The University of Alabama
November 16, 2010

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16,

2010 in 205 Gorgas Library.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Dr. Marsha Adams, Dr. Rebecca Allen,
Dr. Kim Caldwell, Dr. Mary Curtner-Smith,
Dr. Lisa Dorr, Dr. Marysia Galbraith,
Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Diane Johnson,
Dr. Margo Lamme, Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell,
Dr. John Petrovic, Dr. Leslie Rissler,
Dr. Nancy J. Rubin, Dr. Edward Schnee,
Dr. Steve Thoma, Dr. Lori Turner,
Dr. Wayne J. Urba
n, Dr. Derek Williamson, Dr. Vivian Wright

MEMBERS ABSENT: Dr. Martin Bakker, Dr. Kim Bissell,
Dr. F. Todd DeZoort, Dr. Susan Gaskins,
Dr. Timothy Haskew, Dr. Stevan Marcus,
Dr. Steve Miller, Dr. Michael Picone,
Dr. Wendy Rawlings, Dr. Kristy Reynolds,
Dr. Jamie Satcher

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS: Dr. Louis A. Pitschmann
ABSENT: Dr. Harold Stowell

Dr. Natalie Adams, Assistant Dean
Ms. Beth Yarbrough, Registrar


GUEST(S): Dr. Rob Morgan – College of Commerce & Business Admin.
Dr. Marietta Stanton – Capstone College of Nursing
Dr. Roy Ann Sherrod – Capstone College of Nursing
Dr. Joe Benson – Vice President for Research
Dr. Tanta Miles – Director & Research Compliance Officer –
Institutional Review Board


Dean Francko welcomed everyone and introductions were made. Dr. Francko asked if there were corrections to the September 28, 2010 minutes. A motion was made that the minutes be accepted as written. The motion was seconded and the minutes were accepted.
Dr. Joe Benson, Vice President for Research, and Dr. Tanta Myles, Director & Research Compliance Officer, were introduced. In the past, the Psychology Strategic Planning Core has noticed delays with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) holding up research in relation to a student’s dissertation. After looking into the submissions from this past year, just between Psychology and Social Work there were 86 separate submissions. Although the average number of days waiting for a response from IRB after submission was 39, the final approval takes about 56 days. The ad hoc committee listed a few suggestions:

  • More help – Graduate Student Assistant.

  • Purchase Better Software.

  • Recruit more members to serve on IRB Committees.

  • Increase training for investigators.

  • Increase training in specific areas of human subjects.

  • Implement a system to track reviewers.

  • Form an informal Committee on Issues with IRB.

Dr. Joe Benson spoke about the protocols – this year alone, the University of Alabama’s submissions are up to 900 with two people handling the workload. Previously, approximately 300 submissions were processed per year. A new compliance specialist has been hired and currently the department is advertising for another compliance specialist.
The Current IRB Process is as follows:

  • Project is submitted and logged in.

  • The project is sent to a specialist for processing.

  • If all paperwork is approved, the proposal is sent to the committee for approval.

  • If changes are needed in the proposal, there is a limit of 60 days to make the changes and send back to the reviewer. Once all paperwork is approved and completed, then the proposal will go to the committee.

The major problem is with the number of reviewers working at this time in conjunction with the number of missing documents and protocols in the submissions. Steps are being made to shorten the time using email notification to the reviewer and all people involved. Complete information regarding submissions can be found on the web at

Currently, 30% of the protocols are submitted through E-Protocols and it would help if this increased. There is also a need to increase the size of the committee and the size of the quorums. While any minor changes in the submission are completed in the office through a sub-committee, all major changes must go back to the committee.

Most protocols were developed for biomedical research; however, these protocols must be held for all types of research. IRB is working toward improving this process better through the following steps:

  • Committee alternates have been added in order to meet the quorum.

  • Additional compensation has been added for faculty serving on the IRB committee.

Faculty members have expressed opinions regarding the new training model being tedious and very time consuming. The “CITI” program is used nationally for testing and retesting faculty. The University of Alabama retests their faculty every 2 years - whereas most schools review yearly.

New faculty members receive the following training:

  • IRB Training

  • Mini Session Training

  • Self Evaluation

  • E-Protocol

I. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

A. Committee on Program & Degree Requirements – Dr. Derek Williamson, on behalf of both the Program & Degree Requirements Committee and Research & New Programs Committee presented a new dual degree program between the Master of Arts in Management and the Master of Science in Nursing. See Handout #1. Only 12 hours will be allowed to double count toward both degrees, i.e., 6 in each degree. The committee was in favor of the proposal. After some discussion, a motion was made and seconded to accept; 17 were in favor, none opposed, one abstained. The motion passed.

B. Committee on Admission & Recruitment – Dr. Edward Schnee, on behalf of the Committee on Admissions & Recruitment reported.

   a. Currently, the Higher Education Administration (HEA) department has a waiver for the GRE exam. The department will not seek to renew this exemption. As a result, next year, all applicants will be required to take the exam for admission purposes.

   b. Creative Writing has submitted a proposal to waive the GRE test for admissions. Most other schools with a similar program do not require the exam. This was considered a strong proposal due to the fact that most of the admission evaluation is based on writing submissions, and the test has no correlation to the admissions decisions made by the department. A motion was made and seconded to accept the exemption for Creative Writing proposal along with a follow-up. 14 were in favor, none opposed, one abstained and the motion passed.

C. Committee on Financial Aid – Dr. Natalie Adams spoke on Dr. Diane Johnson’s behalf. The deadlines for the 2011-2012 Graduate Council Fellowships (GCF) are as follows:
    a. Round 1 – 1/20/2011
    b. Research/Creative Activity Round – 2/10/2011
    c. Round 2 – 3/3/2011
    d. Round 3 – 3/31/2011

Currently, there is an 80-81% acceptance rate. Although the stipends cannot be raised, there is a new program to share money between the Department and the Graduate School.

The new Fellowship Enhancement Partnership (FEP) program will be used to augment standard GCF awards instead of cannibalizing valuable department assistantship lines that could be used to recruit another new student. See Handout #2.

II. Reports from the Dean’s Office and Academic Affairs
Dean Francko spoke about the upcoming Recruitment Seminar. There will be a representative from the GRE test center to talk about the upcoming changes to the exam. The new GRE test will begin August 1, 2011 and the changes will affect scoring, scaling and contents.
Many new items are being used for recruitment. In the local newspaper, it was not mentioned about the growth of the Graduate School in an article on UA growth. The new goal for graduate student enrollment is approximately 5200 by the year 2013. Currently, the Graduate School enrollment percentage increase is greater than the Undergraduate percentage increase. The set goal is to add 150-200 students this year in order to have approximately 4700 students by the year 2011.

With these preliminary numbers, we need to increase the Graduate Assistantship funding and the GCF funding. In 2009, there were approximately 1500 Graduate Assistantships (.50) and 25 of those were faculty grant positions. In 2010, we have increased to approximately 1621

Graduate Assistantships (.50) and this does not include the GCF. If we can increase our overall number to 1750 students, then funding would increase to 38%.

Normally, there is approximately $2,000,000 more generated by graduate student tuition revenue than the costs of funding graduate student support. This year, the positive difference is approximately $7,000,000. This is due to several factors, including the increase in outside grants. Dean Francko expressed his appreciation to the entire faculty for their hard work in securing outside grants.

Dr. John Schmitt reported that committees are reviewing the college nominees for UA Outstanding Thesis and Outstanding Dissertation. The Graduate Council’s Committee on Teaching, Research and Service Awards will begin its reviews in mid-January for the 5 awards for Outstanding Teaching (masters and doctoral), Outstanding Research (masters and doctoral), and Outstanding Service (by a graduate student at any degree level).

The McNair Scholarship submissions are due January 14-February 26th.

This year there will be a major change in the commencement ceremony. Beginning in December, the dissertation chair (or hooder) will sit with his or her student and have a photo taken with each student. If the chair (or hooder) has more than one student, then all students will be hooded together. As a result, the lineup will not be in alphabetical order.

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.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.