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November 7, 1990

                                    MINUTES

                                    VPI&SU

                        COMMISSION ON GRADUATE STUDIES

                          7 NOVEMBER 1990, 3:30 P.M.

                                206 SANDY HALL

 

 

  Present: Drs. Brown, Eaton, Hooper, James Johnson (for James Burger),

           McCoy, Jan Nespore (for Michael Moore), Snoke, Sporakowski, Stout,

           Mr.  David Lush

 

  Guest:  Kathye Johnston - Budget and Financial Planning

 

  Visitors: Susan Truelove - Spectrum, Marvin Foushee - Registrars

           Office

 

 

 

  1.  ANNOUNCEMENTS -  Dr. Hooper stated that the Graduate Professional

      School Day was successful.

 

      "Open Evenings" are being planned in the Graduate School so that one

      evening a week there will be someone in the lounge of Sandy Hall that

      can talk to students about problems that they may have. One of the ad-

      ministrative staff of the Graduate School and possibly someone from Dr.

      Goodale's office will be available during these Open Evenings.  Plans

      are to start this activity on November 28, 1990 from 5:00 p.m. until

      7:00 p.m.

 

      It appears that, at this time, we still cannot implement the practice

      of exempting a portion of the stipend equal to the tuition from income

      tax withholding on the W-2 form.  We are still exploring aspects of tax

      laws which we hope will permit the practice.

 

  2.  Approval of the Agenda - The agenda was approved as submitted.

 

  3.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF 17 OCTOBER 1990 -  the minutes were approved

      with minor corrections.

 

  4.  GRADUATE STUDENT ASSEMBLY - David Lush addressed the following issues:

 

      The Graduate and Professional School Day was a success as Dr. Hooper

      announced earlier.

 

      Two stress management seminars will be conducted for graduate students.

      One seminar will be on November 14 from 5:00 to 7:00 and the other will

      be held on November 28 from 5:00 to 7:00 in the lobby of Sandy Hall.

 

      The GSA will be providing a response to the University Plan.

 

      The GSA has a legislative focus group for strategy development and im-

      plementation of the GSA agenda in conjunction with the university with

      appropriate legislators in Richmond.  A program is being planned on be-

      half of the graduate community to talk to legislators and alumni groups

      regarding the 2 percent cut, the tuition surcharge and a variety of is-

      sues.

 

      A family housing focus group has been established and on November 15 an

      open hearing will be held with invited groups within the university to

      provide the GSA with information as to the definition of "family" rela-

      tive to "family housing."  Dr. Goodale has asked the GSA to come up

      with a working definition of family housing.

 

      A request will be presented to Minnis Ridenour for block grants for

      Graduate Student organizations. This request provides support for two

      areas:  (1) specifically to the GSA which will provided funding for

      various GSA activities and (2) funding for other specific graduate stu-

      dent organizations.

 

      The final draft of the GSA Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

      will be reviewed and voted on at the Delegate Meeting tonight.

 

  5.  MINUTES OF THE COURSE AND PROGRAM CRITERIA COMMITTEE - John Eaton pre-

      sented the minutes of the October 10 and the October 24 meetings. They

      were accepted with minor corrections. (Please see attachment 2 and 3

      for the complete committee report.  Mike O'Brien will be available to

      discuss the specific nature of any revisions to course and program pro-

      posals at 231-5512.)

 

      Dr. Snoke noted that in the previous years the Commission had simply

      accepted the minutes of the Course and Program Criteria Committee and

      there was no formal acceptance.  Dr. Hooper noted that by our accept-

      ance of these minutes we have the commitment to convey this information

      clearly to the University Council.  All information will be submitted

      to University Council in the form of the minutes or will be included as

      information attached to our minutes.

 

  6.  GRADUATE STUDENT SURCHARGE AND STIPENDS - Kathye Johnston circulated

      copies of Round 2 of the General Fund Reduction Plan for the members to

      review.  Ms. Johnston discussed the tuition surcharge that was approved

      by the Board in October.  The tuition budget is established by a pre-

      cise formula which takes into account our enrollment distribution (how

      many of our students are undergraduate, how many are graduates), and

      whether they are in-state or out-of-state residents. This is the for-

      mula factor that influences the results the most.  By legislative man-

      date, in-state students are to pay 25% and out-of-state students are to

      pay 75% of the cost of their education. Graduate students that are sig-

      nificantly employed, making $4,000.00 or more, are treated as in-state

      students in the formula up to 50% of out-of-state graduate students.

      The last factor in the tuition calculation is the cost of the program.

      The combination of these three factors produces the total tuition re-

      quirement. For Virginia Tech, on average, the students should pay 37.3%

      of the cost of their education.  Nationally, that figure is about 24%.

      Virginia is a high tuition state.  The state is becoming insistent upon

      achieving the 25% and 75% ratio. This view of the state is important in

      the determination of the surcharge that was recommended. A linear pro-

      gram was used that determined the best rates for the students based on

      the constraints that we have to follow.  One of the constraints was

      that for implementation of a surcharge, out-of-state students would be

      assessed 3 times as much as in-state students.  The other constraint

      was that the University needed to collect 3.5 million dollars.  With

      those constraints in mind, the surcharge rates were recommended and ap-

      proved.

 

      Classified staff and faculty were to receive a 2.0% across the board

      raise in December.  In order to honor salary contracts, the second

      phase of the raise will be applied and will immediately be removed. Ev-

      ery person will receive the decrease.  There will be essentially no af-

      fect on salaries.

 

  7.  THE UNIVERSITY PLAN 1991-1996 - Dr. Hooper stated that the coordinating

      committee (Phil Sheldon in particular) has asked that a number of com-

      missions and committees offer any prospective on the goals contained

      within this plan and upon the plan itself.

 

      Dr. Hooper called attention to several issues within the plan. The mem-

      bership were encouraged to write individual comments directly to the

      chair or Phil Sheldon.

 

      Dr. Stout stated that the Commission on Research reviewed the document

      and that no where in the preamble or in the goals and objectives do we

      attempt to make a convincing case to people outside the university par-

      ticularly those in Richmond, about what the Research and Graduate Edu-

      cation is all about.  There is no articulation about the importance of

      research in graduate education. He stated the membership felt that one

      thing that would be helpful in the structure of the document would be

      an introductory paragraph under graduate and professional education.

      This paragraph would set the context of what was to follow. This should

      precede the goal under that section.

 

      Dr. Snoke noted that this document says nothing that associates it with

      Virginia Tech and that it could be written basically by any university.

      Dr. Snoke noted that this document came out as the same time that we

      were given all the information about the cut-backs.  It seems that the

      two are totally unrelated and the goals seem unreal in light of the

      fact that we are being asked to cut back on resources. It seems that we

      cannot ignore the kind of messages we are receiving from the adminis-

      tration.  Maybe we have expanded more than we should have in some re-

      gions and shouldn't there be more quality control or something of an

      internal review so that we just don't ask for more but maybe that there

      be some way to review existing programs.

 

      Dr. Hooper noted that, in connection to Dr. Snoke's comments, item 4

      under goals should read - Evaluate and review graduate degree offerings

      and propose any changes or modifications in those areas.

 

      Dr. Hooper stated that the term "as resources permit" has aroused com-

      ments that these are unnecessary to have connected to the goals.  It is

      always understood that resources can be a constraint to these areas.

      The membership agreed that it should be deleted.

 

      Dr. Stout noted that on item 2 it should read "To adjust off-campus

      graduate program offerings, etc."

 

      Dr. Hooper suggested that there needs to be a specific objective about

      educating both the university community, the general public and legis-

      lative public about the value and worth of graduate students and pro-

      grams.  He thought that this should appear, as Dr. Stout suggested,

      either in some covering language or some specific objective.

 

      Dr. Stout agreed with the sentiment but also thinks that with the given

      format it is too restrictive.  Something more in the lines of the self-

      study where there was a context given and then specific recommendations

      were given should be incorporated here.

 

      Dr. Brown asked whether the objectives were prioritized. Dr. Stout

      stated that normally when reading a listing the top priority would be

      listed first.  Dr. Hooper asked about the priority of these objectives

      and asked for suggestions. It was agreed that item 4 (reworded as Dr.

      Snoke suggested) be moved into the second position of objectives.  Dr.

      Stout suggested the addition of Dr. Hooper's earlier suggestion on edu-

      cation as one of the objectives.  Dr. Eaton stated that if the intro-

      ductory paragraph is not included, the number 1 objective should be Dr.

      Hooper's earlier statement on education.

 

      Dr. Hooper will prepare a letter listing the concerns of the Commission

      and forward it to the appropriate persons involved.

 

      Dr. Hooper also stated that the objectives and goals of the Graduate

      School and the Research Division will be brought to the Commission for

      review.

 

  8.  SUMMER SCHOOL REGISTRATION - Dr. Hooper stated that, during the change

      from the quarter to the semester system, a long standing practice of

      how many hours a student on assistantship must be enrolled in has

      changed.  We have tried to look fairly at what should be the registra-

      tion for our graduate students (not just those on assistantship but any

      who are using substantial university resources).  If the students are

      not enrolled and that is not reflected in these other things, the re-

      sources of the university (number of faculty and other things that are

      necessary) will be withdrawn from the university.  On the other hand it

      would seem unfair that graduate students during the summer should pay

      any disproportionate amount of fees.

 

      Dr. Eaton compared the cost per week of tuition to the graduate stu-

      dents during the academic year and the summer sessions. He stated that,

      with this comparison for students on assistantship, we are prepared to

      recommend that registration for each summer session be no more than 3

      hours.

 

      Dr. Hooper stated that what we are trying to accomplish a balance in

      the Graduate School's responsibilities towards maintaining the business

      structure of the university so that we stay in place to serve people

      and towards not having a graduate student pay excessively during the

      summer session as opposed to what they are earning.

 

      After discussion, the membership agreed that this policy should be ap-

      plied.

 

  9.  REPORT ON DECEMBER COMMENCEMENT - this item will be carried over to the

      next meeting.

 

  10. ADJOURNMENT - 5:02 p.m.

 

                                     Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                     John L. Eaton

                                     Secretary

 

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