees, with 122 (64%) of those degree programs being graduate degrees. Last year we awarded 191 doctoral degrees out of almost 1500 total graduate degree awarded. Last year we had 6 McNair Scholars and expect 6-8 more this year. The total number of Graduate Assistantships is up (both research and teaching).

Currently we are working on a development campaign for fundraising. A mailing will be sent out in the next few weeks, and several significant contributions have already been received.
New items passed this last year include the electronic thesis and dissertation submission and alternative doctoral residency. A positive paper was sent to the President and Provost to grow the Graduate School. Many new things are going on at the Graduate School – more evolutionary than revolutionary.

We currently have a four-year health insurance contract that will come up for renewal soon. Many students are not happy with the current contract. An ad-hoc committee has been formed to study the possibility of increasing coverage and decreasing cost.

II. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

Committee on Financial Aid – Dr. Vivian Wright reported that currently, 86 offers had been made to students for the Graduate Council Fellowships. Sixty-three accepted, which is a typical percentage. Official notification will be sent out in October. The deadlines for this year are as follows:

January 22nd – Round 1
February 12th – Research & Creative Activity
March 5th – Round 2
April 2nd – Round 3

There were 49 out-of-state offers and 32 acceptances. Thirty-seven in-state fellowships were offered with thirty-one accepted. The trend has been to increase the out-of-state offers and recipients. The goal is to have 40-plus out-of-state fellowships accepted. This is one step closer to UA’s being viewed as an International University.

Questions have come up about sending out an email before the official letter goes out. The official notification letter is mailed the very next day, but students don’t receive it for several days. But the main problem is the quick response of students. The alternative list is immediately put into effect once a student declines a fellowship.

Committee on Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) – This requires two websites—one maintained by the Graduate School and one by ProQuest for actual submission. Dr. John Schmitt stated that the Graduate School’s website for ETDs is ready but remain offline until ProQuest’s UA-specific site is ready (Handout #1), but since ProQuest has had major changes in the company, they have delayed ETD implementation at UA. We are in contact with ProQuest weekly and expect to “go live” later this fall.

If this happens in the fall semester, ETD submission will be voluntary, with mandatory submission beginning in a year. No special training is needed for submission through ProQuest, but the Graduate School will have ETD seminars for students, faculty, and staff. Because the Graduate School will not be using any editors, the responsibility for editing and final submission will be rest (as it always has) with students and their departments.

ProQuest will require a single PDF file, but under rare circumstances of students’ wanting to submit additional files that were not part of the body or appendices of the manuscript will be permitted to submit those files to ProQuest as well. A new “Certificate of Approval” page will incorporate signatures of committee members and certification by the committee chair that he or she has reviewed the final electronic version (PDF) of the document and has determined that it is an accurate representation of the document reviewed and accepted by the committee, and that its content, form and style are ready for publication and submission to ProQuest.

We expect the ETD submission and approval process to be streamlined considerably compared with the process for paper-based manuscripts.

Committee on Program and Degree Requirements - The Alternative Doctoral Residency option was passed last year. Any proposals need to be submitted to the committee to be approved. After that, the Graduate Council will approve all final submissions. Included in the plan there are only the following four components: Statement of need, Statement of how each of five value constructs for doctoral residency will be met, Brief description of the ongoing measures of academic success that will be used to demonstrate the efficacy of the alternative residency, and a Brief description of the proposed alternative residency. (See Handout #2).

This alternative residency will allow departments to be very creative in ways to meet the spirit of doctoral residency. When an alternative residency proposal is approved, doctoral students from that department may do either traditional or alternative residency and simply indicate which one on the Plan of Study. In addition to fostering flexibility in meeting residency, the goal is to decrease the time to degree.

The committee is ready for proposals, and the first one will be used as a template to share with other departments. An outline and support material for departments requesting an alternative doctoral residency were sent to all graduate faculty, with an invitation to contact the Graduate School for assistance in preparing brief (2-3 page) proposals.

III. Reports from the Dean’s Office
Dr. Natalie Adams asked that departments notify the Graduate School if a moratorium has been put on admissions in your department. Sometimes students apply to a program for which we do not know that the department has put a moratorium into effect.

IV. Reports from Standing University Committees
There were no standing committee reports.

V. Old Business
Changes in ACHE & SACS. Both organizations are tightening up the processes for approval of new degree programs, new specializations (tracks, concentrations, foci, etc.), notification of programs that will be offered with more than 50% of the courses via distance learning, and so forth. Neither a department nor the University can put these kinds of “substantive changes” into effect and then notify ACHE and SACS. The appropriate notifications and/or approvals must be in place before any students begin such program. More and more universities each year are being placed on probation or even suspension for violation of these principles. Please contact the Graduate School early in the process if you have any questions about these important approvals and notifications. We will work with you toward the goal of providing these two agencies the least-possible notification that they require.

VI. New Business
There was no new business.
Dean Francko adjourned the meeting at 4:20 p.m.