Graduate Academic Council
2002 - 2003

Minutes of the Council meeting of May 8, 2003
Approved by the Council on September 11, 2003

In attendance: C. Smith, J. Rudolph, S. Maloney, C. Bischoff, B. Spanier, L. Cohen, M. Casserly, E. Block, K. Trent, R. Irving, J. Mumpower, K. Sarfoh, L. Raffalovich, L. Trubitt, C. MacDonald (Chair), & J. Bartow (staff)

Unable to attend: H. Charalambous, M. Gallant, M. Genkin, & Vivien Ng

Guests: Joan Savitt, UAC Chairperson, and Sheila Mahan

1. Minutes from the GAC meeting of 4/21/03 were considered with two corrections noted by Prof. MacDonald and subsequently approved.

2. Dean's Report - J. Mumpower

· SEVIS - Dean Mumpower indicated that we will do our best to comply with the law - another unfunded mandate. A team of individuals, led by staff in the Office for International Education, will be addressing planning and implementation issues. University business functions shouldn't be significantly impacted. There is significant concern for international students and their status. Prof. Block suggested that a SEVIS information guide for faculty/staff might be helpful. Dean Mumpower indicated that something would be produced along those lines.

· SARS - Consistent with Center for Disease Control guidelines, a protocol for emergencies has been developed. An ad-hoc committee has been formed to deal with planning for such emergencies. Prof. Block expressed concern about possible last minute (late August) decisions and the potential impact for departments. He suggested that consultation with faculty was essential. Dean Mumpower assured all that SARS related issues will not be taken lightly.

3. Chair's Report - C. MacDonald

· The Senate has approved the GAC/UAC bills to (1) establish the MS Forensic Biology program; (2) establish the combined BA/MA program in Political Science and Public Affairs & Policy; and (3) modify academic grievance procedures. The GAC bill pertaining to graduate instruction will be considered by the Senate on 5/12/03. Bills to revise course drop policy/deadlines (from UAC) and establish a Fountain Day recess (from ULC) await GAC comment/action.

· Work continues on amendments to or re-writing of the By-Laws. Questions: Should there be a standing academic policy committee? should EPC & GAC have a role in matters of suspension of program admissions? Should governance continue over the summer months? Prof. MacDonald described the by-law voting procedures that eventually will take place.

4. UAC Proposal to amend course withdrawal (drop) deadlines, Senate Bill 0203-11.

The GAC took up a discussion of the bill that calls for the drop deadline to become 15 days after the mid-term point for semester length courses. UAC Chairperson Joan Savitt was in attendance to participate in the discussion and answer any questions from the GAC members. She explained that the proposal was premised on an expectation of a mid-term evaluation with results available to students before the drop deadline passed. Faculty do not always provide such timely feedback to students. Professor Raffalovich inquired if a mid-term evaluation is required or stipulated somewhere. Dr. Savitt indicated that it is not, but both agreed it was implied.

The Council discussed the potential effects of this policy change on grade inflation and time-to-degree.

Chairperson MacDonald identified two questions for the Council to consider: (1) Should grad and undergrad drop policies be the same? (2) Is the change to 15 days after mid-term acceptable.

A motion was made and seconded (Profs. Smith & Block) to approve the UAC bill as presented for applicability to graduate students as well. The motion was defeated, with 4 votes in favor and 8 opposed.

5. Sheila Mahan provided a briefing, with handout, to the Council on the Peoplesoft project, particularly that pertaining to student registration and records.

6. The proposal to authorize Mr. Ted Borys to provide graduate instruction in the Department of Computer Science (CSI511, Fall 2003) was unanimously approved.

7. The ULC sponsored Senate bill to create a Fountain Day recess was introduced by the Chair for discussion by the Council. After a few opinions were offered, no motion was made and discussion on the topic ceased without any action being taken.

8. Chairperson MacDonald asked for advice/comment on the By-Laws project. (1) Should there be a joint (grad & undergrad) policy committee? Some members suggested no. (2) Should a governance body be involved with suspension of admissions? Not many opinions were offered. Chair MacDonald indicated she would consider it still somewhat gray. (3) Governance over the summer? Members: difficult but may be necessary.

9. The meeting was adjourned.