The University of Alabama
February 23, 2016

The regular meeting of the Graduate Council was held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 in 110 AIME Building.

Dr. Andrew Billings, Dr. Joy Burnham, Dr. Ibrahim Cemen,
Dr. Julia A. Cherry, Dr. Lisa Davis, Dr. Thomas Fitzgibbon,
Dr. Andrew Graettinger, Dr. Ann Graves, Dr. Laura M. Hopson,
Dr. Seongsin Kim, Dr. Mary Meares Dr. Sharif Melouk,
Dr. Daniel L. Riches, Dr. John Vincent.

Dr. Daniel Avery, Dr. Jason Bara, Dr. Alexandra Cook,
Dr. Linda P. Cummins, Dr. Maria Hernandez-Reif,
Dr. Burcu B. Keskin, Dr. Linda Knol, Dr. Alice March,
Prof. Sarah Marshall, Dr. Douglas McKnight,
Dr. John Petrovic, Dr. Karen Salekin, Dr. Ion Stancu,
Dr. Sara Tomek.

Dr. Martin Evans
Dr. Donald Gilstrip

Dr. David Francko, Dean
Dr. Andrew Goodliffe, Assistant Dean
Dr. Cathy Pagani, Associate Dean
Mr. Eric Harris, Assistant Registrar

Ms. Jean Swindle

I. 2016 Strategic Master Plan –

The 2016 Strategic Master Planning process, headed by Interim Provost Dr. Kevin Whitaker, was introduced by Dr. Darrell Meyer to the council for a better understanding of the process and with the aim of increasing participation with limited time remaining for input. In concert with the Campus Master Plan, the Strategic Master Plan will address various perceived needs and create measurable benchmarks and operational goals in order to track collective progress over five years. The key to beginning this effort is a survey, comprised of four basic open-ended questions: 1) what is your current impression? 2) What is your vision? 3) What should the focus be on (with unlimited resources)? 4) What else? Thus far, 1200 responses (from faculty/staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, alumni, and parents) have been received campus-wide. Student responses have been late in coming. Both positive and negative impressions are being recorded. Contrary to the last strategic plan, we want to make sure that “big ideas” are being laid out. We want to bring the UA’s “core values” to the forefront. Dr. Meyer referred to a visual word cloud and how certain key words will figure more or less prominently in the institution plan going forward. He touched on the important topic of diversity and how UA is certainly diverse, but the right environment is not in place to increase interaction among different groups on campus. Other keywords that showed up in survey results were “caring,” “research,” and “camaraderie.” Weighting the feedback is the next important step in the plan.

II. Approval of Minutes of the November 19, 2015 Meeting.

Minutes passed without corrections.


Dr. Morgan discussed the background “nuts and bolts” of the STEM path to the MBA and expressed how successful it has been. Going forward, the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration would like to expand this recruiting program for the MBA by adding a CREATE Path, a BIZ Path, and a GLOBAL Path. It is believed that these three additional pathways will provide STEM Path students with a much richer undergraduate experience while providing three new segments of UA undergraduate students with similar opportunities to better prepare themselves for professional careers. The existing STEM Path targets high quality, incoming freshmen who have chosen to major in STEM disciplines at UA. Qualified applicants must hold a minimum high school GPA of 3.3 and a minimum ACT score of 28 to be offered early admission to the MBA program. During the junior year, students apply for admission to the Graduate School for the MBA program. Students in the program then complete their MBA degrees in five years, as opposed to six. With these new paths to the MBA, it is increasingly more likely that CB&A will be able to develop a larger corps of professional managers in industries dependent on engineering, science, innovation and technology in the State and beyond.

Both Dean Francko and Provost Whitaker expressed their enthusiasm for this effort on the part of CB&A and others like it. Not many universities in the US offer this broad-based approach. See attachment #1 for more information.

IV. Reports from Graduate Council Committees

    A. Admissions & Recruitment Committee – Dr. Andrew Graettinger

Dr. Graettinger explained that there is a new version (with rewording) of the TOEFL requirement for the catalog, thus closing a preexisting loophole. The new wording states that to earn a TOEFL waiver students must have studied in the US as opposed to at a US institution. Many students can now earn a US degree at a US institution without having set foot in the US, and gained the associated language skills. Dr. Goodliffe added that there are many international students that obviously should not receive a TOEFL waiver. Exceptions can still be made on a case-by case-basis. Motion to approve new wording was made and seconded. Motion passed to adopt. See attachment #2 for more information.

    B. Fellowships & Scholarships Committee – Dr. Julia Cherry

Dr. Cherry went over current nominations and award statistics for each Graduate Council Fellowship round. Round one saw 31 awards from 45 nominations. Round two saw 20 awards from 50 nominations. Round three is upcoming, with a deadline for nominations of February 25. The deadline for round four is March 24. Dean Francko reminded all that the License Tag Fellowship deadline (intentionally) coincides with this last deadline. See Attachment #3 for more information.

    C. Teaching, Research & Service Awards Committee – Dr. Bercu Keskin

Dr. Cathy Pagani spoke for Dr. Keskin (absent). Gratitude was expressed for everyone’s help in the nomination process for the various Outstanding Graduate Student Awards. Three committees reviewed nominations from UA colleges and schools, selecting seven university-wide winners for an award. Two winners were selected in the categories for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation and Outstanding Master’s Thesis. Five other winners were selected in their respective categories. See attachment #4 for more information.

    D. Program & Degree Requirements, Research & New Programs Committee – Dr. Daniel Riches

From the School of Library and Information Studies come two similar proposals, both previously passed in sub-committee without any dissenting votes. The first is a Specialization in archival studies (for master’s students), and the second is a Certificate in archival studies (for students in other disciplines). Both are “resource neutral” and mutually beneficial. Dean Francko called for a vote; all present were in favor. Both proposals were approved.

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

Dr. Goodliffe gave an update on application numbers. At present, the Graduate School is 5.8% down in applications. Assistance from all is appreciated in order to drive our numbers up. The McNair Scholarship deadline is Friday, February 26.

VI. University Scholars Discussion

The University Scholars Program was addressed with the hope that more departments become involved with the program. At present, there are 134 students in the program. Since the program is a useful recruiting tool and saves students (and parents) tuition, both Dr. Goodliffe and Dr. Andy Graettinger are investigating ways in which more students may be brought into the University Scholars program. Dr. Graettinger will hold an informational discussion on University Scholars for Civil Engineering students and encourages other departments to do likewise for their respective student body. See attachment #5 for more information.

VII. Reports from Standing University Committees

VIII. Old Business

There was no old business.

IX. New Business

There was no new business.


There being no further business, Dean Francko adjourned the meeting at 4:30 p.m.