Graduate School Administrative Board Meeting
Monday, January 22, 2007
Present: Martha Alligood, Sharon Bland, Dennis Brunt, Stan Eakins, Margie Gallagher, Linner Griffin, Gerhard Kalmus, George Kasperek, Sharon Knight, John Kramar, Vivian Mott, Ron Newton, Todd Nolan, Belinda Patterson, Pat Pellicane, John Placer, Heather Ries, and Mark Taggart.
The meeting was called to order at 3:43 pm by Patrick Pellicane
1) Acceptance of minutes from last meeting (Newton)
The minutes from the January 08 meeting were approved as amended (Graduate Curriculum Committee deadline should be March 7, 2007 and a misspelling is to be corrected)
2) Activities of the Graduate Curriculum Committee (Knight)
The GCC has not met since the last GSAB meeting, but will be convening this month of January. A reminder on the submission deadline for GCC consideration was stated once again.
3) COMM 6031 and its consequences (Kramar)
A new course for a master’s students in the School of Communication (SOC) had been presented for discussion and with a request for approval at the GSAB December 2006 meeting. During the discussion, it was stated that another course on campus offered by the College of Education (COE) had similar objectives and content, and that there was some duplication. It was also stated that we have restrictions on scarce campus resources, and it was questioned as to should we be offering both courses if there is indeed duplication of effort. It was understood that prior discussions with representatives from both Education and Communication had addressed the possibility of the Education course being used as part of the Communication curriculum. However, this suggestion was not adopted, and a new course was proposed. It was reiterated that new resources appear to be needed if we are offering an additional course, particularly in another unit. The issue of cross-listing was also mentioned.
Representatives from SOC were present, and they were invited to present their views. They stated that they did not feel that the course (COMM 6031) was the same as the COE course, and that the former is a complement, rather than duplication. Communication students will be encouraged to take both courses, if they so desire. COMM 6031 will be offered once a year and the resources will be provided by the SOC. They will be offering more than one section, and will be training students to become more proficient in communications pedagogy so that they can meet the SAC requirements. Education has an expertise in pedagogy that perhaps other units do not have. “Teaching” pedagogical aspects perhaps should lie within the purview of the College of Education, but “communication” pedagogy is different than “teaching pedagogy;” therefore, the courses are really not the same. It was stated that the duplication issue had been previously addressed by SOC with representatives from COE prior to consideration by the GCC, and that COE could serve SOC needs if asked to do so with their presently-offered course. It was stated that each unit has a respect for their respective disciplines who know best what they should teach, and that this code should be honored. It was apparent that the two courses would be taught differently, and in a spirit of collegiality, an agreement had been reached for the new course to be submitted for approval.
After the discussion on duplication, the issue of limited resources relative to offering this new course was addressed. If there is course duplication, why are we allocating new resources? A representative from SOC addressed previous questions posed by the GSAB including the limited resource issue. A large number of SOC instructional faculty are needed to teach public speaking (COMM 2410 and 2420). COMM 6031 will serve to prepare SOC graduate students so that they can teach the introductory courses in public speaking. In addition, the students will use this as part of the 18 cr hr in the field required by SACS. The new course will be generating additional cr hr, and it will help SOC provide instructional needs for the ever increasing enrollment in public speaking courses. Thus, both COMM 2140/2420 and COMM 6031 are generating additional resources. The Delaware Study was addressed, whereby it was evident that SOC has been funded at a level below that what they need. SOC cannot hire additional faculty, and they have limited enrollment (limit to 25) in public speaking classes. Therefore, there is a dependency on the assignment of graduate students to teach introductory public speaking classes.
A motion was made for the GSAB to approve the recommendation of the GCC to accept the new course (COMM 6031) as submitted. The motion was approved by a majority with one negative vote registered.
4) Informational conversation on Policies for Assistantships (Pellicane)
Dean Pellicane asked for input on a discussion concerning policies for graduate assistantships. The discussion first centered on the issue of supporting distance education students enrolled in on-line graduate programs. It was stated that most of these students are making valuable contributions to the instructional program, both on- and off-campus. Some colleges are now tracking distance education student contributions and productivity. Can they account for the student’s productivity? Some local students work in the labs and classrooms on campus while they are enrolled in an on-line program; these students are very productive. It was agreed that we need to be cautious when assigning support to on-line students. It was mentioned that an on-line in-state student is accounted for in student credit hour tabulation, but an on-line student who is out of state is not.
The issue of the number of credit hours and the number of semesters that a student is registered for was discussed. It was stated that in one college, a sizeable share of the students take as many as 60 cr hr for the degree, whereby the average is 45 cr hr. This requirement significantly impacts the number of semesters in which a student is supported with an assistantship. It was mentioned that a student could register for more than 9 cr hr per semester with no additional tuition costs accruing to the student. However, most units do not encourage this practice. Some students continue to receive services from the faculty, staff and from other facets of the university, but they are not paying for this with tuition. One of the limitations is that the university course offerings procedure does not provide for additional cr hr beyond the limit required for the degree. For example, research cr hr are a fixed number, and the course cannot be repeated for credit. It was suggested that this situation could be easily rectified with a variable cr hr process. It was stated that a procedure of enrollment beyond the 9 cr hr would generate additional revenue to the university, and that impediments to registering beyond the 9 should be removed.
The issue of encouraging students to enroll for 9 cr hr while receiving an assistantship was discussed. The purpose is to move the students through the program in a more timely fashion if they are enrolled at a maximum level each semester. Concern was stated on how this would impact students supported on tuition remission dollars, and this could provide additional financial burden either to the student, the unit or the Graduate School. The practice now is to reduce this burden by allowing students to take less than 9 cr hr particularly when they are in the latter stages of their graduate program.
The discussion was concluded, and it was agreed that it would continue at the next GSAB meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:58 pm.
Ronald J. Newton