Meeting 7: June 11, 2014


Leona shared with the task force that she met with Chancellor Loftin, Hank Foley and Ken Dean and shared the summary sheet with task force work completed to date. The goal of this meeting was to ascertain whether the task force was on track and obtain feedback regarding the issues surrounding faculty governance and the task force recommendations regarding graduate faculty senate.

Our recommendations were seen as appropriate in that they direct GFS to consider issues around improved efficiencies and communication. It would be wise for GFS to explore policies and processes used by other institutions. Chancellor Loftin was most familiar with a model of faculty senate that controlled both graduate and undergraduate curriculum through subcommittee activity. Our model is very different with Faculty Council less involved in curriculum at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

Leona and Kirsten are working on the Provost Website to share the task force work and supporting materials.

Last week we had a large free-ranging conversation about GFS that led to Recommendation 5 that they develop an active process for communicating with the programs. We also went through the remaining inventory of graduate school “stuff”. The details about these programs are included in the notes from last week’s meeting and perhaps this week we can make some decisions regarding these many programs.

Administrative Support for Grad Faculty Senate
Ruth Erwin has been the go-to person for many years. Her role as budget manager for graduate school as well as NSEI and all the interdisciplinary programs keeps her very busy (details in last week’s notes of all her job duties). GFS will need more help next year as it works through policy and rules. Our best “rule and policy” person is Ashley Siebenaler who supervisors the graduate advisors. She will work closely with GFS next year to coordinate activities and ensure changes are reflected in graduate handbook.

Institutional Research Functions
One of the recommendations that came from this committee early was about tuition waivers and getting things done quickly and efficiently. While we are dependent on timeliness of students and programs, we can explore possible options to automate more of the process.

There has been campus discussion about having only one graduation for all colleges, undergraduates and graduates. Feedback obtained from graduate students indicate they want a separate graduation from their colleges. Students have the option to select whether to attend college (if they have a graduate portion) or the graduate school. The students are the ones that need to weigh in on this and communicate their opinions.

Recommendation: Continue to hold separate graduate level graduations. Allow students to select which graduation they attend. Graduation is for the students.
Vote: Unanimous

Professional Development
Leona provided syllabi for Preparing Future Faculty and for the Leadership and Transferable Skills courses. PPF is a national initiative that was initiated several years ago by the Council on Graduate Schools. We’ve talked as a group about how to list and maintain it as an interdisciplinary course. Alternatively, PFF and Leadership do not need to be credit bearing. As a non-credit bearing course or a digital badge, it would not require an academic home. Graduate Studies is exploring co-curricular transcripting as well as digital badges with the Registrar’s office and IT.

“As a student I do feel better having that on my transcript. I have it on my CV and when it shows up on my transcript it validates it. I like having it on a transcript. One benefit of having it without credit is that it won’t cost the students anything.”

CIRTL – Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning
Angela Speck leads this effort as a Faculty fellow in the Graduate School. CIRTL is a large consortium of institutions (22) focused on STEM education for the future. A major component of MU’s acceptance into this network was the strong presence of PFF and the Minor in College Teaching on our campus. CIRTL is very interdisciplinary in that it crosses many programs and colleges.

What to do with interdisciplinary courses that are not part of an interdisciplinary degree program. All of these courses have value on their own – could the sum be more valuable than the parts. Is there a way we could combine all of these into an academic professional development program.

The return on investment of all these courses is very good. They utilize existing faculty expertise and graduate studies staff coordinate and also teach within their expertise. We don’t save much in Graduate Studies by eliminating these programs, but keeping them provides a large return for students especially in those programs without resources to offer such activities, or the need to pull faculty from disciplinary efforts to teach “teaching”, “leadership” or “professional development”. People need to know what incredible value they are getting.


We, the task force, recognize the value of PPF, CIRTL and Minor in College Teaching and recommend they find a permanent home that facilitates their interdisciplinary nature. These courses plus the Graduate Leadership course should be combined into a new interdisciplinary program to be housed wherever the interdisciplinary programs are housed.

Vote on Recommendation: Unanimous

International Teaching Assistant Program – ITAP

At other institutions these programs are located in graduate schools, intensive language intensive programs or centers for teaching and learning. Even though this is dealing very specifically with graduate students, they are teachers and isolated from other teachers and techniques in the graduate school. This group would benefit from being with other people who are teaching. Recommendation is that they find an academic home. One possibility is the proposed teaching and learning center. ITAP was originally in PET and the courses were in College of Education. Education began charging course fees so courses moved to graduate school when PET dissolved.

Could ITAP go into a common program with PFF, CIRTL, Minor in College Teaching, and Graduate Leadership Program? These programs are broader than ITAP. When you look at PFF or leadership course, they are taught by faculty from multiple programs, very interdisciplinary. ITAP is focused on bringing international students up to a proficiency level so that they can TA in their own program.

Recommend moving ITAP courses into College of Education assuming course fees can be waived. ITAP as a program should be considered within the Center for Teaching and Learning or perhaps remain in Graduate Studies for administration.
Vote: Unanimous

Other Graduate School Activities

Graduate student orientation in the fall with a graduate student fair to show campus resources. Some programs have a very well developed orientation with sessions on academic integrity, writing, library etc. This is very general for all students and provides information about stipends, waivers, health insurance etc.

Graduate School also conducts an orientation for teaching assistants each fall and spring. We catch students from programs that do not do their own TA training. This issue requires further study. Which programs are training the TAs and which are not and how can we maximize resources to ensure all TAs get some training.

Postdoctoral fellows office is in the graduate school, but funding comes through the research office so I think the new integration of these offices will be beneficial for managing postdocs.

Graduate School Funding

Leona shared a budget sheet with GO accounts, list of graduate school staff, and a partial list of events and activities the graduate school supports across campus that are not directly related to the functions discussed to date.

The overall GO Budget to Graduate School is ~$5.5M (2013).
Admissions generates 433k a year which is included as revenue in GO accounts.
Budget segregated into accounts that support students, accounts that support interdisciplinary programs (MUII, MPH, genetics), McNair program, and NSEI.

When you subtract all these other accounts, funding for graduate school administration is ~ $1.8M and ~0.5M is internally generated.

PDGA Account: Funds that essentially flow through the graduate school to support minority recruitment. Bulk of these funds goes to Med School and Law School for minority recruiting. We also support Peace Corps Fellowships and fellowship for Conservation Biology.

Departmental Support fund: Support for academic programs for film festivals, conferences, graduate student registration for local conferences etc. Also support Cub Hub, a babysitting service for students.

Graduate School Funding for GRAs: GRA in McNair, GRA in Personal Finance (CGS initiative to improve financial literacy), GRA that manages Peach Corps program.

Report to Chancellor Loftin

Suggest we all participate in the writing by topics.

Admissions –
Student Progress Academic Issues
Interdisciplinary will be handled by the Provost
Professional Development

Mike O’Brien suggested we use the summary sheet. It summarizes well what the task force as done and suggests. Others agree.

Clarify a couple of pieces such as our ROI on Professional Development for Graduate Students and write a short preamble.

Leona will work on introduction and putting together the recommendations from today’s meeting and put it together and add the value added, Will send it out and get feedback.