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Graduate Council Minutes, November 7, 2008

Present: Chair Dan Brown, Larry Heintz, Kathryn Besio, Don Price, Bryan Kim, Mahealani Jones, Ken Morris, Kathleen Stacey, Kenny Simmons, Jene Michaud, Chuck Langlas (note-taker), Jerry Calton

  1. Minutes of the Oct. 31 meeting were approved.

  2. Concerning the council chair’s request to graduate program chairs to provide a list of their program faculty and a description of the procedure to determine the faculty, discussion ensued concerning what that procedure should be.

    • Dan Brown asked program chairs to document their current procedure. Then we can consider what procedure we should follow.
    • Some ideas for determining program faculty: those who teach courses for the program, have chaired committees, indicate they are willing to chair committees.

(It was pointed out that membership on a committee would not be a good criterion now that there will necessarily be outside members for dissertation committees.)

  1. Dan announced that the VCAA was pleased with the outside the program/inside the university dissertation committee member policy passed at the last meeting. He will send the policy to the Faculty Congress for approval.

Discussion followed about whether that should be the appropriate path, or whether we should send policies directly to the congress. Another point made was that the council should have a charter, which (among other things) might require a response from the VCAA to council policy recommendations within a certain period, or otherwise they would be deemed accepted.

Motion (made by Ken Morris, seconded by Kenny Simmons) passed without opposition: For matters concerning academic policy, the Graduate Council will henceforth give its recommendations to the VCAA for approval, with the expectation that the VCAA will refer significant policy recommendations to the Faculty Congress.

  1. The committee chair reminded program chairs that their annual reports for 2007-2008 (due by July) are overdue.

  2. Discussion continued on the matter of compensation to faculty for graduate program work.

  • Dan Brown noted that recommendations were sent to the former VCAA Steve Hora on several issues (1.5 times work credit for teaching a graduate course, work credit for chairing a thesis/dissertation committee), but no response was made. Dan suggested that, as a start, we might want to make a recommendation only for work credit for chairing a committee.
  • The earlier recommendation asked for one-credit released time to go to the committee chair during the student’s academic career when completing a thesis or dissertation.
  • Discussion ensued about when the workload is heaviest, when the chair should get the work credit, and might it be possible to “bank” work credits.
  • Bryan Kim requested that the earlier policy recommendation be provided to committee members to look at.
  • Dan Brown and Mahealani Jones offered to examine the policies at other institutions (specifically those that originally were undergraduate-only institutions that later initiated graduate programs ). That information can be used as a basis for our policy recommendation to the VCAA.
  1. Chuck Langlas asked for the council to establish additional procedures to be followed concerning external examiners for dissertations. Currently the graduate catalog says (p. 273) only that the VCAA will “appoint the examiner, at the recommendation of the graduate program.” There is no form to document the appointment. The catalog further states “After the oral dissertation defense, the outside examiner signs Form 3, ‘Recommendation for Award of Doctoral Degree’ to signify approval.” If the outside examiner does not approve, he/she is to submit a report describing the reasons to the VCAA.
  • Langlas asked for a form to be created to document approval of the external examiner.
  • Kathryn Besio suggested that we create guidelines for an external examiner’s report to the VCAA, that there should be an evaluative report in any case, not just if the dissertation is found unacceptable. She offered to provide an example from the University of Waikato.
  • Council Chair suggested that if it is not too complex, we handle the decision on this by email asap, in order to get procedures in place for the upcoming dissertation defense of Cathrine Edmonds on Nov. 20