Graduate School Administrative Board Meeting
Special Called Meeting
Monday, February 11, 2009
1511 Greenville Centre
MEMBERS PRESENT: Beck-Frazier, Susan; Decker, Jim; Eakins, Stan; Ericson, Richard; Fonooni, Hamid; Gallagher, Margie; Gemperline, Paul; Holte, Jim; Kasperek, George; and West, Terry
Ex-officio members: Griffin, Linner; Cistola, David; Dellana Scott; and Wilson, Ken
Guests: Edgell, David; Fridgen, Joseph; Patterson, Belinda
MEMBERS ABSENT: Hough, Monica;Mott, Vivian; Pokorny, Marie; Rouse, Art; and Graduate Student Advisory Council representative
Meeting called to order by Dean Gemperline at 7:05 a.m.
Dr. Joseph Fridgen (College of Health and Human Performance; Recreation and Leisure Studies) along with Dr. David Edgell (College of Human Ecology; Hospitality Management) were present to discuss the proposed MS in Sustainable Tourism degree and answer any questions.
Dr. Fridgen explained that the MS in Sustainable Tourism was modeled after the Coastal Resources Management (CRM) program at ECU, in regards to focusing the agenda of the program around discipline-specific issues or set of concerns. Models from other universities were also analyzed. The program will serve as an interface between tourism and sustainability. Four core courses have been developed and approved along with thesis courses. The remainder of the required coursework is from a variety of courses already in existence at ECU from different disciplines. There will also be a non-thesis option available for students within the program.
The program will be administered through the office of the Vice Chancellor of the Research and Graduate Studies with a part-time director of the program providing oversight. The plan calls for hiring of a new faculty member, with the majority of faculty involvement coming from other disciplines. It was noted that it will be important for strong partnerships to be established and maintained across campus for this inter-disciplinary collaboration to be successful.
Dr. Fridgen explained that student demand is difficult to assess because of the uniqueness of the degree program; however, there are continual inquiries about the program from students internationally, nationally, and locally. He explained that the proposed MS in Sustainable Tourism is a cutting-edge degree that will be the only program of its kind in the United States. Dr. Edgell reported that similarly modeled programs in Australia, New Zealand, and Spain are successful and heavily enrolled.
Dean Gemperline opened the meeting for questions.
If funds aren’t available to meet projected resource needs, what kind of impact will this have on the program?
Dr. Fridgen reviewed the ‘Essential Elements’ of the projected 2009-2010 budget, explaining there will be a demand for a new faculty member, a part-time director for the tourism program, a support staff person (to share duties between the tourism center and the program), assistantships, and tuition remissions. Dr. Fridgen noted the budget for the program was negotiated as part of the Center for Sustainable Tourism prior to the budget crisis and he is unsure how much the budget cuts will affect the projected budget for the proposed program. Dr. Fridgen explained if funds are not available then startup of the program will not be feasible. The MS in Sustainable Tourism oversight committee agreed that if the program received a modest budget cut instead of a larger severe budget cut, it would remain viable and program development should proceed. However, if the budget is reduced significantly and the program has severely limited funding, the oversight committee agrees it should not pursue establishment of the program at this time. Committee members do not want to start a program that will fail because of a lack of resources to get the program started. The program will take longer than five years to pay for itself. It was noted, that external funding could potentially become available as the program expands its research agenda. When the program matures and stabilizes there is a projected enrollment of 50 students.
What is the anticipated percentage of in-state residents for the program? (Dean Gemperline)
Dr. Fridgen answered that he expected the in-state/out-of-state ratio to be about 50/50. Dr. Jim Decker the GSAB that because this program is unlike any in the southeastern region, it may receive Academic Common Market (ACM) status. Dr. Belinda Patterson explained that the ACM allowed an out-of-state student from the southeast region to pay in-state residency fees.
What is the anticipated proportion of students in the program that will do thesis work? (Dr. Terry West)
Dr. Fridgen explained initially there will be a core group of students that will require thesis advising. Dr. Fridgen noted the committee members responsible for developing the MS in Sustainable Tourism are heavily committed to research. The degree will be research oriented as the commitment to research is high among faculty teaching in the program along with the high need for this type of research in this region.
Will the degree be going online?
Dr. Fridgen informed the body the committee was looking at various courses and how they fit together in an effort to offer a certificate program online. It was noted that offering courses online requires a large number of faculty members. Also, Dr. Fridgen stated he was unsure if offering this degree program online would benefit this region.
Is this a professional degree? (Dr. Hamid Fonooni)
Dr. Fridgen answered the degree has been put together as a research-oriented degree rather than a professional degree. However, the degree could be considered a professional degree (Example: a student enters an industry that is interested in sustainability).
Following the presentation, The GSAB discussed concerns regarding the establishment of the program.
The program is well-conceived, uniquely fits the needs of this region, and implements best practices in the field. Overall, the GSAB felt this was a very strong proposal.
Before sending this proposal to UNC-GA, it was suggested that
The proposal would benefit from a stronger commitment from the faculty to provide external funding for research in support of students conducting research in the program.
Receiving Academic Common Market (ACM) status would be a significant strength. Adding a paragraph regarding the ACM in the enrollment section would significantly strengthen the proposal
A stronger letter of institutional support from the Vice Chancellor’s Office might improve this proposal’s chances of success at UNC-GA, for example by enumerating the support already provided (new faculty positions, SPA staff, etc) and by stating the institution’s commitment to provide additional resources in the future.
It was suggested that the program be revised to address the concerns noted in the Clemson letter
A motion was made and seconded to approve the MS in Sustainable Tourism
The motion was approved with a 9-0 vote with the request that concerns discussed by GSAB be addressed before the proposal’s transmittal to the UNC-General Administration.
Amy E. Tripp