The University of Alabama
February 26, 2013

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 in 110 AIME Building.


Dr. Mary Curtner-Smith, Dr. Jason DeCaro,
Dr. Robert Findlay,
Dr. John Giggie, Dr. Yuebin Guo,
Dr. Jonathon Halbesleben, Dr. Timothy Haskew,
Dr. Rick Houser, Dr. Richard Houston,
Dr. Burcu Keskin, Dr. Aaron Kuntz,
Dr. Margo Lamme, Dr. James Leeper,
Dr. Louis Marino, Dr. Kagendo Mutua,
Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell, Dr. Jeffrey Parker,
Dr. Michael Picone, Dr. Steve Thoma,
Dr. Mark Weaver, Dr. Frederick Whiting,
Dr. Vivian Wright


Dr. Marsha Adams, Dr. Kim Bissell,
Dr. Linda Knol, Professor Allison Wetzel,
Dr. Joseph Weber
Dr. Susan Gaskins



Prof. Steve Miller

Dr. Louis A. Pitshmann


Dr. John Schmitt, Associate Dean
Dr. Andrew Goodliffe, Assistant Dean
Ms. Beth Yarbrough, Registrar


Mr. Derrick Stokes (Absent)

Mr. Jonathan Handy


GUEST(S):  Mr. Blake Bedsole



Dean David Francko welcomed everyone to the first meeting of 2013.

I. Approval of the Minutes of the November 15, 2012 Meeting – Dean Francko asked for any corrections to the minutes. Motion was made and seconded to accept the minutes as written – motion passed.

II. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

A. Admission and Recruitment Committee (Dr. Mary Elizabeth Curtner-Smith, Chair) –

The committee reviewed and approved to continue the waived admission requirements for the following programs: Master of Fine Arts in Theatre and Master of Arts in Health Studies.

B. Fellowship & Scholarship Committee (Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell, Chair) –

In Round One, 28 Graduate Council Fellowship offers were made and 19 offers were made to student in the Research/Creative Activity Round. Dr. Nelson-Gardell thanked all six (6) members of the committee for their hard work which included working on the weekends.

Dr. Andrew Goodliffe added that the review/awarding process works very well and the committee members do not just look at GRE/GPAs but the entire nomination information as a whole. University Scholars students fall under the same criteria as regular graduate students– each nominee must be admitted to a graduate program and have completed six (6) hours or fewer toward their graduate career. If a department “rank” orders their nominations, the committee may or may not consider this information when awarding the fellowships.

Dean Francko stated that many departments think this is a Graduate School rule, but it is a Graduate Council policy. The Graduate Council may want to review the criteria that are currently in place. The Graduate Council will max out the fellowships this year, and based on previous year’s data we project that approximately 80% of the students offered fellowships will attend the UA in the 2013 Fall semester.

C. Teaching, Research and Service Award Committee (Dr. Susan Gaskins, Chair)
Dr. Susan Gaskins thanked her committee on their hard work. The committee reviewed and awarded the following students (Handout #1).

Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation: John Mitcham and Yanping Zhang

Outstanding Master’s Thesis: K. Lance Wilson.

Excellence in Teaching by a Master’s Student: Allison Hiss

Excellence in Teaching by a Doctoral Student: Jefferson Walker

Excellence in Research by a Master’s Student: Zachary Wahl-Alexander

Excellence in Research by a Doctoral Student: Matthew Shannon

Outstanding Service by a Graduate Student: Rosemary Clement

Dr. Schmitt responded to a question about the time covered by the various awards. Some students who have completed their degree can be nominated for certain of the awards, in part because the awards committees want to insure that they have multiple semesters’ data on each nominated student. The specific deadlines and procedures for all of these awards are listed on the Graduate School website.

The nominations get stronger each year in every college across campus. Thank you to all of the faculty members who worked hard on these committees and the faculty members who took the time to nominate their students.

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

A. Dean David Francko – NAA License Tag Fellowships amount to approximately $450,000 per year. Typically the Graduate School awards approximately 28 per year. The monetary award is comparable to the Graduate Council Fellowship, except the students must be Alabama residents. Nominations are due April 4th, 2013.

Research/Travel grant – supplemental round – reminder will go out the middle of March and will be due by the middle of April. To date, approximately 40 more Research/Travel requests have been submitted compared with last year’s requests, which equates to about $50,000 more than this date in 2012. We can project that ca. 850 students will be awarded a Research/Travel grant (ca. $550,000 in funding) for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Enrollment at all SEC schools is down for the 3rd year in a row, with some down 10-15% during that 3-year period. UA’s Fall 2012 graduate student enrollment increased only 1.7% vs. Fall 2011, but UA is better off than most schools across the country.

UA Graduate applications are down about 550 apps for the 2013 Fall semester compared with the same time last year, and this is the first time applications have been down since 2006. This may have much to do with the economy. Summer applications are down about 5%. Again, virtually all universities are reporting application declines this year.

B. Associate Dean John Schmitt – Dr. Schmitt thanked all representatives on the Graduate Council for all of the work put in on program review: Dr. Bob Findlay, Dr. Tim Haskew, Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell, Dr. Marysia Galbraith and Dr. Cathy Pagani. Although this is an OAA process, it is run out of the Graduate School office. The reviews for 2012-2013 are concluding, and reviews for 2013-2014 already have begun. All 191 of UA’s programs are reviewed on a regular cycle.

C. Assistant Dean Andrew Goodliffe – Dr. Goodliffe and Blake Bedsole have been working hard to fine-tune the recruitment process. The projects the Graduate School is currently working on are listed in Handout #2.

Previously, when all admission information was submitted to the Graduate School, then the information was released to departments for review. Now departments will be able to see the application immediately - even if there are incomplete items. Eventually, everything will be seen and reviewed online.

Blake Bedsole talked about enhancing the way we locate students. The Graduate School is looking into a plan to identify prospective graduate students through GRE and other test scores. If a student submits a test score to UA but has not applied, the Graduate School will begin contacting that particular student with a follow-up process.

Talisma is the software that Undergraduate Admissions has been using, as well as other smaller areas across campus. Students will receive automated emails about materials being received.
Currently, the website is being redesigned, and information is needed regarding what students are doing. We may design/add a virtual tour online, send out t-shirts, etc. If you have any ideas, please let us know. Undergraduate Admissions has alumni/recruits in many states across campus. As a first step, we will be advertising at Bama Bound.

The Graduate School is also looking for new ideas from students/faculty/ departments for bullets on the GS website. Dean Francko reminded everyone that all of the application fees are used for the Research/Travel grant along with other recruitment projects.

IV. Reports from Standing University Committees

There were no standing committee reports.

V. Old Business

There was no old business.

VI. New Business

There was no new business.
There being no further business, Dean Francko adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m.