The University of Alabama
November 25, 2008

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


Dr. Martin Bakker, Dr. Kim Caldwell,

Dr. Catherine E. Davies, Dr. Robert H. Findlay,

Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Stephen Katsinas,

Dr. Michael Murphy, Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell,

Dr. Louis A. Pitschmann, Dr. Nancy J. Rubin,

Dr. Edward J. Schnee, Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod,

Dr. Derek G. Williamson, Dr. Wilson Lowery for Dr. Shuhua Zhou

Dr. Rebecca Allen, Dr. F. Todd deZoot,

Dr. Martyn Dixon, Dr. Nirmala Erevelles,

Ms. Kenya Goodson, Dr. Ida M. Johnson,

Dr. Charles J. Kacmar, Dr. Miguel Mantero,

Dr. Carol B. Mills, Dr. Wendy M. Rawlings,

Dr. David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen, Dr. Samit Roy,

Dr. Harold Stowell, Dr. Wayne J. Urban,

Ms. Sarah Watkins, Dr. Keith A. Woodbury,

Dr. Kenneth E. Wright, Dr. Vivian H. Wright



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 made introductions. Dean Francko asked if there were corrections to the September 23, 2008 minutes. One correction was made on page three, paragraph four. Minutes were accepted with the correction.

II. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

There were no reports from the Graduate Council Committees.

III. Reports from the Dean’s Office

Dr. John Schmitt provided a status report on the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) project. The Graduate School’s ETD website has been built, and we will “go live” as soon as there is closure on several outstanding issues.

Seminars are being held to demonstrate for faculty, staff and students. ETD submission will be voluntary for Spring 2009 and Summer 2009, with mandatory electronic submission expected to begin Fall 2009. All graduate faculty, staff and graduate students will receive an e-mail as soon as ETDs can be submitted.

The 2009-2011 Graduate Catalog revisions have begun. The first call has gone out, and all revisions will be electronic.

The Graduate School website is being revised with an A-Z index being added. The index will be available in the online Graduate Catalog as well.

The Alternative Doctoral Residency option that passed previously has only four items to be addressed in proposals. Several departments are working on proposals to be submitted soon. Once approved, alternative doctoral residency for a particular department will be in addition to the traditional residency option.

Two committees of faculty emeriti are selecting UA’s outstanding thesis and dissertation, and the Teaching, Research, and Service Awards Committee will select the winners of those five awards by the end of January 2009.

Dr. Natalie Adams announced upcoming fellowship deadlines:

January 22nd – Nominations for Round 1 of Graduate Council Fellowships are due.
January 9th – February 28th – Nominations for McNair Graduate Fellowships need to
be submitted and will have a rolling evaluation.
February 12th – Nominations for Research & Creative Activity Fellowships are due.
March 5th – Nominations for Round 2 of Graduate Council Fellowships are due.
April 2nd – Nominations for Round 3 of Graduate Council Fellowships are due.

The goal is to maximize all fellowship and assistantship awards to provide the greatest number possible.

On December 8th, the Banner Application will go live. Tutorials will be sent to departments and staff. Departments will be able to see exactly what the student has submitted, with the exception of the Statement of Purpose. This capability will be added later.

The biggest obstacle is GRE scores, which take approximately 4-6 weeks to be submitted to the Graduate School. The Council members discussed possible ways to receive these scores faster. Students receive a tentative score and are allowed to submit in the application (notes section). However, a student may submit a GPA (to be checked later) in the application.

One advantage of the Banner application is that interaction with the student will be quicker. There will be training for the Application Tracking Process for the Department, Faculty and Staff. As of December 8th, applications will be in both formats–paper and electronic.
The new application will have real-time data, and students will be able to complete some information, save the application, and go back later to complete it.

All department chairs will be given access codes. It is up to the department to give these codes to those who need them. There will be training offered to secretaries, office assistants, and others. All tutorials will be online and accessible.

On Thursday, March 5th, the Graduate School will host a recruitment retreat. It will be at the Bryant Conference Center. The goal is to have a representative from each department. Lunch will be provided during this all-day retreat, and there is no cost to the departments. The Graduate School wants to help departments increase prospects, in order to increase enrollment. At the end of the retreat, Graduate School representatives will discuss ways of using available recruiting resources more effectively.

The speaker will be Tom Jackson, owner of The Graduate and Professional Enrollment Management Corporation. He will talk about GRE search, Banner, Application Tracking, new ideas, and so forth. Conventional wisdom has been that when the economy declines, the number of applications will increase. However, the trend may be different in this severe economic downturn.

Dean Francko handed out a proposal for strategic planning. The Council is the first group on campus to view this document. One intent of the proposal is to shape the discussion of what the University does after reaching its overall enrollment goal. We must increase graduate enrollment and become more visible as a research institution. One goal is to have fifty percent of our graduate students funded. This is a five- to–six year goal.

The UA Graduate School is a national leader in minority recruitment and graduation, and the Graduate School awards approximately thirty percent of UA’s degrees. Graduate students are an income producer for the University, as President Witt has mentioned in several public forums recently. The Graduate School is making money, and President Witt is well aware of this.

UA now is receiving approximately 6500 applications for graduate admission per year. However, we need to increase this number to 10,000-12,000 applications. As the entire University increases enrollment, we will need assistantships to fill gaps in teaching, contribute small scholarship awards through the departments, and so forth.

The ultimate size of the University depends on undergraduate/graduate recruitment and student retention. Success in obtaining grants is an important factor in earning tenure and in the required 6-year reviews of faculty for renewal of graduate faculty status. When departments focus on generating money through grants, they typically are able to increase the number of graduate students enrolled.

Selected goals for the Graduate School are as follows:
• Increase fellowships to 110
• Increase application fees
• Increase assistantships
• Generate more ideas for getting Graduate Council Fellowship recipients to commit earlier to UA
• Increase communication at all levels

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

V. Old Business
There was no old business.

VI. New Business
Michael Murphy thanked the Graduate School staff for their help in getting the Anthropology doctoral program’s 5-year post-implementation report submitted, in part by facilitating the timely graduation of the ACHE-required number of Ph.D. recipients.

Dean Francko adjourned the meeting at 4:30 p.m.