Meeting 6: May 29, 2014

Information Sharing and Gathering

The task force was reminded to share task force notes and information with constituents or colleges and obtain feedback. Kirsten and Leona will get notes and supporting documents posted to Provost web site next week. There may be some concern that this is happening over the summer when many faculty are gone. Ken Dean and Hank Foley have been in the loop on task force activities and last week both received copies of all meeting notes and a summary sheet of recommendations. Leona has a meeting on Tuesday with Chancellor Loftin to update him on the progress of the task force to date and he also has received a copy of the summary sheet with recommendations to date.

Continued discussion of role of graduate faculty senate and curriculum

Angela Speck has shared some of the discussion regarding GFS and curricular control with Faculty Council and there have been some email responses asking what data are being used to make these decisions. Angela and Leona are trying to schedule a meeting with Craig Roberts to get Faculty Council’s perspective with respect to the role of graduate faculty senate since this is a faculty governance issue.

The task force recognizes that the faculty has authority over the curriculum, including graduate curriculum. Because there was no curricular control in the graduate school and we have no authority over fac-ulty governance, at most this task force can draft recommendations to the GFS and faculty council on the issues of curricular control by GFS.

The task force appears comfortable with recommending that course approvals for new or modifications to existing professional courses could go back to the professional schools. At present these decisions are made by the Graduate Dean. GFS delegated this approval process to the Dean back in the early 2000s. Some professional courses are cross listed with graduate courses and those will need to be handled as graduate courses by whatever approval process develops for graduate courses.

Some of the task force members are also comfortable recommending that graduate course changes and modifications (descriptions and titles) be handled at the college level. These approvals also were delegated by GFS to the Graduate Dean back in the early 2000s. Thus, delays in processing these forms should have been minimal. Stories were shared about delays that preceded the current administration. The implementation of Course Leaf an online application for all new and modified course proposals this spring would certainly eliminate any delays due to paper processing or lost forms and contains time-stamped workflow approvals that allow application tracking.

There was less agreement regarding whether new course approvals should be handled only at the col-lege level with no GFS involvement. The graduate curriculum for a degree program is less linked across units than is the Undergrad curriculum which is closely tied together. For example, if A&S stopped offering a particular English course, it might impact degrees in other colleges. Thus, UG curriculum committee looks for cross-college impact as well as for complete syllabus etc. Although graduate level degree programs tend to be more siloed, many graduate certificate programs are built on existing courses in multiple schools and colleges. There are currently 8 interdisciplinary certificates and 4 interdisciplinary minors that have their home in the graduate school. How will curricular changes in one college be communicated to another and how will these issues be addressed if there is no neutral party with a campus view such as GFS? Larger degree programs such as Informatics have By Laws and membership criteria with regular meetings. This structure would certainly allow cross college communication but might be difficult for smaller certificate programs to manage. This certainly brings us back to the topic of having a mechanism to promote interdisciplinary collaboration not just among deans but also faculty, for creation of new interdisciplinary degrees. Even if there is a way to send all curricular control back to the colleges – what will be the incentive for faculty to create new interdisciplinary certificates or degrees (what is it now?). We are being asked to be more efficient about how we work and do more multi-disciplinary work but this charge and changes to the graduate school are counter to that message. Should the interdisciplinary programs have or need a dean as a champion? By removing an existing umbrella (Graduate School) under which we encourage interdisciplinary programs, we will go back to silos. Sending curriculum back to the colleges will really put us back in silos. Also, at the college level, faculty and administration may disagree on certain curricular issues and faculty may feel pressured to comply since colleges/academic units also control their salary, promotion, space, assignments etc. Faculty members on GFS are removed from such pressure and represent an external governance body not beholding to any one administrative unit. Does this happen often? Not likely, but rules are usually made for the rare exceptions. Some colleges have strong faculty governance in place with curriculum committees, others do not.

The task force discussion around returning curricular control (new degrees and certificates) back to the academic units was extensive (again). According to the CRR, only the graduate faculty can change the functions of the GFS. The GFS has authority to change its structure and operations and it can decide to take these recommendations to the graduate faculty for a vote. A much more drastic change would be for faculty council to call for a vote of the general faculty to change the CRR and eliminate the GFS. They would then need to create a mechanism for approval and control of graduate curriculum. All faculty members are not graduate faculty and only graduate faculty have say over graduate curriculum. Needless to say these are dramatic changes to faculty governance being made because of complaints about paperwork delays and processing (and administrative meddling?), which has since been rectified.

One task force suggestion (also suggested by incoming GFS president) is that GFS take an inventory of what it does and how it does it (similar to what graduate school is doing) and evaluate what they should continue to do and what they could return to the colleges. “Clarifying question – can you send things back to the “program” instead of back to the colleges. As a member of a graduate program I don’t specifically answer to my dean. Has the conversation morphed from the original charge?” Review of the original letter from the chancellor indicates “curricular functions should reside with the academic units (colleges and schools)”.

Without GFS and a larger campus/curricular perspective there will be issues that arise that will cause toe-stepping, one college on another. Those kinds of issues will likely have to go somewhere – where? It could be Faculty Council but Council tends to be much politicized. When GFS dealt with the NSEI complaints, the advantage of GFS was it was freer of politics than was the FC. It could work with a global view of what is good for the campus and students. Some of the fallout of the NSEI discussions may be playing a role in the decision to eliminate the graduate school and return curriculum to the colleges. Ironically, if curriculum was approved at the college, NEP would have gone directly through with no GFS discussion and NSEI would likely never have known until it was approved. There are advantages to having GFS review curriculum, even though GFS has had some dysfunction (faculty driven committee and always subject to the other time pressures on faculty). Hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater. However, we should recommend a reevaluation of the role of GFS as it may be that GFS might be more effective and more efficient if they were dealing the more global curricular and policy issues rather than details about course changes or course approvals. Disagreement about course approval importance was expressed. Review of course approvals protects students. It was also suggested that GFS could devote more time to communication with programs (DGSs). When new degrees are approved they are in the minutes of GFS on web site but no one (faculty) will routinely sit and read the minutes. Perhaps GFS could send a monthly report to DGSs with all approved degrees and courses.

Probably the most important function of GFS in terms of curriculum is monitoring for duplications which occurs frequently with certificates (for example, qualitative research certificate). These discussions will occur again when someone wants to propose a quantitative research degree offering. Similar discussions about duplication are ongoing between MUII and HMI regarding a “Big Data MS Degree”. The Graduate Dean has been meeting with both parties and trying to resolve issues before it hits GFS. These conversations need to happen at multiple levels, if it goes back to the colleges, degrees could fly right through to the Provost. The Provost would be the final campus approval power after the dean of the college. Does the Provost have the staff to monitor for duplication? Would the Provost need to recreate a GFS-like committee to review proposals? Currently, the Provost relies on GFS and Graduate Dean to make these assessments. Have they been bad? Has this process not been working? What are the “bad” degree programs created by this process? Where are the data?

Entities like GFS that evaluate graduate curriculum exist at most if not all other institutions. Only in institutions that have a graduate college within each college is this body not a campus-wide governance structure. It was suggested that some Graduate Faculty Senates can be persuaded heavily by some graduate deans (historical). NSEI and NEP discussions may be an example. At other institutions the Graduate Dean actually chairs the GFS and sets the agenda. Mizzou is less top-down driven since we have a faculty member as chair thereby marginalizing the Graduate Dean. The Graduate Dean is not a voting member but they do have the history in many cases and have power to influence decisions. Is there a solution to this: clearer line of authority? Again perhaps something GFS should address. Clearly, this is a faculty governance issue and because this can be a very top down university, abandoning GFS or weakening its power could make faculty governance weaker. The deans will have more power to make decisions about curriculum and it will be harder for faculty to disagree at the college level.

In terms of making a recommendation, think about efficiencies. Currently, it can take a year and a half once you vetted something in your own program, to get it is approved. Recommend GFS improving efficiencies while still having oversight. Discussion about timing: there are data with GFS for the past 1.5 years that show date a proposal received and date approved. Leona will try to pull that together for task force. Keep in mind after GFS, it goes by paper to the Graduate Dean for signature, to the Provost for signature, then to the System. The System then sends it to other schools in the state who then send it to their deans and chairs for feedback before it is decided at System that there are no conflicts at the state level. Only then does it go to the Coordinating Board. There may also be delays at the Coordinating Board depending on when they meet and when the proposal is submitted. For example they rarely meet in the summer thus a spring proposal will wait until September for final approval. It shouldn’t take a year but it might and sometimes does. Removing GFS from the path may not save time if the Provost needs to convene a group to evaluate proposals.

Discussion of specific wording for recommendations: Some recommendations can be worded more strongly than others based on our discussion. The GS Task Force on Restructuring recommends that the:

  1. GFS return control of graduate course modifications to existing courses back to the colleges (Requires graduate faculty vote and approval).
  2. GFS return control of new professional course approvals and modifications of existing profes-sional courses to the colleges (Requires graduate faculty vote and approval).
  3. GFS consider the possibility and implications of returning control of all new graduate course ap-provals back to the colleges (Requires graduate faculty vote and approval).
  4. GFS consider the possibility and implications of returning control of the curriculum (degrees, minors and certificates) to the colleges. (Requires graduate faculty vote and approval).

Alternatively, Faculty Council may consider modifications to the CRR to rescind the powers of the graduate faculty/GFS over graduate curriculum and return that authority to the faculty council or faculty of the colleges. (Requires a vote of the general faculty) This is not an option the task force prefers.

Motion made and seconded that we accept recommendations with considerations to GFS.


Other institutions have a Faculty Senate that deals with both politics and curriculum. Thus, GFS could be absorbed back into FC. The downside is that FC is very political. The upside is that the faculty would maintain governance over curricular issues. Could FC create a subcommittee of FC just for curriculum? Of course this is only graduate curriculum as there is an UG Curriculum Committee. Membership on UG curriculum committee comes from colleges as recommendations and approved by FC. Not clear if they are elected like GFS members. GFS meets again in September and there are 16 elected faculty on the senate.

Currently the structure of GFS is such that there is not representation by college. For example, medical school, veterinary medicine, nursing and health professions share one representative. This is a historical structure based on size of programs and may no longer hold; it also inhibits communication even in a digital age and makes elections problematic. The senate has already revised By Laws and voted to move to a representative/academic unit but they delayed asking graduate faculty to vote in the spring once the announcement was made that the graduate school was being restructured and even the GFS was possibly being altered. They decided to only ask faculty to vote once.

Concern regarding communication: GFS has gotten a bad rap because of very poor communication. We know when roads close on campus, but we don’t know when another school has a new certificate or degree program. This communication certainly would not be better if the curriculum comes directly from academic units.

Can we amend the recommendations to include concerns about communication? Yes.
5. GFS, regardless of its impending structural/function changes develop ACTIVE processes for communicating with academic programs.

10 approve
2 opposed

Remaining Graduate School Inventory

The graduate school provides administrative support for GFS. Ashley Siebenaler and Ruth Erwin on a regular basis with others as needed. Ruth is budget director for graduate school, NSEI, MPH and Infor-matics and also is liaison to the GFS for all course proposals and program proposals, takes and manages minutes of all GFS meetings, maintains list of graduate and doctoral faculty and manages all letters and correspondence for appointments, maintains files for all doctoral faculty qualifications and election lists for graduate faculty representatives. Ashley manages all policy issues that come from GFS and ensures policy changes are implemented by staff and translated to students and programs. Any time the GFS needs to know about historical policies – Ashley will pull it from records. Graduate School needs to reinstate the graduate catalog for policies similar to the Handbook maintained by FC and the Registrar for better transparency.

Institutional Research Functions for Graduate Education: Internal and External reporting – for NSF, NIH, MDHE and several for Council of Graduate Schools. Also prepare internal reports for programs, departments, and faculty for grant preparation. Preparing several this month for NSF-NRT grants that include student training and require information about women and minority students that applied, were accepted, matriculated and finished over the last five years. Karen Gruen is the primary IR person for graduate studies but works closely with Ann Patton in institutional research. Does this function need to stay in the Office of Graduate Studies or should this function reside only in IR? In general it would be ideal to have only one place to retrieve data, not necessarily needs to be the same office but the same system. difficult for faculty to get their own data or even know how to ask. Usually takes a long time for a request from IR because they have so many reporting requirements. Advantage of GS IR function is Karen understands graduate program needs and requests and has access to the data. For example, helped Ann Patton and IR develop reporting method to assess graduate student hours worked in an assistantship for human resources. Karen understands the assistantship structure in the units.

Graduation: The graduate school has routinely coordinated and held commencement ceremonies for graduate students. This year for the first time, there were two ceremonies, one for MS and one for PhD with hooding. Should the Office of Graduate Studies continue to perform this function or should students graduate with their colleges? An email note from Jake Wright regarding graduation was shared. He states that of all the email responses he has received from graduate students the issue about which they are most engaged is graduation; They are fairly adamant that they want their own graduation and they don’t believe their parents want a central graduation. The grad students would like to keep graduate graduation separate. Part of the incentive for creating the separate PhD hooding ceremony was dismay expressed by two parents regarding the previous ceremony when PhD students were hooded all at once on the floor of the arena.

The Chancellor expressed some concern regarding the large number of graduations we have at MU as well as concern that graduate students were attending their college graduation and then remaining in Columbia for several days to also attend the graduate school graduation which was Sunday night. Of course attendance at any graduation is voluntary, thus the student elected to attend both. This spring, the Masters ceremony had ~620 and PhD has 128 students attend (out of about 200 that graduated). Very few faculty attended the MS ceremony but there were many, beyond the 128 hooding faculty, that attended the ceremony in Jesse. General consensus was that many students elect to attend the graduation therefore we should keep it. If students want to attend the college graduation, they can and many do such as in Journalism. We can encourage that for MS students and programs but don’t feel strongly, however, believe there needs to be a separate PhD ceremony.

Professional Development: This has been a major emphasis area for many graduate schools and graduate studies offices across the nation. CGS has recently completed a multi-year, multi-campus study of “Career Pathways” with several volumes of data and recommendations around enhancing professional development opportunities for graduate students. MU graduate School does quite a lot of development although it is not well publicized or centrally organized (scattered on web site or Blackboard). There are models across of the country for coordinating these efforts with faculty expertise and programs help, Michigan State actually does a really nice job with their professional development and you can go to their site, register and see what they offer. There is also concern nationally regarding the career outcomes of students that do not enter the academy, currently 51% of our PhD students do not go into higher education.

Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) is a nationally recognized program initiated several years ago through CGS that is run on many campuses. Our program began 4-5 years ago with a few dozen students and is now well over 100 with a waiting list. Mannie Liscum and the graduate faculty fellow teach this course utilizing the expertise of other faculty and administrative offices. Students also have the opportunity to shadow a faculty member at another institution, preferably not a research intensive school, to expose them to other higher education models. Many of our graduates accept faculty positions in teaching intensive schools rather than research intensive schools so this is a great experience for them. Feedback from many students suggest PFF is a fantastic course and the shadowing experience very valuable.

Leadership-Transferrable Skills: A leadership development course was initially proposed by George Justice in collaboration with the Graduate Deans of the other UM campuses. Funding for the idea of a Graduate Student LDP was obtained from UM system for three years to supplement efforts on each campus. Each campus has developed a Leadership course (either for credit or a certificate) with regular on campus programing. A cohort of these students was selected to participate in a system-wide LDP (5 students from each campus). This cohort spends 2 days on each of the campuses over the course of a year for additional programing, specific to that campus. MU contributed time to a full 360 evaluation for each student as well as workshop in Mediation and Conflict Resolution presented by Paul Ladehoff of the MU Law School. UMKC contributed Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Block Institute while MS&T will present “Project Management” for their roll-out of their new energy management system and UMSL will focus on working with industry partners. The overall goal is to help students recognize their leadership and transferable skills that are applicable to many professions.

Robin Walker is leading the effort on professional development. In addition to organizing and managing the GDLDP she contributes a myriad of professional development workshops on how to write a resume, job hunt, and write a cover letter among other things. She has also developed several online resources for job hunting and applying for fellowships and grants. We anticipate taking more of this material from Blackboard sites and creating an interactive web page available to on and off campus students.

Robin also coordinates all of Adventures in Education. Adventures is a great professional development opportunity for graduate students who learn about engagement, organization, working with the public and importantly, working as a team. Adventures reaches more than 700 children as well as their parents and is a great PR event although very time consuming.

International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP): This program meets the needs of a state mandate to ensure our international students have the language and cultural skills to be classroom TAs. ITAP courses can no longer be housed in the grad school or have a GRAD designation. The most likely location for them is the College of Education if we can work out a waiver from course fees. These students are on tuition waivers but would need to pay the fees for these language and culture courses that are not in their major nor in a COE major. ITAP was originally housed in the Program for Excellence in Teaching (PET). Liz Tummons, who manages ITAP sent an email to her cohorts at other universities to find out where similar programs were housed. Most were either in a PET-like program, an intensive language program or the graduate school. Moving to COE would be good because the adjuncts that teach these courses would be among other educators. There have been concerns expressed by some students about the small number of faculty who teach and also do the testing for TA approval but we have addressed that concern. An advantage of having the program in the grad school is that it fits with professional development of international students. As a PET-like program will likely be coming to MU we can also consider moving ITAP there.

Graduate student Orientation: Organize and coordinate a one day orientation in the fall with a grad fair so that students get information from a variety of services and units all on the same day.

Orientation for Teaching Assistants: Many but not all programs have a TA orientation. The purpose of the graduate school TA orientation is not to duplicate or replace program efforts but to offer services to those units that do not or are too small to organize an event.

DGS and Contacts Orientation in the fall: These positions turn over frequently so this is an opportunity to meet and share resources and issues that will be arise over the next year. Last year we spent a lot of time discussing the affordable care act and graduate student hours.

Postdoctoral Fellow Office: Funding is held in the office of research but administration of new hires and the postdoctoral fellows association is managed by Mannie This will morph as we move into the Office of Research. The grad school assumed the PFF post-doctoral fellowships which were funded through Mizzou Advantage for post-docs who were developing a new interdisciplinary course. The interdisciplinary courses that they developed were never taught again. It was suggested that we actually expand this PFF, pull it away from development of interdisciplinary courses and add professional development for postdocs. So far we have 16 applications and 175k for support from Chancellors Fund for Excellence for 3 years.

Graduate School provides funding for GSA and moral support for GSA and GPC and in Jake’s letter you saw that he has some real concerns about GSA as we move from a school to an administrative office. GSA is more of the academic voice for students.

At the next meeting we will finish discussion of McNair and CIRTL and try to make some recommenda-tions about the pieces of the list above.