Graduate Studies

Graduate Council Minutes - Special Appeals Meeting - January 28, 2013

3:00 - 5:00 p.m., Horrabin Hall, Room 60/QC60th Street Campus, Room 114

Members Present: R. Filipink, L. Kilmer, B. Locke (Chair), J. McQuillan, J. Myers, W. Polley, T. Walker
Members Absent: A. Mossman (Vice Chair); N. Parsons (Ex-officio)

Guests Present: D. DeVolder

Others Present: A. Schulz

Dr. Locke welcomed the Council members and introduced new member Dr. Filipink. Additionally, Dr. Locke provided an overview of the student appeal process.


A. Request to waive the 6-hour “C” rule

1. Special Education

The student was present to respond to questions from the Council. She indicated that medical issues caused her to miss a few classes and it was difficult to get caught back up. Dr. Locke asked about the student’s current enrollment and completion requirements. The student explained the courses that she is currently taking and what her research project will entail. Dr. Locke pointed out that everything else has been completed. Dr. Polley asked if the student had considered dropping the course and was there communication with the instructor. The student responded that the instructor was aware of the circumstances and did work with her. The student did consider dropping the course but was afraid that due to low enrollment issues that it would not be offered for another year and she would miss the opportunity to take the course. Dr. Locke pointed out that this course was a 4 s.h. course and if it has been a 3 s.h. course, the student would not be in this situation.

Motion: To approve the request to waive the 6-hour “C” rule. (Polley/Myers). MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

2. Geography

The student presented her request indicating that the first low grade earned was in a Biology course that was taken as a non-degree student that she was not prepared for and should not have taken. The student then took two courses with the same professor and earned low grades in each due to the style of tests in both courses. The student did not realize that the low grade earned as a non-degree student would count against her. Dr. Kilmer asked for clarification about the connection between the Biology and Geography courses. The student explained that she is taking courses towards a GIS certificate and that bridged the gap between the two programs. These courses allowed the student to determine that Geography was a better fit for her in all aspects. Dr. Polley questioned how the student ended up in the advanced Biology course as a non-degree student and did she consider dropping the course. The student responded that she only looked at the course title and thought it would be a good course to take to raise her GPA. The course was only worth a couple hundred points total and those were part of a project that wasn’t completed until the end of the course so there was no time to drop it.

Dr. Locke asked for clarification regarding the student’s thesis. The student responded that it will focus on Geography, not Biology. Discussion was held regarding the courses that the student has already taken and the grades earned in Geography.

Motion: To approve the request to waive the 6-hour “C” rule. (Myers/McQuillan). MOTION CARRIED 5 YES – 2 NO – 0 AB

3. Liberal Arts & Science

Neither the student nor the department was in attendance. Upon review of the petition, the Council determined that the situation would be better suited for a late withdrawal petition and not a waiver of the 6-hour “C” rule.

Motion: To deny the request to waive the 6-hour “C” rule. (Polley/Filipink). MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

The Council asked the Graduate School to include an alternate option the student may consider which is to submit a petition to late withdraw from the entire semester. This would allow the student to retake the courses.

B. Request for a late withdrawal

1. Economics

a. Student A

The student and Dr. Polley were present to answer questions from Council members. The student indicated that he was unable to attend classes during the beginning of the semester due to medical reasons. After speaking with his instructors, the student received incompletes in two of the courses but was advised to drop the other course by the instructor. The student was not able to drop the course in time because of changes in the International Studies office. Dr. Kilmer questioned the amount of incomplete coursework the student still has. The student responded that he is attending four courses that he has incompletes in even though he is only currently enrolled in one new course. The student will attend the final course that he has an incomplete in during the fall semester when the course is offered.

Dr. Walker asked for clarification that the instructor of the course in question would not give an incomplete as the others had done. The student responded that no, the instructor felt it would be better to drop the course than try to catch up. The student was asked to provide several documents from his doctors by International Studies in order to drop the course but was too late in getting everything submitted. Dr. Polley clarified the dates of attendance for the student and that he advised him to drop the course but the system wouldn’t allow him to do a simple drop because he would then be enrolled in less than 9 s.h.

Professor Myers asked about a previous semester with low grades and how they factored in the degree. Dr. Polley clarified that they were undergraduate deficiencies and did not count towards the GPA. The student responded that there was another medical issue during that semester as well. Discussion was held regarding the timeline of the withdrawal attempt and attendance in courses that the student is not registered. Dr. Locke pointed out that the request was to withdraw from the lone course

Motion: To deny a late withdrawal from ECON 503 in the Fall 2012 semester. (Myers/Filipink). MOTION CARRIED 4 YES – 1 NO – 2 AB

b. Student B

The student was not present but Dr. Polley represented the department. Dr. Polley indicated that as the student’s advisor, he told him that it was too late to drop the courses and that he needed to continue attending. The student was also advised that grades earned in these courses would still count regardless of if the student changed programs. Discussion was held regarding the courses taken and the student’s desire to change programs. The petition did not indicate any extenuating circumstances.

Motion: To deny a late withdrawal from the Fall 2012 semester. (Walker/Filipink). MOTION CARRIED 6 YES – 0 NO – 1 AB

C. Request to hold an assistantship with less than 3.0 GPA

1. Computer Science

The student and Dr. DeVolder were present to answer questions from Council members. The student indicated that Fall 2012 was his first semester in the United States and that his accent caused a significant problem but that he had been working the last three months to improve it. Dr. Locke asked about current enrollment as well as future semesters and preparation with the English language. The student responded that he is currently enrolled in 9 s.h. and is working to improve his ability to communicate effectively. Dr. Locke also questioned if the student has been in contact with his current instructors and if any are the same as last semester. The student responded that he has already met with all of them and that they are all different instructors. The student closed by stating that he did very well in his undergraduate and was surprised by his grades in his first semester. He is very confident that he will excel in his remaining semesters.

Dr. Polley questioned if this student is the best qualified for the assistantship. Dr. DeVolder responded that yes, the student was the only qualified applicant for this position. Dr. Locke questioned the academic preparedness of the student and if there would be any type of co-mentoring of the student between the assistantship and academic advisors. Dr. DeVolder responded that there is a risk hiring the student but it is the supervisor and advisor’s responsibility to remind him that he is a student first, assistant second. Discussion was held regarding amount of work versus academic workload. Dr. McQuillan noted that the student’s background based on the coursework that has already been taken points to him being very qualified for the position.

Motion: To approve the request to hold an assistantship with less than a 3.0. (Kilmer/Polley). MOTION CARRIED 5 YES – 0 NO – 2 AB

Meeting Adjourned: 4:55 p.m.