The University of Alabama
February 24, 2009

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 in 205 Gorgas Library. 


Dr. Rebecca Allen, Dr. Martin Bakker,

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

Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Ida M. Johnson,

Dr. Charles J. Kacmar, Dr. Stephen Katsinas,

Dr. Miguel Mantero, Dr. Carol B. Mills,

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

Dr. Wendy M. Rawlings, Dr. Kristy E. Reynolds,

Dr. Nancy J. Rubin, Dr. Edward J. Schnee,

Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod, Dr. Wayne J. Urban,

Dr. Derek G. Williamson, Dr. Keith A. Woodbury,

Dr. Kenneth E. Wright,

Dr. Kim Caldwell, Dr. F. Todd deZoot,

Dr. Martyn Dixon, Dr. Nirmala Erevelles,

Ms. Kenya Goodson, Dr. Louis A. Pitschmann,

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

Dr. Harold Stowell, Dr. Vivian H. Wright,

Dr. Shuhua Zhou



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




GUESTS:  Mr. Blake Bedsole (MBA) and Bob Taylor (ME)


I. Dean’s Welcome to the Graduate Council


Dean David Francko welcomed everyone and made introductions.  Dean David Francko asked if there were corrections to the November 25, 2008 minutes.  No corrections were made, and the minutes were accepted.

II. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

Committee on Program and Degree Requirements – Dr. Carol Mills presented a proposal for a dual-enrollment MBA and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MBA/MME).  The committee had reviewed the proposal and recommended acceptance.  After a short discussion, the council seemed to be in agreement that this was a good proposal.  A motion was made to accept the proposal as submitted to the committee.  None opposed, and the motion passed.

Committee on Financial Aid – Dr. Vivian Wright reported on the Graduate Council Fellowships.  The goal for this year is to offer 70 fellowships through the Graduate Council and to date, a total of 46 fellowships have been offered.  Of those offered a fellowship, seven students have accepted and one declined.  Round 2 nominations are due March 5th and Round 3 nominations are due April 2nd.


The committee is also working to streamline the forms for the Research and Creative Activity round and should have that completed soon for next year.  Most departments are using these regular fellowships for recruitment due to the fact that enrollment is a little off this year as compared to last year.


Committee on Admission and Recruitment – Ed Schnee presented two proposals that were submitted to the committee:  Waiver of standardized test in the admissions process and undergraduates taking graduate courses.


    1.  Two programs in the College of Human Environmental Sciences asked for a waiver of standardized test in the admissions process.  The college will be tracking these students that have graduated and what positions they have accepted.  Both proposals were approved along with any program with this waiver to continue doing business as is.


    2.  Several departments have asked that they be given permission to override an undergraduate into a graduate level course if they deem appropriate.  Currently there are two ways for an undergraduate to take a graduate-level course:  The University Scholars program and a petition to the Graduate School for a senior with a 3.0 GPA to enroll in a graduate level course.


The council had the clear feeling that oversight is essential for certification reasons.  If passed, this would open many pitfalls and would create more work for not only the department, but also the Graduate School.  The committee proposed that the Graduate Council leave the policy as stated, and the council agreed.


Committee on Teaching, Research & Service Awards – Dr. Ida Johnson reported the winners for the 5 teaching, research and service awards for 2008-2009.

Excellence in Teaching by a Master Student – Laurence Ross

Excellence in Teaching by a Doctoral Student – Frances J. Strong

Excellence in Research by a Master Student – Tess M. S. Neal

Excellence in Research by a Doctoral Student – Shusei Hamamichi


Dr.  John Schmitt announced the following winners of the outstanding thesis and outstanding dissertation awards, determined by two committees of emeritus faculty:

Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation – Dr. Karen J. Cook

Outstanding Master Thesis – Tara Goedjen


All seven awards are presented by the graduate dean at the respective colleges’ awards ceremonies.  Each student wins $500.00 and a framed certificate.  College-level winners who did not win the University-wide award each receive a letter of commendation and a certificate of merit.

III. Reports from the Dean’s Office

Dean David Francko announced that Dr. Stephen Tomlinson was the newly appointed representative on the oversight committee.


Research/Travel Fund nominations will be sent out in late March (after spring break) and are due in April.  By the end of January, the Graduate School had awarded approximately $225,000.00 to over 400 students.


Applications were up this year for The University of Alabama.  At the national Graduate Council meeting in December, GRE tests taken and applications were down overall nationally.  However, The University of Alabama was up by more than 8% and over 5,000 applications have been received.  This year the Graduate School is expecting over 7,000 applications.  The University of Alabama is doing great in comparison to the rest of the country.


The Graduate School already has received approximately 250 more applications this spring than last spring.  This is an increase of 15%. 


After comparing The University of Alabama to other schools nationally, the University of Alabama has one of the lowest application fees across the country.  Our current application fee rates are $30.00 for electronic and $35.00 for paper applications.  The application fees will be increased July 1, 2009, to the following amounts: $50.00 for domestic and $60.00 for international.  This will raise our fee to the national average.  Of course, there are policies in place to waive these fees under certain circumstances.


The Graduate School receives all of the money generated from applications, and it is needed for fellowships, graduate student travel funds, assistantships and so forth.  As enrollment grows, all of these need to grow as well.  Currently, 40% of our graduate students are on some type of assistantship/funding and 60% pay for school personally.  In the future, the goal is that the Graduate School will be able to fund a higher percentage of our students.


Dr. John Schmitt gave the council an update on the Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) website.  The Graduate School is almost there.  There are two parallel websites – the Graduate School website and the link to ProQuest. The ProQuest site has been tailor-made to the UA.


This will hopefully means no more paper except for the two pieces required by the Graduate School.  The UA library will not accept paper anymore.  As soon as the website is up and running, an email will be sent out to everyone including faculty, staff and students.  The Graduate School will be holding training sessions for students and faculty members.


Dr. Natalie Adams congratulated Dr. Wendy Rawlings on her first book, “The Agnostics.” 


The following deadlines will be coming soon:

March 27th – McNair Scholars Nominations are due

April 3rd – National Alumni Association License Tag nominations are due. 

The information will be sent out around March 5th.


The first recruiting retreat will be Thursday, March 5, 2009, from 8:00-4:30.  Let Carl Williams know if you would like to attend.  The CEO/President of the #1 recruitment company in the United States will be the speaker.  “Personal touch” is the key to successful recruitment.

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

V. Old Business
There was no old business.

VI. New Business

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