GRADUATE COUNCIL MINUTES
September 12, 2005
MEMBERS PRESENT: Abdel-Motaleb, Baker, Barbe, Blickhan, Bose, Brovelli, Carnahan, Changnon, Elish-Piper, Factor, Gowen, Gupta, Harris, Jackson, Karonis, Sims, Willis
MEMBERS ABSENT: Arado, Johnson, Miranda, Odoms-Young, Singh, Waas
OTHERS PRESENT: Arntz (Assistant to the Vice President for Research), Perkins (Assistant to the Vice President for Recruitment), Wright (Secretary)
Rathindra Bose, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, called the meeting to order at 10 a.m. Bose welcomed the new Graduate Council Members and the returning members.
Establishment of 2005-2006 Standing Committees of the Graduate Council: The approval of the standing committees has been deferred until the next meeting due to vacancies on some of the committees. After these vacancies have been filled, a copy of the standing committees will be sent to the Graduate Council, for approval at the next meeting.
Selection of an Assistant Chair of the Graduate Council: This person will serve as chair when the chair is gone and assist with creating the agenda when called upon. The assistant chair also serves as an ex officio member on the University Council. A motion was made by Jackson, seconded by Blickhan, to nominate Yale Factor. Yale Factor accepted the nomination, which was unanimously approved.
Selection of a 2005-2006 graduate student representative to the University’s Libraries Advisory Committee: Jackson moved to nominate Christine Brovelli for this position, seconded by Carnahan. Brovelli accepted the nomination which passed unanimously.
Selection of a 2005-2006 graduate student representative to the Campus Security and Environmental Quality Committee: Harris moved to nominate Kris Campbell for this position, seconded by Barbe and unanimously passed.
Selection of a 2005-2006 graduate student representative and a faculty member to the University Assessment Panel: Blickhan moved to nominate Lemetra Curry for the graduate student position and David Changnon for the faculty member position, seconded by Jackson and unanimously approved.
Graduate Council Appeals Committee: Willis presented the annual report of this committee. The committee acted upon a total of 39 cases for the 2004-2005 academic year. Of these, 33 (81%) were, in whole or in part, petitions for academic reinstatement, including one for reconsideration of a previous denial of reinstatement and one for a second reinstatement. Of the 25 such petitions involving graduate students, twenty-one were approved, three were tabled for lack of support and one was withdrawn. The other two were denied, both for a second time, for lack of compelling justification and/or departmental support. Of the 8 reinstatement petitions from students-at-large, five were approved and three were denied. Of the other six cases acted upon, one was a request for modification of the stipulated terms of reinstatement already approved. Two other cases were approved as an extension of a policy enacted by the Graduate Council for students seeking admission with degrees from unaccredited institutions. The other three cases concerned acceptance of courses from other institutions. In two cases, the courses in question had expired; the other requested use of non-NIU law courses in the MPA program. All three requests were approved.
Sims asked whether or not the reinstatements were based on a time issue. Willis answered that most were dismissed due to academic reasons and not because of time. Baker expressed a confidentiality concern and thought that the appeals committee members should be careful about what is put in writing especially letters that are weighted so heavily. Willis addressed this issue by stating that all letters are marked confidential and are in sealed envelopes. Also, immediately after the Appeals Committee meets, the letters are shredded. Blickhan added that these letters are usually in support of the students and usually there is a lack of supporting letters rather than negative letters.
Composition of search committee for Associate Dean of the Graduate School: Bose stressed the importance of the position of Associate Dean, and announced that the search is open to internal candidates as well as external candidates. The following was proposed as the composition of the search committee: Jon Carnahan (CHEM), Greg Waas (PSYC), Lemuel Watson (CAHE), Jean Pierce (LEPF), Harry Wright (COB), Simon Song (MEE), Mary Pritchard (HHS), Charles Blickhan (chair of committee), Lyndon Perkins (Grad school staff rep), Michael Spires (SPS representative, CHEM), and Heide Fehrenbach (appointed by Dean, HIST). The committee will also include two graduate students, who will be provided by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee. Abdel-Motaleb raised the question of whether it is fair to appoint members of the search committee that are nominated by the deans of the colleges, or whether faculty should be able to vote for search committee members. Blickhan responded that the University by-laws state that the deans of the colleges or the college councils appoint the members and in order to change this process, one would have to appeal to the dean of the college. Baker raised the question of why there is no representative from the University Libraries on the search committee. Bose answered that the committee members were selected based on graduate school enrollment for each college and the proposed structure was approved by the Graduate Council last spring. Moreover, faculty in the Library are members of academic units. Gowen moved to accept the composition of the search committee. Karonis seconded, with all members agreeing, with the exception of Abdel-Motaleb, who opposed.
Bose announced that he drafted an advertisement for the Associate Dean of the Graduate School position and that this ad has been approved by the Provost. This ad will be placed in several places including the Chronicle of Higher Education, Council of Graduate Students, and other minority publications. The ad should be out by the end of September or beginning of October with reviews of applications to be 1-1 ½ months following the posting. The position will remain open until filled.
Carnahan brought up the issue of the large of amount of fees that graduate students are required to pay each semester, and that this has become a great financial burden for many students. Sims agreed, adding that the former director of graduate studies in the Department of Biology had also expressed this concern. Perkins informed the committee that students can appeal to have fees waived to the Vice President for Student Affairs, and that students are the ones who make up the Fee Structure Committee. Factor questioned how helpful it was to appeal. Perkins answered that for the bus service fee and insurance fee the process has been especially helpful for many students. Bose explained that our graduate stipends are below the national average at comparable institutions, and increasing stipends may be the answer to the fee issue. It was agreed that this items will require further discussion at future date.
Bose stated there was a donor in the Graduate School that had funded graduate student fees from her own money, but no longer could match. Bose has set aside $10,000 in support for graduate students and will leave it up to the Graduate School Advisory Committee to set up guidelines for distribution of these funds.
Gowen questioned how or whether we are tracking the quality of the graduate students that we are admitting into our programs. Bose stated that the program reviews that are continually being conducted show how we compare with our peer doctoral institutions. The program review documents are prepared by the Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Development.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.