Graduate Studies

Graduate Council Minutes - December 2, 2013

3:00 p.m., Horrabin Hall, Room 60/QC Campus 114

Members Present: J. Averbeck, V. Diehl, J. McQuillan, A. Mossman (Chair), J. Myers, W. Polley (Vice Chair), M. Stinnett, T. Walker

Guests Present: Angela Lynn, Iraj Kalantari, Gregg Woodruff, Dennis DeVolder, Gretchen Sullivan, Sue Tygrett, Marty Maskarinec, Algerian Hart, Davison Bideshi, Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

Ex-officio: N. Parsons

Others Present: A. Schulz

Dr. Mossman requested that the Council consider adding a Request for a 400-G Level Course from the Mathematics Department to the agenda as item II.C. Motion: To add the item to the agenda. (Mossman/Polley). MOTION CARRIED. 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB.


A. Academic Integrity Incident Reports Filed in the School of Graduate Studies, November 2013 (0)


A. Accounting and Finance

1. Request for a New Graduate (500 or 600-Level) Course

a. FIN 575, Advanced Portfolio Management, 3 s.h.

Dr. Woodruff was in attendance to present the request. He stated that this course was brought to the Council last year as a 2-semester course for 3 s.h. and the Council did not support it but did offer suggestions. The department amended the course to fit the criteria outlined by the Council. Dr. Woodruff explained that there are funds from donors specifically designated to be used for this type of course. He also noted that Illinois State University is a primary competitor for enrollment in the Finance program and they offer a very similar course to this one. He also stated that there are more donors lined up to donate to the course with a caveat that proceeds go to fund scholarships, etc. Students in this course will learn theory as well as how to apply and manage it. Dr. Polley stated that the University of Iowa started a similar course while he was a student there and it was very competitive and an overall good course.

Motion: To approve the request with an amendment to the catalog description. (Polley/ McQuillan) MOTION CARRIED 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

B. Computer Science

1. Request for a New Graduate (500 or 600-Level) Course

a. CS 595, Graduate Computer Science Internship, 3 s.h.

Drs. Maskarinec and DeVolder were present. Dr. Maskarinec stated that the course is modeled after the Physics Internship and is one of several exit options in the program. Dr. Mossman noted that the course could not be a requirement until Fall 2014. Dr. Parsons stated that internships require 150 contact hours. Dr. Diehl asked for clarification regarding the special project. Dr. Maskarinec stated that the project would require graduate coordinator permission. “Department permission required” will be added to the course prerequisites.

 Motion: To approve the request with amendment. (Polley/Mossman) MOTION CARRIED 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

2. Request to Change Graduate Program Requirements

Motion: To approve the request. (Polley/Averbeck) MOTION CARRIED 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB 

C. Mathematics

1. Request for a 400-G Level Course

a. MATH 483G, Biomathematics, 3 s.h.

Dr. Kalantari was in attendance to answer questions. He stated that the department would like to offer the course in the spring with a G designation so that the course would be available to more students. They already offer the course at the undergraduate level. Graduate students would apply graduate level work and use the computer program MATLAB which is not available to the undergraduate students. Dr. Diehl questioned having a 400-G course as opposed to a graduate level course. Dr. Kalantari responded that the amount of interested undergraduate versus graduate students varies each semester and by offering it as a 400-G course, the department can reach all interested students regardless of their level. Dr. Mossman noted that the course meets the needs of a combination of students as a 400-G course. She also asked for confirmation that a letter of support from Biological Sciences was obtained. Dr. Kalantari responded that yes, he had a letter.

Motion: To approve the request. (McQuillan/Polley) MOTION CARRIED 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB


A. Thomas Sadler, Associate Professor, Economics and Decision Sciences

 Motion: To approve the request. (Myers/McQuillan) MOTION CARRIED 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB             

B. Bhavneet Walia, Assistant Professor, Economics and Decision Sciences

Dr. Averbeck asked for clarification on the refereed articles and if it was standard practice to list authors in this manner. Dr. Polley stated that the conventional way in Economics is to list alphabetically and co-authorship is very standard.

Motion: To approve the request. (McQuillan/Mossman) MOTION CARRIED 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB


A. Policy Review: D Grades, Repeatable Courses

Dr. Polley presented the information on grade replacement at the graduate level. He stated that point #3 runs parallel to the existing C rule. He noted that the Counselor Education program has an exception regarding the C rule that only allows students to earn six semester hours of grades lower than C even though the program is more than 47 hours. Dr. Polley reported that Counselor Education would like the exception to extend to grade replacement should the proposed policy pass but that they are not in favor of a new policy. Dr. Polley stated that much of the proposed policy is the same as the one at the undergraduate level but that it would be by petition only for graduate students. Dr. Parsons questioned how it would be known if the low grade was from an academic integrity incident. Dr. Lynn responded that there is currently a code used at the undergraduate level that is put into the system for academic integrity incidents and that it could potentially be used at the graduate level as well. Dr. McQuillan noted that an amendment had been made to point #1 changing the wording from “before registering for a course” to “before the beginning date of the course”.

Professor Myers questioned if the committee considered limiting grade replacement to D grades and not F’s. Dr. Polley responded that they did but decided that it would be up to the department’s discretion which petitions were approved. Discussion was held regarding allowing only D’s to be replaced. Dr. Averbeck asked what grounds a department would have to deny petitions. Dr. Mossman noted that she could see situations where students may not see this as fair and also questioned how financial aid would be impacted. Dr. Polley stated that the current policy provides little incentive to master the material after earning a D in a course. He also said that in his opinion as an advisor, not a lot of students will petition to retake anything other than a D or F. Dr. McQuillan noted that if a student retakes a course with a D now, it is because it is required. This policy will give them incentive to do well in the course. Dr. Polley stated that sometimes international students have language and cultural issues their first semester while they are getting accustomed to the university. This policy would give them another option if they had a hard time adjusting at first. Dr. McQuillan added that another group of students to benefit would be students that had been out of school for some time and are coming back but do not adjust right away. Professor Myers stated that it would be an added burden on the professors to change their materials every semester and that she sees a lot of disadvantages to the proposed policy. She noted that on paper students would earn the same grade even though one student took the course twice.

Dr. Mossman pointed out that the proposed policy came out of a perceived notion that there was a need for it because there was something not working. Discussion was held regarding departmental guidelines to approve or deny petitions. Dr. Walker noted that students leaving with the required information is what is important at the end of the day and the proposed policy is better than what is currently in place. Ms. Sullivan questioned if there was an appeal process if the student did not petition before the first day of the course. Dr. Averbeck noted that course rotations may not allow for some students to retake a course and is that fair to the students. Ms. Sullivan asked if a student exceeded the C rule and was dropped from a program, could they retake the course and be reinstated into the program. Dr. McQuillan responded that no, not automatically. The student would still have to petition to the Council to waive the C rule. Dr. Parsons stated that there were several issues still to consider and would like to see the current wording versus the proposed wording for the catalog.

Motion: To postpone for further discussion. (Averbeck/Myers) MOTION CARRIED 5 YES – 2 NO – 1 AB


A. Expanding Potential Roles of Temporary Graduate Faculty

Dr. Mossman reported that the issue of temporary graduate faculty not being able to serve on a thesis committee has come up in the past. There are several departments with Unit B faculty with terminal degrees and active research agendas that would be beneficial to students to have on their committees. Dr. Mossman handed out potential language changes to the current application for temporary membership that would allow for Unit B faculty to serve on committees if they wanted to and met the criteria while trying to guard against exploitation of faculty for whom this is not a primary duty. Dr. Parsons stated that there are concerns with overloading the Unit B faculty. Dr. Mossman responded that another benefit was that it could help the faculty member with a tenure track job search while some faculty will just want to do it to help the students. Dr. Polley questioned if the faculty in question are the ones that apply every year for temporary membership and shouldn’t they be more on the level of associate status. Dr. Averbeck suggested that the faculty member should still need to petition to serve on a committee so that they are not potentially overburdened. Discussion was held regarding workloads. Professor Myers suggested having a new form to serve on committees for specific students such as a “request to serve on a thesis committee as non-member of the graduate faculty” form. Dr. Polley added that a new category below Associate Graduate Faculty could be created. Dr. Mossman questioned how to keep Unit B faculty from being exploited.

Motion: To form a subcommittee to research the potential options. (Mossman/Polley) MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 1 AB

Drs. Averbeck, Mossman, and Polley volunteered to be on the subcommittee.

B. Developing an Academic Workload Statement for the Graduate Catalog

Motion: To postpone until February meeting. (Mossman/Averbeck) MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 1 AB


No other business reported.


A. Sociology

1. Request to hold an assistantship with less than a 3.0 GPA

The student and Drs. Bideshi and McIlvaine-Newsad were present. Dr. Bideshi stated that the department supported the request because the student provides critical assistance to not only faculty members but also undergraduate students. Discussion was held by the Council.

Motion: To approve the request. (Walker/McQuillan) MOTION CARRIED 6 YES –1 NO – 1 AB 

Meeting adjourned: 5:24 p.m.