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Graduate School

GRADUATE COUNCIL

Minutes of

January 16th, 2009

MEMBERS PRESENT: Marcus Agustin, Linda Carlisle, M. Jane Gillespie, Steve Hansen, Gameli Kumasi, Stephanie McAndrews, Steve McCommas, Diane Sol, G. Stacey Staples, Erin Timpe, Valerie Yancey

MEMBERS EXCUSED: Scott Belobrajdic, Rakesh Bharati, Laura Fowler, Mariana Solares, Jianpeng Zhou

GUESTS: Ronald Schaefer, Associate Dean, The Graduate School

I. Announcements

Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Stephen Hansen announced that the LINC (Leadership in Interdisciplinarity, Networking & Collaboration) conference [http://www.siue.edu/linc/] would take place at SIUE on Monday, February 2nd, at Washington University on Tuesday, February 3rd, and the UMSL Cortex Building on Wednesday, February 4th. Saint Louis University will take part at SIUE on February 2nd. Speakers include Tom Cooley, Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Office of Budget Finance and Award Management of the National Science Foundation. Registration is free, and SIUE faculty are encouraged to attend.

II. Approval of Minutes of December 5th, 2008

Marcus Agustin made a motion to approve the minutes; Stacey Staples seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

III. Report of the Executive Committee

The Executive Committee did not meet.

IV. Report of the Programs Committee

A. Form 91A - Speech Communication (CAS-08-063)

The graduate program wishes to enhance the rigor of its program and to organize its fields of study in a manner to help better market the Speech Communication graduate program. The graduate program supports future PhD students very well and the graduate program would like to improve the applied side of the program and bring it "up to these same high standards." These changes would also help students focus on their area of interest: health communication, organizational communication, or interpersonal communication. The five changes proposed "are needed to strengthen and enhance the rigor of [the] MA program." They include creating the emphases noted above; formalizing the structure of the program of study into three categories, theory and area of specialization, methods and statistics, and electives; reducing the credit hours of SPC 500 (Seminar in Communication theory) and SPC 501 (Communication Research Methods and Tools) from four credit hours to three, thereby reducing the number of hours required from 35 to 33; and adding a restriction on electives for students with no background in communication.

Although the program asked for the change to be effective Spring of 2009, this date will be changed to Fall of 2009.

The Programs Committee also reviewed the assessment plans for the 18 graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. It plans to review the remaining graduate and professional assessment plans on January 23rd. Steve Hansen and Joel Hardman will meet with the graduate program directors in February to discuss how to better plan for assessment.

The Programs Committee's report was accepted unanimously.

V. Report of the Educational and Research Policies Committee

The ERP did not meet.

VI. Continuing Business

There was no continuing business.

VII. New Business

A. HERI and SIUE Faculty Responses

For the past several years, one of the Associate Provost's objectives has been to help build a climate that is supportive of graduate education and research. To this end, the Graduate School and the Graduate Council have articulated the values and standards that enhance the climate for graduate education and research at the university. The Graduate Council initiated a number of important projects to realize those goals. It defined the goals of graduate education, articulated the criteria for quality graduate programs, encouraged the faculty to consider the meaning and implications of a teacher-scholar philosophy, reorganized program review and assessment, and implemented the SAGE (Strategic Advancement of Graduate Education) program.

Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Stephen Hansen handed out a "Summary of SIUE Faculty Attitudinal Responses" from HERI, the Higher Education Research Institution at UCLA. The survey is given every three years. The last "snapshot" of faculty values was taken in 2007 and compared to responses from 2004. 68.8% of the faculty said that pursuing extramural funding was of high or highest priority compared to 60.1% in 2004. 92.4% of the faculty who responded are committed to the welfare of the institution compared to 84.2% in 2004. 78.3% of faculty felt that their research is valued by departmental colleagues compared to 69.8% in 2004. 66.7% of faculty in 2007 felt that they had the opportunity for scholarly pursuits as opposed to 58.1% in 2004. 63.4% of faculty noted research or publishing demands as a source of stress for them during the past two years, down from 64.5% in 2004. In 2007, 58.2% felt that there was adequate support for research compared to 50.2% in the previous survey. 86.8% saw graduate education as an important part of SIUE's mission, up from 85.6%.

On the positive side, Hansen said there is progress in attitudes on the value of research and graduate education but there is a clear opportunity to do more, since only 66% are satisfied with the opportunities for scholarship, 63% feel that publishing is a source of stress and only 58% feel that research is adequately supported.

B. SIUE Budget

Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Stephen Hansen announced that in December SIUE was asked to return 2.5% of its state budget. All units had set aside a contingency fund for this purpose and this rescission did not require additional cuts. The deans were then asked to conduct a "budget exercise" in which they would find a way to give back an additional 5%. SIUE is proceeding to plan its budget as if the 7.5% cut in the state appropriation will be permanent for FY10 and beyond.

The Graduate School is responsible for setting aside $56,000 to reserve for the remainder of FY09 and to find $56,000 to cut for the FY10 budget. Besides the Graduate School, the Institute for Urban Research, the Illinois Education Research Council, and the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center also report to Associate Provost Hansen. Since the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center is bringing in a number of large grants which has freed up state appropriated dollars, Associate Provost Hansen took $16,000 from that unit for FY09. Unfortunately, NCERC will not receive any state-appropriated university funds after FY09. The IERC is also receiving a large number of grants which has also created a large amount of lapsed state salary dollars. Hansen will use $40,000 of these dollars from IERC for the FY09 reserve.

For FY10, however, Hansen proposed a different approach. First, NCERC will have no university dollars from which to draw. Second, the IERC has proven to be very productive and is on the verge of some significant research grants. Hansen, consequently, said that he did not want to hamper the IERC's progress by reducing its budget. With those restrictions, Hansen explained that he would look to the Graduate School and the Institute for Urban Research from which to reduce the budget. The IUR seems to be on the verge of achieving some of its objectives, but the Graduate School cannot take the entire cut. Consequently, Hansen proposes reducing the Graduate School budget by $40,000 and the IUR budget by $12,000. IUR will reduce its support lines, i.e., the funds that have been used to seed multi-disciplinary teams of faculty.

For the Graduate School, there isn't much flexibility. The budget from state-appropriated dollars is:

  • Salaries $730,000
  • CGA $142,000
  • STEP $ 80,000
  • Support $ 33,000
  • EGE/SAGE $ 50,000

Hansen said that he would not lay off any staff nor reduce graduate fellowships (CGA) He suggested that cutting the EGE will have the least negative impact on the faculty. The Grad Council voted to use EGE for Project SAGE three years ago. The four year program is entering its last year in FY10 and money is to go to engineering and nursing to promote those programs. Fortunately neither of these graduate programs have significant enrollment problems. Engineering is dependent on international students, and that situation is being addressed by Associate Dean Ron Schaefer. The graduate nursing program actually has more graduate student applicants than they have room for. Hansen asked for comments from the Council. There was general agreement that Hansen's approach to the budget exercise was reasonable.

In related budget issues, Hansen stated that deans are handling the cuts differently. In general, instructional equipment and faculty development funds (FDF) are the most at risk. Some or all Schools and the College may not have FDF available to support faculty travel. Currently, the Graduate School requires the department and/or the college or school to provide matching travel funds. The Graduate School will match up to $800 of those dollars. Hansen asked the Council what they thought of the idea of suspending the matching requirement for the remainder of FY09. If the Graduate School suspends the matching requirement, should there be limits on faculty eligibility, e.g., one trip per year, grant recipients only, or reducing the proportion required to 1/3 instead of one half of the approved expenses and matching two to one. Stephanie McAndrews and Jane Gillespie felt that it would not be fair to require those who were trying to preserve their FDF to use their FDF money for travel.

Ron Schaefer felt that late spring conferences could bring positive and wide exposure to SIUE, and wanted to see ways found for faculty to attend those conferences to give papers.

The Council agreed unanimously that the Graduate School should suspend the matching requirements for faculty travel for the remainder of FY09.

Hansen asked the Council to examine the budget issue from the perspective of revenue enhancement, that is, to consider cutting tuition waivers in half for 25% graduate assistants to increase revenue approximately $125,000 per semester. Another option is to offer the waivers for 25% assistantships without a stipend. Hansen also wished to increase the Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR) on private agreements to 15%. The Graduate Council would like to consider the issue of reducing waivers for part-time (25%) graduate assistantships during February's Council meeting. Associate Provost Hansen will provide statistics on the number of assistantships, the stipend level and tuition dollars waived.

C. Graduate Dean's Evaluation

Stephanie McAndrews announced that the Graduate Council should begin to conduct the annual graduate dean evaluation. She asked for volunteers. The three members of the review committee are Stephanie McAndrews, Erin Timpe, and Valerie Yancey.

VIII. Adjournment

Stephanie McAndrews made a motion to adjourn; Steve McCommas seconded. The motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 3:02 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen L. Hansen,

Associate Provost for Research and Dean,
The Graduate School

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