The University of Alabama
September 28, 2010

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 in the Ferguson Forum. 



Dr. Rebecca Allen, Dr. Kim Caldwell,

Dr. F. Todd DeZoot, Dr. Lisa Dorr,

Dr. Susan Gaskins, Dr. Diane Johnson,

Dr. Margo Lamme, Dr. Stevan Marcus,

Dr. John Petrovic, Dr. Michael Picone,

Dr. Wendy Rawlings, Dr. Kristy Reynolds,

Dr. Leslie Rissler, Dr. Nancy J. Rubin,

Dr. Jamie Satcher, Dr. Edward Schnee,

Dr. Steve Thoma, Dr. Lori Turner,

Dr. Derek Williamson, Dr. Vivian Wright



Dr. Marsha Adams, Dr. Martin Bakker,

Dr. Kim Bissell, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Curtner-Smith,

Dr. Marysia Galbraith, Dr. Yuebin Guo,

Dr. Timothy Haskew, Dr. Wayne J. Urban,

Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell



Dr. Louis A. Pitschmann

Dr. Harold Stovall

Prof. Steve Miller



Dr. John Schmitt, Associate Dean 

Dr. Natalie Adams, Assistant Dean

Ms. Beth Yarbrough, Registrar



Ms. Anita Mixon



Dr. Kenneth Fridley - Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering

Mr. William Teague - Theatre & Dance

Mr. Christopher Montpetit - Theatre & Dance

Mr. Blake Bedsole - Business Administrtion

Ms. Jenelle Marsh - Law School


Dean Francko welcomed everyone, and introductions were made.  He asked if there were corrections to the April 27, 2010 minutes.  Stevan Marcus moved that the minutes be accepted as written, Rebecca Allen seconded the motion, and the minutes were accepted.

Dr. Francko announced that the recent census numbers show that The University of Alabama has set an enrollment record of 30,000+ students.  The Graduate School has 4546 students, but by the final census count, the Graduate School will be pushing 4600 students.  Last year, enrollment was up 255 students and up 600 students from two years ago.  Enrollment of graduate students has increased 11.1%, which is greater than the undergraduate percentage.  New enrollment targets will be forthcoming, and the Graduate School is probably looking at a goal of 5200-5300 students.


All measures of quality are up. Currently, there are 1500 doctoral students, up 15% from four (4) years ago.  We have set records in all categories – 1st Generation, Hispanic, African American, and so forth. Out-of-state students outnumber in-state students – approximately 60 to 40%.  There are a record number of distance programs, and the Graduate Council has been a great help to recruitment.


Most SEC schools have decreased their doctoral numbers, but The University of Alabama has increased by approximately 9%.  Approximately 8,000 applications have been submitted to the Graduate School, and the number of campus visits by prospective students has increased dramatically. The University of Alabama even has 13 graduate students on the football team, which is greater than any other school in the SEC.


The Research and Travel Grant fund for graduate students probably will increase to over $400,000 and support approximately 500 students. Last year, the Graduate School funded over 400 students with $325,000 through this fund. This year, the Graduate School is looking to increase assistantships and fellowships as well. In 2006, 36% of all graduate students were funded; in 2010, this has increased to 39%.


There has been a change in the certification of international students. For admission, all international students must show full financial support for the first year. Beginning this year, the assistantship package alone will not meet the minimum requirements, and our graduate students will be notified of this change.  


I. Reports from Graduate Council Committees


A. Committee on Program & Degree Requirements with the Research and New Programs Committee


Dr. Derek Williamson presented a proposal for a dual-enrollment  program between the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Management (Handout #1).  After some discussion, a motion for approval was made and seconded. All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained and the motion passed.


Dr. John Petrovic, on behalf of the two committees, presented a proposal for dual-enrollment degree programs between the Master of Science in Civil Engineering and the Juris Doctor (Handout #2).  After some discussion, a motion was made and seconded to approve.  All were in favor, none opposed, none abstained and the motion passed.


B. Committee on Admission & Recruitment


Dr. Edward Schnee, on behalf of the Committee, reported on a proposal from the MFA program in Creative Writing regarding GRE/GMAT Scores. The proposal has been tabled pending additional information from the department. This proposal will be presented at the next Graduate Council meeting.


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


Dean Francko distributed a summary of findings of the 2010, long-awaited National Research Council (NRC) Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs Report (Handout#3). Following the NRC’s criteria for which programs are included, only 18 of our 42 doctoral programs were evaluated.  These included only the traditional programs – no doctoral programs from Nursing, Social Work, Business, Education or Human Environmental Sciences. The report was based on 2000-2006 information from 221 schools. This research included 20 variables in three dimensions:  research activity of faculty; student support and outcomes; and diversity of the academic environment. 


The 2010 data will be even better than the 2006. The University of Alabama has increased tenured faculty, funding, publications and grants by 40%.  NRC evaluates every 10-12 years, but soon it may be every 4-6 years. This report is a good marketing tool for targeting institutions, students and the public. A news release will be going to the Tuscaloosa News (news release Attachment). This information is accessible on the web at the following: 


Dr. Natalie Adams reported on recruiting. There is a new Prospectus and a new recruitment video on the Graduate School website, along with the calendar of recruitment events. If a department needs copies of the Prospectus or would like to join our recruiter at an event, please let the Graduate School know – we are here to help. To increase enrollment further, the Graduate School is currently interviewing applicants for a new recruitment and admissions position. 


The Recruitment Retreat will be November 16, 2010. A speaker from the GRE will be present to discuss the major changes in the GRE. 


It was suggested that the Graduate School look at targeting Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Boston with our recruitment.  Some states are hard to recruit. For example, Mississippi does not have any fairs or professional days for their undergraduates considering graduate school. And many other schools have stopped that also.


In APPTRACK, the following documents have been added for viewing: Letters of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose and CVs. Another feature is that a student can input the name of a reference person along with his/her email address during the application process. Once submitted, the reference person will be sent an email requesting the submission of the recommendation. Each department can determine whether or not it wants to require electronic submission. Training will be given at the Recruitment Retreat.


Dr. John Schmitt announced that the 24th annual GTA workshop was held on August 12-13, and included 235 participates. The videos of primary presentations soon will be posted on the Graduate School’s website, along with videos from several previous Workshops. Dr. Diane Johnson suggested that a new session be added to teach GTAs how to teach a subject in a classroom of 30 versus 300 students.


The Graduate Council’s awards committee determines winners of Outstanding Service, Outstanding Teaching (master’s and doctoral), and Outstanding Research (master’s and doctoral). Winners of the Outstanding Thesis and Outstanding Dissertation awards are selected by committees of emeritus faculty. The thesis and dissertation nominations are due from the colleges and schools November 8, 2010. The teaching, research and service nominations are due January 11, 2011.


The “Completing a Thesis or Dissertation Seminar” was held on September 22 and 23 and had good attendance. ProQuest announced that the publishing fees of $55.00 for thesis and $65.00 for dissertation have been eliminated.


III. Reports from Standing University Committees


There were no standing committee reports.


IV. Old Business


Dr. Natalie Adams stated that the ELI representative(s) would be at the next Graduate Council meeting in November.


V. New Business


Dr. Michael Picone expressed his concerns about the Committee Acceptance Form.  The
“Review & Acceptance of ETD” section has him concerned about liability and the fact that only the thesis or dissertation chair (but not the student) signs the section about final review of the document. 


Several possible revisions were discussed, as was the fact that the final document represents the student, chair, committee members, department and University.  The consensus was that that the best approach would be for the student’s signature and the date to be added under the Committee Chair’s signature.


Dr. Rebecca Allen brought up the issue of human subjects/animal subjects approval for research.  Several members stressed that they feel IRB approval is burdensome and takes too long.  As a result, it is taking students longer to complete their thesis or dissertation research and for faculty to move forward efficiently with their research.  One or more guest speakers from the IRB office will be invited to the next Graduate Council meeting for discussion.


Dean Francko closed the meeting by adding that many exciting plans are on the horizon this year, and he appreciates each and every member for his hard work. 


The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.