Graduate Studies

Graduate Council Minutes - September 12, 2011

Location: Horrabin Hall 60, 3:00 p.m.

Members Present: R. Bauerly, M. Bean, B. Locke (Vice Chair), K. McClure (Chair), A. Mossman, W. Polley
Members Absent: L. Kilmer, J. Myers
Guests Present: Rick Carter, Dawn Casteel, Rose McConnell, Russ Morgan, Mike Romano, Tim Spier, Janet Wigglesworth

Ex-officio: N. Parsons

Others Present: G. Sullivan


A. Chemistry

1. Requests to Change Graduate Program Requirements

a. Integrated Bachelor/Master’s Program – B.S. in Chemistry and M.S. in Chemistry
b. Integrated Bachelor/Master’s Program – B.S. in Forensic Chemistry and M.S. in Chemistry

Dr. McConnell presented the requests noting that the Council had approved in the spring adding graduate credit to the courses to be added as elective options (CHEM 451G/B and CHEM 452G/B). Council members asked about enrollment numbers in the integrated programs and Dr. McConnell indicated there are fewer than 10 enrolled in the program. Dr. McClure pointed out a duplication of information on the request form for B.S. Forensic Chemistry – M.S. Chemistry. Dr. McConnell asked that the duplication be stricken from the original form.  Motion: To approve both course requests. (Bean/Locke) MOTION CARRIED 5 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

B. Engineering Technology

1. Request for new graduate course

a. MES 525, Management of Technology, 3 s.h.

This item was tabled on April 25, 2011 to allow for communication between Engineering Technology and Computer Science concerning course content. No new information was submitted, however, the department has indicated they will be meeting with Computer Science soon to discuss the course. Additionally, Dr. McClure noted a correction to the agenda as the course request was changed from TM 525 to MES 525 in the spring.


A. Jennifer Plos, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

Dr. Wigglesworth responded to questions concerning prior graduate courses taught by Dr. Plos. She indicated a need for Dr. Plos to chair theses pertaining to her area of expertise in athletic training. Also, she noted that Dr. Plos had recently transitioned from Unit B to Unit A faculty. Dr. Polley questioned the number of refereed publications required for tenure in the Kinesiology department to which Dr. Wigglesworth replied three to five publications. Motion: To approve the request. (Locke/Bean) MOTION CARRIED 5 YES – 0 NO – 1 AB


A. Continuous Enrollment for Graduate Students

Dr. McClure reminded the Graduate Council of the continuous enrollment discussion which was carried over from the previous year. She indicated work had been undertaken during the summer months and a proposed policy would be presented to them later this semester. She referenced April 2011 minutes in which a sub-committee was created to work on this policy, however, the intent of the sub-committee was not clear. She had been in contact with Dr. Jen McNabb, last year’s Council Chair, to ascertain the directive of this group. The sub-committee will include Drs. Locke, Morgan, and Mossman. 


A. Three Year Undergraduate Degrees and Admission into Graduate Programs – Center for International Studies

Dr. Carter indicated that he had met with the director and assistant director of the Graduate School this past spring to revise the policy so that the language was more concise and clear. The CIS requested that the Graduate Council review their revised policy language and offer feedback. Council members felt the proposed changes were logical as the information that had been removed from the language is found elsewhere in the graduate catalog. A concern was indicated with the reference to the Bologna Accord and proper wording to be used in the sentence, “However, Western Illinois University will consider for graduate admission those applicants who have earned a three-year degree from the Bologna Accord.” Suggested wording changes included changing from to “via”, “within”, “approved by”, or “in compliance with.”

The CIS representatives thanked the Council for their suggestions.

B. Sub-committee to Select Graduate Student Research and Professional Development Award Recipients 

Dr. McClure requested a sub-committee of one member from each college be formed to review the fall applications for the Graduate Student Research and Professional Development award recipients.

Sub-committee for fall will include Drs. Bean, McClure and Polley; spring will include Drs. Bauerly, Locke and Mossman. As the COEHS representatives were not at today’s meeting, Dr. McClure indicated she would contact them to determine who will participate in the fall. A tentative date of Wednesday, October 12 from noon to 2 p.m. was selected for the sub-committee selection meeting. Dr. McClure will follow-up once the committee has been finalized. Ms. Sullivan will provide copies of the applications and evaluation forms. She will also schedule a location for the meeting and notify all involved. 

Dr. McClure informed the Council that the Graduate School had two additional items they would like added to the agenda. Motion: To add the discussion of Graduate Council agenda packets to the agenda. (Locke/Polley) MOTION CARRIED – 6 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB. Motion: To add the discussion of graduate assistant holiday/break work hours. (Bauerly/Locke) MOTION CARRIED – 6 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

C. Graduate Council Agenda Packets – Electronically

Dr. Parsons asked the Council members if they would like to continue to receive their agenda packets in hard copy form or if they would prefer to move to an electronic PDF version of the documents. Members shared their thoughts on the issue which included the need for laptops to be brought to the meeting if documents weren’t printed and the inability to make notes on a PDF document unless you have the proper software. While the issue of sustainability was discussed, it seemed more practical to have the paperwork in hand when preparing for the meeting as well as at the meeting itself. Motion: To continue providing printed agenda packets to Council members. (Bean/Bauerly) MOTION CARRIED 6 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB

D. Graduate Assistant Personnel Program Issues

Dr. Parsons indicated several questions/issues arising since the implementation of the time reporting for graduate assistants. A recurring question concerns whether graduate assistants are required to work during breaks and/or holidays, and if so, are they required to make up those hours missed. There is no clear policy on this. The discussion among members clearly confirmed that this requirement varies among the assistantship positions and that many positions work ebbs and flows so that if they work more hours one week, they adjust and work fewer another time. Dr. McClure suggested a sub-committee be created to investigate these sorts of issues further. She requested Council members to discuss the issue with their constituents in the coming month and the issue will be revisited at the next meeting.


A. Electronic Time Reporting for Graduate Assistants

Dr. Parsons indicated the time reporting system is in place effective August 2011 and that the previous discussion spoke to some of the issues which have developed since its implementation. She indicated another issue was the numerous changes to supervisors after contracts had already been written. She encouraged departments to clearly identify proper supervisors, recognizing those individuals will be charged with approving electronic time reports, on the Assistantship Contract Request forms prior to submission to avoid updates and reprinting of contracts.

B. Taxation on Tuition Waivers for Graduate Assistants 

Dr. Parsons informed the Council of a federal regulation that will require the University to begin taxing graduate assistants on the tuition dollars they are awarded once that amount exceeds $5,250. This is only true for graduate assistants; research and teaching assistants will be exempt from this taxation. A task force has been created to address the issue and determine an appropriate course of action which will meet the federal regulation and keep the burden of the taxation to a minimum for those impacted students. It was stressed that not all graduate assistants will be affected by this taxation; it will mostly impact less than full-time graduate assistants who are not assessed at the in-state tuition rate. 

Dr. Parsons noted that Graduate School staff is currently reviewing all assistantship contract requests to verify that each position is correctly classified as a graduate, teaching or research assistant. 

Information will be shared as the task force outlines an implementation plan.

C. Graduate School Informational Session

Dr. Parsons reminded Council members that all deans, graduate department chairs, and graduate committee chairs have been invited to attend an informational session with the School of Graduate Studies on Wednesday, September 14 from 2-4 p.m. in the Capitol Room, University Union. This session will review policies and procedures as well as address upcoming initiatives. 


A. Request to change course registration for Fall 2010 

The student was not able to participate in the hearing due to schedule conflict. Council members noted the department provided rationale to the change from BIOL 577 to ZOOL 578 indicating inaccurate advice during the registration process. The department verified the student deserves credit in ZOOL 578 rather than BIOL 577. Motion: To approve the request to change registration for Fall 2010 from BIOL 577 to ZOOL 578. (Locke/Mossman) MOTION CARRIED – 5 YES – 0 NO – 0 AB 

Meeting adjourned: 4:15 p.m.