The University of Alabama
April 28, 2009

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 in 205 Gorgas Library. 


Dr. Rebecca Allen, Dr. Kim Caldwell,

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

Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Charles J. Kacmar,

Dr. Carol B. Mills, Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell,

Dr. Kristy E. Reynolds, Dr. Edward J. Schnee,

Dr. A. Lynn Snow, Dr. Derek G. Williamson,

Dr. Keith A. Woodbury, Dr. Kenneth E. Wright,

Dr. Vivian H. Wright



Dr. Martin Bakker, Dr. F. Todd deZoot,

Dr. Martyn Dixon, Dr. Nirmala Erevelles,

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

Dr. Stephen Katsinas, Dr. Miguel Mantero,

Dr. Michael Murphy, Dr. Louis A. Pitschmann,

Dr. Wendy M. Rawlings, Dr. David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen,

Dr. Samit Roy, Dr. Nancy J. Rubin,

Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod, Dr. Harold Stowell,

Dr. Wayne J. Urban, Ms. Sarah Watkins,

Dr. Shuhua Zhou



Dean David Francko



Dr. John Schmitt, Associate Dean

Dr. Natalie Adams, Assistant Dean

Beth Yarbrough, Registrar


STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE(S) PRESENT:                           

Sarah Watkins



Mr. Blake Bedsole (MBA)


I. Dean’s Welcome to the Graduate Council

Dean David Francko welcomed everyone and made introductions.  Dean Francko asked if there were corrections to the February 24, 2008 minutes.  One small correction was noted and the minutes were accepted.


II. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

Committee on Admissions & Recruitment – Dr. Ed Schnee presented a proposal to the Graduate Council to waive test scores for the Master of Science in Consumer Science, Financial Planning.  (Handout #1).

This program has already changed to Consumer Sciences and been approved under the General Studies in Human Environmental Sciences degree program through the college.  The committee discussed and clarified the proposal to state that if a student has a 2.5 GPA, that particular student must take an admission test.  When the program is up for renewal, the department will report on certification and the results to the Graduate Council.  Motion to approve the waiver was made and seconded.  No discussion followed.  Motion passed with none opposed.

Committee on Financial Aid – Dr. Vivian Wright reported on Graduate Council Fellowships.  Three rounds plus one for Research/Creativity were conducted this spring.  Thanks to all of the committee members for their hard work in making a total of 102 offers.  Of the 102, 69 accepted, 15 declined ,and there are 18 that we have not heard from as of today.  Personal attention has helped responses from nominees.  This included written contact with Dean Francko or Dr. Natalie Adams,  departmental contacts, email reminders and moving up the deadline.

Committee on Program and Degree Requirements – Dr. Carol Mills presented three proposals to the Graduate Council:

  • Graduate Certificate in Consumer Conflict Management (Handout #2)

    • Dr. Milla Boschung was in attendance from the College of Human Environmental Sciences and discussed the program in detail.  This program is not duplicating other programs and includes a strong faculty.  Although all courses would be taught on campus and online, software similar to GoToMeeting software will be used for Interaction.

    • Discussions followed regarding the need for more face to-face interaction. It is expected that 50% of courses would be delivered on campus, because students want delivery in both ways.
    • In this program, most students would receive both the certificate and degree at the same time. Nationally, this is a growing trend and a growing market. Online evaluations will be given to all students, and Dean Boschung and her colleagues will track effectiveness.
    • A motion was made to pass the certificate program: 2 opposed and 1 abstained – motion passed.
  • Graduate Certificate in Environmental Health & Safety (Handout #3)
    • Dr. Boschung talked about this program in detail. This program is about teaching students to relate information to co-workers through communication, training and implementation of the safety issues – not make the rules. This education can also be used in translating technical information. Tailgating Training sessions would be included, through which a practitioner goes in the field to train on site in dealing with real, current problems.
    • Even though Dr. Weems is the only person listed in this certificate program, other faculty will be joining as the program grows. This program has a niche, and there is not another one like it.
    • Motion was made to approve, none opposed and motion passed.
  • New Dual degree program – MBA/MSCE (Handout #4)
    • Similar proposal to the MBA/MSEE program that was recently approved. The only difference between the previous dual degree program and this one is that the MBA/MSEE double counted 12 hours and the MBA/MSCE program double counts 18 hours. Normally 6-12 hours of double counted course work is the maximum, but a case was made that some other professional master’s programs are doing the same thing across the country. This program will be implemented Fall 2009.
    • The MBA degree is a lock-step, 48-hour program. Therefore, a dual degree student would be taking fewer hours for both degrees, but double counting more. The implications include: similar credits, faster to receive two degrees, integrity of both degrees, and the quality of the degrees. Several Graduate Council members thought that this program seemed like a watering down of both degrees.
    • Motion was made and 3 opposed, 3 abstained, and 11 approved. Motion passed.

III. Reports from Dean's Office and Academic Affairs

Dr. Natalie Adams presented information about a new mentoring program for graduate students (Handout #5).  Currently, there is a call for two graduate assistants, and to date, the Graduate School has received about 50 applications.  Information about the job openings and the program itself will be disseminated through emails to Graduate Program Directors and the GSA and AAGSA.


The design of the program is based on a team mentoring approach that will include current doctoral students as peer mentors, faculty mentors, and, when appropriate, mentors from the community.   The Graduate School would like comments and suggestions from departments and students.  If you are interested in serving on the advisory board, please contact Dr. Adams. 


Dr. John Schmitt reported on the Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) program.  This process is working very well.  Many thanks to Vivian Wright and Janis O’Donnell for all of their research.  On February 26th, the program rolled out, and to date there have been approximately 60 submissions.  The two test students who were the first to submit their manuscripts electronically each took between 17 and 22 minutes.


The 23rd Annual Workshop for New Graduate Teaching Assistants will be August 13th-14th.  Approximately 200 new GTAs are expected to attend this year.  This workshop covers everything from communication, legal issues, completing a course syllabus, active and collaborative learning, ethical and legal issues, and teaching technology.  Each new GTA also is videotaped while teaching, with fellow GTAs and experienced Graduate Teaching Fellow providing both verbal and written feedback on the pros and cons of teaching techniques. 


It has been especially difficult this year to arrange committee meetings for this council, so the Graduate School already has booked rooms for committee meetings for the 2009-2010 academic year.  The dates are:  October 13, 2009; December 8, 2009; January 12, 2010; and March 9, 2010.  The Research & New Programs committee will be combined with the Committee on Program and Degree Requirements in evaluating proposals for new degree programs, certificate programs, and alternative doctoral residency.  The Committee on Teaching, Research and Service Awards will have only one meeting on 1/28/2009 at 3:00 p.m.  The Financial Aid Committee will meet on an ad hoc basis only.


Dean David Francko thanked everyone for their hard work this year.  In recapping the past year, several key points came to light.  One year ago, the Graduate School did not have: 

  • ETD

  • Web Based application in Banner

  • A Mechanism to have multiple residency options for doctoral students

  • Maximum fellowships offers – through high quality applicants, personalization, phone calls, personal letter, we have offered a total of 120-130 fellowships this year versus 109 last year.

  • Research & Travel – There was a significant increase in available funds, with over 470 students’ being awarded approximately $295,000.

***The departments have been the driving force & such a big help!


The Graduate School will have a new partner for Health Insurance for graduate students beginning in 2009-2010.  The new insurance will be lower in cost with better coverage.  This is one of the best such policies in the country.


Dean Francko expressed his appreciation for all of the hard work from the Graduate Council and departments. 

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 4:35 p.m.