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Graduate School
Graduate School

PROGRAMS COMMITTEE

MINUTES

September 24th, 2009

MEMBERS PRESENT : Linda Carlisle, Steffany Chleboun, Laura Fowler, Carole Frick, Jane Gillespie, Chair, Steve Hansen, John Hunt, Matthew Johnson, Michael Shaw, Greg Sierra, Ken Witt

MEMBERS EXCUSED : Scott Belobrajdic, Urszula Ledzewicz, Valerie Yancey

GUESTS : Abdullatif Hamad, Chair, Physics
Aldemero Romero, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Wendy Shaw, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

I. Announcements

Associate Provost for Research Steve Hansen welcomed the faculty to the Programs Committee. He announced that the Programs Committee will be reviewing five program review reports (Art Studio, Art Therapy Counseling, English, Music, Speech Communication), and will review proposals to create new graduate programs in education (Doctor of Education), nursing (Doctor of Nursing Practice), and public administration (Master of Science in Research Administration) during the 2009-10 academic year. He reviewed the duties of the committee.

II. Minutes of April 17th, 2009

Mike Shaw made a motion to accept the minutes as submitted; John Hunt seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

III. Form 91A - Termination of the graduate program in Physics

Associate Provost Hansen gave the committee background on the College of Arts and Sciences proposal to eliminate the graduate program in physics. Physics had three negative program reviews in a row in 1990, 2001, and 2006. There were three common threes to those reviews: 1) more faculty needed to be engaged in research, 2) the program needed to recruit and graduate more students, and 3) the program needed to develop stronger ties with area industry. In 2006 the Graduate Council decided to flag the program for early review. The program was given benchmarks to meet within three years:

• At least 33% of the faculty should regularly submit external grant proposals.

• The number of applicants to the program should increase.

• The program enrollment should increase to at least ten students.

• At least three students per year should graduate from the program.

• The department should increase its connections with the local community and industry.

At the end of the Program review process in 2007, Professor Hamad met with the provost, Paul Ferguson, Vicki Scott, Steve Hansen and John Danley. The Provost asked the Physics program to provide a written plan on how it intended to address the Graduate Council's recommendations. The plan produced by the Physics faculty however failed to adequately address the Program Review's concerns. Given the significant amount of resources invested in the program over the past five years, the lack of agreement among the Physics faculty about the nature and direction of the graduate program, and the inadequacy of its report to the Provost, the Provost, Danley and Hansen agreed to consider a request to terminate the graduate program.

Dean Romero announced that he had hired a consultant, (John M. Pratte, Arkansas State University) who visited SIUE the previous week. He had just received the report the night before this meeting and asked for the decision to terminate the physics graduate program to be tabled to give everyone more time to consider the consultant's report.

The committee discussed whether a delay would cause any repercussions, and felt that it would not do so since there is a moratorium on admissions. Professor Hamad added that the graduate program should be left in place for a year. Mike Shaw felt that the moratorium on admission "threw off" the AY11 interim program review.

Hansen reminded the committee that the Graduate Council and the Department of Physics have "been going down this road for 10 years." Resources have been devoted to trying to resolve the low enrollment and graduation figures, but the same problems remain. The way that the graduate program is constructed is not succeeding. The program review suggests that the physics faculty members are not in agreement, and are not in touch with industry.

Hamad disputed the statement that faculty are not in agreement, adding that the faculty supports a photonics program. He felt that although the history of the program has not been "that bright," the current and future status of the program is "bright."

Mike Shaw asked whether the Graduate Council should consider resources when it considers forms 92A. Hansen replied that no, it does not. Shaw then asked whether it should consider resources when it considers forms 92B. Hansen said that it does not necessarily have to do so.

Matthew Johnson felt that one year (Fall 2008 to Fall 2009) is not enough time to improve the photonics option. Associate Dean Shaw reminded the committee that the photonics track was not a year old. The College of Arts and Sciences hired three faculty members and invested resources in it in 2003.

The committee discussed issues concerning offering graduate courses without a graduate program. Physics is one of the teaching areas for secondary education. Hamad said that the department could not offer IBHE courses as it does now. Hansen reminded Professor Hamad that the department does not have to have a graduate program to offer graduate courses. Hamad replied that it would be awkward to offer the classes just for service, without giving something to the faculty in the department like a master's program. He told the committee that there are a number of engineers in graduate physics classes, particularly three of the most popular classes. Mike Shaw felt that this is an issue concerning the fairness of expectations for the physics faculty if they are required to teach courses for other graduate programs.

Mike Shaw recommended setting up a Blackboard course for the Programs Committee so that this issue can be further explored on the discussion board.

Mike Shaw moved to table the request until the committee has had time to review the additional material provided by Dean Romero; Carole Frick seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

IV. Continuing Business

There was no continuing business.

V. New Business

Mike Shaw announced that he would create a Blackboard course for the Programs Committee and the ERP to enable the committee members to have a discussion forum.

Jane Gillespie announced that the Graduate School needed another volunteer to serve on the search committee for the Associate Dean of the Graduate School (50%) position that will serve as the replacement for Ron Schaefer. John Hunt volunteered to serve on this committee.

VI. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 9:35 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen L. Hansen
Associate Provost for Research and
Dean, The Graduate School

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