The University of Alabama
November 17, 2011

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, 2011 in 110 AIME Building.


Dr. Marsha Adams, Dr. Kim Bissell,
Dr. Lisa Dorr, Dr. Robert Findlay,
Dr. DoVeanna Fulton Minor, Dr. Susan Gaskins,
Dr. Yuebin Guo, Dr. Timothy Haskew,
Dr. Allison Hetzel, Dr. Rick Houser,
Dr. Diane Johnson, Dr. Burcu Keskin,
Dr. Stevan Marcus, Dr. Louis Marino,
Dr. Kagendo Mutua, Dr. Jeffrey Parker,
Dr. John Petrovic, Dr. Michael Picone,
Dr. Jamie Satcher, Dr. Edward Schnee,
Dr. Steve Thoma, Dr. Lori Turner,
Dr. Mark Weaver, Dr. Stephen Woski


Dr. Mary Elizabeth Curtner-Smith, Dr. Marysia Galbraith,
Dr. Margo Lamme, Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell,
Dr. Jeffrey Parker, Dr. Nancy J. Rubin


Prof. Steve Miller


Dr. Louis A. Pitshmann


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


Ms. Tamica Shambly

Dean David Francko welcomed everyone and made introductions for the 2011-2012 Graduate Council. Dr. Francko asked if there were corrections to the September 27, 2011 minutes. A motion was made to accept the minutes as written. The motion was seconded and all were in favor – motion passed.


I. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

No Reports.

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

Dr. Natalie Adams reported on the new GRE test scores. The Revised GRE test was launched in August 2011. The Graduate School began receiving the scores from the revised test on November 7, 2011. There was a significant change in the scoring scale in which scores are reported in a one (1) point increment rather than a ten (10) point increment. The GRE Scoring Table (Handout #1) shows both the old scoring and new (estimated) scoring. The Graduate School will accept one or both scores for admission purposes. A student must score a 300 on the Revised GRE test to be eligible for unconditional admission. GRE plans to send a new concordance table in June reflecting data from the Revised GRE for the last nine months. The Graduate School may change its minimum score based on the new data. The Graduate School asked everyone to be flexible during this transition to a new test and a new scoring scale. All GRE scores used for admission purposes are valid for five (5) years. If a student fails to meet the minimum score on the Revised GRE test and does not have a 3.0 GPA, the student is “double-stamped” in the Graduate School, signifying that he/she does not meet conditional admission requirements. However, if a department wants to admit a double-stamped student, the department should send a petition to Dr. Natalie Adams justifying the conditional admission.

Dr. John Schmitt announced that nominations for the five (5) awards for outstanding teaching by a master’s student, outstanding research by a master’s student, outstanding teaching by a doctoral student, outstanding research by a doctoral student, and outstanding service by a graduate student are due January 11, 2012. Nominations for the outstanding thesis award and outstanding dissertation award have been received and are currently being reviewed by the committees. At the end of January, all winners will be announced.

The 2011 edition of the biennial survey of Departmental GTA Training and Development Activities has been completed and is being summarized. Departments will be notified when the data are posted to the Graduate School website.

Dean David Francko recapped the plans for background checks for GTAs. Currently, UA is in the proposal stage with the Council of Deans. The Legal department has stated that all UA graduate student employees must have a background check. Currently, it has not been determined who will pay the $26.00 background check fee – student, department, college, or UA. The next Deans’ Council meeting will be November 29th, and the results will be announced at the next Graduate Council meeting.

The background checks will be up and running beginning Fall 2012. Since the background check is an employment issue, it will be implemented in the department. Each department may want to determine the process of assistantship appointments. The College of Education, School of Social Work and the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration already conduct background checks.

Background checks for International students take approximately 2-3 weeks, whereas background checks for domestic students take approximately 24 hours. The protocol will be looking for violent crimes only. This is the same protocol used nationally.

The criminal background questions added to the admission application process have been working well, and students seem to be fine with the questions. Undergraduate Admissions has been using this process for approximately a year. All information submitted stays within the Graduate School for confidentiality reasons. If a student lies on the application, it is grounds for automatic dismissal.

A University-wide protocol is being set up to determine the risk analysis for a student that fails the background check. This may occur once or twice a year. The goal is to find any problems before employment begins. Once a background check has been completed (and passed), as long as the employment in continuous, no other background checks will be conducted.

III. Reports from Standing University Committees

There were no standing committee reports.

IV. Old Business

There was no old business.

V. New Business

Dean David Francko announced that Dr. Steve Tomlinson would be rotating off the Committee on Merger or Discontinuance of Academic Units. Dr. Wayne Urban stated he would be glad to serve during the 2012-2014 term. Dr. John Petrovic made a motion to replace Dr. Steve Tomlinson with Dr. Wayne Urban, and Dr. Diane Johnson seconded. All were in the favor and the motion passed.

There being no further business, Dean David Francko adjourned the meeting at 4:15 p.m.