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Graduate School

Graduate Council Meeting September 21, 2017

September 21, 2017


I. The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m.

Voting Members and Alternates present:
BSoM: Andrew Froehle, John McAlearney, Matthew Peterson, & Michael Markey (alternate, non-voting)
CEHS: Hannah Chai, Suzanne Franco, Sheri Stover
CECS: Michael Raymer, Arnab Shaw
CoLA: Chigon Kim, Valerie Stoker
CoNH: Brenda Young
CoSM: Kathrin Engisch, Lynn Hartzler, Scott Watamaniuk
RSCoB: Andrew Beauchamp, Jim Hamister, Kim Lukaszewski
SoPP: Michelle Vaughan

Non-Voting Ex-Officio Members present:
Barry Milligan (chair), K.T. Arasu, Frank Ciarallo, Don Cipollini, Travis Doom, Robert Fyffe (dean), Erika Gilles (scribe), Deb Poling, Sheila Shellabarger, Jim Tomlin, and Jonathan Winkler.

Other Attendees:
Renee Aitken and Amanda Steele-Middleton

II. Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the April 13, 2017 meeting were approved as written without comment or correction.

III. Report of the Dean (Robert Fyffe)

Dr. Fyffe will be transitioning back to faculty at the end of September. In a statement of farewell, he expressed his appreciation to all of the members of Graduate Council. Graduate education is a significant part of the university – in terms of student headcount and credit hours, in building the reputation and prestige of the university, and in attracting top students to the university. Dr. Fyffe also recognized the dedication of the Graduate School staff and expressed special thanks to Dr. Barry Milligan for his willingness to serve as interim associate dean and to Ms. Erika Gilles for her outstanding service and support. With Dr. Milligan’s insight and advocacy for graduation education, Dr. Fyffe is confident the Graduate School and Graduate Council will be in fantastic hands.

IV. Report of the Associate Dean (Barry Milligan)

Status of Graduate Council: As Dr. Milligan mentioned in his welcome email message, with all of the flux on campus over the last several months, it has taken longer to get election results for Graduate Council. As of today, all positions have been filled but one, and results for the last position are expected early next week. One by-product of the delay in Grad Council membership is the delay in fully populating the five subcommittees of the Council. Next week, the committees should be finalized, committee chairs will be recruited, and meetings will be scheduled.

Faculty Constitution Quadrennial Review: Prospective changes to graduate faculty governance: Dr. Milligan briefly explained that the changes proposed in the Quadrennial Review would dissolve the Graduate Council itself but would retain the subcommittees of the Graduate Council. Dr. Jonathan Winkler, Faculty Senate Parliamentarian and Chair of the Quadrennial Committee, provided some additional details: The Faculty Senate is reviewing the recommendation of the Quadrennial Review Committee to remove the division of power delegated to the Councils (Graduate and Research) and return the authority to the Faculty Senate. The subcommittees of the Graduate Council would become standing (Policies and Curriculum) and administrative (Membership and Petitions) committees of the Faculty Senate. Timeline: This recommendation will be considered as Old Business at the October 9 Faculty Senate meeting and then there will be a period for public discussion. If the recommendation is approved, the changes will be implemented at the end of the academic year. In response to questions, (1) Dr. Winkler explained that the membership of the graduate committees will be appointed in the same manner that the current committees of Faculty Senate are populated, and (2) per the input from Dr. Milligan, the suggested Petitions Committee may be revised to look more like the current Student Affairs Committee and retain similar charges (petition and scholarship review).

Status of VPR/DGS Search: Dr. Milligan explained that the search committee was constituted in the summer. At the first meeting, the committee unanimously decided to recommend to Dr. Schrader and Dr. Sudkamp that the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School (VPRGS) position be split into separate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School positions. Drs. Schrader and Sudkamp wanted input from the faculty. Dr. Travis Doom, Faculty Senate president, reported that the Faculty Senate Executive Committee considered the recommendation and are currently conducting an open poll with faculty. The poll will close later today and the outcome will be shared with the Provost.

Status of Graduate Student Assembly (GSA): The president-elect of GSA resigned for personal reasons. One GSA officer, the treasurer, remains, so the Graduate School has offered to help organize a meeting in the hopes to attract more graduate students. If any Council members know graduate students who are looking for a way to get involved, please encourage them to get in touch with the Grad School.

Updates from the Graduate School

Fall Enrollment: Graduate enrollment is down from 3,608 Fall 2016 to 3,279 Fall 2017. This is qualified good news: the drop is less than 2% for domestic students and is 27.3% for international students (which is not unexpected). Graduate credit hours are down by 11.5% from last fall.

Orientation: With all of the transitions and reorganization within the Grad School, it was necessary to suspend the graduate school centralized orientations this summer. In its place, the Grad School offered to attend program-level orientations and/or to provide print materials. About a dozen programs accepted the offer. Approximately 250 graduate students received the printed materials. Of that 250, 183 students also experienced the in-person presentation. The unexpected bonus to this alternate structure for orientation – several of the program directors/program faculty commented that they learned something new from the grad school presentation too.

Graduate School reorganization: With retirements, the Grad School staff reduced from 10 to 9 earlier this year. This summer, an additional staff member moved to a new position on campus, further reducing the staff to 8. Dr. Milligan asked for continued patience as the Grad School makes adjustments. One outcome of reorganization is a focus on efficiency. The Graduate School has organized a meeting with Registrar and a couple of graduate program directors to explore the option of using the new advising tool, U.Achieve, in place of the graduate programs of study. Other graduate programs who are interested in learning more should contact the Graduate School office.

The annual Graduate Open House will take place on Thursday, Nov. 9, 5:00-7:00 p.m., in the Apollo room. All graduate programs are encourage to attend this on-campus recruitment event.

V. Curriculog Overview (Amanda Steele-Middleton)

Amanda explained that the rationale for adopting the new curriculum management system, Curriculog, was three-fold: (1) Curriculog has a robust capability to collect data and allows better control of the approval process, (2) Curriculog integrates with the University catalog (the previous curriculum workflow required manual entry into the catalog), and (3) the Office of Marketing is connecting department/college webpages to Curriculog so that the most current curriculum is publicized.

Curriculog helpful hints:

  • Single sign-on. Opens to “My tasks”.
  • For any curriculum item, if you hover over the row of circles, you can view what approvals have been made, and what approvals are still needed.
  • On the “All Proposals” tab, all programs and courses currently in the approval process are viewable. An advanced filter can be used to sort by college and department. An individual curriculum item can be added to a watch list by clicking on the star icon.
  • To view the details of a course/program, click on the sheet of paper icon. Click “show current with mark-up” so all modifications to the course/program are visible. Approvers can make changes to the proposal and/or return it to the originator for changes.
  • There is an option to create agendas for committee review. The agenda form has a place for notes and creates a list of proposals to review.
  • The approval hierarchy, which includes the approver name(s) at each level, is viewable for every proposal.
  • The Curriculog forms do not require attachments (program of study or syllabus), but there are more information fields to complete. For modifications, data from the current catalog can be imported.

In response to questions:
Department level changes? An originator can enter a proposal in Curriculog, gather feedback from the department committee, and then make changes to the proposal as recommended before the department committee approves. (This option was not available in the previous curriculum workflow). Any departments or programs that want to include a committee review at this step should send faculty names to Renee Aitken so they can be added into the system.
Combined 4+1 programs? A modified program proposal form has been created for 4+1 programs so the proposal can move through the approval hierarchy for undergraduate and graduate at the same time.
Recommendations for changes in Curriculog? Renee and Amanda are keeping a list of feature requests.
Role of Grad Council members? Graduate Council members should review the proposals on the agenda but do not need to enter a vote in Curriculog. The designated agenda administrator will enter the decision of the Council after each meeting.

VI. Old Business – None.

VII. New Business None.

VII. Discussion/Announcements
The Undergraduate Academic Policies Committee (UAPC) approved the following update to Policy 3420.1, Refund Policy, to be forwarded to the Senate Executive Committee for inclusion on the next Senate agenda. This is a routine update to add the new NR, NU, and XU grades approved by the 2016-17 Senate:

One hundred percent refund of instructional fees is made for official withdrawals and drops* made before the term begins and through the Friday of the third week of the semester. The billable credit hour range is 1-12 hours and credit hours over 18. For withdrawals after this date, no refund will be given. Summer term refunds and flexible scheduled class refunds are prorated. All refunds will be determined as of the date of official withdrawal. An exception to this policy will be granted for reservists and active duty military personnel who are deployed for the purpose of military action.

Students who have experienced extraordinary extenuating circumstances during a term and who officially drop or withdraw after the refund period may submit a petition for a partial refund which, if approved, will be prorated according to the date of official withdrawal.* Nonattendance of classes or failure to pay for classes does not constitute official withdrawal. Refunds will not be granted for a course after one of the following grades has been assigned: A, B, C, D, F, X, I, U, P, S, M or NR, NU or XU. Refund petitions must be received no later than July 15, following the end of an academic year.

Refund petition forms may be completed at Raider Connect, in the Student Union. The deadline for submitting a refund petition and supporting documentation to Raider Connect is July 15, following the end of an academic year. A decision will be made and the outcome will be mailed to the student within approximately 10 working days.

The University defines official withdrawals or drops as those processed by one of the following methods:

  • Online using the WINGS Express link via WINGS
  • In person at Raider Connect, located in the Student Union or at the Lake Campus Enrollment Services.

It is the student's responsibility to make sure the drop/withdrawal was completed correctly at the time of the request. This may be done by checking the adjusted schedule on WINGS EXPRESS after completing a transaction. Students who withdraw or drop a class at Raider Connect will receive a printed copy of the adjusted schedule after the transaction has been completed.

Students who withdraw after the University's official refund period will not receive full (100%) refunds by petitioning. Refunds resulting from an approved refund petition will be based on the date of official withdrawal and prorated according to the following schedule:

Time Frame % of Refund
Week 4 50%
Week 5 40%
Week 6 30%
Week 7 20%

A student whose refund petition has been denied may file an appeal by submitting a letter of appeal to the Refund Appeals Committee in care of Raider Connect. Letters of Appeal and any additional supporting documentation must be received within 10 working days of the denial of the refund petition. Refund petition decisions that are reversed and approved by the Committee will be prorated based on the date of official withdrawal. The decision of Refund Appeals Committee will be final.

Discussion: Council members did not have any issues with the proposed change. 

IX. The meeting was adjourned at 2:50 p.m.