The University of Alabama
February 23, 2010

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 in 110 AIME Building.


Dr. Martin Bakker, Dr. Shuhua Zhou
Dr. Kim Caldwell, Dr. Todd DeZoort,
Dr. Lisa Dorr, Dr. Robert H. Findlay,
Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Ida M. Johnson,
Dr. Stevan Marcus, Dr. Carol B. Mills,
Dr. John Petrovic, Dr. Wendy M. Rawlings,
Dr. Kristy E. Reynolds, Dr. Samit Roy,
Dr. Nancy J. Rubin, Dr. Jamie Satcher,
Dr. Edward Schnee, Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod,
Dr. Wayne J. Urban, Dr. Derek Williamson,
Dr. Keith A. Woodbury


Dr. Rebecca Allen, Dr. Catherine E. Davies,
Dr. Nirmala Erevelles, Dr. Marysia Galbraith,
Dr. Diane Johnson, Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell,
Dr. Lori Turner, Dr. Vivian H. Wright


Dr. Harold Stowell


Dr Louis Pitschmann, Dean of Libraries

Dr. David Francko, Graduate Dean
Dr. Judy Bonner, Provost


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


Gerald Franks

Kenya Goodson


Dr. Stan Jones, Aerospace Engineering
Dr. John Jackson, Aerospace Engineering
Dr. Miguel Mantero, Curriculum & Instruction

Associate Dean Schmitt welcomed everyone and expressed Dean Francko’s regrets that he could not attend. He was assisting colleagues at UAH as students returned to class following the recent tragic shootings.

Dr. Schmitt made introductions and asked if there were corrections to the November 17, 2009 minutes. Two corrections were noted, and the minutes were approved.

I. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

A. Joint Committee on Program & Degree Requirements and Research & New Programs– Dr. Carol Mills, on behalf of both committees, presented two alternative doctoral residency (ADR) proposals, one from the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics and another from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Dr. Stan Jones and Dr. John Jackson represented the first proposal; Dr. Miguel Mantero represented the second proposal.

1. The ADR proposal from Aerospace Engineering is outlined in Attachment #1.
The proposed alternative residency requirement includes creating a Virtual Community of Scholars.” To create this community, there will be nearly a dozen different types of interaction experiences between students and faculty and among and between both ADR and traditional residency students. Among the experiences are a required doctoral colloquium in Tuscaloosa, which includes all faculty and doctoral students; a required observation of at least one dissertation defense early in the ADR student’s program; live audiovisual conferencing; student participation in the recently developed Aerospace consortium with UAH and AU; working regularly with an on-campus student partner from the beginning of the program; using Blackboard, Wimba live classroom web conferencing, and other similar interaction tools; and publishing or having accepted for publication a refereed research article in an appropriate journal before the completion of the program.

After a short discussion, there was a motion approve the ADR proposal. Twenty-one (21 members voted in favor; 0 members were opposed; and 1 member abstained). The proposal passed.

2. The second ADR proposal from Curriculum & Instruction is outlined in Attachment #2.
The proposed ADR requires students to enroll in 18 hours of graduate level coursework across 3 consecutive semesters. The 18 hours will include 9 or more hours of coursework on the main campus in Tuscaloosa and 3 hours of coursework in CIE693, Doctoral Seminar/Workshop. CIE693 will be taken for 1 hour in each of the 3 consecutive semesters. The purpose of CIE693 is to assist in the mentoring of students who may not be on the main campus or in Tuscaloosa full-time.

After a short discussion, a motion was made to approve this ADR proposal. Twenty-one (21) members voted in favor of the proposal; 0 members were opposed; and 1 abstained. The proposal passed.

Both departments are required to submit a 4-year follow-up report to the Graduate Council. In its report each department will provide data on each of the proposal’s measures that the committees approved as able to demonstrate academic success and effectiveness in meeting the value constructs underlying doctoral residency.

B. Committee on Financial Aid – Dr. Keith Woodbury reported on the status of the Graduate Council Fellowships awards process. Approximately 85 fellowships were awarded last year, and this year the number should be about the same. In round one 28 regular Fellowships were offered, and 19 Research and Creative Activity Fellowships were offered, for a total of 47. To date, four students have accepted from Research and Creative Activity Fellowships and 11 have accepted regular fellowships.

C. Although April 15th is the deadline for students to accept the Graduate Council Fellowships, please contact your students to have them confirm before that date if possible. Last year, after departments began making personal phone calls to those who were offered fellowships, approximately 87% accepted the offers.

Round 2 nominations are due March 4. Round 3 nominations are due April 1.

D. Committee on Admissions & Recruitment - Dr. Edward Schnee reported that the committee approved an extension of the GMAT test waiver for admission to the MBA program. This process is part of the 4-year mandatory review of all admission test score waivers.

E. Committee on Teaching, Research & Service Awards – Dr. Ida Johnson reported on the winners of the 2009-2010 Graduate Student Awards for Outstanding Teaching, Research and Service. (Attachment #3)

The following are the winners:
Robert Jett – Excellence in Teaching by a Master’s Student
Bradley Okdie – Excellence in Teaching by a Doctoral Student
Benjamin Hollars – Excellence in Research by a Master’s Student
Daniel Grant – Excellence in Research by a Doctoral Student
Sarah Hartman – Outstanding Service by a Graduate Student

II. Reports from the Dean’s Office and Academic Affairs

Dr. Natalie Adams reminded everyone that the McNair Fellowship nomination deadline is Friday, February 27th.

The Graduate School will host the 4th annual Last Lecture Series, and a committee is currently working on the speaker selection. Please mark April 26th on your calendar for the winner to make his or her presentation to the University community.

Dr. John Schmitt reported on the 2009-2010 Graduate Student Award winners for Outstanding Dissertation and Thesis:
Toni Copeland - Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation
Amanda Phillips - Outstanding Master’s Thesis (co-winner)
April Kendrick - Outstanding Master’s Thesis (co-winner)

Dr. Schmitt thanked the committee for all of the time and effort involved in selecting the award winners. During Honors Week, all 8 University-wide winners will receive a plaque and $500.00 at the awards ceremonies in their respective colleges. All nominees, including those who did not win the UA-wide awards, nonetheless are award winners in their colleges. All nominees not receiving a UA award already have received a congratulatory letter and Certificate of Merit from Dean Francko.

Several previous awards committees have fine-tuned the nomination schedule. The committees determined that the best awards cycle for teaching, research and service awards nominations includes nominees from the previous academic year. For thesis and dissertation nominations, the committees determined that the best awards cycle includes nominees from the three semesters prior to the immediately preceding summer semester.

The 24th Annual Workshop for New Graduate Teaching Assistants will be August 12-13, 2010 at the Bryant Conference center. This two-day seminar is required for all new Graduate Teaching Assistants. In 2009 there was a record attendance of nearly 260. Dr. Schmitt reminded those in attendance to be sure that colleagues in their colleges do not schedule any graduate student meetings on the Thursday or Friday of the week before classes begin. If a departmental meeting is scheduled then, it conflicts with new GTAs’ required attendance at the GTA Workshop.

GTA Workshop registration information is sent to departments in early summer, and departments then log in to register each new GTA online. Once a department registers a new GTA for the Workshop, the Graduate School contacts the new GTA with all of the workshop information and materials. The materials include instructions for each new GTA to prepare and present a “microteaching” session. Each new GTA will be videotaped while teaching and will receive both verbal and written feedback.

There was brief discussion of master’s comprehensive exam committees and thesis committees. At least three department faculty serve on a master’s exam committee; a thesis committee must have at least three members—two from the department and one external to the department. In those few departments that require both a master’s comprehensive exam and a thesis, for the thesis the student either adds an external member to the existing exam committee or replaces one departmental member of the exam committee with an external member. The external member of a thesis committee serves several purposes, one of which is to provide research or creative activity expertise not available in the department.

There also was clarification of the approval of master’s comprehensive exam committees. The Graduate School does not require prior approval of master’s exam committee membership. Departments simply notify the Graduate School when each student passes or fails an exam. The Graduate School requires a priori approval of the composition of only thesis and dissertation committees; their members must adhere to the requirements for membership described in the Graduate Catalog.

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

IV. Old Business
There was no old business.

V. New Business
There was no new business.

Associate Dean Schmitt adjourned the meeting at 4:05 p.m.