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Graduate School

Graduate Council


Minutes of
November 15th, 2006

MEMBERS PRESENT: Seran Aktuna, Rakesh Bharati, Mike Crider, Chair, Christa Johnson for Steve Hansen, Nancy Lutz, Maruice Mangum, James Panico, Anne Perry, William White, S. William Whitson

MEMBERS EXCUSED: Roger Boyd, Dave Duvernell

GUESTS PRESENT: Laura Strom, Registrar

I. Announcements

Mike Crider announced that next month's ERP meeting has been moved to Monday, December 4th at 9:15 AM.

Christa Johnson announced that the Summer Research Fellowship (SRF) competition is completed. The winners will be announced in the next Research Highlights.

II. Minutes of October 13th, 2006

The minutes were approved as submitted.

III. Calculating Grade Point Average (GPA)

In a handout written by Laura Strom, Registrar, she says, "Changes will be occurring to the manner in which graduate student records are maintained. In order to ensure that degree requirements are enforced consistent with University policy and to uphold the integrity of graduate degree requirements as well as post baccalaureate certificate requirements, it is requested that the Graduate Council consider the impact of these changes as they relate to degree and certificate procedures."

Strom also states that, "Cumulative grade point averages for graduate careers at SIUE are currently calculated using the following rules:

• All graduate coursework completed while in classified status, regardless of age, is calculated.

• Graduate coursework completed while in unclassified status prior to admission to a graduate classified or degree-seeking program is excluded unless the coursework was approved for transfer into classified status.

• Once approval has been gained to transfer credit into classified status, the credit will continue to calculate into cumulative statistics regardless of the appropriateness toward future degree requirements.

• All credit completed while in unclassified status following attendance as a degree-seeking student is calculated. For example, if a student enrolls in the MBA program, changes to unclassified status and later enters a new degree program, the unclassified credit is calculated in the cumulative GPA.

In order to exclude courses from graduate GPA calculation, the courses are marked with an * and removed from attempted hours, earned hours, quality hours and quality points. By following this procedure, the student's record does not accurately reflect the credit that was earned by the student while in attendance at the University. The following problems have resulted:

• Courses that have been successfully completed by students are not reflected through credit hours or grade point average calculation.

• Credit hours earned are not accurately accumulating as a result of various exclusions.

• Removing credit from classes gives the perception that value is only placed on courses that will advance a student toward degree completion."

Regarding the record-keeping changes that are going to "occur with the implementation of Banner:

All graduate classes will be averaged in graduate statistics including the calculation of the cumulative GPA reflected on the students' academic transcripts. Courses will not be excluded from calculation when taken as an undergraduate or at the unclassified level. Students completing both undergraduate and graduate classes will have career statistics that reflect all courses within each career. All undergraduate classes will display in the undergraduate statistics while all graduate classes (classified & unclassified) will appear in the graduate statistics."

Strom stated that the Banner system will allow the display of both a cumulative GPA and a program GPA. In the latter case, Graduate Records would flag the courses that apply to a student's graduate program, with input from the Graduate Program Director. One question is whether those program courses would be flagged at the time of course completion or degree completion. Difficulties with the program GPA include the necessity of "consistent communication between Graduate Program Directors and Graduate Records."

The ERP Committee favored using both cumulative and program GPAs. S. William Whitson wondered whether it would be possible for all graduate program directors to have their students sign a curriculum contract, as does the School of Nursing and the School of Dental Medicine.

Christa Johnson noted that Graduate Records has been manipulating GPA to exclude certain courses. Laura Strom pointed out that under the new system courses taken while in unclassified status would be counted. She said that her office would enforce whatever policy that graduate programs decided upon.

Whitson told the committee that he has always considered SIUE to be an institution wherein people could get a second chance at a higher education if they make poor decisions early in their graduate career. He felt that using a cumulative GPA in which bad grades are never forgiven may discourage people from the idea of pursuing lifelong learning.

Christa Johnson said that she needed more information to pursue this issue. Perhaps the ERP could look at cumulative GPAs while it explores creating an academic forgiveness policy in the future. Whitson said that the emphasis should be on the "here and now" not on "ancient history." Mangum added that the programs could set the timelines for academic forgiveness. To Rakesh Bharati's question about what the value is of presenting the cumulative GPA on the transcript, Mangum replied that it shows how well-rounded and able a graduate student is. Bharati wondered how many programs would have a big difference between the program and cumulative GPAs. Johnson asked if the student has met the program GPA requirement, should Graduate Records still use the cumulative GPA to determine eligibility for graduation.

Rakesh Bharati made a motion to use both the cumulative GPA of 3.0 and the program GPA of at least 3.0 to make retention decisions, and that the ERP Committee develops guidelines to allow for review of retention issues on a case by case basis, using the cumulative GPA. S. William Whitson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Rakesh Bharati made a motion that in the case where the student falls below a 3.0 in both GPA scores, the review would be made by the program on an individual basis with respect to whether or not that student is allowed to continue, and that the Registrar's office is notified of the plan of action that the student could take to remain in the program. He also noted that the graduate program should be notified when the student falls below a 3.0 on either the cumulative or the program GPA. The motion was seconded by Maruice Mangum. The motion carried unanimously.

IV. Old Business

There was no old business.

V. New Business

There was no new business.

VI. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 9:53 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Christa C. Johnson, Assistant Dean
Graduate Studies and Research

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