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Graduate Council

EDUCATIONAL AND RESEARCH POLICIES COMMITTEE

Minutes of
January 25th, 2007

MEMBERS PRESENT: Seran Aktuna, Rakesh Bharati, Roger Boyd, Steffany Chleboun for James Panico, Mike Crider, Chair, Dave Duvernell, Christa Johnson, Nancy Lutz, Maruice Mangum, Anne Perry, William White

MEMBERS EXCUSED: S. William Whitson

I. Announcements

There were no announcements.

II. Minutes of December 4th, 2006

The minutes were approved as submitted.

III. Graduate and Professional Schools Council

Dean Hansen had previously proposed that the ERP begin looking into whether or not the professional schools of dental medicine and pharmacy should be included in the Graduate Council, thus changing the name to Graduate and Professional Schools Council. One of the questions that arises is whether the students of the professional schools should apply to the Excellence in Undergraduate Education (EUE) or Excellence in Graduate Education (EGE) competitions, since some of the professional students may not have their baccalaureate degrees.

ERP tried to determine how this change would impact procedures. Mike Crider pointed out that pharmacy students could have as little as two years of undergraduate education, or more, or have an advanced degree. Currently, they apply to the EUE competition if they do not have a baccalaureate degree. Dave Duvernell wondered who stands to gain by this proposed action since the professional schools would lose their autonomy. Both Pharmacy and Dental Medicine are already included in the Graduate Council Operating Papers.

Christa Johnson said that bringing the schools in under the Graduate Council umbrella would give first professional faculty and students greater representation. To Anne Perry's question regarding what other institutions do, Crider said that he did minimal research and found that other universities do not include the professional degrees of pharmacy and dental medicine in their graduate councils. He added that Purdue has a graduate program in pharmacy which is represented on their graduate council, but that is not the same as the Pharm.D. degree. Christa Johnson noted that SIUE is one of the few schools that combines graduate students and research in its graduate school.

Roger Boyd asked whether there are plans to have a pharmacy graduate program in the future. Crider replied that they are considering a graduate degree in pharmaceutical studies, noting that they are building relationships with chemistry and biology. Some combination would be beneficial. An MBA or MPA related to health sciences would be desirable, but at this time Pharmacy does not want to "outdistance" its resources. Crider felt that the School of Pharmacy is limited by not having a graduate program. To Maruice Mangum's question about admission standards, Crider replied that having an outside body such as the Graduate Council review the admission standards and program of study might strengthen the program. To deal with student eligibility, Mangum suggested that Pharmacy students be eligible for EUE if they have fewer than 124 credit hours.

Roger Boyd made a motion to vote at the next ERP meeting to change the name of the Graduate Council to Graduate and Professional Schools Council and fully admit the Schools of Pharmacy and Dental Medicine with all rights and responsibilities therein. Seran Aktuna seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Boyd asked the Graduate School representatives to make sure that Deans Medon and Boyle are aware of the vote on February 22nd.

IV. Old Business

A. Program Grade Point Average

The Graduate Council approved ERP's suggestion that the program GPA be considered instead of cumulative GPA in cases where the cumulative GPA would prevent a student from continuing in or graduating from a graduate program.

B. Partial Tuition Waivers for 25% Graduate Assistants

The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate did not forward to the Faculty Senate the Graduate Council's proposal to reduce half time graduate assistants' tuition waivers. Since the Executive Committee believes that the proposal would have a significant negative impact on graduate enrollment, and does not believe that it would generate revenue, it wants a study completed on how the proposal would impact students, graduate programs, and revenue. The Executive Committee believes that there are already too few graduate assistants and that the stipend is too low. They feel that a number of graduate programs might disappear.

Although Rakesh Bharati suggested trying out the practice on an experimental basis with a selected pool of graduate assistants, there would be legal issues with granting some 25% graduate assistants a full waiver, and some half a waiver.

Christa Johnson said that although it might see short term problems, the strategy would lead to long term benefits. She stressed the need to reach for high quality graduate students.

Dave Duvernell suggested that graduate programs need more full time assistantships, and asked whether SIUE was "in line" with other institutions. He thought that one way to improve the quality of SIUE graduate students would be to give more full assistantships. He suggested that if this change is made, graduate programs might get smaller. He wondered what the impact on the undergraduate programs would be. Duvernell also pointed out that there is no way to link the proposed reduced tuition waiver to a theoretical increase in stipends.

Johnson replied that enrollment is a serious concern - that SIUE could lose graduate programs if this issue is not resolved. When Bharati asked which programs are at risk, Johnson replied that she could look into that, but she felt that Physics, Music, and Sociology were among those programs at risk. She reminded the committee that one way to handle the issue was to impose restrictions on the number of assistantships.

Johnson suggested that more money for stipends would draw more committed students and therefore students of a higher caliber, whereas 25% assistantships might bring in lesser students.

Duvernell asked whether the administration could separate tuition waivers and stipends to award to students as each program determined.

Bharati said that if the number of assistantships were capped, perhaps the quality of students would improve with a smaller, more focused program. The Faculty Senate could not then say that the quality of graduate education would suffer.

Nancy Lutz said that she would like to revisit the proposal language, putting the quality issue first and mentioning the financial benefit second. Perhaps a proposal could be made that "In looking to enhance the quality of graduate education," no more than 50% of GAs may be 25% time. Christa Johnson pointed out that there is currently a freeze on the number of partial graduate assistantships allowed for each program. No graduate program may hire more partial GAs than it had in the Fall of 2005.

Roger Boyd commented that the programs could try to split up the assistantships to keep the quality of students up while trying to keep the student debt down, however he was not sure that that would work for Social Work. Having part time assistantships works well for that program, but their students said that having to pay for half their tuition under the proposed plan would "not be a deal-breaker."

Christa replied that to raise quality, SIUE needs fully committed students who attend full time.

The ERP suggested that after Steve Hansen attends the Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting on February 8th, he come back to ERP and let the committee know what he wants it to do.

V. New Business

There was no new business.

VI. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 10:21 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen L. Hansen, Dean
Graduate Studies and Research