Graduate Studies

Graduate  Council Minutes - October 10, 2011

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

Members Present: R. Bauerly, M. Bean, L. Kilmer, B. Locke (Vice Chair), K. McClure (Chair), J. Myers, W. Polley

Member Absent: A. Mossman

Guests Present: Keith Boeckelman, Emily Gorlewski, Russ Morgan, Mark Mossman, Lance Ternasky

Ex-officio: N. Parsons

Others Present: G. Sullivan


Dr. McClure suggested the Council reorder the agenda to allow a guest to present the announcement concerning Study Abroad and graduate students.

Motion: To reorder the agenda to allow Ms. Gorlewski to speak about the change in Study Abroad procedures. (Bauerly/Polley). MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB.

A. Study Abroad Change in Application Process for Graduate Students

Ms. Emily Gorlewski informed the Graduate Council members that Study Abroad had recently implemented a change in the application process for graduate students. She indicated in the past the Graduate Council had suggested Study Abroad require two letters of recommendation for applicants to study abroad, however, those letters essentially became requiring an emailed approval from department chairs and advisors. A change in the application now requires signatures of department chairs and graduate advisors, thus, the letters or emails are no longer required.


A. Rebekah Buchanan, Assistant Professor, English and Journalism

Dr. Mossman noted Dr. Buchanan’s active research agenda and her area of expertise in English education. The Council questioned her lack of teaching graduate level courses. Dr. Mossman indicated she will serve an advisory role and chair theses if granted full membership.

Motion: To approve the request. (Kilmer/Locke). MOTION CARRIED 6 YES – 0 NO – 1 AB.

B. Jonathan Day, Assistant Professor, Political Science

Dr. Boeckelman responded to questions from the Council concerning Dr. Day’s scholarly activities. He indicated Dr. Day has presented at national level conferences and is teaching methodology courses in the department. Dr. Day’s previous application was denied by the Council in March 2011 with a recommendation to reapply once his refereed scholarly activities were completed. Dr. McClure noted his vita did not follow the required format as refereed and non-refereed activities were not delineated making it difficult to consider the quality of evidence presented for scholarly activity. Motion: To deny the application for full membership at this time. (Polley/Locke). MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB.

The Council requested that the notification letter sent by the Graduate School encourage Dr. Day to reapply in the future after further graduate teaching experience. Also, he should be sure to follow the required vita format in the future.

While not directly related to this particular applicant, the Council further discussed the need to review criteria for full membership in the graduate faculty and determine if changes or clarifications need to be made. Dr. Parsons noted that criteria for full membership is found within the Operating Paper of the School of Graduate Studies and should any changes be made to such policies it would require following the amendment procedure as stated in the Operating Paper.

Motion: For the chair of Graduate Council to review the criteria for full membership in the graduate faculty and propose language clarifying criteria for full membership if deemed necessary. (Polley/Locke). MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB.

Dr. McClure indicated she will review the Operating Paper and draft language for Council’s review at the November meeting.


A. Continuous Enrollment for Graduate Students

Dr. McClure informed the Council that after speaking to past Council Chairperson Jennifer McNabb, the sub-committee for continuous enrollment was proposed at the end of the spring semester to work through issues with various constituency groups and draft a proposal. Dr. McClure noted that the work involving a group of individuals comprised of staff from the Graduate School, Registrar’s Office, and Billing and Receivables, as well as the Council Chair, in the early summer months resulted in the proposal included in today’s agenda packet. As such, a sub-committee was no longer needed. She opened the discussion for questions or comments on the proposal.

Dr. Locke questioned the international student impact concerning visa status. Dr. McClure reminded him that Ms. Dawn Casteel, WIU Immigration Officer, had attended a Council meeting last year and verbalized no concerns on her part for international students. However, she felt it was relevant for a follow-up contact to be made and to allow her the opportunity to review the proposal and its potential impact on international students. Dr. Locke volunteered to contact Ms. Casteel for her input concerning the proposed policy. Additionally, he noted a minor typographical correction in the last sentence of the second paragraph in which “completed” should be “complete.”

Dr. Myers voiced a concern for students whose capstone experience advisors may not efficiently assist the students to degree completion. Dr. McClure and other members of the Council indicated there would be an appeal process in place so that such students would be able to appeal to the Graduate Council.

Dr. Morgan respectfully requested the Graduate Council allow time to share the proposed policy with faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences before it was voted on. Other Council members felt it was appropriate to share the proposed policy with their constituents as well as other groups such as the Registrar’s Office and the Office of Billing and Receivables before proceeding.

Motion: To table the item to allow the distribution of the proposed policy to various constituency groups. Council members will report back at next meeting. (Polley/Bauerly). MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB.

B. Graduate Assistant Personnel Program

1. Issues/concerns related to electronic time reporting

2. Performance evaluations and incident reports

Dr. McClure reviewed several areas within the graduate assistant personnel program that need to be reviewed and suggested a sub-committee be formed to further investigate those issues. She outlined the committees charge as follows: (1) draft a guiding principle statement for the graduate assistant award emphasizing the spirit with which assistantships should be utilized, (2) review the definitions of graduate, research, and teaching assistants and revise them so that they provide more explicit examples of duties each may undertake, (3) address issues of evaluation, (4) construct an Incident Report form, and (5) draft policy for time recording that is flexible to departments and organizations with assistantship yet fair to graduate assistants.

Volunteers for the sub-committee are Drs. Locke and Polley and Ms. Sullivan with Dr. Locke serving as chair. Dr. McClure indicated she would email the charge to each participant and Ms. Sullivan noted she would schedule the first meeting.

Motion: To form a sub-committee to review graduate assistantship personnel issues. Members will comprise of Drs. Locke and Polley, and Ms. Sullivan. (Bauerly/Myers). MOTION CARRIED 7 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB.


A. Higher Values in Higher Education Review Team Meetings

Dr. McClure indicated she will be attending the Higher Values in Higher Education Review Team meetings, however, she will have to leave early each time due to a class conflict. She noted that Drs. Parsons and Mossman are also participants on the review team. The team has been created to review the University motto and to develop ways to promote the University’s values, among other initiatives. Dr. McClure asked that should any Council members have information or concerns for this team to consider, she would gladly present those at an upcoming meeting.

Dr. Myers suggested that an award program for best thesis or exit option per college be considered.

B. Federal Funding Issues for Graduate Students

Dr. McClure shared a concern about recent changes in federal funding as beginning academic year 2012-2013 subsidized loans through the government will no longer be an option for graduate students. She noted a concern that this may affect recruitment efforts. Dr. Parsons shared information from Financial Aid Director, Bob Andersen, which indicated that students may still borrow the same amount but will be charged interest while in school. The student may pay the interest quarterly or may choose to have the interest added to the principle. She reiterated that graduate students are already paying interest while in school on unsubsidized Direct Loans and Grad PLUS loans. She noted this is a federal regulation so it will affect all colleges and universities. During the 2010-2011 academic year, 1615 graduate students borrowed a Federal loan and 790 borrowed a subsidized federal loan.

The Council discussed the potential impact on graduate student enrollments. Dr. Ternasky voiced concern as he has already received phone calls from students indicating their anticipated inability to return to school due to this change. He suggested asking administrators to look into private funding options available to graduate students. Dr. Polley reminded the Council during its discussion that the change was a federal government change and will impact all colleges and universities. It is not a policy that the Graduate Council can change and he suggested writing to legislators with individual concerns.

C. Selection Sub-Committee Meeting

Dr. McClure reminded the sub-committee of their meeting date and time to select award recipients for the Graduate Student Research and Professional Development program. The group will meet on Wednesday, October 12 at noon in Horrabin Hall 60. Dr. Kilmer is unavailable to attend due to a conference in Chicago but will forward his ranking list to Dr. McClure prior to the meeting.

Meeting adjourned: 4:20 p.m.