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Governance Minutes Archive

November 3, 1993

                                    MINUTES

                                    VPI&SU

                  COMMISSION ON GRADUATE STUDIES AND POLICIES

                         3 NOVEMBER, 1993   3:30 P.M.

                                206 SANDY HALL

 

 

  Present: Drs. Boles, Boyle, Brooker-Gross, Eaton, Eustis, Eyre, LaBerge,

  Merola, Mitchiner, O'Brien, Olin, Orcutt, Peters, Smith, Stauffer, Zink,

  Ms. Bohr, Ms. Rainer-Jeanes, Mr. Schell, Mr. Kahn, Mr. Waddill

 

  Absent with notification: Haney, Wokutch

 

  Absent: Bezold, Vorster

 

  Visitors: John Aughenbaugh - Student Affairs Coordinator from the

                               Vice President for Student Affairs Office

 

            Marvin Foushee - Registrar's Office Representative

 

 

  1.  ANNOUNCEMENTS- no announcements.

 

  2.  INFORMATIONAL HANDOUTS - University Library Committee minutes of

      Septemer 15, 1993 were circulated.

 

  3.  APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA - Approved as modified.

 

  4.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF 20 OCTOBER 1993 -  The minutes were approved as

      distributed.

 

  5.  COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

 

      COURSE AND PROGRAM CRITERIA COMMITTEE - Michael O'Brien presented the

      report of the committee.

 

      No courses were considered at the meeting.  Discussion was held regard-

      ing the Ph.D. proposal for Hotel and Tourism Management which is being

      revised and resubmitted to SCHEV.  Dr. Eaton will obtain a copy of the

      proposal and present it to the committee at a later date.

 

      The Women's Studies program presented a course last year that was ta-

      bled because the Women's Studies program did not offer a masters or

      doctoral degree.  After reviewing policies, it was found that there is

      no policy mandating that a program that does not grant a graduate de-

      gree could not offer a course for graduate courses.  As the University

      is being restructured, the committee feels that there will be likeli-

      hood for more proposals for core concentrations, even though the de-

      partments offering them don't offer their own degrees but are doing

      this as a service to other degree programs.  It was requested that the

      Women's Studies program formulate a proposal outlining key points that

      the committee would then review in acting on this proposed area of con-

      centration.  The Women's Studies program has agreed to this request and

      will be submitting the information to committee.

 

      The committee discussed the proposed guidelines for course review, name

      changes and new program proposals.  A first draft was completed and

      those are in the process of being re-drafted.  When these guidelines

      are completed, the committee proposed that those be sent out to depart-

      ment heads and chairs of curriculum committees and that workshops may

      be offered to familiarize everyone with the new process.

 

      The committee report was accepted.

 

 

      Please see attached committee report for full explanation of all issues

      discussed during the meeting.  (see Attachment A)

 

 

      GRADUATE STUDENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE - Dr. Bob Smith stated that the

      committee met on 11/2/93.  The first item for consideration was the

      procedure for notifying graduate students about acceptance and finan-

      cial aid.  The committee has been working on a model letter that could

      be distributed to departments that would provide a basic letter for de-

      partments to send to graduate student candidates specifying all the de-

      tails, expectations and information that the graduate student would

      need to make a judgement.  At the end of the last academic year, a

      model letter was prepared but never presented to the commission for

      consideration.  After meetings with departmental representatives, it

      has been determined that the model letter is too formal and that what

      is needed is to have the department head issue a letter to each pro-

      spective graduate student assistant along with a form that would spec-

      ify all the conditions that would have been contained in the model

      letter.  The committee agrees that this approach is appropriate.  The

      form has not been prepared as yet and will be presented to the commis-

      sion for consideration at a later date.

 

      The second item for consideration was the development of a protocol

      that would lead to doing a study to discern why students who have been

      offered admission into graduate programs chose not to accept those of-

      fers.  Dr. Eaton reminded the committee that the Graduate School has

      requested additional resources for instructional fee scholarships that

      should provide tuition assistance for students who would normally not

      accept a graduate student position without those additional resources.

      It was decided that it would be wise to wait to see if those additional

      resources would be provided and to reconsider the need for study at a

      later date.

 

 

      DEGREE REQUIREMENTS, STANDARDS, CRITERIA AND ACADEMIC POLICIES COMMIT-

      TEE - Dr. Steve Boyle stated that the committee met and began a dis-

      cussion on the proposal to examine the strengthening of the procedures

      for dissertation examinations.  Specifically the use of external, out-

      side the University, examiners in the process of the dissertation exam.

      A survey of peer institutions, regarding their procedures for these ex-

      aminations, has been completed.  A position paper will be drafted and

      brought to the commission for discussion at a future meeting.

 

 

      GRADUATE RESEARCH POLICIES AND PROGRAMS COMMITTEE - Dr.  Bob Olin

      stated that his committee will be meeting on 11/4 in 460 McBryde Hall.

 

 

  6.  REPORT OF THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY COMMITTEE- Dr. Joanne Eustis referred

      to the minutes of the September 15, 1993 meeting which had been dis-

      tributed earlier in the meeting.

 

      Dr. Eustis noted that a document was distributed stating the library's

      goals such as: a librarian will meet with each department head and each

      departmental library liaison to explain budget and program issues of

      interest, library plans for great attention to preservation, a new in-

      formation desk inside the front doors in the lobby, a new door-opening

      system for greater accessibility for handicapped patrons, and to estab-

      lish a "Friends of the Library" group.  She also stated that she is

      still hopeful that the ground will be broken before the end of this

      year for the new storage building.  The library plans to be involved

      with Information System's Faculty Initiative Program, which is working

      toward equipping every faculty member on campus with a state of the art

      workstation.

 

 

      Dr. Eustis also brought attention to the draft of the ad that was

      placed in the CHRONICLE for the University Librarian.  See Attachment B

      for complete committee report.

 

      Tim Schell asked for clarification about the student representative on

      the search committee for the University Librarian.  Dr. Eustis stated

      that she would talk to Erv Blythe regarding student representation.

      Mr. Schell asked that the message be relayed that the GSA would like to

      be represented on that committee.

 

  7.  GRADUATE STUDENT ASSEMBLY REPORT - Mr. Tim Schell stated that he had

      attended a meeting in Richmond with the candidates for Governor to dis-

      cuss issues on higher education.  Neither candidate identified higher

      education as a priority for their administration.

 

      The APEX has been mailed and he urged the commission members to review

      the document.

 

      The GSA Handbook, an informational guide for graduate students, has

      also been distributed.

 

      The off-campus housing office will be open in January.  This office

      will be jointly operated by the GSA and SGA.  The office will be lo-

      cated at 121 Squires.

 

  8.  DISCUSSION AND COMMITTEE REFERENCE

 

      a)  4000/5000 Level Courses:  The issue here is that some departments are

          having difficulty offering enough 5000 level courses for their

          student's needs.  Some would like to use more 4000 level courses on

          the plan of study.  Others would like to have graduate students

          receive 5000 level credit for 4000 level courses by having them do

          extra work not required of undergraduates.  Dr. Eaton indicated that

          has surveyed all departments to determine the extent of their

          problems.  When asked to provide additional information about the

          4000 level courses, he indicated that there are three kinds of 4000

          level courses 1) those approved for graduate credit, 2) those for

          which  graduate credit have not been requested, and those for which

          3) graduate credit is excluded.  Outside the graduate department,

          if the advisory committee consents, there is no prohibition about

          using any 4000 level course up to the limit allowed on the master or

          doctoral degree plans of study.  Inside the department there is no

          restriction except those placed by the department on the 4000 level

          courses that are used by their students for their plans of study.

 

          This issue was referred to the Course and Program Criteria Committee.

 

      b.  Graduate Catalog - Unoffered Graduate Course Catalog Policy  - Dr.

          Mitchiner stated that the members of the ad hoc Catalog Committee

          are Joe Merola; chair, Joyce Bohr, Dean Stauffer, Marvin Foushee and

          John Eaton.  The committee has two charges: 1) to investigate the

          policy/manual/catalog for inconsistencies in respect to the approach

          to graduate students, 2) report to the commission to respect to

          policy relating to graduate courses that are not offered but are

          listed in the graduate catalog.

 

          Marvin Foushee stated that, 18 months ago, a call was sent to various

          departments regarding courses that had not been offered since Fall

          1988.  Some of those courses have been deleted per the department,

          other departments had offered justifications for continued listings

          of these courses.  Presidential Policy Memorandum 11 states that a

          course that has not been offerd in at least 3 years can and should be

          dropped from the University Catalog.  Mr. Foushee noted that college

          representatives can use the IMS transaction (CTINQ) to check the

          enrollment statistics for course offerings.

 

          Dr. Peters stated that there is a concern in the graduate community

          regarding the availability of courses that are offered in the course

          catalog.  It appears that students are concerned that they have come

          to Virginia Tech expecting certain courses to be offered that haven't

          been offered for a certain period of time and appear to be no longer

          available to them.  The Registrar's Office has the ability to

          eliminate these courses from the catalog, however, he stated

          that the procedure needs to be formalized to include the departmental

          justifications as to how they want to handle each of their specific

          courses as well as responses from the College Deans and the Graduate

          Dean.

 

          Dr. Mitchiner stated that there is a need to put a policy in place

          that can serve all colleges, departments and programs so that the

          catalog will be an accurate listing of the availability of courses.

 

          Dr. Merola asked that the Registrar's Office run another report

          of the course listings that have not been offered so that the

          committee can review the listing.

 

 

      c)  Copyright of Dissertations - Tim Schell stated that a student had

          come to the GSA Office regarding concerns he had regarding the

          copyrights of his dissertation.  Dr. Eaton briefly explained the

          procedure for copyrighting a dissertation and it was decided that

          Mr. Schell would have the student see Ted Kohn or a library

          representative with any further questions that the student may have

          regarding copyright.

 

      d)  Graduate Assistantships, Stipend levels and Scales -  Dr. Mitchiner

          asked the commission members to refer to the minutes of the

          September 15 CGS&P meeting.  At that meeting, Dr. Peters discussed

          the possibility of this commission looking at the issue of

          flexibility of stipend levels.  On this issue, Mr. Mitchiner turned

          to Dr. Peters for comment.

 

          Dr. Peters commented that the issue of our ability to recruit the

          very best students is becoming increasingly locked into the stipends

          that are being offered.  The issue is that with the fixed stipend

          scales, the departments have considerably less ability to

          respond to adjustments in the market place in a timely fashion.

          One policy consideration in this matter is to insure that TA and RA

          stipends "don't get out of whack".  Another issue is that we need to

          insure that there are no differential stipends related to

          international students versus U.S. students.  Departments and

          colleges need a little more flexibility to respond to student's

          needs.  He stated that the committee (Graduate Research Policies and

          Programs) needs to look at the implications of various changes that

          can be made to the stipend scales.

 

          Dr. Mitchiner stated that Dr. Robert Olin is the chair of the

          committee that will be studying this issue and other members of the

          committee are:  Joseph Merola, Dean Stauffer, Tim Schell, Earline

          Rainer-Jeanes and Mike Vorster.  He asked that any suggestions that

          the membership might have should be directed to Dr. Olin.

 

      e)  Charge to the Graduate Student Relations Committee - Dr. Mitchiner

          stated that a re-charge to this committee would be to devise a

          document that would put forward an offer with respect to a graduate

          student's involvement with the University.  Referring to Dr. Smith's

          committee report earlier in the meeting, Dr. Mitchiner stated that

          the sample letter, developed last year, was deemed to be too formal.

          The committee is looking for a better approach to the problem and

          what kinds of input/guidance that the CGS&P membership could give

          to this committee.

 

          Mr. Ken Kahn mentioned a recent SCHEV report that suggested a

          brochure in every department which would accompany letters that

          would provide a minimal amount of information letting the prospective

          student know what is expected of him/her.  In the SCHEV report there

          is mention of what is the minimal amount of information in the

          letter as well as what should be listed in the departmental

          brochure.

 

          Dr. Mitchiner gave some background of this problem from last year.

          There seemed to be concern with respect to the way in which offer

          of support letters were conveyed.  Some departments were vague in

          their offer letters, some were very specific about what would be

          offered to the student and what would be expected from the student.

          The model letter that was devised last year was to be used uniformly

          across the University to convey this information to prospective

          graduate students and to insure that graduate students understand

          all that is involved in the offer.

 

          This issue will continue to be studied by the Graduate Student

          Relations Committee.

 

 

  9.  ADJOURNMENT - 4:50 p.m.

 

                                     Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                     John L. Eaton

                                     Secretary

 

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