Graduate Studies

November 9, 2009 Minutes

3 p.m., University Union Board Room

MEMBERS PRESENT: R. Bauerly, M. Bean, e. Hassan (Vice Chair), J. McNabb, K. McClure, J. McQuillan, G. Montalvo, K. Pawelko (Chair)

GUESTS: Rick Anderson, Lori Baker-Sperry, Colin Harbke, Mark Kelley, Tracy Knight, Susan Moore, Mike Romano, Tim Spier, Lance Ternasky

EX-OFFICIO: J. Dallinger

OTHER: G. Sullivan


A. Curriculum and Instruction

1. Request for a new graduate course

a. LLA 525, Literature and the Reader, 3 s.h.

2. Request to change graduate program requirements

a. Reading

These items were tabled at the request of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction as faculty members and administrators were unable to be present to discuss the requests.

B. Philosophy & Religious Studies

1. Request to add graduate credit to a 400-level course

a. REL 492; Religion, Literature, and Film; 3 s.h. ( TABLED 10/12/09 – no additional information has been submitted)

2. Request for cross-listed course (TABLED 10/12/09)

These items were tabled as no new information was presented to the Graduate Council. Previously, the Council has requested a syllabus for the course and a revision of the request to add graduate credit.

C. Psychology

1. Request for a new graduate course

a. PSY 576, Family Therapy Theory and Practice, 3 s.h.

Dr. Tracey Knight was present to respond to questions from the Council. He noted that because the Counseling program could no longer consistently offer three courses used by psychology graduate students, this course was created to fill the void.
Motion: To approve the new course request for PSY 576. (Bean/McNabb)

2. Request to change graduate program requirements

a. Clinical/Community Mental Health

As was previously addressed, the Department of Psychology would like to change the program requirements to eliminate three counseling courses (CN 540, CN 541, and CN 551) and include three psychology courses (PSY 576, PSY 595, and PSY 596) in their place. Dr. Dallinger asked for clarification concerning the list of guided electives for the developmental perspective under the current program requirements. PSY 523 was not listed on the current side or the proposed side, however, it appears in the graduate catalog as a guided elective. Dr. Knight indicated it should not be listed as an option in the proposed side.

Motion: To approve the request to change program requirements in Psychology C/CMH. (McNabb/Bauerly)MOTION CARRIED: 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB


A. Meshack Afitlhile, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences

Dr. Mike Romano spoke on behalf of this application. He indicated Dr. Afitlhile is a new faculty member with active research. Council members noted a description of research or scholarly activities currently in progress was not included with the application.

Motion: To approve the request for full membership pending the submission of the required description of research currently in progress. (McClure/McNabb) MOTION CARRIED: 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

Dr. Romano indicated the description would be sent to Ms. Gretchen Sullivan in the Graduate School.

B. Colin Harbke, Assistant Professor, Psychology

Motion: To approve the request for full membership. (Bean/Hassan) MOTION CARRIED: 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

C. Robert McCleery, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences

Motion: To approve the request for full membership. (McClure/McNabb) MOTION CARRIED: 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

D. Andrea Porras-Alfaro, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences

Motion: To approve the request for full membership. (McNabb/Bauerly) MOTION CARRIED: 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB


A. Report on Annual Assessment of Student Learning

Drs. Lori Baker-Sperry and Judith Dallinger provided the Graduate Council with a summary of the assessment of student learning annual report for 2008-2009. Dr. Baker-Sperry explained that the information in the report is gleaned from each academic department’s annual report submitted to the Provost’s Office. If a department does not supply this information in the Provost’s annual report, then it is indicated that they did not submit a report of assessment. She also reiterated that the submission of grades is noted, however, grades are not an accepted means of assessment of student learning by the Higher Learning Commission, Western’s accrediting body, which will be visiting campus in February 2011 for the self-study and accreditation process.

Graduate Council addressed many questions to Drs. Baker-Sperry and Dallinger concerning ways in which assessment can be measured and why specific programs appear to be reported as “not meeting” standards for assessing student learning by the summary report when, in fact, they are known to be doing so, for example by using rubrics or worksheets during performances or exit option committee meetings. The group suggested a department can assess learning by using a rubric to assess a thesis rather than simply giving a grade. The rubric can identify in what other ways the student has learned and how that reflects on the academic department. Dr. Baker-Sperry indicated in most cases when a department appears to not be assessing student learning, it may be simply that the information was not provided in the Provost’s Office Departmental annual report submitted to the College Dean and then the Provost’s Office. She suggested concerned faculty work with their chairs to add those assessment measures to their annual reports. The Council thanked both for their presentation of the information.

B. Default Grades for Incompletes

Dr. Dallinger presented a request from the Graduate School which would eliminate the option to assign default grades for students who have received an incomplete (“I”) grade. Current policy allows the “I” grade to stand for one year at which point it will change to a grade of “F” if a change of grade form is not submitted by the professor, a default grade is not assigned (other than “F”), or an extension of time has not been requested. The proposed policy change would remove the option to assign a default grade. Since its inception in 2006, the default grade option has been used one time. Dr. Dallinger indicated the Registrar’s Office supports this request.

Dr. McQuillan questioned whether S/U graded courses are given a default grade of “F” or “U.” Dr. Dallinger will confirm with the Registrar’s Office and follow-up with the Council at next meeting.

Motion: To accept the Graduate School’s recommendation to strike language concerning the option of default grades for incomplete grades. (McNabb/Bauerly)

C. Performance Evaluations for Graduate Assistants

Dr. Dallinger explained to the Council members that currently the Graduate School encourages hiring departments to evaluate their graduate assistants, however, it is not mandatory. A sample evaluation form is available on the Graduate School website ( Evaluations are presently housed in the hiring department files and not submitted to the Graduate School. A recent Human Resources audit by internal auditors recommended that performance appraisals be a requirement in order to provide graduate assistants with feedback concerning their work-related strengths and weaknesses as well as providing a basis for credible work references.

The Council’s discussion on the topic questioned the actual need to make such a performance evaluation mandatory as well as a concern for practical and efficient use of man-power to manage such a project. The overall feeling was that while everyone supports and encourages the completion of performance evaluations for graduate assistants, they are reluctant to make it a requirement.

Motion: To not require that performance evaluations for graduate assistants be completed by hiring departments. The use of performance evaluations should continue to be encouraged. (Bean/Hassan) MOTION CARRIED: 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

D. Standards for 400-G Courses

Dr. McNabb suggested the Council create a sub-committee to discuss and review the manner in which 400-G courses are presented with the goal of revising the last section (“Additional Requirements for Students Receiving ‘G’ Credit”) of the Request for a 400-G Level Course. The Council engaged in a lengthy discussion concerning the purpose of a 400-G course being different for different departments as well as the way in which the graduate students are graded in those courses.

The Council decided to create a sub-committee to further the discussion and to draft a revision of the Request for a 400-G Level Course. Sub-committee members are Drs. McNabb, McQuillan, and Montalvo. They will communicate via email and provide a draft of a revision of the form for the next meeting.


A. Request to extend validity date of transfer credit to allow degree completion

1. Health Education

The student was not present as he resides in North Carolina, however, Drs. Kelley, Moore, and Ternasky were present to speak toward his petition. Dr. Moore indicated the course in question is a 3 s.h. transfer course from Ohio University that is not part of the departmental core; it is an elective. She explained that this student has gone through the lengthy process of revalidating all of his outdated coursework from Spring 1992 to Spring 1993 and discovered that this course, too, has expired and must be revalidated. The student indicated that Ohio University does not revalidate courses and would not agree to a revalidation request from him. As such, he is appealing to the Graduate Council to extend the validity of the transfer hours to allow him to complete the Master of Science in Health Education. She indicated he has maintained health certification which is indicative of continuing education in the field.

Council members questioned the student’s statement provided on the petition form as the language used made it appear as though he was not the author. Dr. Ternasky indicated that the student had indeed used Dr. Ternasky’s language from an email correspondence on the petition form.

Motion: To approve the request to extend the validity date of transfer credit to allow degree completion of the Master of Science in Health Education degree. (McNabb/Montalvo) MOTION CARRIED: 8 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

B. Request to be late registered for a Spring Semester 2009 course

1. Non-degree student

This request was tabled at last meeting for input from the Department of Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies (EIS) per the request of Dr. Montalvo. The student was not present at the meeting. Dr. Montalvo provided information from the EIS department indicating while the student is not in their graduate program they do support the late request for registration of EIS 430G. Council members noted that this was the student’s third request to late register for a course. The Council discussed the situation and the quality of the student’s statement on the petition form.

Motion: To deny the student’s request to late register for a Spring 2009 course. (McClure/McNabb) MOTION DENIED: 3 YES – 4 NO – 1 AB

Motion: To approve the student’s request to late register for a Spring 2009 course. (Bauerly/Hassan) MOTION CARRIED: 4 YES – 3 NO – 1 AB


A. Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs

Dr. Dallinger asked permission to address the Council concerning an item of clarification needed by the Graduate School. She asked the Council if it is allowable to accept substitutions for “B” (bridge) courses in integrated programs. She noted that it is not acceptable in post-baccalaureate programs and as the Graduate School has received such requests, would like to confirm with the Council that substitutions are allowable in integrated programs.

The Council indicated it did not have enough information to provide a point of clarification at that time. They suggested a formal review of the policy in its entirety at the next meeting.

B. Sub-committee Update: Academic Integrity Policy for Graduate Students

Dr. McNabb indicated members of the sub-committee had met with representatives from CAGAS to discuss concerns with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. She noted that there were questions as to whether there should be policies specific to graduate student exit option courses. The committee is working on a draft of this policy and hopes to share it with the Council next semester.

Meeting adjourned: 5:05 p.m.