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Graduate School
Graduate School

Programs Committee

Minutes of

February 1, 2013

MEMBERS PRESENT: Steffany Chleboun (Chair), Dean Cody for Kathy Behm, Nicholas Guehlstorf, Shrikant Jategaonkar, Koung Hee Leem, Gertrude Pannirselvam, Allison Thomason, Jerry Weinberg, Ken Witt

MEMBERS EXCUSED: Marietta Bell-Scriber, Scott Belobrajdic, Ron Schaefer, Tim Patrick, Emily Truckenbrod

GUESTS: T. R. Carr, Graduate Program Director, Public Administration
Denise Cobb, Associate Provost for Academic Innovation and Effectiveness
Drew Dolan, Chair, Public Administration and Policy Analysis
Gary Giamartino, Dean, School of Business
Edmund Hershberger, Chair, Management and Marketing
Kevin Johnson, Graduate Program Director, Environmental Sciences
Min Liu, Assistant Professor, Speech Communication
Ram Madupalli, Graduate Program Director, Marketing Research
Lynn Maurer, Associate Dean, The Graduate School
Therese Poirier, Associate Dean, School of Pharmacy
Geoffrey Schmidt, Professor, English Language and Literature
Wendy Shaw, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Clay Williams, Assistant Professor, Computer Management and Information Systems

I. Announcements

Lynn Maurer announced that the applications for Competitive Graduate Award for Fall of 2013 are being processed. The applications for the Research Grants for Graduate Students competition are in the process of being submitted.

Denise Cobb asked for help in piloting a new ratings system that would assist in determining enrollment capacity. The questions she would like the committee to consider are about: enrollment (sustainable, needs intervention because exceeding capacity, or needs intervention because below capacity), and completion of degrees awarded (satisfactory or needs intervention).

II. Minutes of November 15, 2012

The minutes were unanimously accepted.

III. Program Review Report: Public Administration, MPA

The internal review team was composed of Min Liu (Committee Chair) Speech Communication; Shrikant Jategaonkar, Economics and Finance; Mary Sue Love, Management and Marketing; and Clay Williams, Computer Management and Information Systems. Min Liu, Shrikant Jategaonkar, and Clay Williams represented the internal review team at the meeting. T.R. Carr, Drew Nolan, and Wendy Shaw represented the program, department, and College respectively.

The internal review team identified several strengths of this graduate program. The faculty members are very collegial and enthusiastic about the program and the students. The faculty members' community presence and engagement reflects the program's mission. The program meets a unique need in the community and is responsive to industry and community needs. The program was successfully accredited recently by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and there has been a steady growth in enrollment. The program currently has about 135 students.

The internal review team recommended improvements in student advising, course offerings to help students have access to elective courses, and additional faculty resources. Regarding advising, the program representatives state that their students are on campus for a brief amount of time prior to their evening or weekend classes making faculty accessibility more challenging especially because faculty, too, are primarily on campus in the evenings/weekends to teach courses. Dolan and Shaw pointed out that additional electives sections have been offered in the recent semester through funding for adjunct instructors. Funding for additional faculty lines should come from sources beyond the College. The Associate Provost, Jerry Weinberg, asked the program's representatives whether they have considered changing the admissions standards to admit fewer students due to concerns about sustainability. Dolan responded that their primary concern is the population they serve, which resides largely in East St. Louis. Cutting down the number of students admitted would disproportionately affect the students admitted from East St. Louis, and those are the students who are willing to serve that population. Graduation rates are good among that population. Weinberg pointed out that the program cannot sustain a continued growth with the State's budget issues and asked the program to consider if the growth compromises rigor.

Dolan said that they plan to cull some focus areas and rearrange the curriculum offerings. They are also developing certificate programs, which are on hold until they can conduct a needs assessment. The online courses will draw new students as well as shift some classroom students to the new format. Weinberg asked what funds are needed for to create online offerings. Dolan replied that they need more instructors to develop and teach the courses.

Dolan said that the "current limits" on class size are already "on the maximum edge" of that viewed as appropriate by NASPAA. Pannirselvam asked whether they can increase class sizes for some courses and keep them low (at current level) for others based on content and pedagogical needs, thereby improving course offerings.

The internal review team expressed serious concerns about the level of rigor in the courses as reflected by student comments during the interviews. There was also concern about the appearance of grade inflation, and on using grades for program assessment. When asked about any plans the program has, or changes it has already implemented to address the question of rigor that is indicated by the responses in student interviews, high GPAs and use of grades for assessment, Dolan said that the program is moving away from using GPAs as assessment tools. They plan to implement a portfolio system. NASPAA also suggested that the graduate program improve its assessment procedures. Weinberg pointed out that the graduate program has turned down offers of assistance from the Graduate School to improve their assessment plans.

Jategaonkar made motion to accept report and rate the program in good standing. Thomason seconded. Chleboun asked about the process by which the internal review team reached the conclusion about the lack of rigor. Jategaonkar said that the review team was alerted to the issue by student feedback during the interviews. Consequently, the team reviewed the grades, GPA, and assessment plan and concluded that the issue warranted serious consideration by the program. Cobb pointed out that rigor was mentioned as an area for improvement by NASPAA in its recommendations. Witt wondered if they had any data from exit interviews or alumni in this regard.

The graduate program was found to be in good standing by the internal review team. Given the discussion we had about rigor during this meeting, the Programs Committee requested more information regarding about how the review team arrived at this decision. Jategaonkar replied that while rigor was a concern, most aspects of the graduate program, including its growth, work well; therefore the internal review team concluded that the program was in a good position to address the issue.

The Programs Committee voted "the program is well-developed" with five ayes and two nays.

The Programs Committee also unanimously rated the Public Administration graduate program in enrollment as "intervention needed due to exceeds capacity." It had no information to rate completion of degrees awarded and requested more data from Cobb.

IV. Form 91A - Pharmacy/Education Specialization (PHAR-13-15)

The professional program wishes to drop the two credit-hour course PHEL 762 (Assessment Strategies) from its requirements for the specialization. It has increased PHEL 760 (Orientation to Teaching) from 2 to 3 credit hours, and has increased PHEL 761 (Instructional Design and Strategies) from 2 to 3 credit hours, and has changed its name to Instructional Design and Assessment Strategies to reflect the additional content in the course. The total credit hour requirement has not changed. On the second page under the reason, 762 was not listed as one of the "three 2 credit didactic course[s]." This error will be corrected before this item is submitted to the Graduate Council.

Gertrude Pannirselvam made a motion to approve the request; Nick Guehlstorf seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

V. Program Review Report: Marketing Research, MMR

The internal review team was composed of Geoffrey Schmidt (Committee Chair) English Language and Literature; Georgiann Davis, Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies; Kelly Gable, School of Pharmacy; Emily Truckenbrod, Music, and Nancy Ruff, English Language and Literature.

The review team identified a number of strengths in the MMR program. Geoffrey Schmidt represented the internal review team. Ram Madupalli, Edd Herschberger, and Gary Giamartino represented the program, department, and College respectively.

The program is "one of only a handful in the country, and it has an excellent national and international reputation." Over 90% of its students are fully supported either by internships or GAships. The intern program isrigorous and provides crucial real-world experience. Members of the program have created an Advisory Board of industry professionals who provide support and feedback to the program. Graduates of the program have a high rate of success in terms of job placement. The faculty members are passionate about the program and deeply engaged, and the students we met were bright, thoughtful, and equally engaged. The average time in the program is sixteen months.

The internal review team recommended using additional faculty to oversee the internships and final projects. The projects are now formally assessed by three faculty members. The review team recommends that the program review the ration of seven core courses and three electives and consider adding more electives. Madupalli and Giamartino said that the ratio was determined based on "feedback from advisory board members." Marketing research is a very narrow subset in the marketing area and therefore the content is very prescribed; this explains the low number of electives.

The internal review team recommended that more faculty members be involved in the teaching of more of the courses that students take. Currently, two faculty members teach the majority of courses. Pannirselvam pointed out that for many years only 2 faculty members taught all the courses. The very prescribed nature of the content (marketing research) means that new faculty members to the School of Business may need to develop the precise skills/expertise to meet these program needs. As a result, new faculty have been involved in the program through the elective courses. Edmund Hershberger said that all faculty are involved in the advisory board consultations.

The review committee pointed out that the program requires a remarkable amount of administrative oversight and recommends that the program or school find a way to ease the burden on the graduate program director. This could be accomplished by hiring an assistant director position or providing an additional release unit for the graduate program director. Leem asked if this additional administrative support would set this program apart from other graduate programs offered by the school. Pannirselvam asked about graduate student help provided for the program. Madupalli said that the program receives 20 hours of graduate student assistantship support. Assigning primary responsibility of portions of the work (such as recruiting) to other faculty members in the program could help more faculty involvement as well as reduce the burden on the program director. Chelboun asked the stage of the request for additional administrative support. The graduate program director has sought additional administrative support, and the dean has pledged that the proposal will "received [his] serious consideration."

The internal review team recommended the program request more support from the Graduate School for recruiting efforts. Additionally, "greater coordination between the Program and the Graduate School in the screening of international students would be of great benefit to the overall health of the program." Maurer pointed out that the Graduate School does provide recruitment support for all programs on campus and asked Madupalli if this refers to the request that the program director made to allow the program to admit students with 3-yr bachelor degrees which Graduate School policy does not permit. University policy requires four-year degrees. Pannirselvam pointed out that changing that policy would need approval from the Graduate Council. Giamartino said that assistance for all graduate programs would be useful.

The graduate program was found to be exemplary by the internal review team. It was moved and seconded that the program be found in good standing. The Programs Committee voted unanimously that it should be rated in good standing.

With regard to the issue of enrollment and graduation rate, the discussion was tabled until the committee can obtain more information.

VI. Interim Program Review Report: Environmental Sciences, MS

Kevin Johnson reviewed the report he submitted. The program has increased from one faculty member in 1996 to 8 faculty members now. It had 450 square feet of lab space to more than 75,000 square feet now, as well as all its facilities in one place instead of scattered. The present enrollment for the program is 35, but the target is 50. Although the individual courses do not have prerequisites, a student gains admission into the program by fulfilling minimum requirements. The non-thesis option is not usually chosen because the faculty do not wish to supervise one, and because employers prefer students that write theses. The graduate rate seemed low to the committee.

The committee was concerned about the overloaded faculty and shift toward undergraduate education.

The Committee reached a consensus that to accept the report.

Gertrude Pannirselvam made a motion to accept the report; Nicholas Guehlstorf seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

VII. Continuing Business

There was no continuing business.

VIII. New Business

A. Effective Date of Approved Changes

This item will be addressed in the next meeting.

IX. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 11:55 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Steffany Chleboun, Chair,
Programs Committee and Associate Professor of
Special Education and Communications Disorders

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