February 6th, 2009
MEMBERS PRESENT: Marcus Agustin, Rakesh Bharati, Linda Carlisle, Laura Fowler, M. Jane Gillespie, Steve Hansen, Stephanie McAndrews, Steve McCommas, Diane Sol, Mariana Solares, G. Stacey Staples, Erin Timpe, Rick Yakimo for Valerie Yancey, Jianpeng Zhou
MEMBERS EXCUSED: Scott Belobrajdic, Gameli Kumasi
GUESTS: Paul W. Ferguson, Provost and Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs
Christa Johnson, Associate Dean, The Graduate School
I. Provost and Vice Chancellor Paul W. Ferguson
Provost and Vice Chancellor Paul W. Ferguson shared his thoughts on the progress that graduate education has made over the past three years at SIUE. The Provost praised the Council for its support for re-structuring program review, and for its efforts to strengthen the quality of graduate education. He also noted that SIUE has increased its assistantship stipends to make them more regionally competitive. Provost Ferguson said that SIUE graduate education is a vital part of the university and he would be resistant to reducing our momentum in graduate education during these difficult budgetary times.
The Provost also stated that while SIUE is not meant to be a research/doctoral degree granting university, there could be limited number of niche-based or interdisciplinary doctoral programs “on the horizon.” The revival of the EdD program is on track as is the new proposed DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice). Hansen said that in the future SIUE faculty will work with the Administration to develop such programs. The Provost commended the Graduate Council for being good stewards of graduate education and research.
Regarding the budget exercises, Provost Ferguson reported that the State of Illinois is potentially facing a shortfall of approximately $9 billion. The State has already requested a rescission of 2½ % of SIUE’s state budget to date. SIUE had set aside contingency funds and has handled the 2½ % rescission. In case there are additional cuts requested in Illinois, the University is going through a 5% rescission budget exercise working with each constituency groups.
Marcus Agustin reported that there are rumors in CAS about cutting graduate assistantships and that the Excellence in Undergraduate Education (EUE) program may be cut. The Provost said that while each dean was asked to develop budget cuts for this exercise, all proposed cuts would be reviewed by him, the Chancellor’s Council, and UPBC in light of the University’s priorities.
Stephanie McAndrews wondered if a unit gives something up now will it ever get it back? Provost Ferguson said that the administration would certainly try to get priority funding back to units from which cuts might be made as funds became available in the future.
The Provost thanked the Graduate Council for allowing him to visit and discuss the current issues.
Associate Dean Christa Johnson announced that the LINC conference, which was held February 2-4, 2009 and co-sponsored by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Washington University, University of Missouri at St. Louis, and Saint Louis University, had 282 registrants including representatives from more than ten universities and colleges. Speakers included Federal agency program officers and representatives from Pfizer, Monsanto, and Boeing. Funding was provided by the Research Alliance of Missouri and Pfizer. The next LINC conference will be held in early 2011. Johnson stated that the deadline for the STEP (Seed Grants for Transitional and Exploratory Projects) program was extended to Monday, February 9, 2009. She also announced that the winners of the 2009 Distinguished Research Professor competition are Margaret (Peg) Simons, Department of Philosophy, and Leah O’Brien, Department of Chemistry. The applications for the Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Award are due in the dean’s offices on March 20th.
III. Approval of Minutes of January 16th, 2009
The minutes were unanimously approved as submitted.
IV. Report of the Executive Committee
The Executive Committee met prior to this meeting to discuss the Provost’s visit to the Graduate Council.
V. Report of the Programs Committee
A. Form 91A – Biological Sciences (CAS-08-217)
The graduate program wished to drop the GRE requirement for admission for those applicants whose undergraduate GPA is 3.0 (A=4) or above. The program currently allows graduate students with strong GPAs to begin their programs before submitting GRE scores. Requiring these students to submit GRE scores after they’ve been admitted seems irrelevant. This change codifies the current practice.
B. Form 91A – Mathematics (CAS-08-213)
The graduate program wished to add a postsecondary mathematics education option. It received letters of collation from the School of Education, and the departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership. It also wished to give all four program options (mathematics, statistics and operations research, computational and applied mathematics, and postsecondary mathematics education) the choice of taking a comprehensive exam as an exit option instead of requiring a final or research paper for some but not all of the program options. The program also clarified its catalog language on the eligibility of courses as electives, and will now allow 400-level courses to be used provided the student takes at least half of the thirty graduate credit hours at the 500-level.
C. Graduate Assessment Plans
The committee considered all non-CAS graduate and professional school assessment plans. Graduate programs had been allowed to submit material from their accreditation reviews if they wished to do so. The submissions were not a perfect match with the requirements of SIUE’s graduate program assessment process.
Associate Provost Hansen and Professors Joel Hardman and Vicki Scott will meet with graduate program directors and chairs on February 17th and 18th to clarify the assessment process.
The Programs Committee’s report was accepted unanimously.
VI. Report of the Educational and Research Policies Committee
The ERP did not meet.
VII. Graduate Assistantship Waivers
Based upon the Council’s discussion at the January meeting, if there is an additional 5% budget rescission, Associate Provost Hansen would propose to cut the EGE/SAGE funding for FY10. If SIUE faces a greater rescission than expected, the Graduate School needs to begin considering methods to make additional budget cuts. Hansen asked the Council’s advice on the impact of cutting either the stipend or the tuition waiver for 25% assistantships. In Fall of 2008, SIUE waived $1.8 million worth of tuition for graduate assistantships. The one hundred ninety-nine (199) 25% state funded assistantships accounted for $670,000 of that total. The average salary for those 25% assistantships is $395 per month, for a total of approximately $707,000 per nine month period. Surveys indicate that the tuition waiver is more valuable to the student than the stipend. Hansen asked the Council’s opinion. The Council agreed that if a cut were made, it would be less damaging to cut stipends than the tuition waivers.
Laura Fowler asked what part of the budget would be restored first if cuts were made. Hansen reiterated that he and the other administrative officers are merely exploring options at this point. Rakesh Bharati pointed out that the School of Business cannot make do without its databases, to which Hansen replied that there will be a defense of research. Hansen asked the Council to talk to their colleagues and to share their advice and thoughts on these matters with him.
VIII. Continuing Business
There was no continuing business.
IX. New Business
There was no new business.
Stephanie McAndrews made a motion to adjourn; Steve McCommas seconded. The motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 3:05 PM.
Stephen L. Hansen,
Associate Provost for Research and Dean,
The Graduate School