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September 15, 1993

                                    MINUTES

                                    VPI&SU

                  COMMISSION ON GRADUATE STUDIES AND POLICIES

                        15 SEPTEMBER, 1993   3:30 P.M.

                                206 SANDY HALL

 

 

  Present: Drs. Boyle, Eaton, Eustis, Eyre, LaBerge, Merola, Mitchiner,

  O'Brien, Richard Oderwald (as substitute for Dean Stauffer), Olin, Orcutt,

  Peters, Smith, Ms. Joyce Bohr (Rep. for Staff Senate as well as substitute

  for Richard Wokutch), Mr. Ken Kahn, Mr. Tim Schell, Mr. Dan Waddill

 

  Absent with notification: Burger, Stauffer, Wokutch

 

  Absent: Boles, Brooker-Gross, Haney, Jeanes, Nolan, Stout, Torgersen

 

  Visitors: John Aughenbaugh - Student Affairs Coordinator from the

                               Vice President for Student Affairs Office

 

            Susan Trulove - Spectrum Representative

 

            Marvin Foushee - Registrar's Office Representative

 

 

  1.  ANNOUNCEMENTS- Dr. Reginald Mitchiner introduced himself to the CGS&P

      membership as the elected chairman for the 1993-94 academic year.  He

      then asked that each member introduce themselves and state their

      affiliation.

 

      Dr. John Eaton referred to a handout that was circulated regarding

      enrollment comparisons.  He pointed out there are 1077 new masters

      students and 191 new doctoral students on campus.  He also stated that

      our total enrollment is down about 70 students and our doctoral

      enrollment is down by 60 students.  Black student enrollment has

      increased.

 

      There have been 230 parking permits issued to GTAs.  Some concerns have

      been expressed by GAs with similar duties to the GTAs and these

      concerns will probably be examined by the Graduate Student Assembly.

 

      Dr. Mitchiner stated that the Course and Program Criteria Committee

      will have it's first meeting next Wednesday, September 22 at 3:30 in

      117 Randolph Hall.

 

      INFORMATIONAL HANDOUTS - Committee Assignments; 1993-94 Membership

      listing; and a Enrollment Comparisons listing.

 

  2.  APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA - Approved as distributed.

 

  3.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF 21 APRIL 1993 -  The minutes were approved as

      distributed

 

  4.  STATE OF THE COMMISSION REPORT - Dr. Mitchiner stated that the chairman

      from last year, Dr. Michael Sporakowski, had emphasized the need for

      the new chairman to review the "State of the Commission" to identify

      where the commission stands on issues at the beginning of the year and

      to recount the experiences of the previous year.

 

      Dr. Mitchiner reviewed the charge of the commission.  The CGS&P is one

      of the commissions that reports directly to the University Council.

      The chairman of this commission will sit on the University Council and

      take the minutes of this commission, as well as resolutions that have

      been prepared by the CGS&P, to become part of the policy structure of

      this University.  The charge of this commission as it appears in the

      University Council Constitution reads as follows:  "The charge is to

      study, formulate and recommend to University Council policies and

      procedures concerning on and off-campus graduate academic matters.

      Areas for consideration include:  admissions, academic progress, degree

      requirements, commencement, registration and scheduling, curriculum,

      courses, advising and instruction, teaching and research, financial

      assistance (including assistantships, scholarships, fellowships and

      tuition), library resources and other matters affecting the graduate

      student academic environment."  In order to accomplish this mission the

      commission organized around a number of committees.

 

      COURSE AND PROGRAM CRITERIA COMMITTEE - this committee has, as one of

      it's major responsibilities, the review of new and revised courses and

      degree programs.  The criteria to be considered in the review process

      include compliance to established guidelines and procedures, potential

      overlap and conflict with other courses and programs, academic quality

      and relevance, and resources needed and available supporting courses

      and programs.  This committee is also responsible for other issues

      relating to graduate education as deemed necessary by this committee,

      the chair of the CGS&P, and as advised by the Dean of the Graduate

      School, ie.  departmental name changes, professional and graduate

      degree credit management and revision of course proposal guidelines.

 

      In the 1992-93 year, that committee, in addition to dealing with a

      number of courses, dealt with a resolution that has gone on to UC

      relating to the approval process of courses and programs.  Also, that

      committee, with CUS and the Registrar's Office, dealt with the

      guidelines relating to course proposals.  There are six items that the

      committee brought forward to this year.  Four of them relate to course

      proposals, one item relates to the name change for the Agricultural

      Engineering Department, the other item relates to the joint graduate

      program between the Civil Engineering and Forestry Products

      departments.

 

      This committee will be chaired by Professor Michael O'Brien from the

      College of Architecture.  All elected faculty representatives will be

      members on this committee.

 

      GRADUATE STUDENT RELATIONS - the charge for this committee is to serve

      as a recognized channel by which graduate students at large can gain

      access to the administration.  This committee receives white papers

      from the Graduate Student Assembly and examines, in detail, proposals

      which may directly concern graduate students (such as health care,

      registration, continuous registration and others).

 

      Last year this committee considered the parking situation relating to

      graduate students.  The assistantship offer letters that are sent to

      prospective graduate students were also examined.  This committee

      recommended to this commission that we go on record favoring some form

      of parking differentiation for graduate students.  The establishment of

      special parking for GTAs has also been implemented.  This year it is

      hoped that the committee will access how effectively this GTA parking

      process is going forward and what kinds of things should be brought

      before the commission for change.

 

      The standard assistantship offer letter sample was developed by the

      committee and the use of this sample was recommended throughout the

      University.  Along with this sample letter was a recommendation was

      that there be a follow-up mounted with respect to the departments to

      determine the extent to which this offer letter is being utilized.  An

      additional item to be included in this follow-up is, when there are

      negative responses from prospective students, a determination of the

      reasons for those negative responses.

 

      GRADUATE APPEALS - last year the committee evolved a policy/procedure

      relating to graduate appeals.  That procedure went through the approval

      process and is now in place.

 

      DEGREE REQUIREMENTS, STANDARDS, CRITERIA AND ACADEMIC POLICIES - this

      committee's charge is to provide a review of on-going degree

      requirements and evaluate the standards and criteria by which the

      graduate programs are limited.  That committee, last year, looked at

      the revision of policy related to late drops as the result of receiving

      a proposed resolution from the President of the Faculty Senate.  The

      items that remain for review are:  strengthening the Ph.D. examining

      committee and procedures (influencing or providing for graduate school

      or outside membership on the final examining committee and matters

      relating to that); recently implemented Policy Memorandum 126 and what

      kinds of things this commission needs to do to re-address the issues

      from that memorandum.  Steve Boyle from Veterinary Medicine served as

      chairman of that committee and continues to do so for this year.

 

      GRADUATE RESEARCH POLICIES AND PROGRAMS - the committee produced a

      report that has been superseded.  The committee charge is to evaluate

      existing graduate research programs and recommend policies governing

      the fiscal needs of these programs that aide in the development of

      overall graduate research policies.

 

      Dr. Eaton stated that he has made changes to the overall report and

      hopes to have it ready for the next meeting.

 

      SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE (AD HOC) - That committee, last year, reviewed

      the Cunningham Award procedures and Instructional Fee Scholarships as

      well as dealt with the increase in funding level available for minority

      graduate students.

 

      There is a need for two new ad hoc committees.

 

             Ad hoc Nominations Committee for Chairman Elect

 

             Bob Smith - Chairman

             Dave Orcutt

             Peter Eyre

 

             Ad hoc Catalog Committee

 

             John Eaton

             Dean Stauffer

             Jim Burger

             Joyce Bohr

 

 

      The chair of the Catalog Committee will be decided at a future date.

 

  5.  GRADUATE STUDENT ASSEMBLY REPORT - Tim Schell stated that the GSA

      officers met this summer and formulated an agenda for the year.  He

      briefly stated these agenda items:  (1) educational issues on the value

      of graduate education, (2) publicity of programs, (3) faculty/graduate

      student relationships, (3) international/domestic student

      relationships, (4) handbook with helpful hints for graduate students,

      (5) on-line computer system that will allow graduate students access

      and identify other students with similar interests.

 

      Ken Kahn and Tim Schell will be meeting Saturday 9/18 in

      Charlottesville with counterparts from around the state to look at ways

      to promote graduate education throughout the state.

 

      On September 21, 1993 will be a voter registration drive from

      9:00-3:00.

 

      On September 23, 1993 will be the first general meeting of all

      delegates.

 

      October 6, 1993 will be the date of the Graduate Fair.

 

  6.  DEAN LEONARD PETERS ADDRESS TO THE COMMISSION - Dean Peters stated that

      he joined Virginia Tech on August 1, 1993 to begin his tenure as Vice

      Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.  He stated that

      he had been reading a book called "Remembering the University of

      Chicago" written by Edward Shields and in the foreword Mr. Shields

      talks about the value of graduate education at his institution.  Dr.

      Peters quoted, "The faculty would not have been nearly as good if the

      students whom they taught were not as good as they were.  By good, I do

      not mean uniformly brilliant and original, what I mean is their

      capacity for hard and persistent work.......  The students were more

      demanding towards their teachers than compared to other places that he

      had been associated with.  When the students are more demanding

      intellectually, teachers are more responsive intellectually to the

      expectations of the students."  Dr. Peters stated that he felt that

      this was a viewpoint that we all share but that it helps to have it

      reinforced by people from other institutions.

 

      One thing that was very evident, relative to the quality of graduate

      students at Virginia Tech, when he was interviewing for this position,

      was the state of affairs of graduate student stipends.  He (Dr. Peters)

      realized that one of the things that needed to be addressed quickly was

      the issue of competitive stipend levels.  Tuition, summer tuition,

      stipend issues were all items that needed to be addressed.  John Eaton

      and Martha Johnson spent a lot of time during this past summer

      gathering information regarding stipend offerings from other

      institutions and answering the questions:  What do other institutions

      do in regard to summer tuition?  Could we quantify the discrepancy

      between where Virginia Tech is and where we think we should be?  In

      order to get this data, we surveyed 27 institutions.  The results were

      as follows:  15 provide full tuition assistance, a large majority

      required students to pay tuition in the summer (however, the students

      that were supported were accommodated again with a tuition scholarship

      or waiver).  We also selected the 60th percentile as a goal for

      graduate student support.  In order for Virginia Tech's graduate

      students to achieve the 60th percentile each student would need an

      increase of support of $3,800.00.  The appropriations request for the

      biennium budget proposes a three year strategy to bring the stipend

      level up to the 60th percentile.  In year one, there is a request

      $2.175 million would be included in the approximately $4,000,000.00

      that currently are available for tuition support.  We would use those

      funds to provide tuition scholarships for all GTAs and GAs.  There are

      currently 1,215 GTAs and GAs.  The first advantage of putting this

      request in as tuition scholarships in the first year is that these

      funds are not taxable.  The second advantage is that research

      assistants who are supported on sponsored activities have to be treated

      in the same way - the advantage of this is that when proposals are

      prepared, which include graduate research assistants, tuition will be

      included as well as the stipend.   The tuition scholarship item will

      fall into the category where indirect costs are not charged.  The

      second year of the biennium we are proposing a $1.215 million to put a

      $1,000.00 stipend supplement on each particular GTA and GA and in the

      first year of the following biennium there would be another $1,000.00

      stipend supplement.  At the same time, we have proposed that graduate

      student increases be tied, percentage wise, to faculty salary

      increases.

 

      Dr. Peters also stated that he felt that it is time to think about the

      strategy of having a formal locked in stipend scale.  He thinks it

      provides some advantages to the departments, however, in some

      departments it has limited their competitiveness.  One of the things he

      thinks would be valuable for this commission to consider is how do we

      want to move ahead with stipend scales and it is important that these

      studies be closed linked with the Commission on Research.  We want to

      make sure that tensions are not created by giving departments more

      flexibility.  Dr. Peters stated that he has some concerns that if we

 

      don't make stipend adjustments, our research programs and graduate

      programs are going to suffer in the long term.

 

      He noted that he has begun departmental visits spending time to discuss

      research and graduate education problems such as tuition issues,

      stipend scales and competitive stipends and how it has effected their

      programs.  His goal is to visit all departments by the end of the year.

 

      In closing, Dr. Peters stated that one of the things that attracted him

      to Virginia Tech was the good environment for doing interdisciplinary

      research.  He also asked the commission to consider how should

      interdisciplinary graduate education should be approached; do we do

      interdisciplinary graduate education as well as interdisciplinary

      research.  Are there interdisciplinary graduate education initiatives

      that should follow on from the research that is occurring?  What are

      the mechanics of beginning such programs?

 

      After a brief question and answer period, Dr. Mitchiner thanked Dr.

      Peters for his information and thoughts and continued on with the next

      agenda item.

 

 

  7.  UNIVERSITY LIBRARY REPORT - Joanne Eustis asked the membership whether

      they would want only a report on previous minutes of the University

      Library Committee meetings or whether they would be interested in

      relevant issues involving the library.  It was decided that she provide

      the minutes as well as substance information from the library.  Her

      report will be a carryover item for the next meeting.

 

 

  8.  ADJOURNMENT - 4:48 p.m.

 

                                     Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                     John L. Eaton

                                     Secretary

 

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